Thursday, 2 October 2014

Cardiologist/Dentist/Digestive Health Specialist/Goodbye Mary Gilligan/Cold Shower/ HUMA

Stress Test at Cardiologist's Office

1  Dentist for teeth cleaning. New hygienist (liked her).

Eucharist and Scripture study with colleagues at St. Boniface, Siesta Key, FL

3  Fighting with the bureaucrats at a Financial Service Company

1  Fight continued.  I won, (with terrific assistance from the Church Pension Fund). So  I am not Mary Gilligan after all.

2   Report from Cardiologist who reported  "some anomalies", so back for a nuclear stress test Oct 14th

1   No hot water. Figured the problem was electrical  Called for service 9:42 a.m.
2   Cold shower (I should get used to it,: this is Florida)

3   With Digestive Health Specialist Doctor (a.k.a.  gastroenterologist ) to schedule routine gastroscopy. He and I decided to await results of nuclear stress test before scheduling the EGD.
Electrician arrived (same day service eh?). Problem was mal-fitting breaker. Good work Unique Services.

Friday  3rd 
Monday  6th  
All set for a long weekend with my SRQ and Hendersonville pals Ed and Eddie

Sent to Susan A.W.   (a Pastor and friend in Michigan)
I'll be in touch again next week.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Bureaucrats at Fidelity Investments aargh!

If you have followed my blog you will remember that I recently spent time at the Sarasota Office of Fidelity Investments with a view to rolling over my "low income" Tax Sheltered Annuity to a "better income" producing Investment Retirement Account.

This is partly because when I reach 70 1/2 (this November) the I.R.S. will mandate that I take "Minimum Required Distributions" each year.

The IRS estimates my life expectancy to be 27 years, so my MRD's  each year will be the principal divided by 27.

My principal is very modest, but I have the vague hope that the yearly earnings will at least keep pace with the mandated withdrawals.

None of this is of great financial import - my retirement savings are not huge, but I'd like them to outstrip inflation.


ALL WELL AND GOOD, except that when an advisor at the SRQ branch of Fidelity Investments entered my Social Security # into his system it came up with the name of one "M-ry G-lligan".  I've never heard of her.

When I log on to Fidelity using the same Social Security #  it opens up my account.

When  the Church Pension Fund, through whom I opened the account  (sometime in the 1980's) enters my Social Security # -  it leads directly to me and my account.

Thus, this problem of wrong identity is clearly rooted in some error on the part of Fidelity.

The "Operations"  Division at Fidelity asked to see a copy of my Social Security Card so that they could (?) rectify the error.

I could not find that card  (issued in 1976), but I was able to submit a photocopy of my Medicare Card -  which includes my Social Security #.

American readers will understand that I could not possibly have a Medicare Card if I were not enrolled in Social Security.   That's common sense.

But the rules of common sense have no place in the systems of the Fidelity Investment bureaucrats.

They refuse to rectify THIER ERROR until they see a copy of the Social Security Card itself.

(And you thought that slavish bureaucracy was exclusive to the public sector!)

I responded very strongly (and politely)  to the local/SRQ Fidelity advisor when he gave me this information today.  I made it clear that my "beef" was not with him, but with the Fidelity bureaucrats.

I also let him know that I would take my small pot away from their management if their bureaucracy trumps my best interests.

(PLEASE  NOTE  -  the staff members at the Church Pension Fund are well aware of this problem/issue and are doing their best to set it right with Fidelity).

Monday, 29 September 2014

A Damp Squib

The other week or so my Primary Care Physician, the ever fabulous Dr. K-isten P-ulus ordered up a stress test for me. (We are trying to find out why I experience chronic fatigue).

The test was slated for today at the offices of the Sarasota H--rt  Speci-list Group's Dr. Ch-ppy

(I scramble names so that they will not be trawled (trolled?).

The pre-test instructions were manifold.

