What is it about illness that opens a person up as a free-for-all repository of the worst, most condescending advice imaginable?
Unsolicited Medical Advice – Nothing about Everything
One word – no. I’ll stop you before you even start.
I’ve stopped talking to people about my health (apart from a trusted 1-2 closest friends) precisely because of this reason. Because everyone seems to want to have a say.
“I think you should change your doctor, I don’t think your current doctor is doing a good job.”
“Why don’t you opt for something more natural? Like Traditional Chinese Medicine.”
“You should seek a third opinion. Your current medications are too expensive.”
“You should take more vitamin A/B/C/D/E (or whatsoever).”
No. I did not ask you for your advice. And no, I don’t think you’re in the position to judge that “my doctor is not doing a good job” or “my medications are not right for me”. Neither should you be dishing out advice when you do not have the full picture. (Which you definitely don’t – I’ve kept 90% of the ‘picture’ hidden. The remaining 10% are the occasional symptoms you see.)
I speak for myself and most chronically ill people out there. I understand your intentions are good/you want to help. But really, no thank you.
Instead, this is what I ask for.
Trust that my doctor and I are allies, that we are working together towards the best possible way to fight this monster that is my illness(es). My doctor is doing his best. So am I.
Just because I am not in what you think is the “optimum state of health” does not mean that my doctor is not doing a good job. We are doing the best we can. It’s challenging to restore a car that has been in a bad accident to it’s original state of glory. Likewise for humans.
I accept my current state of health now (although you might disagree) because it’s already several times better than how it was before – when I was going in and out of hospital every week or even every night.
The road to recovery is not always smooth. There will be hiccups.
Trust in the fact that I am perfectly capable to manage my own health and make sound decisions.
Realize the reason why I am rejecting all forms of unsolicited medical advice is because I’ve been with this long enough to understand myself and my own body, and that I know my own medical history best, and what my current health can and cannot tolerate. (Not because I am stubborn or close-minded, as some people put it. On top of the fact that you’re sticking your nose up somewhere it doesn’t belong.)
There are many other ways to help without walking down the unsolicited medical advice route (which trust me, pisses the person off more than “helping”). Supportive messages when things aren’t going too great is good enough. And even if you’re silent when we’re seated face to face, I’ll still know you’re with me.
It makes me feel like you think this is somehow still my fault. Like, if I really wanted to get better, I would just do the random thing you were telling me about, because obviously that’s what you would do in my situation and then you would get better and then you wouldn’t have this issue. But that’s not reality.
All your unsolicited medical advice totally cured me! (J/k) – The Only Certainty Is Bad Grammar
My painful invisible disease is more real than your imaginary medical expertise.
Unsolicited Medical Advice – Unsolicited Medical Advice Warriors
This evening, I was at Takashimaya boots-hunting for my bestie’s upcoming wedding.
Chanced upon this lovely pair of boots from Hush Puppies, tried it on and fell in love with it instantly. As I paraded in front of the mirror and admiring them, I was soon painfully aware of something sharp digging into my ankles from both sides.
I remove the boots and felt around – and noticed that the knotted thread edges were sticking out of the fabric and pointing inwards. It wasn’t your usual soft thread as well. It was stiff and felt plasticky. My enthusiasm for the boots fizzled somewhat.
So I asked to try another pair, and the salesperson happily obliged. (I guess she could tell I really loved the boots.)
Unfortunately, the second pair was much worse. It felt like I was wearing a prickly hedgehog around my ankles.
The salesperson overheard my gripes and tried to help. She said she’d do something about it, took the boots aside and did something with them while I waited. Later on, she returned with the boots. To my delight, they no longer hurt.
“What did you do with them?” I asked her.
“Ooh, I cut off all the threads! So they won’t be poking you anymore!” was her reply.
All the blood drained from my face.
“WHAT?!” I exclaimed. I picked up a boot and looked closely at it. The knots were all gone. I gingerly tapped on the fabric. Just as I expected, part of the fabric fell apart. Now, I no longer had a prickly knots problem, but a loose thread problem. And not just one loose thread. Plenty of them.
“Um, I think you shouldn’t have done that. Because now the threads are loose!” I pointed out to her.
“No, the design is like that one (sic)!” The salesperson responded, as she began doing the same with the second pair of boots I tried.
“Uhh,” I tried to stop her, but it was too late.
Snip, snip, snip! went her clippers and all the knots fell off.
Now, I had two defective pair of boots on my hands. They were pretty pricey too, at $159. And surely, I wouldn’t want to spend that kind of money on a pair of boots with the fabric falling apart. (At least with the prickly knots, I could have filed them down or applied some kind of coating. :()
I sighed. The salesperson was still looking at me expectantly.
My dad who was shopping with me, caught on the situation and asked. “Do you have another pair?”
The salesperson looked slightly put off.
