There are three things that really bug me and make me mutter the famous three words, FFS, under my breath – the courier company Hermes, the Waze Sat Nav we use and the way Rheumatologists measure and monitor disease activity in people with AS.
Let’s start with Hermes. I mostly shop on-line. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I bought an item of clothing or anything else for that matter from a shop, other than Sainsbury’s. I’m fortunate to be a bog-standard size so most clothes I order fit. I’ve no problem with DPD, Yodel have improved somewhat, I know the Amazon man by name, but Hermes, OMG, they are terrible.
During the Covid months, Hermes came up with the idea that they would photograph your parcel in your doorway as proof it had been delivered so no signing was needed. This is all well and good if it’s your bloody doorway, it mostly isn’t. You then spend the rest of the day checking all your neighbours’ front doors to find the red one in your photo and locate your parcel.
Yes, their automated text service works
“Your parcel will be delivered today between 2.17pm and 3.17pm”
You plan your day around this useful information to ensure you’re home, but your parcel doesn’t arrive within its time slot. Its useless trying to call them as you get a “bot” giving you the same information as is on the parcel tracking app. At about 6pm you receive another message to say, “we tried to deliver your parcel, but you weren’t home”. YES, I BLOODY WELL WAS, WE’RE IN LOCKDOWN; and then you go through the whole rigmarole again the next day.
I’m also amazed at how dishevelled the parcel is when it arrives. What the hell do they do with them? I ordered a pair of shoes from Next. After 3 failed delivery attempts on 3 consecutive days, all of which I was home, Hermes informed me they had lost my package! The Next store reimbursed me and the following day it turned up, photographed on MY doorstep in the most bashed up box I’d ever seen. Remarkably the shoes had survived and ended up being free!!
Moving on, why the Sat Nav I hear you ask. Waze works, it’s a great app and as we split our time between Hampshire and Cornwall, we use it a lot! Its brilliant around London and the Home Counties but in Cornwall it’s debatable. Jamie and I travel around Cornwall a good deal as we’re trying to complete the Cornish section of the South-West Coastal path as it plays a part in the book I’m writing. Most of the 8 or 9 sections we have left are the furthest away from our cottage in St Agnes and you’d be amazed at how innovative the Sat Nav gets at finding “the best route”. Best for who, a car or a tractor?”.
I don’t like “little” roads, but our Sat Nav absolutely loves them. Jamie does too so I’m outnumbered. The A30 is the main road through Cornwall but in the Summer it’s a nightmare so alternative routes need to be found and our Sat Nav thinks it’s a genius at this.
Lots of roads are barely a car width wide even though they’re two-way. You have to be able to reverse, sometimes for long distances to find somewhere where you can squeeze past the Horse Box or Camper van coming the other way! In the Summer, you often have something behind you too, so the reversing gets more complex. This is after the stand-off of who’s going to reverse first. As I regularly explain to Jamie and our Sat Nav, how is this quicker than negotiating the traffic on the A30! The Cornish (and Jamie) also know the width of their cars, but you’d be surprised at how many people (including me) don’t which makes whole experience even traumatic. To make matters worse, our car has sensors which beep if something gets within a foot of bodywork, including the hedge so you have that to contend with too! Beep, beep, beep, bloody beep, FFS, there’s a tractor approaching.
Sometimes, my heart sinks even further. “Turn right” instructs the Sat Nav and once you’ve committed there’s no turning back. The road is actually green, yes grass is growing in the middle. There’s no passing places and 2 miles on, you meet Hermes coming the other way!
Finally, my last FFS. Like many people, I haven’t seen my consultant face to face since before Covid. We have chats on the phone, but its not the same. I’m not alone, most people, in my situation are in the same boat. I’ve a number of ongoing issues which are being investigated but I do feel like I’ve been left to my own devices, hopefully that will improve over time.
With Ankylosing Spondylitis, a scale is used to measure the pain and disease activity called the Bath Indices. It’s quite complex but basically it consists of a number of questions and, as the patient, you provide a number between 1 and 10 (1 being no pain or restriction in movement and 10 being the maximum pain and discomfort). I’ve never understood how this can help. Surely everyone copes with and feels pain differently. Me giving a sore of 5 might be a 7 for someone else or a 3. Anyway, during our last telephone consultation, the time came.
Mrs Mead, can you tell me on a scale of 1-10 and then the questions start. I was obviously feeling a bit flippant, and the FFS words came to mind.
Me: “1, 2, 1, 3, 2, 1, 1,1,1, 2”
Perhaps I inadvertently gave the impression that I was in no pain at all, as I haven’t heard from my Rheumatologist since. That’ll teach me 😊
Until next time xxxx