Thanks for continued advice. I definitely won't be settling for anything less than an S9 Autoset. In fact, got the call today that I can pick it up tomorrow. After wasting about three weeks and then changing to a new DME, it's hard to believe that it only took them 3 days from our first conversation on the phone to get it!
Since it's OK to name names, don't ever consider using Apria or recommending them to your worst enemy. They have an automated phone system that makes it very hard to get to a live person, they give vague answers, they don't call patients pro-actively, and the "therapist" we finally met who was going to set me up with my machine had the worst personality you could imagine to represent a company to their clients. He was obnoxious, didn't introduce himself by name, essentially told me I had no business researching and choosing my own machine, told me I shouldn't get the Swift FX nasal pillows with chinstrap I wanted because he favored a full-face mask, said he didn't carry chinstraps, said that I don't need the Climateline tubing because it doesn't make any difference, etc., etc. In fact, (as you might guess) he was the "straw that broke the camel's back!"
I believe the new DME is regional (MedSource), mostly located in Illinois. Unbelievable how helpful they have been so far in comparison. (In the interest of full disclosure, I did discover that they are in Chapter 11, but still operating under court supervision, "business as usual." Based on first impressions, I really hope they come out of it alright. They are what patients need.)
I almost forgot to mention, I'm working with a brick-and-mortar DME because my insurance is BCBS-IL PPO ... and to date I've not discovered any online providers that are "in network." That's important to me because I've met my deductible and out-of-pocket limits for the year and Blue Cross told my wife that everything would be paid at 100% with no charge to me as long as I stay in network.
More to come after tomorrow's appointment.