Ray of Sunshine

No updates this past week because there hasn’t really been that much worth talking about. I did go to my first appointment with the WC doctor at the new facilities. About a month ago they moved to the brand new FMC-connected health care center / emergency room building, from the older medical center directly next door. It’s quite the upgrade. Big open waiting room areas with tall ceilings and tall windows, many more rooms to see patients, and even a few new doctors on the payroll.

But, especially right now, anything revolving around my workers comp case kinda has me anxious – so I did the typical thing the night before, where I couldn’t fall asleep at a reasonable hour and then I also woke up way too early. πŸ˜’ The appointment went fine… they always do… but it also involved going over some things about the rebuttal report that he’s going to be writing for the upcoming IC hearing – and to say that I’m tired of thinking about, talking about, and working on that topic… that would be an understatement.

After not getting enough sleep that night, it managed to shift my schedule to where I’m falling asleep around 8p each night, and then waking up around 3a… while also getting interrupted throughout the night by shitty, stress-themed dreams. (Of which I can’t even usually remember the details.)Β πŸ˜• I’m hoping I can shake things up this weekend and get out of thatΒ rut. Several people I know haven’t been feeling good, a couple friends got some crappy news that they didn’t need, my knee and shoulder are still meh… it’s just been one of those weeks for a bunch of us. 😟 Crossing fingers that next week will bring some positive change.

So, yeah… πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ that’s about it. I mean, there’s been positive things this past week too… got a new mailbox (that I’ve yet to try and install), the little ring of grass around the light post is actually growing, I got the trash cleaned out of my car, completed some random light chores around the house, etc. But yeah, like I said, not stuff that’s really worth blogging about. (I know… when have I ever let that stop me… heh) 😏

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It’s Nice When They Go Well

I was anxious as I drove to my appointment today. 😐 Even after I had checked in and was walking down the hallway to his office, I still wasn’t sure if I was going to decide to stop seeing him or not. But once I got to sit down and talk with him, it made my decision to continue going there an easy one. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈπŸ™‚ I explained how the IME doctor’s report made it seem like my treatment there should be something that demands great concern, with all of the “scary” things that were implied, and (even though we obviously continued our conversation) his reaction told me all that I needed to know. 😏 In a good way.

One of the first things he said, was that it was absolutelyΒ fine if I decided to no longer continue my appointments with him. Not only because my primary care doctor could prescribe the same relatively run-of-the-mill meds that he currently does, but also because he wouldn’t want it to cause me any unnecessary problems with my WC case, as ridiculous as the questioning of my mental health may be. 😎 See, that’s how a doctor should be… giving me his blessing to stop going there, even though he’d be losing a paying client, because he wants to do what is best for me.

That in itself made me decide to schedule at least one more appointment with him, about two months from now… not only so he could follow up on me, but so I could also follow up with him and let him know how the (yet to be scheduled) hearing went. He also said that he’d be happy to write a rebuttal report as well, setting the record straight when it comes to my treatment, as well as correcting other facts that the report got undeniably wrong. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈπŸ€“ Because, as you’d expect, having another doctor doing things that serve to further the stigma of mental health care… 😟 I don’t think he appreciated it. 😏

So I felt much better leavingΒ that appointment than I did when I arrived, and to let my thoughts stay on that positive path – I took most of the rest of the day off when it came to checking messages, watching the news, or doing anything else that could possibly subject me to negative stuff. πŸ™ˆπŸ™‰πŸ™ŠπŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ And now that I have started catching up on the news tonight… 😯 Goodness. I think I made the right choice in avoiding it for the better part of the day. Our government is a mess, man…

World Mental Health Day

(Just got done writing this one. Heh… sorry, it turned out way longer than I anticipated, but here we go…)

Any time you get on Twitter and scroll through your feed, you see any number of people posting something because it’s a “National (whatever) Day” of some sort. Usually it’s not… but it gives folks a good excuse to post cute pictures of their cat, dog, kid, or whatever – but after seeing several posts and doing a quick google, it turns out today really is World Mental Health Day.

