It’s Sunday in August, and we’ve got a guest column from Paul Curran from you. Even with a title like ‘I Want to Be Unhappy,’ I’ll go out on a limb and say that my life is perhaps tolerable in these moments when I’m reading the words from our friend from Canada. You’ll get what I mean in a moment.
Welcome to the weekly coffee and tea garden. My name is Paul, I’ll be your barista today and I’m happy to be here at Mark Bialczak’s Little Bitty in Syracuse, New York. Please come in and go through to the living room. Mark, his wife Karen and their pooch Ellie B have prepared a nice, air-conditioned, comfy place for us so I can tend to your needs for a cuppa, and sweets. There are high clouds this morning with a high just over 80 F. As usual, I’d be pleased to bring a pot of whatever beverage you prefer – we have a wide range of teas and coffees to satisfy our worldwide readership and adult beverages for those who wish something stronger. We can relax with a cuppa in the air-conditioning while we discuss the affairs of the week both personal and/or worldwide. Ellie likes to be patted, so please indulge her when she greets you. Have a piece of cake (or any of the sweets on the next table) – electronic sweets are all calorie-free! How has your week been? Are you enjoying the weekend? Any special activities?
Web Site: http://entertaining.about.com/cs/coffeesandteas1/a/teaparty.htm
My week sucked, thank you for asking. And yet all that suckiness (see spellcheck insists this is not a word, when we all know it is) is fixable and is being fixed. In the process no one is willing to admit that this suckiness is normal and that just pisses me off. I had a bad week but all are cheerful and insist that nothing bad happened. As Victo over at Behind the White Coat said in her post yesterday at https://doctorly.wordpress.com/2016/08/06/comparing/comment-page-1/#comment-55234 – nowhere is it written that all must be cheerful and when we try to pretend it is, we are lying to ourselves and others and interfering with fixing the problems. That inspired this post, so here we go.
So, I’m on disability pension and I can meet my bills but everything must be carefully budgeted. I had paid my bills this month and I left enough money in my bank account to make my pre-authorized payment on a bank loan (a consolidation that happened when I was off work with cancer), and for some medications that I needed that were not covered by my prescription plan. Monday, Aug. 01 was a holiday here, so Tuesday morning I checked my bank account on my computer to make sure the payment had come out and I was unpleasantly surprised. There was a charge that morning for Amazon Prime that all but cleaned out the bank account. I had not ordered anything but I checked my Amazon account and there were no charges showing. I checked membership and it showed I was not a member – so no membership fees.
Using Unethical Tactics
I called my bank and told them there was a fraudulent charge on my account and explained. They did all the usual, canceled my debit card, and changed my passwords for electronic banking and for the account. Now came the tricky part. That charge had made my loan payment bounce and in all the years I have had that loan I had never once missed a payment. I was furious. The medication I will have to do without. It will cause some problems but I’ll survive.
I got transferred from attendant to attendant as I explained over and over what had happened and filed a fraud report and arranged to get a new debit card, etc. At one point I was actually speaking to someone who had English as a first language and did not have to repeat over and over for me to understand (I’m not prejudiced but if a skill required by the job – speaking clearly and concisely – is not met, then the person should not get the job, but we all know how much money it saves our banks, phone companies, etc., when customer service is outsourced to other countries and they so need the money.)
How can we “Enhance Our Relationship?”
As we finished up the attendant hesitatingly said: “What I am about to say may seem inappropriate or upset you at this time but I have to ask.” My response was: “What are you trying to sell now?” Whenever I call this bank they try to upsell services at every stage and with every phone call – always with a smile in their voice. She came back very seriously and told me that she wasn’t trying to sell anything but would like to know if I wanted to enhance my relationship with the bank by engaging in the use of a particular product which, she said, would be solely for purposes of making my life better and easier and more profitable. I laughed so hard that she started to laugh too. I wished her the best that her job never had the occasion to be “right-sized,” or be subject to “career alternative enhancement” or “early retirement opportunity.” I don’t think she got it when I told her I lost weight for the last week of every month because I didn’t have enough food, and that if I purchased her product I would have to lose weight for the last two weeks. I don’t think she got it because she thanked me very much for being positive and making her laugh and that she would remember our conversation as the most positive thing of her day. And the really funny part was that I wasn’t joking.