No food after midnight.
No alcohol after midnight  (damn, I had to forgo my usual 2:30 a.m. Bloody Mary).
No coffee (even de-caff) in the morning, no breakfast.
Ambiguous instructions re medications.
Drinking water allowed.

I was instructed to be at the Doctor's Office half an hour before the appointment.  I chose to arrive fifteen minutes in advance as I had already mailed in the volumes of paper-work which all physicians and surgeons require.

I was told that the procedure would take up to two hours, and that I might wish to equip myself with a book for the forty-five minute "rest period".

The call for the procedure came five minutes early.  It came from a forty-something man who could have been the janitor  (he was dressed in grey jeans and a tee shirt, and he did not wear a name badge).

He hooked me up to various monitors then set me upon a tread mill upon which I pounded until my heart beat reached 120 per minute (I think).  It was not a breeze, nor was it difficult.

I had a wee bit of hip pain on the steep ascents, and the calf muscles in my right leg seized up a bit  (they do so when I take my early morning walks - it has to do with fallen arches on my right foot).

The test over I emerged a bit breathless, but intact.  It took about four minutes for my blood pressure to stabilize.

"Mr Techie" removed all the sensors on my chest and belly. I said  "what next?".  He said "you can go home, you and your Doctor will get the results in about a week".

The entire event lasted for half an hour. 

I was a bit deflated as I had expected some manner of an interview with Dr. Ch-ppy Nall-ri.

What hurts most is that after those severe  morning privations and the stress test itself,  the brass marching band and cheerleaders I had expected to be there to celebrate my success were nowhere to be seen. Damn, yet another cut under Obamacare. 

If this test  had been in the U.K. my success would have been celebrated with a fly-over with  R.A.F jets, and a parade by the British Grenadiers.

I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

"A Long Way Home" - a book recommendation

"A Long Way Home" is a memoir by Saroo Brierley (G.P. Putnam's Sons 2013).

From the book jacket:  "Saroo Brierley was born in a poor village in Khandwa, India.  He lived hand-to-mouth in a one room hut with his mother and three siblings for the first five years of his life.....until he got lost.  For twenty five years".

"This is the story of what happened to Saroo........ How at only five years old, uneducated and illiterate, he wound up on the streets of Calcutta. And survived,  How he later wound up in Hobart, Tasmania, living the life of an upper-middle-class Aussie.   And how, at thirty years old, with a propensity for solving mathematical formulas, a stubborn memory desperately clinging to the last images of his home-town and family, and the advent of Google Earth, of all things, he found his way home"

I took the book out at Sarasota County's Fruitville Library yesterday (27th Sep 2014) and finished reading it today (28th Sep 2014).

It's a story of what might have happened.  Saroo could well have been trafficked  (but for his intuition as a five year old, leading him to run away from danger).   Twice he was in danger of drowning.  And he could well have become one of the myriads of poor street children in Calcutta.

It's a story of human goodness.  There was the teenager who saw Saroo on the streets, and took him to the only safe place for a five year old - the police station.  There was the fabulous Mrs Saroj Sood who went to court and gained custody of Saroo, enabling him to live in her orphanage.  There was the amazing Australian couple John and Sue Brierley who adopted Saroo and enabled a loving, stable and joyous life in Hobart, Tasmania.

It's a story of dogged determination.  Saroo, who could hardly remember the name of his home town, (there are many places in India with similar names)  and mispronounced the district of the town where he lived for his first five years, engaged himself in deep detective work (with many a false lead) until he was able to go back to India and to his home town and district; (by some amazing deep memory he remembered the route from the railway station to this district - twenty five years later!), and to a joyful reunion with his birth mother, together with his brother and sister (another brother had been killed whilst train-hopping).

What a fabulous story.  It is a tale of the deep resilience of the human spirit, and of the better angels in some human beings.

My copy will soon be returned to the Sarasota County Library system.  If you do not live in SRQ you may be able to borrow it from your own local library or purchase it:  (It may be published by Penguin in the U.K. and Australia).