It’s meant to raise awareness, show support for folks getting or needing mental health care, and to also reduce the stigma that’s sometimes involved. Often involved, actually. πŸ˜’ For example, a while back at one of my primary care doctor appointments I was discussing some of the things in my life that were causing me anxiety. My disability, pain, the (then) newly discovered cancer, Mom being sick and now having passed, other close friends dying from cancer, dealing with workers comp, etc… 😟 like I told her – stuff that would probably cause anyone to feel stressed. I was just telling her so she’d have the full story, but she said she could refer me to a counselor if I wanted to talk to someone about it. πŸ‘©πŸ»β€βš•οΈπŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Seemed like a good idea to me. Sometimes just being able to let out your stress or anxiety to someone that’s not involved in your life in any way… it can just take a little bit of the weight off. I saw her like once a month for a few months, and she said she could refer me to their in-house doctor to see if there was any medication that might be able to help. I wasn’t really interested, since I was feeling an appropriate amount of “bleh” in regards to the stuff that was causing it… but I went ahead and took her suggestion.

I now see that doctor about once every six or eight weeks, and I’ve actually got an appointment with him tomorrow where I’ll need to make a decision. πŸ€” Because, despite this feeling like a normal series of doctor visits – just as if I was dealing with a physical health condition – the fact that this doctor gives me medication to help with my anxiety is now being used against me. 😠 And being used against me by the last person that I would expect to further the stigma surrounding mental health care… another doctor. ☹️

And when I say “mental health care” … I don’t even take any type of super serious medication, and I haven’t been diagnosed with any extreme disorders. Until this hiccup happened, I looked at this doctor and my treatment there as “Yeah, I guess it makes me feel a little better maybe… or at least I know it’s not making me feel worse… so I guess I’ll continue going.” Like, in my mind, it was barely a thing, but I continued going since it was now part of my current medical routine.

But when I had to go to the independent medical evaluation for the workers comp system (a week or so before getting that second radioactive iodine dose and scan for my cancer followup) one of the things discussed with that doctor was what medical treatment I was currently getting, and from who. (Regardless if it was related to my WC injury or not, to get a complete picture…) So of course I talked about the cancer doctor and treatment, my WC doctor and treatment, and then my PCP doctor and referral regarding the mental health care.

Now, these exams, they’re initiated by my former employer’s insurer, so of course they’re rarely going to be helpful to my cause. So I expected him to say certain things, but I never expected that being treated by a doctor for occasional anxiety would essentially be “weaponized” and used against me the way that it is. 😟😞 Because this doctor took the names of the two meds I’m prescribed, and picked some of the absolute worst possible reasons that I may be taking them. You know how almost every medication has one “thing” it is known for treating, but then it can also be used for treating a half dozen or more other things?

You could even do this test on yourself. Just grab whatever meds you take, get on WebMD, pick out the most extreme, “worst case scenario” possible uses for each medication, and see how close that sounds – compared to what you’re actually taking them for. 🧐 That’s what this doctor did to me. Taking what is run-of-the-mill, minor anxiety treatment to me, and twisting it into all sorts of implied, speculative, “concerning” mental conditions that could be so severe that they even affect how I interpret / talk about my pain and disability. πŸ˜§πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜  Reading those things in his report was honestly shocking. πŸ₯Ί

The funny thing is, for most people… just the pain that I deal with each day, and the sheer amount of things that I can no longer do due to the disability in my left shoulder and arm… just those things alone are enough reason that a person might want to include anxiety treatment in their normal medical routine. And I was doing it mostly because another doctor suggested it, and it sounded like a “might as well” thing, rather than me desperately needingΒ it or seeking it out. And now it has bitten me in the ass. πŸ™„πŸ˜’

Well, maybe it has bitten me in the ass. (Maybe the commission will see right through it, as they should.) I won’t know how his report will affect my worker comp case until the hearing is scheduled and all of the doctors’ information (from both sides) is reviewed. But now I’m stuck, wondering if tomorrow I should let this doctor know that I no longer need his services. πŸ˜ŸπŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ He probably helps me a little bit, but it’s certainly something that I could do away with if it’s going to damage the treatment that I get for my work injury. It’s obviously more important (and logical) for me to want to keep the treatment that keeps my pain to a minimum, which also helps keep my stress and anxiety to a minimum.

Yeah, so anyway, it’s a bit of a clusterfuck… and, unfortunately, anyone that reads my story here… anyone that may have been considering seeing a counselor or psychiatrist for the first time… they’ve now got something to add to their mental “nope” list when it comes to the pros and cons of seeking any type of mental health treatment. πŸ˜’ I don’t take it personally, what the “independent” doctor wrote. I understand that his job is to come up with all of the “worst case scenario” stuff that he can, since my doctors will obviously be talking positively about all of the ways that my current treatment is as effective as the WC situation will allow.

