The Notorious Naysayer strikes again!

Arm with needle inserted for blood donationDuring breaks from my intrusive thoughts–what should I bake for my cancerversary celebration with Dr. Blood next week?–I am diligently completing phase #2 of my volunteer applications. I have to; I’m accountable to all of you, my faithful followers.

I don’t remember real job applications being nearly as hard as these. I’ve had no end of multiple-page forms to fill out as well as references to enlist. (Thank you references.) Because I’ve submitted everything on line, I have little recollection of my responses, except for my address and phone number.

In order for Jelly and me to be PALS, I need to cough up $40. If she’s accepted, my funds will cover our annual membership, but if she fails, it’s moolah down the drain. Add to that the cost of dog treats for her remedial training and the $200 spent at Dr. Animal’s yesterday, and this application process is bankrupting me.

Why the vet visit? I needed Dr. A. to complete a health assessment of Jelly. My conscience insisted I disclose Jelly’s recent physical challenges rather than simply sending her the form. Whatever Dr. A. says, I shall not be deterred. Is it a bad omen that Jelly was on her worst behaviour throughout her visit?

On to Canadian Blood Services’ on-line interview, which J. told me I probably failed based on the few answers I shared with her.  Am I the only one noticing a pattern here? Talk about raining on my parade.

I’ll admit that one question totally flummoxed me. “How would you deal with a donor with a needle phobia?” I, Annie the Psychologist, have absolutely no idea, but did I say that? Of course not.

I figured I could tell the donor: “Why the heck are you giving the gift of life if you’re needle phobic? Go help new immigrants learn to read, or cook meals for the homeless, or organize a community clean up.” Alternatively, I might say: “Put on your big-girl panties.”

How about: “I’m a psychologist. I got that one.” (Grammatically incorrect, I know, but that’s how it’s said, no?) I’ve worked with anxious clients for over 20 years, I know the drill. Just watch me masterfully guide the fearful donor through it. But my conscience rejected that answer.

I finally arrived at a solid answer, even without the internet. I’d tell the donor that it would be over lickety split, and remind her that she’s doing something that could save someone’s life. I’d distract her with bad jokes or singing or funny stories. And I’d tell her she could always look away when the needle goes in, like I do.

I could even share that I’m not fond of needles myself, however painless they usually are. Even the ones that hurt aren’t nearly as excruciating as childbirth (from what I hear) or a kick to men’s privates (from what I hear), and the pain is fleeting (unlike in those other two scenarios, from what I hear).

If all else fails, I’ll mention the scrumptious gourmet cookies that await her when she’s done. I don’t know about you, but I’d tolerate agonizing pain for a good cookie.

If I manage to pass the second cut–I’m not hopeful–interviews are next. Wish me luck. According to some, I may need it.

Will it rain on my parade?

Image from pride parade, lower half of people holding huge rainbow flag

There are so many pressing concerns on my mind right now. Will Dr. Animal kibosh Jelly’s dream of becoming a companion dog because of her aging body (and howling and food-theft potential)? Will I pass screening to volunteer at Canadian Blood Services? Will it rain on the Pride Parade this weekend like it does every year? And how did two garlic bulbs end up in my shopping cart when I only remember selecting one?

But the issue at the forefront of my mind is, in a city of over a million people, how do I bump into former clients so often? What are the chances? It’s been a summer of unexpected encounters all over the place.

What was I trained to do in these situations? If I’m seeing a client and know we’ll cross paths at a specific event, we can discuss it ahead of time and come up with a plan. But usually this isn’t the case. I’m seeing so few clients that most often preplanning is out.

At psychology school, I learned to leave it up to the client. If the client feels comfortable approaching me, I will respond and take time to chat. I’m always pleased when a client feels she can say hello. Enlisting a helping professional shouldn’t breed shame, so a former client’s willingness to reconnect tells me that person feels okay that we’ve met.

I learned not ask anything too heavy in these encounters, like: “Did you excise that toxic friend from your life?” “Have you left your abusive marriage?” Or, “How’s your gambling addiction these days?” Rather, I may ask how the kids are or how the new job is working out.

I also won’t say: “You sound (or look) like a mess. Here’s my card. You should book in.” That would clearly be overstepping bounds. If that person needs to reconnect, he knows how to reach me. Rarely, a chance meeting has prompted a client to return for a spell.

