I Ain’t As Good As I Once Was…

This has been on my mind, so I’mma ramble. πŸ™‚ If we’re able to come to a settlement agreement regarding the medical portion of my claim, I wonder if I’ll be able to eventually undo all of the damage that’s been done. πŸ€”πŸ˜Ÿ Not the physical stuff, of course, since that’ll slowly continue to get worse over the years… but the way the whole process has mentally changed me, especially over the past several years. 😞

It’s just that I’m guaranteed that one week out of every month will be filled with anxiety and stress, simply because I have to get my medications filled. 😐 The meds are required to be covered by my claim, and many years ago I could pick them up without issue – even being able to get them a few days early at times. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Then the problems started. πŸ˜’ Short delays turned into long delays, and long delays became even longer. Eventually the delays were so long that I’d have to pay out-of-pocket just so I didn’t go without, and then wait and hope that I’d get paid back. πŸ˜• If my doctor prescribes a new medication, it can be denied pending an IC hearing. Even when a prescription doesn’t change they can still sometimes deny coverage pending an IC hearing to prove that it’s still necessary. (Which, after a decade, it obviously will be.)

Three weeks of “tolerable” pain at best, followed by a week of worrying, fussing, and fighting just to get the meds that they’re legally required to provide. 😠 Repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat… πŸ™„πŸ˜ž Combine that stress with fluctuating pain and lack of ability, and eventually it consumed so much of my thoughts and time that I started backing away from everything else.

(Don’t mind my rambling… like I said, this blog sometimes acts as my therapy…)

When I can’t guess how I’ll physically feel, and I can’t even count on having (or being able to get) my meds to help… things became too unpredictable to continue like I had been. πŸ™ A couple of years ago I had a long phase where I couldn’t do anything if it meant someone “counting on me” for something. Family started getting shut out, friends definitely got shut out, all because I never knew how I’d feel when I woke up that day nor if I’d be facing (or getting pulled into) another hearing or lengthy process with the pharmacy.

That hasn’t changed. 😐 The concern and worry, that is. πŸ˜’ Along with my family and friends’ understanding, I’ve been able to make some adjustments that has kept me from totally isolating myself these days… but lemme tell ya, sometimes it feels easier to just remove myself from people’s lives than to disappoint them over and over again when things are bad. πŸ₯ΊπŸ˜ž And that leads me back to my original question… how long does it take for a person to escape that mindset, if that 1/4 of each month no longer has that anxiety and stress from the fight? 😐

The stress now, for better or worse, is making sure the settlement (whether an annuity or lump sum) is truly enough to cover the things that it will need to cover. If not, I’ll just be trading the stress of fighting for meds each month for the stress of not being able to take the same meds, because I won’t have the funds to pay for them. πŸ˜’ Medicare is technically supposed to step in at that point, but they’ll require all kinds of proof that I spent the settlement money only on applicable things, and the more expensive meds still might not be covered. πŸ˜– So as you can see, there truly is “always something.”

Kinda makes all the “You’re so lucky that you don’t have to work anymore!” folks reconsider, eh? 😏

Turn A Corner

I’m always cautious when I start to feel like things are “letting up” a bit, like to the point where I might be able to start returning some “normal” consistency into my daily life again… mainly because I know how quickly things can change. 😐 But at the same time, I don’t want to miss a chance just because I’m nervously awaiting the next “thing” that’s gonna come down the pike.

But I’ve found myself with a little gap here, where my appointments, obligations, phone calls, etc are almost none. πŸ˜ŽπŸ‘πŸ» So for the weekend, and maybeΒ a bit longer, I’m hoping that I can work around my pain and kinda act like everything else is fine. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ™‚ You have to understand that I’m almost always in “react” mode, rather than doing whatever it is that I might actually want to be doing, because my brain is usually full of all of the other stuff that often demands my time and attention.

My medical issues obviously aren’t going away, and the workers comp “back and forth” also seems indefinite for now. So unless I want to live in a constant state of pain, worry, uncertainty, and anxiousness – I really need to do a better job of grabbing these chunks of time. Moments of less urgency and fuss (re: everything… not just my health, my disability, and the WC stuff) where I can try to make that time count. πŸ₯ΊπŸ™πŸ»

Being optimistic doesn’t come easily for me these days, so I suppose that I made this post today because I am actually feeling a hint of optimism at the moment. πŸ™‚πŸ€žπŸ» Plus, just like when I talk about it with certain friends or family, talking about it here also helps to somewhat reinforce that feeling. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ So just send me your positive juju, if you would. I don’t even have “plans” for what I want to make of the next several days. It’s more like a vague “new year’s resolution” type of feeling where you just know you want things to be different.

