Living with Chronic Disease

I have been living with ulcerative colitis* since June 2005. In that time, I have been hospitalized twice, had 2 blood transfusions, had a barium enema**, had 3 colonoscopies, had a gastroscopy, had too many IVs to count, and had blood tests in the hundreds. I have taken more medication for colitis and its associated secondary illnesses than I ever thought one human being could take. I have lived in chronic pain for most of the last 5 years.

Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease. It is confined to the colon where it causes ulcers that can bleed. Severe pain, cramping, diarrhea and blood loss are some of the common symptoms of ulcerative colitis. There are also symptoms that occur outside of the colon. These symptoms can include joint pain, eczema, eye problems, thrush, canker sores, yeast infections and other fungus, and skin eruptions (like boils). In reviewing the list of symptoms outside the colon, I have had most of them at various times.

For the most part, I persevere through all of this. I have developed an anxiety disorder living in pain and the stress of constantly locating bathrooms. I never know what the day will hold for my colon. In the early years, I would make 20+ trips to the bathroom. It was exhausting.

Fatigue is perhaps the worst part of this disease for me. I am so tired all the time. It is a different kind of exhaustion on a level I have never felt in my life until ulcerative colitis. I need to sleep 12 hours per night to function at all.

I cope ok. I am stubborn and I refuse to give in. However, there are days when I just lose it. Today was one of those days. My hemoglobin is low due to bleeding and Imuran.***  I am tired. I have had a difficult week. I have passed a lot of mucous and blood this week. Plus I have a very painful boil on my leg and canker sores in my mouth. It seems that the more symptoms I have, the less well I handle it. Add stress from life and I want a nice quiet place where I can cry. Today was one of those days. I don’t have a lot of those days. I probably have a right to have more of these days than I do.

*I will write about food and ulcerative colitis for Wandering Coyote at some point in NaBloPoMo.

**The barium enema, was hands down, the worst test I have ever had. It as humiliating, painful and did I mention humiliating? Plus you don’t get that wonderful conscious sedation so that at least you can forget about it the next day.

**Imuran is an immune suppressant medication that I take for ulcerative colitis. I also take mezavant and pariet.

Why I am no longer a Norton Anti-Virus user

This morning I was happily surfing away or maybe I was playing ‘Nanny Mania’ when an alert from Norton pops up telling me I need to activate my subscription. So, I click activate and it says that my key is not valid. So off I go to the website to try and figure this problem out. Now, to say that the Symantec website is a great example of how not to design help pages would be an understatement. Attempting to locate help information was very difficult. Finally, I stumble across a page about activation issues and discover that there is a fix Norton Antivirus 2005 – which is what I have. I install it, it does not work. Then I decide that maybe my subscription has expired. I can’t keep track of all of them in the house so I decide to purchase a new one.

Well, further down the rabbit hole we go. I purchase it sucessfully and it tells me to click on a menu and look for the ‘renewal centre’ option. And, you guessed it, I don’t have that option. So now I am stuck with a useless new activation code and no way to put it into the program. The new code is 10 digits long and the old ones were 24.

I decide to call tech support. I have now invested about an hour in all of this crap. I get a tech. I give all my information, explain the problem etc. He then tells me that my current subscription has 239 days left on it and he refunds the new one (well, supposedly, I am not holding my breath). Then we go around and around trying to get an activation code which Norton cleared out when I bought the new one and really was immaterial anyway because it did not work. After about 40 minutes with this guy I ask to talk to someone more techy.

I sit patiently on the phone while it rings for at least 5 minutes and then someone answers. I can barely hear him at all. So I give all my information again and explain the problem again. We go through a bunch of crap that basically does nothing. He has me download that program again that does not work and still no success. Then he tells me that this is all my fault because I lost my activation code – which he claims he cannot give me again. Nor, can he give me a new activation code. We are now about 90 minutes into this process and I have had enough. I tell him that I want a code that will work or they can refund the 239 days left on my subscription. Well, he does not want to do that he wants to transfer those days to another one of the computers. I said no way. I then asked to speak to a supervisor. He transferred me and the phone rang for 10 minutes before I finally hung up.

So, back in the queue. Go through all the crap again and I finally get a supervisor who agrees to refund my money. I ask him which credit card is it going to because I can’t remember which one I used months ago. He can’t tell me that but gives me a refund confirmation number.

After thinking about this for a while I wondered why they gave in to the refund so easily. So I poked around on google and found this. Apparently they have had this activation problem for a couple of years. If they can’t fix this problem I have very little faith that they can actually protect my computer from a virus.