The hardest chance meetings are those where the client is obviously uncomfortable. He may avoid eye contact or run in the other direction upon seeing me. There’s nothing I can do to take that discomfort away, other than respecting that person’s need to maintain distance. It’s pretty natural for some clients to feel uneasy in these situations because they’ve shared such private concerns in our time together. I wish they didn’t feel that way but I understand why they might. I might feel the same way were I in their shoes.

In fact, I was in their shoes recently: J. and I bumped into my therapist and her husband earlier this summer. I’ll admit I felt a bit self-conscious, especially because I was dressed like such a shlump. (Note to self: You never know who you might meet when you go out, so dress accordingly.) I appreciated our chance encounter, and my therapist, appropriately, didn’t skip a beat. I haven’t seen her for some time, so now she knows I’m still alive. That’s something, isn’t it? Next time I happen upon her in the community, I imagine I’ll find it easier, and no doubt I’ll be better dressed.

Cocky cancer conquerer suffers the consequences

What’s the line between pride and boasting? I think it’s so important that we be able to express pride in ourselves, to a point. I take pride in my ability to listen to other people, to nourish myself fairly well (I aspire to the 80/20, not the 90/10 guideline), to floss every day whatever the research says. I also take pride in my writing, and thank you for giving me this avenue to share my thoughts (and hopefully make you laugh).

But sometimes I veer toward boastful, as I have been recently in speaking about my leukemia. I’ve been bragging about my energy and newfound initiative. I’ve told you I feel ready to take on the world. Cancer schmancer, I’ve been harping.

Enough already, I expect you’re thinking, and you’re right. I should have dialled it back a bit. Were you here, you could see the blush of shame all over my face. Wait, is that shame or is it an infection?

Woman looking to side, cheek flushedA few days ago, as I was out and about, my cheekbone started feeling odd, tingly, as if I’d gotten hit by a Nerf football. I looked like a tot in a tiara, without the tiara and without the tot. That’s right, full child-like rouge, but on one cheek only. (No, this is not me but some other woman blushing.)

When J. came home, she inspected the offending area thoroughly. She agreed that if my eruption worsened overnight, a visit to Dr. Family was in order. After a sleepless night spent imagining the infection entering my bloodstream–I shan’t boast about my skill at finding reasons to be anxious–I awoke in greater discomfort, so I called Dr. Family, unprompted by J. I knew it was time to go in. Of this I’m proud, especially in light of my recent hypochondria confession.

I told the lovely receptionist, Ms. Gatekeeper, about my problem and asked her if I might see the doctor that day. Ms. G. is well aware that my previous urgent calls have not been for naught. Because the doctor was fully booked, Ms. G. asked if I could wait until the next day. I said nope. I hate inconveniencing people, but I trusted the doctor would understand once she saw me. And so Ms. G. squeezed me in, and thank goodness she did.

Over the course of that day, the redness spread. Dr. Family diagnosed me with cellulitis. I daresay I knew what it was because of its similarity to the rash that had sent me to hospital 6 months prior. She put me on the same oral antibiotics I eventually received at the hospital, with clear instructions to follow up at the ER if symptoms continued to worsen after 48 hours, when the pills would kick in.

I’m proud of how I handled myself. I was firm and assertive and asked for what I needed. I had to see my doctor that day. Seeing a random clinic doctor would have been much more complicated because I am complicated.

I may have even saved myself a trip to the ER or even a hospital admission. Think of the tax increase I’ve just saved you, fair citizens of this province! And yes, I’m proud of that too. If I’m ever caught boasting again, I trust one of you will reign me in.

 

I feel shame, you feel shame, we all feel shame.

Two beagles on chair, first sign says "I steal the socks" second says "And I eat them."

We all feel ashamed sometimes.

I recently read Daring Greatly by Brené Brown. I wrote about Brené–I should call her Dr. Brown because of her Ph.D. in social work–previously when I heard her speak at a conference. It’s no wonder her books have sold like hotcakes.

In this book, Brené discusses how we experience shame and how much difficulty people have talking about shameful experiences. Hence the silence around abuse as well as eating disorders, addictions, and other compulsive behaviours.

A friend noticed “shame” in the title of a chapter I was reading and questioned my choice of reading material. “You don’t have shame,” she said. Her comment was ironic in light of Brené’s assertion that everyone has shame, although so many of us are reluctant to acknowledge it or talk about it.

