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. 🀨

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It Saves You Money, But Okay…

Woke up yesterday and finally dug into my mail, did my few bills, and presto – I now have double the doctor appointments in the next seven days. 😐 I guess it’s good I opened my mail when I did, but I now have more days reserved for doctors than I do for myself. πŸ˜’ The super-earlyΒ involuntary one is all the way up on the NW side of Columbus.Β Another “We want you to see our guy.” appointment mandated by workers comp, to determine (yet again… I’m losing count) if my injury/disability is worthy of the meds I’m being prescribed. πŸ˜”

Keep in mind, it was only a handful of months ago that my doctor was told WC was no longer going to cover my monthly doctor visits, because (as they were allegedly claiming) I missed appointments and didn’t pick up the meds that I am subscribed… just a bunch of nonsense stuff. πŸ™„ So me, trying to do anything to avoid more forced exams, more industrial commission hearings, the potential refusal of payment for my meds… I actually asked my doctor to switch me to something different, but with what sounded like similar positive treatment results. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈ I did this because I wouldn’t have been able to afford the monthly Lyrica prescription if they decided to stop paying, and also because I legitimately never feel good and was hoping that the change might not only help me feel better, but also cost my former employer’s WC insurer much less – a possible win-win, which I foolishly thought would make them happy and maybe leave me alone.

But no… just a couple months later, now I have to see another examiner under the premise of justifying what I’m now being prescribed. 😣 I hate that the shit they’re doing is working… almost always delays in getting certain meds filled, that weird phase where they were making false claims and threatening to stop paying for visits, etc… and it worked. πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ It spooked me, so I made a change that I stupidly thought would make those things go away, and instead that’s probably what triggered this new exam. “If you were taking (that) for so long, why are you now okay with taking (this)?” is the direction I’m expecting this to go. Yeah, I’m sure the guy who will have seen me once will know better than my doctor who has been treating me forΒ over a decade.

Of course this couldn’t come at a worse time. More on that in a later entry, maybe. πŸ˜”

(Unrelated…) I honestly don’t feel like doing anything. My chill is pretty much gone for the day. 😠 Oh, and the “wait, there’s more” from my “Chaos” entry the other day, when part of the town was without power? Nothing surprising. Everyone forgot how to drive, everyone was in a hurry and mad at anyone who dared to treat a dead traffic light as a 4-way stop, rude ass people in the stores acting as if the fucking sky was falling, and just the general unraveling of all the fragile humans’ brains pretty much like you’d expect. (GREAT idea, Skippy… rush to the opposite side of town to buy a whole bunch of fridge/freezer food, while also complaining that you have no idea when your power will be back on. πŸ™„πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜’)Β And then while driving again, this bizarre woman who had the right of way at our intersection actually started waving her arm wildly, mouthing something at me with an angry scowl on her face… which was her “polite” was of telling me to go ahead and turn in front of her, I guess. Fucking humans, man… a few hours without electric and they’re basically fucking cavemen again.

Better Than A Telemarketer

Heh… should have seen that one coming… the moment I wake up, my phone rings. 😱 Almost like my subconscious knew that a call was coming. πŸ§™πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ It was the fella that will be doing the litigation for my court case here soon, responding to the e-mail that I sent him late last night. It was a great conversation though, and he filled me in on all of the stuff that’s been going on lately, along with what his plans are for the upcoming appearance. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€πŸ« I can tell he’s a smart guy, and he didn’t dumb things down for me, which I appreciated. (It’s nice to have a conversation about something of importance with someone who absolutely knows what the hell they’re talking about. πŸ˜…)

He also blessed me with the knowledge that I don’t actually have to attend. Almost like I assumed, if I were to go I would end up just having to sit there and listen, which I don’t totally object to – but I’d rather let them do their thing and not put myself through the stress and probable pain of driving up to Columbus in shit traffic and snow, possibly still feeling side effects from the steroid injection two days prior, and then sitting there on my hands for 15 minutes while they bust through their arguments. πŸ˜’ Even just writing about this stokes my stress, which then stokes my pain.

Oh, I think that was the only surprising thing that he told me… the very limited amount of time that each side has to present their argument. 😯 The magistrate will already have all of the paperwork that he really needs regarding my claim though, so oral arguments basically just act as salt and pepper on the main dish. But man, sometimes just the right amount of salt can make bland mashed potatoes taste awesome. 🀀 So, as usual, I’m cautiously optimistic. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ He explained in detail the angle that he’ll be going with, and it does sound pretty solid.

