Unwanted Realism

Had a good day yesterday, got a bunch of bills / paperwork / etc. done, and went to sleep in fairly decent shape. And then I had a series of some of the worst nightmares that I’ve had in quite a while. I can’t think of any reasons for them, nor can I link any of the dreams’ imagery to anything I saw or experienced during the day prior. 😯πŸ₯ΊπŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚️ So along with waking up several times during the night, when I finally woke up for good this morning I was legitimately exhausted. πŸ˜“ Way too real and stressful. Hours later and I’m still having a hard time shaking it off. (Chases, knife attacks, abducted kids, assaults, horror movie deaths 😳 Oy…)

So now I feel like I’m having an awful day even though there’s nothing about this day (at least so far) that should make me feel that strongly one way or the other. πŸ€”πŸ˜ Heh… so along with just taking it easy today (since I’ve got my meeting tomorrow) I’ll have to kinda keep reminding myself that it’s not actually a bad day. πŸ™„πŸ˜ Nothing on the agenda, nothing that needs my immediate attention, so I’ll probably bubble up and just watch some YouTube and Netflix and try to avoid anything negative. πŸ€¨πŸ“Ί

The only thing (based in reality) that’s got me a little bit anxious is that there’s some rainy / icy / snowy weather headed this way. 😳 But I’m sure by the time I’ll be leaving the house tomorrow, if anything has managed to accumulate it’ll be gone from the roads by time I’m out on ’em. 😌🀞🏻 And, ironically, it actually helps to focus my thoughts on the meeting with my WC attorneys tomorrow. It’s still stressful, yeah, but I know what I need to talk about, and however it goes it’ll still be pushing this shit further along towards a resolution or significant change… so yeah, still looking forward to it. πŸ™‚

Checking Off Boxes

Typical “workers comp, beginning of the month, get my scripts filled” day today. Three different calls to the pharmacy, issues with my information in the computer, problems with certain ones not being approved… same bullshit as usual, except due to the incorrect information in their system I even had to stop in myself, with receipts and printouts and crap from last month. The folks that work there are great. It’s never the people there that I have a problem with… and after my visit we think everything is now updated, correct, and in process of being authorized – so maybe sometime today I’ll actually be able to pick them up.

I had to be out today anyway, so stopping in to get all this stuff sorted out wasn’t a big deal. I mean, I actually feel kinda bad for them – with how much of a pain in the ass “my case” is for them each month. It makes me wonder if any pharmacies have ever decided that certain customers’ situations were just too much work, too many calls, and too big of a PITA – and just told them to take their business elsewhere. ‘Cuz I can see how they could feel that way about me, if they weren’t such understanding and helpful folks.

But at my other stops, along with having several vials of blood drawn, we’ve started getting a lot more things set in stone. I’ve now got dates (if not exact times, yet) for the next blood draw, the administration of the radiation dose, how long I’ll need to stay away from people (which included rearranging another unrelated doctor appointment), when the full scan at FMC will be, and then the followup with my main thyroid doctor after all of the results are back and interpreted.

It’s surreal… how this is such a “big deal mind fuck” thing for me as I’m going through it, yet I’m just one of many. There are enough people needing this kind of treatment that once a week, every week, it’s radioactive “dosing day” for thyroid patients at FMC. But for whatever reason, even as you’re out in town, seeing other people doing whatever… it’s easy to feel like you’re the only person going through this shit, while actually we probably pass by people each day who are going through the same thing or worse. Working in nuclear medicine, giving the doses… I can see how that job could start feeling pretty heavy after a short while.

Tired of This Shit

I’m not sure how this month’s appointment with the WC doctors is gonna go. πŸ˜• I think I’m actually seeing Dr Walter this time, when it was the new guy that I had the in-depth discussion with about the state of my treatment last month. Regardless, since the WC insurer is coming at me with the shenanigans again, the conversation will have to revolve around that rather than the stuff that I started bringing up last month.

I’ve got to be careful, because it almost feels like a “trap” that WC could use against me, but this month I have to start discussing possible alternatives for the meds that I’m taking right now. Because if they are somehow able to weasel out of paying for what I’m currently taking, the cost of two of those medications would simply be too much for me to continue taking them long term. πŸ™ That’s where the “trap” part comes in.

