Hard to believe today marks 2-weeks after the surgery. At this time I was under the knife and already I am back to a much more ‘normal’ me. As has been noted several times, the left side of my body is functioning well, I am not forgetting things and my emotions have stabilized. Still have a way to go until full energy returns, the scar heals and until I can get back to full physical activity, but for 2 weeks into the process, the progress really is remarkable!
On Fire Island this past weekend, I was the director/dictator of a few friends who came to help to continue the process of getting the house ready for the season. Here is what was accomplished on the decks after Don had already done so much work: the upper deck planters were all cleaned out from last year’s plants, new soil was added to supplement what was removed and the furniture was set up, including cleaning the chaise lounge covers from the mold that had grown over the past year. On the lower decks, much the same: cleaning the planters, weeding as needed, cleaning the chaise covers and making sure all of the planters were in the right spots. In the yard, Carlos and Kyle had done about half of the cutting and raking, and this weekend, Cesar with help from Francesca cut down the dead tops of the grasses and started to rake even more – hopefully next weekend, we can finish with the outside set up.
Inside the house, we unpacked lots of things that had been sent to the Island (food staples and cleaning products) and reorganized a lot of what had been inside given the new shelves and containers that were built on the back deck over the winter. So Fire Island set up is about 80% done at this point. And I did not have to do any heavy lifting, which I am restricted from doing for now.
It was also great to be in a healing environment with the sun shining, beach air and surrounded by nature.
Back in NY and started to do more of what I need to get everything in order. This week I have a series of doctor’s appointments and an acupuncture appointment as well.
This morning, I focused on writing a firm letter to my credit card company about getting reimbursed for the ticket I was unable to use from Paris to NY. Here is what I said:
Dear Ms. Williams,
Let me start by asking that if you are not a very senior person with decision making power that you please send this up to someone as senior as possible to review my claim.
I have been an AAdvantageCiti Card member for many years and each year I charge thousands of dollars to this account. I am ready to cancel my card completely if I do not get the benefit that I am asking for and entitled to which is minimal compared to what I spend each year (just since last October, almost $30,000 have been charged to this card). And, while not my preference, I am also ready if needed to take this to a lawyer for potential legal suit. I also have excellent contacts in the media in New York and am ready to bring this to their attention for possible exposure. I do not say these things to threaten you, but to let you know that I am not at all happy about your current decision and will not stop easily if you do not come through with my benefit.
What you are telling me is, in my view, completely unreasonable and bureaucratic gobbledygook – your way to get out of paying what you rightfully should be paying. On the one hand, you say that I cannot benefit because my trip ended AFTER the original date. On the other hand, I have explained why that is so: I had brain tumors and was admitted to the hospital in Spain so I could not have possibly returned on or BEFORE the original date – and you have all of the documentation around that, including from Ruber Hospital in Madrid. I am only asking for reimbursement of the Paris-NY leg of my journey and I will now also add the apartment rental in Madrid that I was unable to use because of the hospital stay (see attached). Everything that you have asked for from original bills to an explanation of why I am seeking the reimbursement to the doctor’s report have been provided to you.
Air France/Delta have told me that the ticket is non-refundable and that I should pursue this with the credit card company – that is you. And I have provided everything that you have asked for and spent too much time on the phone waiting for and speaking with your representatives and documenting it all. I just cannot do more. I am wasting too much energy that should be reserved for my healing. What more do you want from me?!
I am now 2 weeks post-brain surgery and just can’t continue to fight with you for now, but rest assured that this is not ending until I get satisfaction from you to resolve this case in my favor.
I hope to hear favorably from you soon.
Many thanks for your consideration.
Let’s see if that changes their minds!
Lisa, who had originally volunteered to take this on, said this about the letter
“Alan, that was beyond motivation, you were on fire!! I’m going to just hand over my claims next time to you!! Very strong and powerful.
If for some reason they still give you trouble you can give them my name with permission for us to speak. I can review all of the documents that you already submitted along with your policy and move up the ladder.
Excellent self-advocacy! Love you”
Today is a weird kind of day for progress. I felt great this morning, filled with energy to get my day started and overall, I am feeling stronger; on the other hand, I have a headache for the first time and was exhausted after writing the letter to the credit card company! I slept for well over 2 hours during the day today. Antonio and I had lunch out and did some basic shopping (the frig was empty), but just an hour and a half away from home. I’m glad to be here and while I had originally planned to go to the gym to do a light workout, that did not and will not happen.
Let me end by saying that some people are still wondering what they can do to help. Let me suggest that if you really want to do something, I would love if you can make a contribution in my honor to one of 2 causes:
You know I am on the Board and this is an organization and cause that I am passionate about: – enabling vulnerable and HIV-affected communities to meet their own needs and improve their well-being through nutrition-sensitive and sustainable agriculture. Thanks to Lud Baldwin for making a contribution in my honor already!
Solidaridad con Ecuador
Many of you know that I have a long history with Ecuador, first through my friend Xavier Orellana. I visited Ecuador in 2007 and met Xavi’s family and friends, including Miguel and many others. I then went to study Spanish there in 2010 for a month, staying with Adrian and Marcelo. Miguel’s mom, Lola is the head of the relief effort on behalf of the Ministry of Health for the recent devastating earthquake that has left more than 500 dead and 4000 injured, with the number of victims continuing to increase. This fund is set up to finance medical activities, the transfer of mobile units as well s the purchase of tents to provide shelter and medicines.
If you do donate, please mention me and let me know. Thanks for your ongoing love and support!