Like I was thinking though, the ruling on this case will most likely set a precedent that many, many more cases will eventually rely upon in the future. 😬 I know that it honestly has nothing to do with me personally, but I’m still sitting here hoping that my case doesn’t end up being the one that causes problems for other injured people like me who will come along in the future. πŸ˜” Oh and get this, if the magistrate finds in my favorΒ – my former employer can still elevate this one more time, this time to the Supreme Court of Ohio. πŸ˜§πŸ‘©πŸ»β€βš–οΈπŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš–οΈπŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš–οΈπŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš–οΈπŸ‘©πŸ»β€βš–οΈπŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš–οΈπŸ‘©πŸ»β€βš–οΈ Just typing that sentence seems nuts. That court does have the option of telling them to just piss off though, so I guess there’s that. 😏

This was probably the easiest that I’ve transitioned into “handling unexpected phone call when you can’t even do phone calls” though. πŸ˜₯ Smart attorney who is also personable and is able to relate legal information to shlubs like me… that definitely helped. But between getting my brain topped up again and knowing that I don’t have to physically be in the courthouse for the process this time… that’s a call that I’m glad to have answered.

So Much Fuss

This is difficult. I have to go to court in about a week, in regards to the workers comp stuff that I’ve been dealing with for over a decade now. πŸ˜’ I have access to a crapload of documents that are directly related to this case, as well as information from past cases that may provide precedents that could either help or hinder the arguments coming from my side. 😐 But in this instance, for this appearance, all of that information that I could start digging into… it wouldn’t really do me any good, and that’s what’s difficult. 😣 Telling myself to just “let it go” because the attorneys are gonna attorney.

This particular phase has been elevated, because rather than just being about me trying to get a medication or treatment approved – this case is actually about whether all of the “powers that be” have been playing by the rules. 😯 I don’t want to get into too much detail, so it’s hard to explain it, but that’s why my input isn’t going to be needed. Because it’s more about making sure that every “T” was crossed, every “I” was dotted, and every rule was interpreted and followed in a way that should meet the court’s approval. 😬 There really is quite a bit riding on this.

So I could memorize everyΒ related case that came before mine, I could write an impassioned speech that recounts the trials and tribulations of this frustrating process over the entire past decade… but none of it would matter, because none of it is required. πŸ˜• None of it would even be welcomed (at least as far as it seems to me) because this time it’s all about the proper administration of my claim. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš–οΈ To be honest, I’m not even sure why I have to be there at all.

So yeah, I’m a bit anxious… one of those situations where the cards have already been dealt, but we have to wait a week to see who’s hand comes out on top. πŸ™‡πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ It’s really starting to look like this might happen, too. It’s been delayed a few times for various reasons on both sides, but with the information dump that has happened and the lack of anything promising in regards to a settlement, I think it’s actually gonna go down on the date as planned this time. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Time to tighten my belts and keep my hands and arms inside the vehicle at all times.

(Did I mention that the trial date is two days after my cervical spine injection? πŸ’‰πŸ˜¨ Yay? πŸ˜…)

Well, That Was Strange

I’m only writing about this now because I think I can feel it ending. 😳 But this past week, this has been one of the better weeks in recent memory, when it comes to my mood and my ability to human and all that. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I’ve done quite a bit more socializing on Facebook and through messages than usual, and for some reason it didn’t cause me to get twitchy like it often can. So that was a nice gift from my brain.

I suppose it was allowed out of a bit of necessity though… I mean, that’s how my brain may have been looking at it… because, at least visually, I’ve been snowed in here at the house for the past few days. 😬 The same d00d that mows my lawn drove by, saw that my front yard showed not even a hint of a driveway, and messaged me to see if I wanted him to plow a way out for me and I happily accepted. πŸ€— So of course it then snowed again today, although not enough to really make a difference when it comes to getting my car in and out. πŸ€” At least I don’t think it is… I haven’t actually tried it yet. πŸš—β›„

Oh, speaking of my car… I’m getting ready to install an upgrade to the current version of my car’s OS. πŸ€“ It is a package that technically hasn’t been released to the public, but after reading the reviews of everyone that have done it themselves – there seems to be almost zero problems when it comes to installation or use. So I’m gonna do that here in a bit, and I’m also going to attempt to customize some of the different screen backgrounds, just to have a different look than what I’ve been staring at for the past couple of years. 😡 Wish me luck.

Physically? I’ve been feeling miserable. With some moments that were on par with the pain that I was experiencing before I even had my surgery. πŸ˜–πŸ˜’ Thankfully it still comes and goes, so I just have to deal with it until it goes. And speaking of that disability… I finally received a date and time for the upcoming workers comp trial. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš–οΈ It’s still a month away, so that leaves time to huddle with the lawyers, or for them to get a continuance yet again for whatever reason they come up with this time.

