Much Doctoring

It’s only half way through the week but I’ve taken care of the blood draw, the appointment for my off-and-on lower back issues, and then another appointment to go over the lab results and schedule some additional things that need to be checked off of the “Post ’18 Surgery / Keep an Eye on Stuff” list at some point during the next six months. 😯😊 That was a pleasant surprise to hear that last part… that my lab numbers didn’t trigger any sense of urgency from the doctor, and that I can just do those next things at my leisure. πŸ™‚πŸ‘πŸ»

Tomorrow is gonna be a partial day off… probably gonna make a couple more phone calls (yay?) that need to be made, but other than that I’ll probably just potato in the AC here at home. It’s been effing hot so far this week, and looks like it’ll be just as bad (if not worse) as Independence Day approaches. πŸ˜“ Some of us are meeting up on Friday for my friend Jim’s birthday, and that’s gonna be outside, so I’m gonna cross my fingers and hope that we can find a place around here with both a low human count and lots of shade. 😎

Had a nice surprise towards the end of the day. πŸ™‚ Well, nice for me, but slightly less nice for Dad. He wasn’t feeling great so he had someone take him over to the ER to get things checked out, and once they were done I went and picked him up and gave him a lift back home. πŸ’πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸš– He seemed like he was feeling pretty good, relative to the reason for his trip out. I’m glad my car was cleaned out since a couple weeks ago though… heh… ‘cuz not only would I have been embarrassed for him to see it, but he also would have been sitting with his knees pinned to his chest due to all of the trash clutter in my passenger-side footwell. πŸ™„πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜…

My sleep is still pretty screwy, so I’m almost positive that I’m gonna be up half the night tonight – but I’m not even gonna sweat it one way or the other. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Half the time, when I can’t sleep, it’s ‘cuz I’m stressing that I can’t sleep. But with nothing major on the agenda tomorrow, it doesn’t matter when I crap out or wake up. 😴 My nap today was solid though. 😊 I didn’t even hear when the lawn guys came and mowed… only noticing it once I was backing my car out of the driveway later in the day.

Flipped The Switch

I blame Dark (season 3) for everything over the past 48 hours or so… 😏

Woke up stupid early on Saturday morning to start binge watching that, had a couple friends stop by for about an hour, and between those two things – I needed a nap. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ™‚ Unfortunately that nap at 5p lasted until about 9p, so I was up all damn night. Yesterday morning I finally got another short nap around 7a, before finally falling asleep asleep around 5p through 1a this morning. πŸ€”πŸ€¨ So I finally got enough sleep to where I was able to flip the switch a few hours ago to “awake, up, and around” before heading in town for some Tim Horton’s coffee and TimBits. 🀀

I’ve got a couple of appointments today, and a little errand to run for Dad, but all of that should be finished up by the early afternoon… so I think everything will be okay today. Now, I don’t know what that is gonna mean for my sleep tonight, but at least I feel okay right now… around 6a. 😐 It just sucks though, feeling like I blew the entire weekend, bleary-eyed and draggin’ ass for the better part of both days. πŸ§Ÿβ€β™‚οΈ But like I told Genesee, it’s not like “weekday” vs “weekend” really means a heck of a lot these days.

Still a bit nervous about my blood draw, since it goes to the cancer / thyroid doc, and there’s always a bit of anxiety about that stuff. 😬 No reason to think it’ll come back with anything bad though, since I haven’t felt much different than I’ve felt over the past months since my last scan, so… πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Not how I pictured my late 40s being when I was a kid, but I just have to keep pushing forward with this, the WC stuff, etc. πŸ™‚ Meh… maybe the doc will adjust my thyroid meds so I don’t feel like a potato all the time. πŸ›‹οΈπŸ₯” Wish me luck.

I’ve Got Too Much *clap clap* Time On My Hay-unds

I’ll do this and that on any given day, but overall, my life feels like it has been on pause for a long time now. πŸ˜” Three big things are much of the reason behind it. Getting diagnosed with thyroid cancer two years back and then surgery to have that removed, my workers comp situation that’s been going on for well over a decade, and then waiting while my lawyers try to hammer out an agreement for the medical portion of my WC claim. 😐 So, technically, it’s guess it’s just two “big” things that have me on pause. πŸ€”

I mean, like everyone else, I’ve got a billion other little bitty tiny things that will pop up and add to the stress or anxiety whenever they feel like it, but it’s those things mentioned above that feel like they’ve put the brakes on “who I was” the most. πŸ˜• This entry isn’t about getting into the finer details of how or why… even though it’s relatively obvious, at least on the face value things, how it would make life different for anybody if they had to deal with them as well.

