Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Saving 56 Cents

CVS was having a 30% off sale on CVS brand items.
I decided to stock up on some items I use often.

I bought some pantiliners.  Regular price is $5.49
Sale price $3.84
I bought two of them.
The store charged me: $8.24

The invoice had a phone number to call with questions.
I called. My question didn’t fit into any of their categories, so I tried Human, Agent, Representative. Eventually, I got a human.
The woman who answered the phone didn’t understand my concern.

First she had me give her the order number 3 times.
Then she asked if the order had been placed yet.
I explained that the order number is assigned when the order is placed.

She said, “The price is $5.49.”
“That’s without the 30% discount,” I explained.  “I used coupon FRIEND30.”
“You got two of them,” she said. “You have to take the discount from the price for two. You can’t just multiply the price for one.”
So, I talked her through $5.49 plus $5.49 is $10.98.  Times .7 is $7.68.  Not $8.24.

Oddly, she did not question my use of .7 and demand that I use .3 and then subtract.
Instead she got a co-worker over to ask what to do.

Then she asked, “Do I have your permission to place the order?”
I asked, “Did you cancel the previous order?”
She said, “I don’t think it has been placed yet.”
I said, “I wouldn’t know about this mistake if it had not been placed.”
She asked, “What is the order number?”
I told her the number again.

At this point we’d been on the phone for over 20 minutes, trying to fix a $.56 problem.

Her co-worker said “give her a credit.”
She offered me a $3 credit.
I said, “That’s more than you owe me, but I’ll take it.”

“Is there anything else,” she said, dread in her voice.
I said, “Yes. Please send a not to your website programmers asking them to fix this problem. I’m sure this isn’t the only item that is calculating incorrectly.”

“I’ll do that,” she said.
But her voice sounded like she had no idea how to begin.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Airport Passenger Safety

My latest idea for airport safety: All TSA agents should carry photo-ID business cards. Before an agent pats anyone down, the agent should give the future pattee a copy of the card, and make sure that the future pattee sees that the photo matches the agent. After the pat-down, the agent should give an evaluation form to the pattee, which the pattee can fill out and place into a locked box that the agent cannot unlock. This should minimize the groping!

So-called "Random Selection" is not random: https://takingsenseaway.wordpress.com/2013/01/07/letter-from-a-passenger-i-always-get-picked-for-random-screening/

Nor is this a female only issue: http://wilwheaton.typepad.com/wwdnbackup/2011/04/i-dont-feel-safe-i-feel-violated-humiliated-and-angry.html



Saturday, March 4, 2017

Russian Interference in US

Considering that politicians tend to propose bills that punish their own sins, is it likely that Joseph McCarthy was in with the Russians? Have they been messing with US Politics for far longer than we have suspected? Have they really supported the Republicans and misled us all by smearing the Democratic party as Commie sympathizers? After all, the So-called Communists never practiced Communism. They gave the best stuff to themselves and impoverished everybody else. Reminds me of the worst Republicans.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Endowment for the Arts

Idea of the day: The National Endowment for the Arts needs a real endowment.
If 10,000,000 people each gave $100, the NEA would have a real endowment of $1 billion.
This seems do-able. PBS gets donations of this size on average. They have about 1 million donors, just for TV.
NEA supports art, literature and music. 
 This request would be under the duress of Trump not wanting to fund the arts. I think everyone who has anything to do with the arts, either as a book reader, theater goer, concert goer, teacher, or student would donate. Students would probably donate more on the order of $10. 
 Pitched well, I think the companies that donate to PBS would also donate to creating a self-sustaining endowment.

Indian Boyhood Multicultural Book

Indian Boyhood, the True Story of a Sioux Upbringing by Charles Eastman (Ohiyesa) Adapted by Michael Oren Fitzgerald, illustrated by Heidi M. Rasch

I'm happy to recommend a book I received as part of the Multicultural Book Reviews program. Indian Boyhood is a modernized and illustrated (based on footnoted historical art) version of Ohiyesa (Charles Eastman)'s autobiography. Ohiyesa lived as a Sioux for his first 15 years, and moved to Canada after his father received a pardon from Lincoln for his part in the Sioux Rebellion. He had a pet grizzly bear, an uncle who woke him at all hours to learn defense, and a family that made him recite folktales.  Eastman was originally named Pitiful Last because his mother died shortly after his birth.  After he won sporting event, he gained the new name Ohiyesa (Victor). This book gives insights into both the life of a Sioux and the insights of a man who was transplanted into white culture as a teenager. A Delightful book.