I have often written about shame in my blog, although I may not always have labelled it. For example, my protruding belly has more to do with the size of my spleen than my dessert consumption–sure, my dessert consumption probably isn’t helping–yet I often feel ashamed when someone asks me if I’m pregnant. I may make light of these incidents here, but inside I feel very self-conscious.

I also feel shame for times I’ve shamed others, those times I’ve said something insensitive or sarcastic or just plain mean. I know how crummy shame feels; the last thing I’d want to do is to make someone else feel that way, but I know I have. Haven’t we all, whether intentionally or not? No, you’re right, it’s probably just me.

People have said and done things to me that have been shaming as well, but I’ve shared only some of these incidents with you in my blog. If I knew you a bit better, maybe I’d disclose more, but many of you I don’t. I believe Brené would support my discretion here, since she has only two safe people she approaches when she is at her most vulnerable. Two sounds about right to me.

I am struck by people’s shame about things for which they are not responsible. Blaming the sexual abuse survivor–if only you hadn’t dressed like that, if only you’d kept your legs together–reinforces the shame that survivor already feels. To disclose the abuse and not to be believed only compounds that person’s shame.

That’s why, as much as sharing our shameful experiences with others is important and healing, we must choose carefully the people we share them with. As a psychologist, I have been entrusted with many such disclosures by clients over the years. At those moments, I try to allow the person to feel safe and heard and supported. If I’m successful, we can then work toward the survivor’s no longer blaming him- or herself for what happened.

I hope that all of you have a safe person to share the bad stuff with. You can always pay a therapist if you think that would help. It’s important that you let someone in, however scary it feels. Trying to keep those shameful feelings inside is too heavy a burden. Trust me, I know, and not just from my work.

 

Our little girl is growing old.

Basset hound on leash laying down, caption "This walk is over."My feeling so much better–more normal, less tired, less cancerous–this summer has been quite the surprise. Sure, I have the odd sleepy, dopey day, but for fleeting moments, I actually forget I have cancer. I should be over the moon.

Except I’m not. I’ve been a little down this summer, to be honest, and, oh me of little insight, I had no idea why.

Then Jelly gave me the clear message that she didn’t want to walk as much as we used to. She told me in the way that any Basset hound would: she dug in her heels and refused to move. Initially, I thought she was being stubborn, so I dragged her along. Then I recalled she couldn’t hop into the car and she hadn’t jumped on the counter for a while. I realized she’d been trying to tell me something.

Without my dog walk, I had lost the last bit of structure in my day. My gym was closed for renovations for two months. Sure, I maintained my home yoga program more diligently than ever, but home yoga gets lonely. I went to the grocery store and the library to get out of the house, completed every errand I could imagine, but I still had too many blank days on my agenda. I’ve always managed a fair amount of time on my own, but I had reached my isolation threshold in Jelly’s balking at walking.

Soon after we reduced Jelly’s activity, J. asked me to rest Jelly in the morning so she could take her for her after-work decompression walk. (I’ve always been the morning walker and J. the afternoon gal.) J.’s request was more than reasonable and, although I’m not the best at sharing the good stuff (I always give her the bigger half if we are sharing dessert, mind you), I felt it only fair that she be able to walk her dog at day’s end. At the time, I agreed.

The next morning, after a sleepless night, I selfishly reneged. Jelly was my only reason to get out of the house every day and, at least until the end of the summer, I needed to be the walker. At least a dog walk gave me a reason to get moving and the possibility of social interaction. I don’t have the luxury of workmates to kibbitz with during the day.

One problem with retiring early not because of wealth but because of illness is that there’s no one to play with during the day. People have jobs and children and busy lives. Plus I’ve failed at fostering daytime contact with those who are available because I haven’t had the energy until recently. I can’t expect people to jump in to meet my needs on my schedule. Friendship doesn’t work that way. So I count on the dog’s companionship because some days she’s all I’ve got.

J. was a very sporting when I asked her for exclusive daytime walking rights. She consented readily. All relationships are about give and take, right? If I keep giving her the bigger half of dessert, hopefully things will balance out in the end.

 

She who hesitates is bored.

Were you riveted to the Great British Bake Off like I was? Twelve British home bakers tackled a series of increasingly difficult challenges until only one remained. The intrigue, the suspense, the personalities….