So yeah, just wanted to pop in here real quick and report back that this has been one of the most “normal” feeling weeks for me in a long time. πŸ™‚ But like I said, I do feel something changing… not sure if it’s because the 3-day weekend is ending or what, but I’ve been feeling increasingly bleh as the hours click off today. πŸ˜• Gonna try to do some stuff around the house this evening so I feel somewhat productive, since that usually helps.

Bad, But Not Bad Bad

Well, “Doctor Visit #1” is out of the way. Going in, I definitely didn’t know what to expect. I know what I feelΒ (and hear) inside my neck, but I wasn’t sure if the MRI was going to accurately reflect that. πŸ˜• And… it did but it didn’t. πŸ€” Comparing it to an MRI from years ago, he could see more damage directly above the fusion area – but not so much that it requires more surgery. So I guess I got my wish… not that I want to hurt, but that I wanted it to show why I hurt, because I do. (Oh, and I actually have C5, C6, and C7 fused. I thought, for some reason, that it was only C5 and C6.)

It gets tricky now though, because my WC claim only allows for very specific parts of my body to be included. And even though any doctor that you’d ask would know that fused areas often end up with increased damage either above or below the fusion point, because that area isn’t specifically allowed by my claimΒ it may be a fight to get anything done in that regard. 😠 So, even though there’s a suggested course of action, if WC won’t concede that the damage is related to an area within my claim, there’s probably gonna be a delay. πŸ™„ Again.

First of all, he said there doesn’t appear to be much stenosis… a word that I’ve learned to fear from my mom’s own experience with it. 😳 But after spending a little more time than usual trying to describe the where/when/why/how of my current pain, he suggested that we try a steroid injection directly into my spinal cord area. 😯 I guess he’d inject some contrast dye first, and then while under some sort of scan – he would carefully puncture the right areas and inject the steroid, while being careful not to puncture the wrong areas. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈπŸ’‰ A bit unnerving, yes, but I have to do something.

Like I told him… I can’t even explain how much this injury and surgery have stolen from me over the past decade. πŸ˜” Who I am now is not who I was back then, and I don’t hesitate to put a lot of the blame on this disability. But to have my life changed so greatly, yet still be experiencing this kind of pain on a daily basis… frustration doesn’t begin to explain it. πŸ˜‘ But anyway, he’s doing what he can, and he doesn’t like the fight against WC any more than I do, but it’s just how things have to be done. So we’ll see over the next week if it’s allowed or if I’ll have to figure it out some other way.

Catching Up (More Later?)

Okay, I’ll put some effort into this entry. Things have been rough lately. Cassi and her family moved to a new apartment, and I was asked to help out where I could – and that’s all I could do, help out where I could. But basically what you had was a rag tag crew of broken people, trying to move an entire apartment’s worth of stuff as quickly as possible. 😬 I didn’t do much more than move boxes from the basement, up the stairs, and into the kitchen (what feels like 100 times) and then I did help Cassi with the actual packing of her room and taking those boxes downstairs too. πŸ˜₯ So even though what I was doing was mostly lifting dead weight, which doesn’t kill my neck and shoulder when done in moderation – of course I’m still dying today just due to the scale of what we were trying to do. (I wasn’t there for unloading day, handled by Cassi, Athena, and Athena’s new d00d.)

But anyway, I’ve done enough bitching on Twitter. We did have some other help for the bigger items, so everything that needed to get done got done. Of course we all wish we didn’t have to kill ourselves like we did, but it had to be done. One good thing though is that I’m pretty sure I’m still going to feel horrible by the time I get my MRI done tomorrow. Yes, thankfully it seems the scan has been approved – although now I’m remembering that I have a voice mail on my phone from the risk management company associated with my claim, so I can’t guarantee anything until I check that later. 😠 But the extra pain that I’ve been having, the random seizing that my neck is doing, the “different” noises it makes – I’m just really concerned that something is going bad in there. And I’m torn, because I want them to tell me that yes, it’s worse, and that it’s not just a coincidence… but of course I don’t want it to be something so bad that they start talking about another surgery. 😳

Oh, and in order to not stress Z out while they were getting ready to move, I decided to be cat-sitter again. 😺 I had her for several days, which was long enough this time for her to really start taking to me. No more hiding when I’d go down to the basement to see her – which was probably due in part to the liberal sharing of catnip and the regular “paper wad flipping” sessions. 😊 It’s nice to see that she hasn’t lost her excitement for that game.

So with all of that out of the way, after I get done with my MRI on Wednesday and hopefully get over to Aunt Sharon’s sometime today to help with her computer – then my life can maybe start going back to its normal boring-ness for a few days, and I can put my new vacuum together to see how she works… and do my laundry… and dishes… and bills… and continue packing away “get rid of” stuff… etc… 😏 I’m sure I’ll still pop up to Cassi’s a couple times in the near future to help her unpack things here and there, but thank God all of the ass-busting work has been done.