You can find more books by Ohiyesa / Charles Eastman at Gutenberg Press.

This book is available here: https://www.amazon.com/Indian-Boyhood-Story-Sioux-Upbringing-ebook/dp/B01N8OQZ6C

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

American Cancer Society supports FIT

If you had a choice of between a test that is life-threatening, time-consuming and requires horrible preparation, or a briefly gross encounter with scooping poop from your toilet, and you were assured by the American Chemical Society that both tests were equally valid, which would you choose? (If the poop test is positive, you can always get the colonoscopy later.)

This letter from the American Cancer Society is worth posting:
"Let me assure you, no organization is promoting stool testing for colon cancer more than ACS and the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable. You may be aware that the fecal immunochemical tests, (FIT), are largely supplanting guaiac based FOBT - but the idea is of course, largely the same.
One of the centerpieces of our 80 by 18 campaign to achieve 80% colon cancer screening rates by the end of 2018 is to encourage use of FIT or other high sensitivity stool testing. We are clear in our messaging that colonoscopy is not the gold standard and that the best test is the one that gets done.
May I suggest that you visit our website at www.nccrt.org to get the latest messages and tools. I am also finding a time to come to Jeff to meet with leaders there. One of the topics will be how Jefferson can help achieve the 80% goal. Perhaps we can talk when I’m there. Thanks for reaching out.
Richard Wender | Chief Cancer Control Officer
American Cancer Society, Inc.
250 Williams St.
Atlanta, GA 30303
Phone: 1.404.329.4313
cancer.org | 1.800.227.2345"

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Colonoscopy's Proper Use

This is the letter I wrote my GP after my colonoscopy:

When your resident recommended I get a colonoscopy, I asked him for an article that compared colon cancer testing alternatives. He didn’t know of any. The colonoscopy was worse than even I had anticipated.  Since then, I have found the article I wish I’d read in the first place.


Had I seen this, I would have opted for FIT or FOBT and only agreed to a colonoscopy if the FIT or FOBT came back positive.

I will never go for another colonoscopy again, as a regular screening.

The nurse at gastroenterology did not know how to insert an IV.  She missed twice at my elbow, leaving behind two nasty blood clots. Then she took more than 2 minutes of digging and twisting and turning that needle while I screamed. (Nobody came to my rescue, so they must have a policy that says screaming is okay, which also means it is common.) Then she said she was done, gave me a few seconds of relief and went back to digging and twisting for another minute while I went back to screaming.  Again, nobody came to my rescue.

When she finally got it in, and started the IV, my arms started shaking uncontrollably. She walked away. After a while, I got the attention of somebody else who worked there. This person put a heated blanket on my legs. Why my legs?  I tried to pick the blanket up to put it on my arms, but my arms were shaking uncontrollably and I couldn't do it.

After a while I got the attention of another person who brought another heated blanket for my arms. That did help.

I have had surgery with IV insertion 5 times at this medical center. 3 times at Orthopaedic Care, and 2 times at breast cancer surgery.  I have never had trouble with IV insertion or with shaking after the IV started.

I wrote to the hospital president’s office asking that they make 3 changes:

1) a nurse gets 1 miss and then apologizes and finds a more experienced IV inserter to finish the job.

2) if there is screaming, somebody comes to the rescue immediately

3) gastroenterology should find out what IV solution is used at Orthopaedic Care and / or Breast Cancer Surgery and switch to one that does not cause shaking.

Instead, his flack-catcher wrote me that she would investigate and get back with me.

Several weeks later she wrote that she had concluded her investigation and closed the case.  She said she and my nurse "apologize if you experienced any discomfort. But, you should be informed that inserting an IV is uncomfortable."

The words IF and DISCOMFORT and UNCOMFORTABLE do not apply.  This was torture.
And the clear meaning of her words are that they will not be making these three crucial changes.

In addition the preparation solution caused damage.  It was painful on the way out.  The doctor who performed the colonoscopy took a photo of my swollen red anus if proof is necessary. And, even more damaging, it washed out my healthy intestinal flora.  I never used to get headaches.  After the colonoscopy. I started getting headaches. I tried yogurt and kim chi, to no avail.  I tried 3 different brands of probiotics.  Finally, the 3rd brand stopped the headaches. But I'm still gassy, so I've ordered a 4th brand.  In other words I'm still not back to normal, months later.

In summary, I do not recommend the gastroenterology department.
I do not recommend colonoscopy as a standard of routine care.  Most of the warts removed are hyperplastic, which never become malignant.
I suggest that the FIT or FOBT be used as the primary test and colonoscopy only be considered if that test comes back positive.