The Brits are a civilized people. These contestants didn’t smirk when they outperformed the competitor next to them; they looked over kindly with tears in their eyes.

The latest winner, Nadiya Hussein, was a delight. Her husband entered her in the competition without telling her because of his faith in her abilities; she’d never have entered on her own. Nadiya is a spunky firecracker with a keen sense of humour, and her confidence grew each week. After she was declared the winner, she said, through tears:

I’m never gonna put boundaries on myself ever again. I’m never gonna say I can’t do it. I’m never gonna say ‘maybe’. I’m never gonna say, ‘I don’t think I can.’ I can and I will.

When I think of taking on a new challenge, I am too quick to kibosh it. Soon after my leukemia diagnosis, I had good reason. I was too tired to consider doing much of anything, and I thought I was on death’s door. But things have changed. I spend much less time with doctors these days, and my ailments aren’t all consuming the way they once were.

You can understand, then, why I took Nadiya’s message to heart. I’ve been using my cancer as an excuse not to challenge myself. My health has been stable yet I’ve been wasting my time. Even baking gets stale after a while.

Shouldn’t I be living rather than waiting to die? Did I not recently write about this? Time to take on new challenges instead of convincing myself not to. I don’t have cantcer. Why sit around and wait to get sicker when I could be capitalizing on being well?

So I’m looking into a few options. Since becoming an Olympic athlete and climbing Everest are probably out of the question–best to set attainable goals, I remind myself–I’m considering volunteering. Sure, I have leukemia, and occasionally I may need someone to fill in if I’m unwell. So what?

I think I have what it takes to stand at a booth promoting Canadian Blood Services, don’t you? I’ll hound people to give the gift of life, just you watch. Or how about joining the Pet Access League Society (PALS), which will allow me to take my exuberant pooch for visits with people in need of some puppy love. I think Jelly would make a great PAL, don’t you?

J. isn’t convinced. She laughed aloud when I first told her about my PALS application. I had to answer hard questions like: “Will your dog steal food from people’s meal trays?” [Insert J.’s raucous guffaw here.] Needless to say, Jelly is working hard with me to reach her obedience potential, with the help of her tasty new training treats. Sure, transforming Jelly into a well-behaved dog may seem unsurmountable, but this ain’t Everest. If PALS refuses us, it’s their loss.

Enough excuses, Annie. Time to start living again. If volunteering will get my tuchus off the new comfy couch, that can only be a good thing. They say sitting is the new smoking, don’t they?

A group of people visiting with a PALS dog

Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hypochondria

Woman taking blood pressure at pharmacy machine

You know that I’m often slow to seek medical attention when something is wrong, even if the problem could be serious. Remember that rash on my arm that resulted in a hospital admission? How about my recent adventure with C. diff? I tell myself the symptom will pass and I’ll be fine.

But sometimes my rose-coloured glasses come off, and out comes my darker side. I’m speaking of my deep-seated hypochondriac. Once I was diagnosed with cancer, every symptom, ache, and pain became potentially life threatening. If I missed the signs of cancer the first time, I’m sure to miss them the next time around, unless I’m acutely attuned to my body. Every twinge could be a sign I’m dying, couldn’t it?

True confession: My hypochondria long predated my cancer. I’ve always been overly concerned about my health, as many anxious people are. Most often, I could calm myself without involving the doctor, but occasionally I would book in, only to learn I was the picture of health. No doctor ever thought to ask me about anxiety, or health anxiety specifically. Since I lacked insight, I never would have mentioned it myself.

Then I got sick. Since I believed I could live a long time with polycythemia, I didn’t give it much thought, except when I did, and then I’d start visiting hospices. Throw in the blood clot and the resultant liver problems and I’d start writing my obituary. And then comes cancer, and with it the best excuse ever to worry about my health. Any new symptom now and I’m choosing my pallbearers. It’s an ugly task but somebody’s got to do it.

Speaking of ominous symptoms, I had quite the bout of dizziness last week. (Or maybe it was vertigo. I don’t really understand the difference, to be honest.) The last time I was that off kilter, I was diagnosed with leukemia. Internal bleeding–probably unrelated to the leukemia–caused my blood pressure to drop precipitously. My blood pressure is normally low, so when it tanked, I knew something was wrong. I needed support to stay upright.

