February 26, 2009

I have taken a nosedive into the depression pit and can’t seem to find my way out.

It’s been a long time since I’ve let insensitivity related to my chronic pain get to me.  However, I was recently treated to the most stunning display of insensitivity I have ever been subjected to. It really knocked me for a loop.

I hate to sound like a broken record, but here’s a quick review of some of my medical problems:

Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Herbniated Disc in the lumbar spine with radiating pain
Pain in both legs (I have difficulty walking or standing for long periods of time)
Pinched nerves in cervical spine

Degenerative Disc disease
Intractable headaches

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Chronic pain in shoulder blade area (especially on the right; that’s the spot that feels like a knife is stuck in there)

On top of all that, the nonallergic rhinitis is kicking my ass.  The Zyrtec and Fluonase aren’t helping.

The Mayo Clinic says:  “In addition to making you miserable, nonallergic rhinitis symptoms can interfere with your day-to-day routine, including work or school.”

According to emedicine, “Quality of life studies have demonstrated that the burden of rhinitis is not simply sinonasal but may be associated with impaired sleep, excessive daytime sleepiness, concentration problems, and increased irritability.”

My quality of life was already in trouble, but this just might be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. As Popeye said, “I’ve had all I can stands; I can’t stands no more.”  My sleep problems are worse than ever.  I wake up many times throughout the night, and when I get out of bed in the morning, I feel like a zombie.  By early afternoon, it’s all I can do to keep from nodding off at my desk.  The fatigue (physical and emotional) is crushing.

On to chronic pain… Believe it or not, there is a Fibromyalgia For Dummies book.   Author Roland Staud points out that FMS is a real medical problem that can be “debilitating and demoralizing.”   The same can be said for the insensitivity of others.

I have a pamphlet titled “But You Look Good,” from the Invisible Disabilities Organization.  It’s supposed to explain how extreme fatigue, pain, dizziness, cognitive impairments and other symptoms can be limiting, even though the sufferer may not look sick or in pain.  I keep one copy on the coffee table in my family room and another in my desk at work.  Here are some excerpts:

The truth is, most chronic conditions cannot be seen with the naked eye, but nevertheless are persistently keeping the person from enjoying life the way they once knew. For instance, a person can battle extreme fatigue and/or cognitive impairments on the inside, even though they may appear healthy and well on the outside. Just the same, a person can have horrible pain and/or dizziness, despite the fact that to the onlooker they may look strong and able.

Regrettably, a travesty occurs when the person not only has to contend with no longer being able to do what they love to do, but also has to battle for belief, respect and understanding.

People living with chronic conditions do not want to give up! They make efforts to laugh, smile, look their best and enjoy life, even though they know they will pay dearly for it. Because of this, we should not confuse their endeavors to live life and be positive, with assuming they are feeling well or doing better. Instead, let us commend them for their incredible courage, perseverance and persistence that make their illnesses and injuries seem invisible to us.
Wouldn’t that be nice…

Song of the Day:  Wouldn’t it Be Nice by The Beach Boys


December 20, 2008

On November 18th, I received an email from a local company I’ve been doing business with for the past few years.  They make the best toffee I have ever tasted.  The email advertised free shipping, and informed me that I could pick a date for receipt of the shipment.  I wanted to give toffee to some of my co-workers, so I submitted an order the same day I received the email, and chose the delivery date of December 17th.  It did not arrive on that day.  I sent this email to the owner:

December 17, 2008 6:02 PM


I was supposed to receive my order today (December 17th), but I did not.  I really need to have this order by tomorrow at the very latest.  Please advise.

Thank you.

This was the response:

Sent: Dec 17, 2008 7:03 PM
To: Stephanie
Subject: Re: Order Confirmation No: 359


Thank you for your email.  Looking at our records, your order was shipped last evening.  You can expect it no later than December 18th. (Yeah, right.) Your desired delivery date is not guaranteed as stated on our website.  “Selected delivery date is approximate, not guaranteed.” (For the record, the email neglected to mention that fact.  Also, why would they mail something the evening before the requested delivery date??)

