I would have thought I'd be in CA by now, attending or soon to attend the funeral of my grandmother. But no, I am still in American Siberia, checking my phone and e-mail every five minutes to see if my mom's called with a funeral date. We're still waiting to find out when the funeral will be because of--you guessed it: bureaucratic red tape and the people who operate it.
Apparently in the state of CA, one needs a burial permit before one can bury someone. Prior to obtaining the burial permit, one must have a death certificate. A death certificate apparently has to be signed by a doctor or other medical professional, like a county coroner, before it is considered official.
When the funeral home contacted the hospital at the beginning of the week, they were given the name and number of a doctor to call for the signature, who they were told by the hospital was the attending doctor at the time of my grandmother's death. The funeral home attempted to call the doctor, to no avail, and finally found out that the reason they had been unable to reach him was because the doctor was on vacation.
That seemed a little bizarre to me, because I would have thought that even a relatively new doctor would have had the sense to inform a family whose loved one had just passed that they would need to make other arrangements for the execution of the death certificate if said doctor knew he was leaving on vacation the next day. The more I thought about it, it seemed less and less bizarre and more and more infuriating. The funeral home was at this point trying to convince someone at the hospital to find them another doctor to sign the certificate, but that wasn't expediting the process at all. It was Wednesday at this point. My grandmother died Sunday. We had originally been told the funeral would be Friday or Saturday, but were now being told Monday of next week at the earliest. "What is wrong with these people?" I thought to myself. Our loved one has died. We would like to bury that loved one. How hard can it be to find a doctor to sign a death certificate? It's not like it should be that difficult to find a doctor in, you know, a HOSPITAL. It doesn't have to be a "special" doctor. Any doctor will do. Crap, at this point, we'll take Dr. Phil.
Today my mom calls me to tell me that the hospital informed the funeral home today that oops, so sorry, the name we originally gave you wasn't the name of the attending doctor after all. So the funeral home wasted two and a half days trying to track down some doctor that had never seen or heard of my grandmother, and who was probably skiing in Vail at the time of her death.
Seriously, how do things like this happen?