Wednesday, November 02, 2005

MAILBAG --> UNITED NATIONS

I am in awe of my life.  So, I have to ask: Have you ever gotten a package from the United Nations? 

Typically when I open my P.O. Box I dig through form-letter responses. Since I have gotten so many non-tactical letters, I have gotten pretty good at predicting the contents of an envelope based on its size, weight, and formality. There are a few rare exceptions, like the very formal letter I received from the White House on March 23, 2004 or like the one I received from The Office of the US Global AIDS Coordinator last Fall (Please see "A Few Highlights" post, http://cfsstraighttalk.blogspot.com/2005/07/few-highlights-of-my-plight.html). 

An average week's mail includes:
* a letter from the Federal Trade Commission, FDA or a CEO/medical officer of a Rx Company (or one in their communications/PR employees). 
* a few "return to sender" pieces, from recipient addresses I inadvertently shipped to, who had no forwarding address, or that I simply forgot to stamp. 
* a handful of Senator/Congressman responses telling me that I am not their problem:

"Thank you for contacting me regarding your medical care. I would very much like to be of assistance. In keeping with long-standing tradition, Congressional courtesy requires that each member of Congress be given the opportunity to directly serve the constituents that he or she represents. Therefore, I have forwarded your correspondence to your Senator {Edward Kennedy} or {John Kerry}. Sincerely..."

Blah, blah ...

Not my problem, Not my problem... shuffle, shuffle....

From time to time, I will also receive a personal letter. These are the ones that are the most touching. They are from random people who read about my plight and wanted to take the time to share their story with me, to wish me well, to support my plight, and to comment on their admiration of my strength (or of my courage). These letters are truly profound, especially the ones where someone tells me that I have helped save their life and/or sanity and have inspired them to find their inner strength to fight on.

While I recognize that I made the conscience decision to take on the complexities that are now my-so-called-life (Please read: "On Becoming an Activist" post, http://cfsstraighttalk.blogspot.com/2005/07/on-becoming-activist.html), I am blessed to have family/friends to help me carry the emotional burden of dealing with my unpredictable future. I also know the sense of relief, however, that comes from finding peers, who are dealing with the same problems.

Today, started with a simple yellow postcard in my P.O. Box which read: "Please See Postmaster."

I wish that I had saved it, so I could add it to my memoirs.  "What might the postcard represent?," I wondered. Who would be sending me something that does not fit in my P.O. Box?  I had a fleeting thought, along with a vision, that the CDC boxed-up a few thousand dollars and mailed it to me, so that I could hire my own scientists. :-P  I quickly concluded that that would be way too simple and logical to be true.  My Utopian vision quickly faded, as I snapped back to my "nobody-cares" reality.

Puzzled, I walked towards The Postmaster.  We exchanged pleasantries, as I handed him my postcard.  He left for a few moments, only to return with a large, brown-papered, package.

The outside of the package looked very official.  The United Nations' insignia in the upper left corner, which if you have never seen it, is two olive leaves (I think) encapsulating a circular, bird's-eyed-view, of the globe. I am not sure that I am doing the symbol justice, but you can take a look here: (http://unrisd.org/).

My address was hand-written, so I knew right away it is not a standard 'form letter,' as I have gotten pretty good at analyzing mail.  This package, however, was a sizable heavy-duty package with "CH-1211 Geneve 10" in the upper right hand corner, depicting its prepayment status.

I pondered: "Does the United Nations have to pay for postage?"

The return address was listed first in French, then again in English: "Institut De Recherche Des Nations Unies Pour Le Developpement Social", and then "United Nations Research Institute for Social Development."

Holy Cow --> A package.........from Geneve.....Switzerland!......Wow!

A memo inside (first in French, then in English): "Avec les compliments de l'Institute de Recherche des Nations Unites pour le Developpement Social" and "With the compliments of the United Nations Research Institute."

It has become glaringly apparent to me that the bureaucrats and the medical/scientific community are well aware of the big, big problem we are sitting on with HIV-NEGATIVE AIDS cases --- documented in medical journals all over the world (dating back to 1992).  I wonder when, exactly, someone plans on informing the public....because I am pretty certain that being a chronically ill, idiopathic, immunosuppressed patient is not supposed to be this flippin' difficult.

I wanted to share my noteworthy event with you, because I certainly don't get to experience the receipt of a package from the United Nations every day.

As for the contents of the package, I will save that for another day....

My life really does fascinate me....

Bittersweet.

A few more highlights --> http://cfsstraighttalk.blogspot.com/2005/07/few-highlights-of-my-plight.html

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