Trust me, if your blood pressure ever drops sharply, you will know it. You too may feel tired and woozy and your mind may get foggy. You may even faint. But low blood pressure is not normally indicative of cancer. Because my very low blood pressure co-occurred with my cancer diagnosis, I falsely associated the two.

As I was stumbling around last week, Pollyanna reappeared just in time. I was ready to book in with Dr. Family when I recalled that my previous episode of dizziness was much more severe. This blip was probably nothing, I told myself. Turns out it was–nothing, that is.

How did I figure that out? I took my blood pressure at the pharmacy, only to learn it had dropped, but only slightly. I’d had a busy weekend away, a few bad sleeps, and was mildly dehydrated, all of which likely contributed.

After some heavy water guzzling and a few solid sleeps, I am back on track, even without medical intervention. I’m glad I didn’t call the doctor this time. Cancer or not, I hate it when she tells me it’s all in my head, even if it is.

Would I lie to you?

I’ve had a surprising number of people ask me whether Ms. Supervisor, from last week’s Mystery of the Missing Medication, really had cancer. She was somehow able to find my missing chemotherapy after her underlings had not.

You should know by now that I am not a fiction writer. I do not have the capacity to come up with a complex plot, to develop character, and to bring everything to a neat resolution. I had a near breakdown in high school English when I was tasked with writing a short story. I would draw a similar blank presently if my stories came solely from my imagination. So no, I don’t make this stuff up. I am an observer, and I work with what life tosses my way.

Yes, dear readers, Ms. Supervisor did indeed have cancer. She understood from personal experience how urgently I needed her to resolve my problem. Perhaps her underling, Ms. Making Me Postal, was in the fortunate position of not having had cancer yet touch her life, and that is why she treated me like any other whiner with a missing package.

Do you think people need to experience something themselves in order to empathize with others in their shoes? Do you need to have cancer to understand what my life with cancer is like? No, I don’t believe that. If I did, professionals like me would be out of work.

Over the course of my career, I’ve seen people from all walks of life and with an infinite range of concerns. I can’t possibly have experienced all that my clients have. I counselled parents and I don’t even have children, except the furry kind. Sure, some clients have seen me once and never come back, but others have returned, some even telling me they’ve found our contact helpful. I’d like to believe I’ve shown them empathy despite my narrow life experience.

Occasionally my experience has mirrored that of my client. That client would not know this because I share little with clients, not to be secretive, but to keep the focus on the client’s needs rather than my own. Am I more deeply empathic if my client is discussing issues I’ve confronted in my own life? Maybe but not necessarily. I have to guard against my similar life experience’s distracting me from my client’s.

Empathy is not just for counsellors, my friend. I appreciate empathy in a clothing store because my body is different, and empathy at the supermarket because I move slowly some days. But can empathy be learned if it doesn’t come naturally to you? I think it can, at least to some degree.

I trust Ms. Making Me Postal was not hired for her empathy skills. If I could speak to her again, I would say: “I understand you have certain rules you need to follow, but could you consider how we might resolve my concern promptly? My life depends on it.”

Before I can teach Ms. MMP empathy, someone may need to teach her common sense. Is it a teachable skill? That I’m not so sure.

Common sense is a flower that doesn't grow in everyone's garden

The times they are a-changin’, and for the better.

Last weekend we attended a beautiful wedding. People had travelled from far and wide to participate in the celebration. What a privilege to witness this union between two very special people.

The ceremony took place in a stunning provincial park with a mountain backdrop. The day’s downpour let up just long enough for the outdoor knot tying. Because J. has known the bride for many years, she was honoured to act as officiant, which made the ceremony special for the couple and for her. She teared up upon seeing the couple escorted down the aisle by parents, everyone beaming with joy. The spouses wrote their own vows, which were funny and moving and loving. Of course I cried, but I wasn’t the only one. There were happy tears all around.

The couple, with the support of family and friends, had served as their own wedding planners, and they’d thought of everything. Umbrellas in case it rained, home-crafted hand fans in case it was too warm, and stunning flower arrangements.

The celebration followed in a lodge with floor-to-ceiling views of the mountains. The meal was mouthwatering, the desserts divine, and the penguin cake pops scrumptious. As if that weren’t enough, all guests received mini mason jars filled with Jelly Bellies. You know how much I LOVE Jelly Bellies.