I guess I look at those types of doctors the same way that you might look at public attorneys who are appointed to defend obvious criminals in court. They still have to give that defense their maximum effort, even if it goes against what many people would consider to be “right.” That doctor has chosen that job for reasons only he would know… so I can only hope that sometimes he stops to think about the effect that his actions have on us folks who rely on our WC treatment to keep our pain and lives at least tolerable. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜Ÿ

Happy World Mental Health Day 2019. πŸ˜’πŸŽ‰

Bedtime Ramble

Not sure what was trying to get me, but those two days of cool and rainy weather that I was looking forward to… I ended up feeling like crapΒ on those days. 🀒 I did dump that bag of dirt and grass seed the prior day and did up all my dishes that same night, and it did take a little more “oomph” out of me than I expected – but I think it’s because I was already getting sick,Β and not because of the little bit of work that I did. πŸ€”πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Regardless, it kinda sucked… but at least the rain was taking care of watering the grass seed, ‘cuz I ain’t gonna. 🀨 Once it’s out there after its initial watering… you’re on your own, blue grass seed… if you’re counting on me to coddle you with things like water, think again. 😏

But, as you may or may not be able to tell, I feltΒ pretty close to back to my normal today. Felt good enough to go have a nice visit with Dad, and when I got back home I found that the lawn guys had come and gone and also didn’t mess with the new dirt and seed. 😌 (Even though they’re probably chuckling that I think the seed will actually grow into grass in the middle of October.) I’m glad I wasn’t here though. I still feel a little weird when someone else is doing the manual labor that I can’t do anymore, while I’m sitting inside like a potato.

But yeah, I’m just glad that I woke up today feeling decent since I had plans today that I didn’t wanna cancel, plans for tomorrow that are somewhat unavoidable, and then doctor appointments on Friday. πŸ™„πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I guess I shouldn’t count on my tomorrow and Friday though until they get here… probably gonna jinx myself. 😯

This is county fair week too, and right now I’m only half-convinced that I even wanna go. By Saturday I’ll have had “three days of stuff” in a row, and sometimes after that much “stuff” my energy / neck / shoulder aren’t as cooperative as I’d like. πŸ˜’ So it’s hard to definitely plan on a Saturday fair visit, especially considering that I’d like to avoid the sea of “weekend” humans that would also be turning up.

I actually haven’t checked to see if Jim is coming to town, but if I’m going by myself it would probably be to either take some pictures or to use the 360 video camera to get some footage to upload and share. πŸ€“πŸ“· Both of those things are just better, in my opinion, when there’s less people around. Even among a fair crowd, walking around with a tiny 360 camera on a fully extended selfie-stick still isn’t veryΒ inconspicuous. And people staring slack-jawed and confused at the camera doesn’t make for great video.

And while it’s incredibly unlikely, there’s still a tiny corner of my brain that would love to shoot an early evening time-lapse / light trail type video of the entire fairgrounds from Mt Pleasant. 😌 Ugh… I really wanna do that. 😟 Anybody wanna piggy-back me up the hill? But then I wouldn’t get to walk around and see all the critters, play a few games, and eat something good-yet-disgusting that will have even odds of making me sick. πŸ˜… I think I’ll just see how the rest of the week goes, andΒ figure it out then.

It reminds me the of the irony of my favorite game there though. For as long as I’ve been going, the game where you try to ring the little canes has always been my favorite. Not for the shitty, weird colored cheap canes though… but for the “upper level” canes, which are actually “real” canes where you hook the curved part to win one. 🀨 Nearly every year that I’ve gone, I’ve been able to come home with one of those canes. The irony part… back in the day, the cane would either go into my closet (to be forgotten) or I’d give it to Grandma B, Aunt Carol, or someone else who could actually make use of it. πŸ™‚ But now that I’m older and more broken, if / when I win a cane, it’s more like “Ahh, good, I can leave this one in the car for emergencies.” or “Kewl, now I can have one under the bed in case I wake up and my sciatic nerve is acting up.” 😏

And, you know… (I absolutely don’t feel this way, but I can see where some politically correct folks might) the idea of handing out mobility aids, traditionally meant for temporarily or permanently disabled people, might actually offend one or two people in the state if they thought too hard about it. 😐 It’s like “Throw three darts and break three yellow balloons and you win a skateboard… but if you throw three darts and break three of the tiny red balloons and you win an actual wheelchair!” πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€πŸ¦½πŸ˜•πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Again, I don’t feel that way… but I’m tempted to google now to see if anyone’s ever complained about this anywhere.

