It has taken me two years+ to realize that I'm a 110 percenter living in an 80 percent country. My cravings for symmetry, accuracy, timeliness, and thoroughness are never going to be met here, so as my husband would say, 'get over it!' I am trying. Recently my craving for 110 percent actually got me more than I bargained for with a - with hindsight - hilarious view of the Indian perspective. I ordered, from my lovely man at Perfect Computers (in name only, as he once told me...), a pack of A3 Epson Matte Archival Photo Paper. It took a few weeks, but eventually it came, and I handed over my $75 and was on my way. It was only when I got home that I realized that the paper was 'Super' A3, not just A3, which is a whole lot bigger than I had bargained for. I called the store, they suggested I speak to Epson. The conversation went something like this:
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Monday, February 18, 2008
So, while laying in my hospital bed, some unscrupulous internet travel company from Italy that I have never used nor heard of stole around $700 from my checking account! That's just what you need to come home to. And the process of getting it back is as painful as surgery. It all started when I looked at our online statement on Friday and realized that there was a chunk of money missing, but the itemized posting hadn't appeared yet so I called up the bank. They told me the amount and company, even giving me a phone number, but said they couldn't do anything about it until it had 'posted' onto the account - why didn't I call them? We actually tried the number - doesn't exist - but I didn't feel it my job to call them, given I hadn't even heard of them! And how weird not to be able to do anything - basically, let them take the money first, without stopping them, then get it back. Cart before horse? They then went onto tell me that the card number used was one that isn't even in our possession. Nor have we ever met. So they closed the card. The weekend passed and on Tuesday, I called again. Did it post? No. Could I stop it posting? No. After 45 minutes on the phone, we figured out that the guy we're talking to is literally 10 minutes down the road from us here in India. I asked if he could just pop around and give me the money. He declined. He did recommend that once I was reimbursed, I should take all the money out of the account, close it, and reopen another. I told him that after three rounds of fraud in two years, I was ready to take all the money out and just close it. Finally, on Wednesday, five days after me first spotting it, the fraudsters took all my money - and more - and it posted on the account. I called again. I was told many contrary things - the card was just issued to me, no it wasn't, yes it was, oh no, in 2001, then in 2005. Who knows why. Then I was told I should have been sent straight to fraud on the Friday, and I wasn't. Who knows why. I shouldn't have been told to call the merchant, but I was. Who knows why. So, as we sit here, I am waiting to be credited for nearly $700 so I can go and take it all out of the bank for good. I'm sure they won't miss me but the fraudsters who have plagued us probably will!
Thursday, February 14, 2008
So, today I had my stitches removed. All seven of them spread across three tiny cuts. Very neat. So as the physical pain subsides, the mental pain of our healthcare claim begins. For those NOT familiar with the US system, you have a kind of healthcare insurance that you pay monthly but there are so many rules: you have to visit a doctor within their network, or pay a lot more to go 'out of network,' which obviously we do as we are VERY out of network; you have to get 'precertified' before you can have a procedure, which means getting an approval code from them, even if it's an emergency, and that can be tricky in another time zone; and there are code numbers for EVERYTHING which, without, it becomes tricky to claim. So, last night, we bit the bullet and called up to get our post-op pre-approval and while the customer service people were lovely, if their questions are anything to go by, we could be in for a loooong claim process:
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Anyone who's ever been to India will know that the service levels here vary wildly - there's over attentive in any store you walk in, to the point that the assistant is a hair's breadth behind you and it becomes a game to swing round quickly and stare them right in the face, asking them 'what do they want.' And then there's the service you really need, like when something's broken at home, needs replacing or refilling, then usually, there's no-one to be seen for hours. Days. Weeks. Hospital in-patient service here is like the former, although they can't actually get into bed with you, the staff spends as much time as possible in your room, through waking and sleeping hours. Now, this is probably a good thing, I hear you say, given that the health service in supposed fully-developed countries is crumbling and people are dying versus receiving life-saving operations. I agree wholeheartedly. The healthcare here has been second to none. From the ER to admission to OR and discharge, everything went smoothly and quickly - both words not characteristically associated with India. However, the line has to be drawn somewhere. And I draw it at the 5:15am bucket bath. As I lay helplessly hooked up to the IV the first day post-op, the over-zealous nurse arrived around 5:15am to change the drip and inquired, "would you like your bath now?" NOW? It's not even dawn! Why would I want to bathe pre-dawn? With a stranger? Don't answer that. I said no, later. "6am?" WHY?? My negotiating instinct kicked in - yes, even at that time. I would bathe at 6am in exchange for a cup of tea. "No, not until doctor has done his rounds." What time is that? "9am." Well, I figure I'll bathe at 9am then too. That didn't go down well. I think we settled at a time around 6:30am. And no tea was forthcoming for another 24 hours. The next day was different. Nurse arrived at 6am and I feigned sleep. A deep sleep. Complete with eye mask and a little snoring. The nurses were very similar to the stewardesses on planes who will wake you out of a near coma to offer you some tasteless snacks and a cup of tea. Or, as I experienced on a BA flight to Heathrow, the first-time flyer next to you who wakes you to tell you they are bringing tea around. Or some headphones. Or a menu. Or a snack. Or a visa form. It might be a treat for you, lady, but the last thing I need is waking up every time a stewardess comes around on an 11 hour flight! Anyway, as I say, I got away with the early bath on day two. And bathed myself, with a little help from hubby, at a more reasonable hour of 8am. Aside from the enforced early baths, the service was second to none and I doubt that I would have received better care anywhere else in the world. And all for the bargain price of $4,000. You wouldn't even get the bath for that in the US!
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Saturday, February 09, 2008
... not quite as catchy as Tony's Bennett's Heart/San Francisco version, but more factually accurate. What began as a Thursday post-dinner, "ooh, I have a case of Delhi-belly," to a Friday night of, "ooh, I think I'm in labour but am not pregnant," to a Saturday, "not hungry, not sure why, not sick, but something's wrong..." ended up with me being admitted, feverish and rashy, on Sunday to The Manipal Hospital, suspected of everything from malaria to dengue fever to cholera (that will teach me to mention it on this blog!)