Family and friends delivered moving after-dinner speeches, each one touching and heart felt. Everyone seemed so deeply happy for these two. It was evident that they had already been embraced wholeheartedly by their new extended families, who gushed with pride.

Did I neglect to mention that there were two brides? Yes, that’s right, two brides dressed in long white gowns, two brides throwing one bouquet together at the reception–not that well, I might add, for two accomplished fastpitch players–and two brides dancing their first dance as a married couple.

I’ve never been to a gay wedding before, except our mini version in our living room, sans dresses or speeches or Jelly Bellies. But why focus on the “gay” part, unless you mean “joyful”? Theirs was a wedding between two women who love and respect one another and want to spend the rest of their lives together. One bride said she’d never envisioned marriage in her future, and yet here she was. I’d say that’s reason for celebration.

This couple also intends to uphold many conventional marriage traditions. One wife will take the other’s last name, and they are marrying prior to starting a family. Together these women will make wonderful parents. Their progeny will grow up in a loving household with two doting mommies, and no doubt they will thrive, daddy or no daddy.

There was one small glitch for the happy couple, however. The morning of the wedding, one bride-to-be had to convince hotel staff that, although a bride in her hotel room had indeed already eaten breakfast, she had not yet because she was the other bride. It’s a story she’ll tell her grandchildren some day.

I was struck by the supportiveness of everyone in attendance, straight and gay, single and coupled, young and old. I trust that every guest was genuinely thrilled for the couple. Don’t these women deserve the same experience of marriage and family as anyone else? If you disagree, you may miss out on a darn good party someday.

Two brides at reception, sitting at head table both with Mrs. signs in front of them.

The mystery of the missing medication

Package in cardboard box with "Urgent" in red on front

Anyone interested in the outcome of my recent postal debacle? The story could have ended so many ways. I could have died because my chemotherapy was lost in a mailroom maelstrom. My writing you today suggests that this did not happen.

Alternatively, I could have been recruited for a study of noncompliant CML patients who stop taking their medication because they don’t feel they need it anymore. I don’t qualify for that study. I’m taking my medication every day until I die, assuming it doesn’t get lost in the mail.

A third but unlikely outcome is the arrival of the package the next day. But that’s too simple. The situation must get worse before it gets better.

On Monday morning, I begged the Cancer Centre pharmacy for a week’s worth of chemotherapy until my missing meds were found. Then I called the post office for a daily update on my untrackable package. Because I am so difficult to please, again I was dissatisfied with the response. I learned that only the sender could instigate an investigation into the missing pills. Furthermore, Ms. Making Me Postal would not contact the pharmacy because she could not make outgoing calls; I would have to ask a pharmacist to call her.

Imagine my surprise that someone at a call centre cannot make outgoing calls! Aren’t most telephones capable of both making and receiving calls? I told Ms. MMP I would not waste the pharmacy’s time. The pharmacists at the Cancer Centre are run off their feet doling out chemotherapy to ailing cancer patients. They haven’t time to spend on hold with an incompetent postal worker. I ended the call frustrated and with no intention of involving the pharmacy in this mess.

If I am unsuccessful at solving a problem despite my best efforts, occasionally J. jumps in on my behalf. You may be unaware that J. can be quite persuasive. In fact, just yesterday a cashier who had never met her before accepted her credit card over her friend’s to pay for lunch because, in her words, “she looks scarier.” So J. called 1-800- Making-Us-Postal again, pretending to be me (yet another benefit of a lesbian relationship,  in addition to the obvious sock sharing).

When J.’s Ms. Making Her Postal repeated the same feedback I’d received, J. asked to speak to a supervisor. Why didn’t I think of that? I was incapable of effective problem solving by then. Remember this the next time you’re too angry to think straight: take a few deep breaths before you jump back in.

J. spoke to the supervisor who, upon learning the contents of the missing package, said she would ensure it was located and delivered promptly. She suggested we’d receive it faster if we retrieved it from the mail depot once it was found, but the irony of picking up something intended for delivery prompted J. to decline politely.

Ms. Supervisor was true to her word. The next day, the package magically appeared at our house, followed by not one but two calls to confirm its delivery. Wait, I thought those posties couldn’t make outgoing calls, they could only lose outgoing mail. Will wonders never cease!

Do you think this effective resolution had anything to do with Ms. Supervisor’s being a recent cancer survivor herself? Nah, neither do I.