“No, we only have two pairs of each size. If you’re still not happy with the boots, you can go to another outlet,” she replied, frowning slightly.
I hesitated. Part of me felt rather bad because she had assisted us a lot. But well, her “help” had led to a much worse outcome – two damaged pair of boots. :(
Eventually, I decided to pass on them. I handed the boots back to her, thanking her twice.
She simply took the boots from me, shoved them back into the box and slammed the lid back on. Obviously, she was pissed.
Well, as a consumer, I do have the right to choose what I want to pay for, and to receive defect-free goods, especially when they are priced highly.
But still, I felt guilty and a little sorry for her.
Recently established my presence on Carousell – a mobile app for anyone to sell their stuff, kind of like a community-generated marketplace. Two weeks into using it, I’m beginning to find myself hooked.
Like many others, I started out selling my second-hand stuff on a Livejournal community called SGSellTrade since late-2005. What started out as a really vibrant community had soon fizzled out into nothing, and it was becoming increasingly harder to sell stuff online. (And flea markets are pretty tiring.) Thank goodness for Carousell.
Even then, selling online is not without its risks. Like lost mail, for example.
In my 8 years of selling online, I’ve had my mail lost 5 times. Thrice when I was selling, and twice when I was buying. The first time my mail was lost, it was gone into oblivion. My buyer never received her item, neither was the mail rerouted back to me. Needless to say, I had a very unhappy buyer on my hands. The second time round, the mail was sent back to my home – apparently, my buyer had provided the wrong address. But that ended well.
And the third time, unfortunately, is now.
When your mail goes missing (whether you’re a seller or a buyer), you’re pretty much helpless, especially when it is through normal mail which Singpost can’t do much about. Registered mail, though it costs $2.24 more, provides an ease of mind as the mail’s delivery path will be completely tracked. But since lost mail is pretty rare, most will just absorb the risk and not register their mail.
After consulting the counter staff at Singapore Post Centre this afternoon, I have a pretty clear idea on what happens behind the scenes when it comes to mail delay. Hopefully, this will enlighten the thousands of sellers out there.
Smaller Mail: Letters/Flat parcels
Delivering smaller mail is straightforward. The postman will simply drop it into your letterbox. If mail in this category do not arrive as expected, it’s due to:
1. The recipient’s address does not exist.
If that’s the case, the mail will be routed back to the sender if there’s a return address. This takes up to 10 working days.
2. The recipient’s address is wrong (leads to someone else instead).
Your mail will land in someone else’s hands, and chances of getting it back is very, very slim. Even if you’ve written a return address, most people won’t bother returning your mail.
3. The recipient’s address is correct, but the postman delivers it to the wrong address.
If the mail is delivered to the wrong letterbox in the same neighbourhood, you’ll still have a chance, although slim.
Large mail wouldn’t fit into the typical mailbox, so the postman will deliver it directly to the recipient’s doorstep. If no one is at home at the time of delivery, the mail will be routed to the nearest post office, with a delivery advice slipped under the recipient’s door.
Occasionally, the postman might have difficulty slipping the delivery advice under the door due to obstruction (eg. houses with animals might have additional metal grilles to keep the pets in). If this is the case, the delivery advice will be inserted into the recipient’s mailbox (immediate) or mailed to the recipients house (additional 2-3 working days’ delay).
When the mail reaches the post-office, the recipient has roughly 5 working days to collect it on-site (with their delivery advice).
If the mail is still not collected, the mail will be re-routed to Singapore Post Centre in Paya Lebar for subsequent handling. Once at Singapore Post Centre, uncollected mail with return addresses will be mailed back to the sender. (Time taken for processing and re-routing generally takes an additional 5 working days.) Those without return addresses will be stored at their lost mail department for an unspecified period of time before they are eventually disposed.
If your parcel has not arrived by the expected time:
1. Look out for a delivery advice.
This will be under your door or in your mailbox. If you have not received a delivery advice, wait out for an additional 3 working days.
2. If the seller has included a return address, just wait.
Chances of mail retrieval are higher is the seller has included a return address. Although it takes up to 15 working days for the above-mentioned mail routing to take place. Ask the seller to alert you if the mail is returned to his/her place.
2. All 3 possibilities listed for smaller mail apply.
Tips when sending out mail
1. Include a return address. (Can’t emphasize this enough.)
2. Write the recipient’s address and your return address in permanent black/blue ink. (If your mail gets soaked in the rain and your ink is not permanent, the address will no longer be legible!)
3. Seal your parcel tightly, this means masking tape over all the flaps and other areas that could possibly break open.
4. If you’re sending out a higher-valued item, take a photo of the parcel before you send it out. (It helps should you need to describe the parcel to that bewildered, confused-looking counter staff at Singpost.)
Have you encountered lost mail when selling/buying online? If so, how did you handle the situation?