I’ve got a “checkup” ultrasound scan that I’m supposed to schedule sometime around the end of spring / beginning of summer, and I’m not super excited for that. 😬 My yearly check up last fall, which included a second dose of radiation and a gamma scan, went fine… in so far that there wasn’t anything to be immediately worried about. πŸ€”πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ But of course with something like this it’ll take a few return trips before anyone’s gonna be so bold as to declare me cancer free… and it’s hard not to be anxious about your future with that just floating out there. (It is a good sign that I’m only getting an ultrasound vs the whole other shpeal.)

And then the workers comp stuff, which (considering the above) should feel smaller than it does… but it’s another thing that’s been hanging over my head for what feels like forever, and as some of you may know – it has a way of being a thorn in my side almost every month, so it’s something that once it’s “solved” that month – I immediately start thinking about next month and what dumb shit I’ll have to deal with then. It’s just another “always there” thing. 😠 It’s a shame what a pain in the ass it all is, considering how great my doctor is. And it’s been the same d00d for all this time… πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈπŸ™‚ I’m lucky, there.

Even though I probably won’t, I could say that I’m gonna start tomorrow… trying to change whatever it is that needs to be changed in order for me to feel like I’m restarting things. πŸ˜•πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Granted, not the best time, given the stay-at-home stuff goin’ on… but still, I’m gonna at least give it a little more of a shot. Tomorrow, the next day, the day after that… while allowing myself to have days where it’s just not working, but without letting those days totally sink the idea of getting myself headed in the right direction. πŸ€žπŸ»πŸ™‚

I gotta get out of this trap, where just because I know that some big shit is gonna go down soon regarding my WC settlement talks, it ends up causing me to waste most of my days as I sit there just waiting and wondering when “the next thing” is gonna happen. πŸ˜’ I miss so much of each day because my brain is looking too far ahead, fearing the worst. I suppose that applies to both of the examples that I mentioned in the first paragraph.

It’s not that I’m feeling sorry for myself or anything like that. I look around, I watch the news, I read the articles, and I know that I’m extremely lucky compared to a whole bunch of people. That’s all the more reason that I need to figure out how to stop being so affected by my stuff in the way that I am. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜” Meh… so yeah, this has been bouncing around in my head all day… figured I better put it in print so someone can remind me about this post and rightfully wag their finger at me if it seems I’m not doing what I said. πŸ˜πŸ‘πŸ»

Pre-Dawn Thought-Stream

Got notice yesterday that my IC hearing has finally been rescheduled. πŸ˜’ It’s gonna fall right in the middle between my most recent WC doctor appointment and the one scheduled for next month. I’ve gotta get two of my WC meds filled later today (I’m not gonna rehash how that normally goes) but with the hearing now on the schedule again, I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s even more trouble.

The past few months I’ve had to pay out-of-pocket to be able to get my meds on schedule, and then just wait and hope that the WC insurer would pay me back. 😐 I feel bad for the folks who are in the same situation as me but aren’t able to do that. And all this crap each month… that’s despite nearly every previous IC hearing over the past decade being found in my favor. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜’ (Making “winning” somewhat of an inaccurate term.)

That’s the thing, you can “win” over and over again, but they can come at you again for those same things, repeatedly, after a certain amount of time elapses. It’s literally a never-ending process, if they want it to be. 😟 No emotional investment from their side, but it can sure wear down the injured worker. I know I don’t mean this, but I’m almost “ready to lose” just to be done with it. Can’t quit now though…

Jim and Adam are coming to town this evening, and they’re gonna pick up Brad so we can all meet up for dinner somewhere. πŸ™‚ Jim lives so far away now, in the past few years I’ve only seen him probably a couple times each year, so (especially since he’s coming all the way down here) I’m really hoping that I can make it. Doesn’t help that I fell asleep early yesterday and have therefore been awake since 3a today. πŸ™„πŸ˜

It’s after 5a now, it doesn’t appear that I’ll be falling back to sleep, so that means I’ll likely need a nap sometime in the early afternoon. 😴 Heh… being old and broken sure has a way of changing how you plan for things and recover from them afterwards. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€πŸ¦³ Thankfully this has been an okay week re: my neck, so with any luck that will remain true tonight. (Unlike the 2018 Sweet Corn Festival when we all met up… 😳)

I was an absolute mess that day. πŸ₯Ί Dealing not just with my neck, shoulder, and some horrible random lower back pain – but also, being right before my thyroid cancer surgery, I had like 1/10th of the energy that I’d normally have when it came to getting around the place. I could tell by how they acted that I must have appeared like I was on Death’s door. πŸ€•πŸ˜·πŸ˜‘β˜ οΈ So, while things aren’t perfect now by any means, they’re at least better than that, eh? So I don’t wanna miss it tonight. Gotta make the moments count.