Continuing The Tradition

It’s my fault for not knowing about it, since I still haven’t managed to get my ass back onto FB since before my cancer scan, but yesterday my cousin Jim texted me to let me know that he was hosting the family cookout that night. He announced it in the family group on FB, but like I said… so yeah, maybe that’s what I should have done to try to keep myself awake longer last night – but having woken up before 4am that same day, I just didn’t have the oomph to put on my social face… and I also didn’t wanna concern people, with them noticing that I was low-energy and possibly thinking it was cancer related. I mean, technically that could be part of it, but I covered the real reason in the entry below.

But I texted him today to apologize for not going, and he said that turnout was relatively low. Mostly local family and then a couple of the extended family that live within reasonable driving distance. I gave him props for still having the oomph to host cookouts or bonfires now and then, because even without a kid and a job, I know how just the crap that I’m dealing with can often have me just wanting to stay at home and recover from whatever has been wearing me out.

Talked about how lucky we were as kids, when we’d have the reunions at Grandma and Grandpa S’s house… how all of us kids just always had a great time, and were blissfully unaware of any “shit” that the adults may have been dealing with. Maybe they were just a slightly tougher generation, but whatever it was – it let us all experience those moments and create the memories that we now can only hope to reenact for the younger folks in the family now. So hopefully when Jim has a cookout like last night, and turnout is light… we’re comparing it to how it was when we were little… so hopefully the younglings are still getting a similar good feeling and creating similar fond memories to look back on when they’re older – even if it didn’t feel like a complete success to Jim.

I told him the same thing that I told Toni a while back… just because I might not come to an event, please don’t stop inviting me. When I don’t show up, it’s usually not because I don’t want to go – but because the other stuff that’s happening or recently happened in my life just has me distracted, tired, or otherwise just lacking the oomph to make myself go. But I do have good days, and I do wanna go to those things, and sometimes everything works out where I actually make it… and of course I end up having a good time.

Last time was an impromptu trip out to Shannon and Chris’ house with Matt, Toni, and Anna… even though I had to drive out through the field and park right next to the bonfire since it was during the period where my right knee was almost unusable. And as much as I hate being the “man, he looks pretty messed up” guy, it was still nice to spend a couple hours out there with all of them. Meh… I’m rambling…

I did manage to stay up a little later last night, and woke up a little later as well, so at least that plan worked last night – and I’m feeling somewhat better because of it today. Still having crappy dreams, but at least last night they didn’t actually wake me up. But I’ve already done up the little bit of dishes, made some pasta w/garlic sausage sauce that I split up into three plates for easy microwaving later, the doors are open since the day is nice, and there’ll soon be a NASCAR race to play in the background as I decide to do whatever it is that I’m gonna do with the day.

It Shouldn’t Be This Challenging

Today’s been kind of a flop. I didn’t have anything on the schedule really, but even after not getting much sleep – I still woke up with some motivation to work on one or two of my extra projects around the house. Also, between the lack of sleep and the shitty weather, I knew today wasn’t a car or glasses day either… so I’ve spent most of the day waiting for my upset stomach to go away so I could do a little of the work that I wanted to do without feeling like I was gonna yack. 🀒

It did make for a nice lazy day though, something that I sometimes struggle with allowing. Texted with Dad quite a bit, along with a few other friends, and then finally decided to go in the kitchen to chop up some green peppers to make some tuna salad for sammiches – to hopefully settle my belly, which it did. πŸ™‚ And to be honest, I was glad to just wake up today without my back being screwed up… something that it was showing signs of before I ended up falling asleep early this morning. 😯😬

So it wasn’t really that today was a flop… it was just unremarkable for the most part, so I wasn’t looking at it in the right way. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜ And now that I’m feeling better since this afternoon, I know it’ll help my mood to get some more of my “unessential” stuff done before whenever I fall asleep tonight. Normally my lack of productivity would have made me a little twitchy, but I think I’m still riding along on the thyroid med train – still seeming to get back a little more energy with each day that passes. πŸ€’πŸ€žπŸ» I wish I could explain how bad the bad days really were just a few weeks ago, to emphasize how these little improvements are still a big deal.

I think I might go ahead and pull out the 360 cam and charge it up, in case I feel up to shooting any video at the SCF here in a few days. If not that, I plan on taking a lot more regular pictures this year. It’s been a few years since I’ve bothered, especially since last year’s trip was kind of a shit show from the start. πŸ˜’ And with my mood being decent lately (for the most part anyway…) I’m hoping that it’ll also nudge me towards getting interested in my hobbies like video and photography again. 😟

Every now and then Jim will post one of goofy our old videos on Twitter and I’ll come across it, where we were just goofing off and having fun for random Squirtman themed videos, and it makes me realize how long it’s been since I could truly say that I was having fun at anything, or that I was in a good mood for more than a couple hours out of one day. 😞 I’ve gotta start trying to figure out how to get a little more of that back, despite all of the other non-fun stuff I’ll obviously have to be working on (or facing) as well. 🀨 It wasn’t that many years ago that I was a totally different person, and it’d be nice if I could find my way back toward that at least a little bit. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ If my body will just stay physically un-fucked for a while, I might have a shot at it.