Okay, time for bed… early day tomorrow, and I wanna make sure I stay good with my sleep. I need all the encouragement that I can get, to make sure I’ll get through all of this stuff over the next several days. 🀞🏻

Hopefully Motivational Rambling

Now I just have to decide how much other stuff I want to do this week. πŸ€” The car has been crying about an oil change for a while now, but it’s because I forgot to tell it (through the computer system settings) that I used synthetic oil last time instead of the typical cheap stuff… so I know it’s fine, but it thinks it isn’t. πŸš—βš οΈ Whether it ends up being important at some point or not – I know that it’s keeping track of all that sorta stuff, so I’d rather just get it done so she can stop whining at me. πŸ™„πŸ˜

And while she’s not ready for a new set just yet, I find myself airing up the tires a few times each month, so I’ll probably actually schedule the oil change with Piper’s service center there by the railroad tracks on Maple. That way they can rotate the tires, check ’em over, and hopefully plug anything that can be plugged. I could try to do all that through the local Ford place, which would also allow me to get any trivial recall shit taken care of – but that sounds like a longer process than I think I’m up for. πŸ˜’ I suppose I could get a rental for a night or two if I really wanted. Meh… again… just thinking out loud. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈΒ For whatever reason, it helps.

The other “gotta do” thing on the list, eventually, is getting into Walmart to get my vision checked and glasses updated. πŸ€“Β I’ll be able to keep the Rx shades I’ve already got for driving 😎 because I don’t think my vision has changed that much, but when it comes to my normal glasses – pretty sure it’s gonna end up being bifocals this time. 😟 I’ve actually been wearing older “backup” glasses since the end of last year, so it’s gonna be like having new eyes whenever I get around to getting this done. Still glad that I did my LASIK all those years ago, it’s just a shame that it’s not a “fix it and forget it” thing that lasts forever. But I’m not gonna push my luck and go under the laser for what would be the third time in total for each eye, because even if they correctly and safely fixed my distance vision again, I’d still have to wear reading glasses.

Of course the garage door still needs attention, but that’ll be based more on Rick’s schedule once I give him the go ahead to come check it out and start, and then after that he’ll be able to start on the shower. 😬 That’s the first thing on my “to do” list that starts making me a little twitchy. He knows what he’s doing, so it’s not that… it’s just the “fuss” of having people here and the bathroom sorta torn up in the process – along with that same type of worry that you also have with car repairs. 🀨 Where you go in for a rattle or whatever, they find the rattle, but then they also find “this, that, and the other” which also could or should be worked on. He’ll be able to handle whatever, it’s just that cringe of not knowing exactly what’s going on behind the tile and hoping there’s not bigger, unknown problems ahead. 😐🀞🏻

I suppose me thinking and talking about this stuff now… it’s all because of how my scan results turned out. Like, in a good way. Before I got the results, there was this subconscious feeling of “Why bother doing (whatever) if…” that I was probably having. Getting mostly positive (good) results from the scan, rather than getting something worse or even an expiration date… it’s allowed my brain to at least start thinking about shit that needs to be done, even if it still takes me a while to actually do it. πŸ™‚πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Improving

Went out and did actual grocery shopping yesterday. It’s been a long time since I’ve gone anywhere other than Dollar General or a quicky mart to just stock up on little random amounts of this or that to keep me going. But being run down for a couple of weeks and not making those little trips… I finally burned through pretty much everything in the fridge and cupboards. That’s good, I guess – I mean, that’s what some of the food was… shit that I could eat when I ran out of stuff that I wanted to eat. Well, that’s not exactly right, but you know what I mean. “Four cans of beets? Okay, I guess I’m going to be eating some beets today.”Β πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

It did take some energy out of me, but not like it would have done a week ago, or two weeks ago… so that’s one positive thing, that I’m definitely getting some of my energy back. Shopping is one of my least favorite things to do, so I ended up spending about $250… hopefully getting stuff that will last me a long damn time, other than stopping off for bread or pop or the other stuff that you always need to replenish before “the next shopping trip” wherever.