Unfortunately, we do not have control over your package once it leaves our hands.  (Excuse me, but they do have control over when the package leaves their hands, which is the issue here.) We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.  We ship hundreds of packages during the holidays and the best we can offer is an approximate arrival date.  For future orders, just write us a note in the comments section at checkout and we would be happy to fill and ship your order sooner.  (Why should I have to write a note in the comments section?  Common sense dictates that you don’t ship a package the evening before the requested delivery date!) We appreciate your business and wish you a very Merry Christmas.

The next day, I sent this email:

Dec 18, 2008 2:29 PM

I just wanted to let you know that I still have not received my order, which means I spent an awful lot of money on boxes of toffee I won’t be able to give to the co-workers for whom I bought them, since tomorrow is our last day of work before the holidays.  This is a most distressing (and costly) situation.

The response:

Date: Dec 18, 2008 11:54 PM


We hope you receive this email in a timely manner.  Our suggestion to you is to check with your local PO first thing in the morning (before your postman leaves for his daily run) if this is at all possible.  I’ve seen cases where the postman does not deliver the package the day it arrives and we have found that our customers have found their purchase sitting at their local PO.  This does not happen often but has happened.  It has got to be there…It was shipped out the evening of the 16th.  We apologize for your inconvenience and please notify us that you have received your package.

This is the email I sent on the 19th:

Sent: Friday, December 19, 2008 2:22 PM
Subject: Re: Order Confirmation No: 359

I received my order today (December 19th).  For the record, the package was postmarked December 17th, the day I was supposed to receive it.  (You say it was shipped the evening of the 16th.  That was too late to ship an order that was supposed to be received by the 17th.)  I’m really disappointed due to the fact that,  as I mentioned before, I can’t give the toffee to the intended gift recipients because I work for a school district, and we are out until January 5th.

The response:

Sent: Dec 19, 2008 3:42 PM
Subject: Re: Order Confirmation No: 359

Once again, we are not responsible for the length of time it takes the post office to deliver a package that is 10 minutes away from our bakery. (Huh?  WTF does that mean?) It clearly states on our website “A desired delivery date and not a guaranteed one”.  We do our very best to estimate timeframes and get our packages out in a timely manner and do not want any of our customers disappointed with our service. We have shipped hundreds of packages this holiday season and have had no delivery issues with our customers.  Something we pride ourselves on.

In saying that, please feel free to return the unopened package for a full refund.  Once we receive it, we will issue your refund.  Have a Merry Christmas.

My response:

Dec 19, 2008 6:57 PM

Of course, I already opened the package.  So, instead of a refund, all I want at this point is an apology and acknowledgment of an error on your part.  You yourself said that the package was shipped out the evening of the 16th.  Surely you have to admit that a package that was shipped the evening of the 16th could never reach its destination by the 17th.

It was not my intention to make such a big deal out of this, but there was something in the tone of your latest email that bothered me.  It was not necessary, for example, to tell me about the hundreds of packages that have been shipped without delivery issues.  The fact remains that there was a delivery issue with my order, regardless of the timeliness of your other deliveries.  There is also no need to defend the integrity of your business.  I never suggested anything to the contrary.  I merely expressed disappointment over receiving my order too late to give the toffee to the intended recipients, and pointed out that the package was shipped too late to be delivered in time.  The post office cannot be blamed for that.

I really like your products, and have enjoyed doing business with you in the past.  It would be a shame to have this incident leave us both with hard feelings.

Merry Christmas to you, too.

Is it me???  Am I turning into a Scrooge?? Or am I justified in feeling frustrated by the owner’s refusal to assume responsibility for the late delivery?  I just want her to admit that it was her fault, instead of blaming the post office.  The package was actually delivered in a timely fashion, considering that it was brought to the post office on the evening of the 16th.

Oh well.  At least it looks like we’ll have a White Christmas.

Before I go, I want to share a couple more photos with you.  This happened the same night we had the torrential downpour (and the leaking roof).  And we don’t have a chainsaw.

Oy gevalt.

Song of the Day:  Scrooge by The Muppets