VΓ‚N SCOTT: Die Young

After having my thyroid removed because of cancer, having the follow-up radiation and scans… and nobody willing to give me an “all clear” after all of it – just more check-ups and scans in the near future, it gets my brain in a weird place sometimes. In times like that, this song really speaks to me…

I’m still optimistic and hopeful when it comes to my recovery, but it’s always there in the back of my head… not getting the “all clear” really sucks. But I think they’ll be able to catch it if it returns, since most of the affected tissue is already gone. So I’m not predicting an early expiration date, but sometimes I wonder…

Small Steps… Always

Still not much going on lately. πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I’ve been continuing the incremental bits of cleaning and packing up of stuff, spreading the work out over time so I don’t excessively aggravate any of my gimpy parts. I wish that it made a bigger visual difference in the house, but honestly most of what I’ve been doing has revolved around cleaning out closets, working in the (rarely used) basement, and cleaning out various junk drawers. It’s nice to get my desk organized though, with all the “office stuff” that used to be scattered around the house. πŸ€“

It’s still being done mostly for the sake of “doing something” during my otherwise lackluster days, along with the feeling of accomplishment when a long-delayed project / task is finally finished. πŸ˜•πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I’m not usually thinking about it, but it’s feeling more and more like I’m subconsciously preparing the house and myself to eventually move out of here. πŸ€”πŸ€¨ I’ve talked about the reasons before, which are all still valid, but when I’m not getting any younger and have been dealing with my various health problems – I think I just wanna be closer to town, people, stores, fast food, civilization, etc… just for convenience sake, if nothing else.

Meh… like I said, it’s not something that’s in my thoughts most days, but the idea is there. And in the same way that I’ve had to make adjustments to my daily life due to my disability and thyroid / energy issues, I can just see how being closer to all that stuff in general could make life easier and more bearable when it comes to the things that are a little more challenging for me. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€πŸ¦―πŸ€• I’ve got several friends that are feeling similarly, as they realize they’re a little more isolated than they’d like, so I think that’s also partially motivating me. Where do I want to live? 😐 Who knows. πŸ˜… But at least the chores that I do, essentially just to give myself some purpose, is preparing me for whenever I might be ready for whatever the next phase will be.

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‰

See, I’ll Still Ramble…

I had a good day out of the house yesterday. Well, afternoon anyway… did some “chore” running that I had to do, stopped off at a couple thrift stores, and then went out to visit with Dad for an hour or so before heading back home. πŸ™‚ Did quite a bit, relative to the same time several weeks ago, and it didn’t take too much out of me… but I did fall asleep way too damn early yesterday. πŸ™„πŸ˜ It wasn’t that “drained” type of sleep… I just went back to the bedroom early, figuring I’d watch a couple movies before I sacked out, but I ended up actually falling asleep around 7pm. 😴

Woke back up at midnight, watched the 2nd and 3rd Matrix movies (since I watched the first one again a couple days ago), then fell asleep near the end of the last one and didn’t wake up until around 10am this morning. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ So it’s 11pm now, I’m in bed, and I’m tired – but not sleepy – so I really have no idea when I’m gonna fall asleep or when I’ll wake up. πŸ€ͺ Luckily the only thing on my agenda tomorrow is going out to see Bri at some point. She’s one of my friends that I didn’t want to see me in as bad of condition as I was for those several weeks, especially considering that she lost her mom to cancer last year. 😟

Two totally different kinds, so any symptoms shouldn’t be compared at all – but I just know that if people saw me during the really bad week or two, they could definitely get the wrong idea about how good or bad I was doing. 😳 But anyway, I’m feeling “better enough” now that I don’t think I come off as “concerning” anymore… at least no more than usual. 😏 So I’m 99% sure I’ll still end up seeing her tomorrow, it’ll probably just be later in the day than I was thinking when I talked to her earlier. She’s great though… and a little frustrated with me at the moment… because like she repeatedly tells me – she’s been through the worst of the worst with her mom, so she doesn’t want me to feel like I have to hide anything from her for her sake. πŸ˜ŠπŸ’•

But my little thrifting trip… it was productive as well. I got a couple shirts, picked up some cheap stereo speakers for Cassi’s receiver that she got, and then found this strange, lone drinking glass with the silhouette of just a woman’s black hair and old-school glasses. 🧐😯 It immediately reminded me of Mom… from a few of her photos when she was really young… and when I showed it to Dad, unprompted, he immediately saw the same thing that I did. 😊 So that was kinda neat, and such a random thing for me to have spotted on a shelf where I normally wouldn’t have even been looking. I’ll have to take a better photo of that glass and then find one or two of the pictures of Mom that it resembles. πŸ™‚

Even more random, Genesee was heading back home from a trip she had taken with her family over the long weekend – and at the same time that I spotted that glass, she sent me a photo of an exit sign that they had just passed under, showing that they were only a couple of miles from the Atlantic City Expressway. 😊🎰 So, yeah… even though I think about her every day, it seems like Mom wanted to make sureΒ that she definitely got our attention that day. πŸ™‚Β And it worked…