When I start discussing more affordable potential alternatives for the meds I’m currently taking, I want it to be clear with my doctors and in my records that I have no desire or intention to make any changes now… and that the research and discussion is really just to act as my parachute if I get pushed out of the plane. But I can see where my fear of being forced to pay for my own meds, which has made me research cheaper (but likely less effective) alternatives, means that I nowΒ know that there are cheaper alternatives, so they’ll probably think that they have the right to force me to change to them – despite my preference to keep taking the ones that I’ve been taking. 😏 Heh… I know, that sounds a bit convoluted, but it basically make sense, no?

But until I’m able to discuss this with them, I know that I’m just taking barely-educated shots in the dark when it comes to what might or might not be suitable replacements. 🎯😎 I mean, even though I know that Lyrica has very specific actions – at its most basic level I know that it is considered an anti-seizure / anti-convulsant medication… so that’s where I start looking. πŸ€“πŸ“š And now I have four or five medications that I think could be good replacements… but for all I know, even though they’re anti-seizure, they may have totally different actions – and ones that aren’t even close to being applicable to my situation. πŸ˜’

So for now that’s all I can really do… look for “close” meds and make sure there are more positive side effects than negative. Then I’ll just hope that I’m actually on to something, and that information can be put in my back pocket until it is needed. Between now and then I just have to figure out how to condense all of this crap down into a tolerable three to four minutes. πŸ˜³β±πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈ Gotta impress the importance of this on him, while also not rambling so much that my point gets lost in the noise. I’m better at that than you’d think, actually… it just doesn’t seem that way here because I know I can go on and on about something and it doesn’t matter, since hardly anyone reads this blog anyway. πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

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.

I’mma Ramble For A Min

I don’t know if I’m going to have to deal with that nonsense every thirty days, but at least yesterday I was finally able to get the situation resolved. πŸ˜’ Everything ended up getting approved and paid for (after I got a refund for what I paid the day before) by the workers comp insurance. Everyone that I spoke to on the phone was super nice and helpful, which was almost disappointing – since I was really needing to shout at some people by that point. 😐 But yeah, it’s all settled for this month…

Now I’m sitting here in the house, living room floor covered with cat hair, wondering when my new vacuum cleaner is finally going to ship from Amazon. 🀨 I got it as part of a Black Friday / Cyber Monday/Week sale, but it wasn’t in stock at the moment and was advertised that it would ship in about a week. (It’s been about a week.) Meh… at least I don’t have any company coming over to see my furry carpet. πŸ™„

Outside, nothing has changed. It’s cold now, so stuff has stopped growing, but I never did get around to hiring someone to trim back all the hedges and other shit around the yard. πŸ™ It doesn’t look that bad, but it stays in the back of my mind that it needs tended to. πŸ˜’ That’ll probably be a “spring thing” to deal with before the lawn even requires mowing for the first time.

This house. I really don’t know what I want to do about it. It’s way too much house for one person, but it’s never been lived in by anyone other than a Batina. Grandparents, Dad, Aunt C, and now me. 😳 Lots of memories here, both good and bad… and it will/would be hard to not feel a little bit guilty about selling it and moving somewhere else. 😟 It shouldn’t be that way, but you know me – and how much memories / history / nostalgia / etc plays into my life. Plus, it’s the last thing that acts as “established Batina history/presence” and man would it feel weird to not have it around anymore to keep me feeling connected to my past. Hard to explain… but anyway…

Thankfully, now that I have all of my required meds in my system I’m feeling pretty good. Neck is still feeling more funky than it has in a long time, but I’m trying not to complain. I’m still waiting to see if the MRI is approved… and I’m hoping that if it’s not, that maybe I can use my Medicare insurance to cover most of it. Because I’m not doing it just to do it… something feels different, not good, and it’s making me a bit anxious. 😬 It’s been a decade since my cervical fusion surgery, so I don’t think it’s that far fetched to think that things may have changed in there since then.

Wait, How Much?

The other day I did some investigating in regards to the monthly cost of the various medications that I’m prescribed, for the injury/disability that is currently covered by my workers comp claim. It’s been quite a while since I’ve given it much thought, but man… now that I see the numbers… damn. 😧 These are the prices that I would pay if I had no insurance, and was paying for my prescriptions with cash.

  • Medication #1” – Brand Name: $284.99 / Generic: $73.59
  • Medication #2” – Brand Name: $1314.99 / Generic: $535.99
  • Medication #3” – Brand Name: $996.99 / Generic: (N/A)

So with those figures… add in the monthly office appointments, the potential tests or procedures that I might need to have in the future… and you can see how I’d be a bigger financial burden to my WC insurer than one might originally think. (And it sure makes these settlement negotiations feel a whole lot more significant to my future.)