After many transfers and assurances that the bank would replace the funds, I was told that I had called too early to report as the NSF charge had not gone through yet, so phone back when that happened in order to make arrangements for the missed payment. So, Wednesday the NSF appeared and I called back. After telling my story three more times I eventually got the “Recovery Department” and they thanked me for being so proactive but said they had not received the file and couldn’t help me until they had. They told me to call back in about a week. Which is where I stand now, waiting for the bank’s computer to catch up to me and being very unhappy about it.
Oddly Appropriate Title
All that was bad enough and I made sure to mention it to everyone with whom I made contact and this included, believe it or not, the bank teller who issued my new debit card. And every single one told me that exactly the same thing had happened to them and the bank teller even told me the exact amount. I was flabbergasted. What the hell happened? Each had done as I had done – ordered a book through Amazon in the last three months. In my case it was using a gift certificate I was honored to receive from The Bloggess to buy her new book “Furiously Happy.” (Excellent book by the way.) I am anal about reading the fine print on any Internet site, and so when I was asked by Amazon if I wanted to try its “Prime” delivery free of charge, I checked to make sure there was no obligation – and there was not.
After a wait of about two or three months, they then charged me a full yearly membership amount on my debit card. According to all others I spoke with from the bank teller to my para driver to my nurse, Amazon refunded when contacted. Oh, well, as far as I am concerned it is fraud as I was not notified, and I bet Amazon brushes it off as a mistake and I bet equally that many who are charged this fee just pay it and figure they made a mistake when it is actually Amazon trying to deliberately sham customers into their upcharge without permission.
That straightened out to the best of my ability until their computers caught up, I went about my weekly routine. Wednesday at dialysis, the venous dialysis needle was giving us trouble and the pressure was very unstable. As we watched it seemed to stabilize and the transfer speed was increased. It ran for about 10 minutes like that, and then suddenly it felt like someone had taken a Bowie knife and cut my arm off – the pain was intense. I screamed and the nurse shut down the machine but the pain continued. The nurse pulled out the needle and the pain lessened somewhat but still continued. In seven years this had only happened twice – the needle had come out of the blood vessel while the machine was running at speed, forcing blood and saline into the tissues and nerves in my arm, tearing, ripping and destroying them from the inside. The last time it happened, about three years ago we were running much slower speed as the pressures had not stabilized – so the pain and damage was accordingly lesser.
I now have a black and blue arm that is swollen twice its size and very painful to the touch. The constant pain has faded. This is called a hematoma and I’ve had little ones before but this one is the grand-daddy of dialysis hematomas. We can and are doing dialysis with one needle only in the small part of the blood vessel that was not affected. The nurse and the nurse trainer and the access coordinator all checked this out. The nurse asked if the single needle access reduced efficiency and was told it did. She then suggested I come back daily until it healed and I gave her a glare, I told her that if they didn’t give me hematomas then this problem wouldn’t exist and that I would live with the reduced efficiency until it healed. I was not happy. Thank you very much.
Anyway life goes on and that is my rant for the week. It felt really good to be unhappy and write about it – I would encourage any reader to do the same. It is cathartic. Damn, here comes that happiness again – and I’m not ready for it yet. Ha! This morning I was scanning blog posts before writing this and I came across my friend Ned Hickson’s blog post https://nedhickson.com/2016/08/06/because-she-gives-me-crazy-love/ which is a celebration of his eighth year of marriage to a wonderful woman. He did a short video in celebration and I had no choice but be happy as I watched it. To even know that such love exists and see real people in such love is amazing. Here is the YouTube version – don’t watch it if you want to stay grumpy. I tried and it can’t be done. Happy anniversary Ned and Alicia.
Please join me in thanking Mark, Karen and Ellie B for their invitation to tea on this weekend. We are all honored that you dropped by today to visit. I hope you’ve enjoyed yourself and the conversation and please look around at Mark’s other posts while you’re here. Oh and roughseasinthemed, your bottle of chilled Muscadet will be on the table on ice every week now. Have a great week all and thanks to Victo for the inspiration..
Happy Anniversary Ned and Alicia