Monthly Archives: September 2008

Falling Into Place

Despite the fact that I almost sabotaged my September schedule as well, the month has gone fantastically well so far.

First, I had a Zurich trip, which was the first to make me think that Zurich was a pretty nice place. Don’t get me wrong, Zurich is beautiful. But – just like the rest of Switzerland – I find it to be pretty dull. It’s too perfect. The first time I had a layover there I said, “Oh, isn’t this just sooo cute?!” The second time I said, “Yep. It’s cute alright.” Third time: “Well, sure it’s cute but…”. Forth time? [*snore*]

But this time I gave it a fresh thought. I – and three crew colleagues I liked quite a lot – rented some of the city’s free bikes. We cycled for several hours up the north shore of Zurich’s gigantic “lake”, dipping our feet in here, stopping for a drink at a bankside cafe there, watching the birds and the tons of locals out enjoying the sun. Then we met the rest of the crew for dinner at the beer garden, where locals danced swing and salsa to a live band. I must say, it was (finally!) one of those days I can’t believe I get paid for.

A few days later, Del had a birthday. After offering him several choices he chose a fancy dinner at home. For the first time I made homemade southern fried chicken, crab legs, asparagus wrapped in serrano ham and garlic-rosemary roasted potatoes. Followed by birthday cake of course (which read, “29th Happy!” since I had not left enough room to write 29 underneath ‘happy’). I had also invited another couple that Del knows from grad school and I’m happily getting to know, as a surprise. He had no idea he was in for a little dinner party and to my surprise, all my dishes came out right. It all turned out wonderfully and Del was very happy with his surprise guests.

Lastly, I had a weekend trip to London where one of my best friends, Adam B., was in town for the week from Scotland. He showed up at my hotel at the appointed hour with a chilled bottle of Prosecco to celebrate our first meeting since the end of my treatment, as well as sandwiches, fruit and cheese and coffee (perfectly prepared with lots of creme and no sugar!), since he knew I’d be in need of a pick-me-up so soon after my post-flight nap. We took all this booty to Hyde park and enjoyed a picnic, followed by ice cream in a paddle-boat. Then we met up with another couple of friends who used to live with us in Brussels, and they finally all met properly over sushi dinner. I love it when a plan comes together. Again, 2 times in one month I say, “Wow! I get paid for this?” I am such a happy girl.

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Am I still in Belgium?!

I have run out of Tamoxifen.

Seeing the shortage coming on, I went to a new doctor last week, who wrote me a prescription (to get me through until I see my new oncologist – who couldn’t get me in until November. So much for the supposed speed of non-socialized medicine). My new doc kept me on the brand name for the time being because she’s no oncologist and that’s what my Belgian doctors had me on.

So I go to one pharmacy, who tells me that they cannot even order the brand name (huh?!), nor can they order me the generic since my prescription asks for the brand name. So I go to the only other pharmacy in my neighborhood, which tells me that it also carried no stock (huh?!) but it can at least be ordered, come back Tuesday afternoon. Well, perfect. Monday night I take my last pill.

I go in this morning to confirm it’s coming in and the guy says of course of course, come back after noon and it will be here. I ask him to check the computer that the order is indeed progressing as promised and he insists that it has and will be arriving. So now, after noon (meaning: too late for any other pharmacy to same-day order it), I call. Only to have the pharmacy tell me they were unable to order it as of last week!

So they have wasted the 5 days of cushion I had to locate the drug and it will be several more days until I can get it. I am so furious I could spit nails. The manager came on when I complained about their dismissive attitude and lack of correct information. When I pointed out I asked the pharmacist to confirm in the computer this morning she said, “Oh, he wouldn’t know because he was just a stand-in pharmacist.”

Well, I thank him for telling me that this morning (if indeed it’s not BS).

I’m sorry – did I go back to Belgium and not realize it? I never heard of an American pharmacy not being able to get the drug I need, must less 2 of them. A not uncommon drug I might add. Now, perhaps there’s a problem at the drug-supplier level. But a little giving a damn forth-coming information from the pharmacy would have gone a long way in avoiding my now medicine-less situation.

Actually, that’s not fair to Belgium. Their customer service might suck but its pharmacies were always good to me. In fact, they carried the presciption in stock. For all of America’s health care problems, this is not one I saw coming. Now I will have several days without my medicine. Thanks a lot, CVS. I hope your pharmacist cares more about the fact that you actually need your medicine next time you take in a prescrip.

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Stand Up 2 Cancer

This great fund-raising program is on TV now. A telethon for cancer – now why didn’t we think of this before?! (Obviously, I use the word “we” liberally here 🙂 Yeay for this telethon! I hope it is as successful as Jerry Lewis’ was last week!

Personally, I am excited to see Christina Applegate, in her first major appearance since her own bilateral mastectomy.

If you can’t/don’t want to watch it, but are interested in this great organization, you can find the official website here.

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Passenger Entertainment

I am a very happy girl as I just got back from another last-minute assigned Brussels trip. (I don’t think schedulers are used to flight attendants saying “I love you!” when they get unexpected calls!)

When I see my friends, I sometimes get the question, “So, did you have any drama on your flight?” and they are disappointed if I say no. When I arrived in Brussels yesterday, I didn’t have much to tell them. Today, however, we had proper drama. First came a call over the PA from the head of our crew for medical personnel. When I asked what was going on, I heard there was a lady “with something stuck in her.” Wha…? The details remain a bit disjointed (since I “maintained service” and was thus not directly involved) but apparently this young woman was returning from working in Africa…hadn’t eaten in 3 days…and had some abdominal discomfort. How these details all tie together, I’m not sure. But what did she do? …She decided to try to give herself an enema…On. The. Airplane.

Oh yes. Normally, that would merely be a stunning show of extremely…weird…judgment. But somehow this lady had problems with the enema, and ended up requiring medical care.

People! Whaaat?

I also had the nicest hasidic man on my side. Very often we have problems with the hasidic passengers. No disrespect to them as a group, but the fact is they often just ignore us and our pleas to cooperate. They stand in the aisles all day, blocking the carts, blocking the movie screens, clogging every open corner and galley, letting their kids ransack their row like it’s a trash dump. There is no problem when they speak to us, tell us when they want to pray and ask for convenient spots. But really, most often they just do what they want. Then passengers get freaked out because their appearance and prayer habits can be alarming if you’re not used to to it, and we get irritable because they are very uncooperative. Anyhow, this day I had the nicest man who actually sought me out to apologize for not speaking to me previously when I had (unknowingly) spoke to him while he was praying. (They are not allowed to, I now learn.) I hadn’t been offended as I am accustomed to not really understanding their treatment and just let it go. But I was touched at his unusual effort to reach out and be polite. I spent a great deal of time helping him and his friend locate kosher items to eat. My partner rolled his eyes at me but I assured him the men were terribly nice. (That’s F/A speak for “worth any trouble”.)

When I got up form my nap a couple hours later my partner said, “your little friend…!” Turns out, after I went down my Hasidic passenger began going around the cabin asking people if they were Jewish, asking if they would like to have a service. He asked my partner if he could “wrap up” another passenger near the galley (with the Hasidic items they use in prayer) and next thing we know he had 4 people wrapped up! Then he wandered up to Business Class and started up, when approached asked if he could go to the cockpit to ask the pilots if they were Jewish! (Had he ever heard of 9/11?)

Anyhow, the guy was harmless, and once I came back in the cabin he gave no more hijinks. I guess he liked me. Regardless, we had our entertainment for the day. And I’m guessing my friends aren’t disappointed.

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