What’s funny though, is that when Gen and I were messaging last night, she asked me what all I got – and I legit had no idea. πŸ€”πŸ˜ Granted, I was already in bed, so my brain wasn’t trying that hard to remember… but I really think my brain put up a firewall while I was shopping. πŸ‘¨β€πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘¦πŸ‘¨β€πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘§β€πŸ‘¦πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘§β€πŸ‘¦Β Β βž–πŸ›’πŸ˜βž–Β πŸ‘¨β€πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘§β€πŸ‘¦πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘§β€πŸ‘§πŸ‘¨β€πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘§β€πŸ‘§Β  Β Knowing that I was already running on much lower energy, doing something that already causes annoyingly inexplicable anxiety at times, I couldn’t tell you what a single person looked like or did as I passed them in the aisle. No, wait, I remember some lady in the frozen section yelling at her kids for wanting to get the ready-made frozen lasagna – because she had already loaded her cart with all the things to make it from scratch. Oh, and I don’t remember my cashier, but the bagger chick was lightning fast… with all my shit bagged, back in the cart, and her moving on to the next station before my receipt even finished printing. πŸ˜ƒπŸ‘πŸ»

I finally ran out of juice once I got home and unloaded, but I did get all the cold shit put away – which means I have a kitchen floor full of bags waiting for me once I drag my ass out of the bedroom today. πŸ˜’ But it was just being worn out… not that “Oops I fell asleep for three hours” shit that was happening far too often a couple weeks prior. That’s really the only reason I’m posting about what 95% of people don’t even have to think about… a typical “big” shopping trip… because it hasn’t been that long since just walking out into the back yard to spray some weeds would put me out of commission. Just glad to know the thyroid meds are pushing me back in the right direction… and hoping that my uncharacteristic optimism here doesn’t jinx me for my appointment tomorrow. Also, plans for today are very limited… not falling for that “Ahh, I’m better!” shit and then ending up wiping myself out anyway after yesterday’s progress. 😏 Basically gonna take this as another “day off” after I get the rest of the shit put away and the laundry started…

Roll With The Changes

So I tried the Impossible Whopper on my way home from my workers comp doctor appointment today. It’s strange… I don’t know exactly what to say about it. πŸ€” It was different than a normal Whopper, which you’d assume, but not in a way that made it any worse or any better than the traditional kind. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I suppose the only thing that I’d have even noticed, if someone had just brought it to me and let me think it was a regular Whopper, was that it was a little dry / less greasy.

But by the time the cheese, lettuce, mayo, ketchup, etc is added – it’s honestly hard to notice any difference. And if it is legitimately more healthy (or at least less un-healthy)… something which I never bothered to Google… then yeah, I’d probably always order it over the “normal meat” Whopper. I think White Castle has the same kind of “fake meat” in a version of their sliders, so I might have to give those a try sometime as well. I’ve got no problem reducing my meat consumption as long as it tastes basically the same and isn’t detrimental to my health. πŸ„πŸ€ πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

As for my appointment today, again I suppose that I just took for granted that it wouldn’t be much different than any of my other visits with the workers comp doctor. But since it was with his PA (also a “real” doctor, of course) there was a set of “fresh eyes” on all my info. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈπŸ”Ž He actually did that because the first time I saw him, many months ago, when I was originally going to be moved mostly to his schedule, I wrote a summary letter for the past decade and said I’d appreciate hearing if anything jumped out at him which may not have been something that me and my original doctor had been addressing.

Be careful what you ask for, though… 😏 It’s nothing bad bad, but having new xrays and scans of the area from fairly recently – he took a good long look at them in comparison to the ones from before / recently after my original surgery, as well as whatever few that have been done between then and now. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈπŸ’» It’s nothing that I’ll have to address any time soon, but as always expected… after over a decade of three of my vertebrae being fused, the one above it is just showing signs of eventually needing attention as well. πŸ˜• Nothing horrible, nothing urgent… and since it’s something that I was already aware of as an eventual and likely possibility, having him remark about it honestly just rattled me because it hasn’t been one of the things on my mindΒ lately… not because it’s an “Oh no, a new surprise thing” thing.

But I like this doctor… I mean, time will tell if I like him as much as Dr Walter… but he talked with me a long time today, despite knowing that I’m still somewhat radioactive, and in detail that let me know he’s aware (or at least assumes) that I’m able to understand more than the average patient. πŸ€“Β I think he’s even older than Dr Walter, so I’m not sure why he’s got a PA position there. It could be he does his “real” doctor-in’ on all the other days when he’s not at this particular office. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ But yeah, it’s fine… and if anything, I still think the “fresh eyes” are good… especially since he might end up having to write some reports that explain how my original work injury / surgery is what has caused this newer potential issue – because you can bet your ass that I’m going to do everything that I can to get it included into my current claim for wheneverΒ I might have to start doing things that involve it. 🀨