Meh… just thinking out loud again I guess…

Latest Animation Rendering

Well, here’s the finished product. I’m pleased with it… all of the added touches are there to be seen – it’s just a shame that animation is sort of an afterthought with this modeling program, so the camera movements are a bit jerky and unnatural looking. But for anyone who had visited this house prior to me moving in, I think you’ll agree that it’s pretty faithful to the original… particularly the living room. πŸ™‚

These are the things that I believe I’ve improved since I made the first animation:

  • Fixed paint colors, correcting walls and making the ceilings white
  • Adjusted color and texture of all the doors
  • Updated the textures of the floors for more natural hardwood look
  • Changed sizes (particularly in the bedroom) of furniture for more accurate scale
  • Added lamp, clock, and ceiling fan w/light in bedroom
  • Added lighting, shower curtain, curtain, and changed bathtub/fixtures in bathroom
  • Also added more accurate texture for vinyl flooring and shower tiles in the bathroom
  • Picture window changed to wood w/more accurate sheer curtains in living room
  • Changed lamp on round table and square coffee table changed to oval in living room
  • End table lamps changed / now functioning, cuckoo clock now present in living room
  • Console record player under big mirror changed, vase/flower and newspaper added

In each room I also tweaked all sorts of things when it comes to object shading, colors, levels of reflection (matte/glossy), and lighting levels (spot/ambient)Β in a way that I think makes the whole thing look slightly closer to realistic and accurate to the way things were here in the past. I’m sure I’m forgetting a few things that I changed or adjusted, but yeah… there ya go. 😏

Oh, and I know – both times that I’ve created one of these animations, it’s been done where the house is assumed to be lit by dawn / pre-dawn light. I do that because I prefer to see how the internal man-made illumination sources and shadows are handled by the program, although I suppose one day I could render it out in broad daylight with fake ceiling lights (just a source light w/no visible fixtures) being activated in every room. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

This Is Not Where I Belong

I guess my cousin Shannon and her hubby are hosting an extended family reunion out at their place this afternoon. She’s texted me about it a couple times in the past few days, as has Toni, but I’m afraid I that have to disappoint yet again by letting them know that I won’t be going. 😞 Being depressed enough as it is, going out there and seeing everyone that I haven’t seen in forever would unfortunately and unintentionally just make it worse.

Think about it. Every interaction that I’d get involved in, it would likely start with “Hey, how have you been?” “What have you been up to?” “How’s your mom and dad doin?” or some other friendly inquiry to which I don’t have a positive answer. 😟 And I lack the ability at the moment to just “fake it” and reply with a convincingΒ “Pretty good, how ’bout you?” “Ahh, not much. Not much.”Β or “You know how it is, about as good as can be expected.”

I can just see a situation where if I wasn’t careful, I could end up being an absolute buzzkill to the get-together by blurting out detailed truthful answers –Β and that’s no good for anyone. Β (Plus, when people ask how you’ve been, they usually don’t really wanna know how you’ve actually been.)Β So the best choice is to send my apologies, thank her for inviting me anyway, and just stay away so they can have their happy gathering.

This Used To Be My Playground

I had to go in town earlier to work on some annuity claim paperwork that Dad needs, then after I left the bank I went and hosed off the car. Rather than heading straight back home, I decided to ride around town for a minute… something that I actually haven’t done for a while now.

I’m noticing more than ever that this town feels like a different place to me now. I think it’s because I’ve seen too much of the negative of Lancaster, not only through various groups on Facebook but in person as well. The Lancaster of 2017 is nothing like the Lancaster from when I was a kid. (said every old person ever)Β  The difference here is that the younger generations see that the town is turning to shit as well, so it’s not just my nostalgic brain playing tricks on me.

It really wasn’t even that long ago that the town still felt like it was mine. I doubt that there’s a road in this town that hasn’t been touched by my cousin Jim and I on our bikes back in the day. Then once we learned to drive, it was “fox hunting” on the CB… which took us to the edges of town and onward. Everything about this city was familiar to us, and that feeling lasted a long time…

But now, the memories don’t immediately pop up anymore. I could probably sit here and give you a memory for any street that you’d care to name, but when I’m out driving on those same roads now… that’s all they are, just roads. Just roads in a crappy, poor, crumbling, drug-addicted town. Nothing about it feels familiar. I think I’ll try harder to get the feeling back though, at least in part, before time wins and erases it all.