Awesome Timing, Thanks

I went and saw the new “physician’s assistant” fella yesterday. He first confirmed that Dr Walter is still my doctor of record and that everything will still go through him… but hopefully after this initial “getting to know each other” appointment (for which I’m sure he’ll have to confer with Dr Walter at least this time) he’ll be able to handle most everything while leaving Dr Walter’s time free to help patients that can actually still be helped, patched up, or even repaired. That’s where his time should go.

Thankfully though, I really like this guy. Dr Walter and I have a decade of history from me going to that clinic for the same problem… so, obviously, even starting to get new guy on the same page as us would be impossible in one visit. But that didn’t stop him from intently listening to everything I said, as well as already offering his preliminary thoughts and ideas about my condition and treatment. I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but the positive vibes were a pleasant surprise. I mean, it was really a crap shoot (what type of doctor I could have ended up with) but I should have known that their office wouldn’t hire a jackass when not a single one of them already there acts that way.

Okay, so that was the good part of the visit. Nothing has changed yet, but I told him that I appreciated having “new eyes” looking at the situation, and letting him know that I am willing to try changing some things up if he, Dr Walter, and I think that it could help with the problems which have slowly been getting worse over the months and years. I then began the walk to the front of the office to make my next appointment and hit the road, when I was told that Laura, the workers’ comp “saint” of the practice, needed to see me before I left.

She told me that my case manager contacted them and told them that I was non-compliant with my scheduled appointments, and that I was also non-compliant with getting my medications filled each month. Now, Laura has been there since the beginning with me, so she (like me) knew that what the case worker was saying was complete bunk. Before I could even say anything, Laura told me that she had already faxed more than sixty pages worth of documentation to them, to let them know that they are either full of crap and are trying to jerk me around again, or that they are incompetent. (My words, not hers.) I mean, how many times have I bitched here myself about how nearly every damn month I have to make multiple calls, multiple visits to the pharmacy, and often still I’m not “allowed” my medications until days after they’ve forced me to run out?

Based on what they are claiming, they are now only willing to pay for one doctor visit every three months – while certain medications that I take require me to be seen every thirty days. (And it sure sounds like their eventual goal may be to straight up “kick me out” or void their obligation to me.) So, this is what I have to deal with now. And I really need some dumb shit like this, right now, when my plate is already overflowing with stuff that is pushing my health and emotions to their limits.

But that’s what I’ll be doing tomorrow, gathering up all of the current information about whoever is my acting case manager, figuring out which of my attorneys handles this type of issue, and probably trying to figure out how to get records from my pharmacy – and maybe a statement from the pharmacy techs who know how I regularly get the runaround – and get everything in some kind of order, to where I can start making calls on Friday.

I had a good day today, and I do want to blog about it at some point, but I’m still furious about this. Yes, it’s all easily, easily refutable… and there’s absolutely no way that I won’t win if this gets forced into another IC hearing or actual court case… but the fact that I have to do it at all, and that they still seem determined to deny me as much of my treatment as they can. I don’t understand how any human could or would take a job like that, where if they complete their task or reach their goal, a person’s life is ruined.

If I keep talking about it I’m not going to be able to sleep again tonight, but that’s the gist of how my Wednesday went. I’m glad Genesee is still in town, because today I had to just pretend that yesterday didn’t happen… just for this one day, so that my brain wouldn’t have a meltdown from immediately trying to fix all of this. I already spent the entirety of Tuesday night through dawn on Wednesday wide-awake, sitting in bed with my phone, looking up countless things regarding my case and treatment, and sending them to the printer so I could compile and highlight them later.

When there is a reliable, well-documented, years-long pattern of delaying or denying a patient’s medication or treatment, when multiple hearings and court cases have already made it clear that the patient is legally entitled to all of it… even if it’s done in a way that technically isn’t in violation of their obligation – you’d still think it might reach a point where a judge would see that it’s nothing less than harassment, and I have to believe that one of that patient’s litigating attorneys would smell blood in the water at that point, so to speak. I’m not a squeaky wheel. Why do they want to push it to that point?

(Okay, tomorrow’s entry will be a positive one. I just had to let this out, for better or worse.)

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Tedious Ramblin’

Doing my typical weekend thing, being half-productive / half-bum. 😐 Last week wasn’t too bad… got a few of my “must do” things done, while adding in a couple new things on the fly – and whatever wasn’t accomplished last week will just be added to the list of stuff for the upcoming week. 🤷‍♂️ I guess I got just enough of last week’s stuff done that it’s not really stressing me out today like it normally might.

Dealing with the misc “bill stuff” last week was tedious. 😒 My check for an bill that I had gotten was returned to me, with a note that said no balance was due. That same day, I got a second bill for that same amount… and it took talking to someone in person to get them to acknowledge that I was handing them a check for the amount due, at least according to their file. 😠 Not a big deal, just annoying.

Then I got a bill from one of Dad’s nurses or doctors, for an “at home visit” which I obviously don’t get here at my own home. I called and explained that our names are similar but not identical, but she still couldn’t tell me why the bill came to me, in my name. 🤨 She assured me that she fixed it in the system and that I won’t have to worry about it. It was for only ten bucks, but still… annoying.

Tried to call the hospital about some additional bill stuff on Friday afternoon, but even though it wasn’t that late in the day – apparently everyone with any authority had already left the building for the weekend. In theory, the financial assistance should absorb some bills as they’re generated, so there’s a good chance that the ones I’m calling about will have already been affected (or perhaps eliminated) by the time I actually speak to someone about them.

Everything that I ordered for Maven finally came in. There were issues because of the package being damaged in transit, then automatically refunded, then the order was automatically re-ordered – despite me doing that same thing manually… just nonsense that had to be worked out before everything was good. 🙄 But she’s feeling better, is mostly flea-free… so basically I’m handling a few things at the same time with her, like I’ve been doing appointments with myself for a few months now.

Oh, and then the “on the fly” thing that I mentioned having to make room for last week… it was an intake appointment that my PCP had made for me, to start seeing a therapist and psychiatrist. 😳👩‍⚕️ The last two PCP appointments I mentioned that I’d like to do that eventually, but that I wasn’t ready to throw it in with all of the rest of the things I’m dealing with quite yet… but my PCP apparently (and accurately) figured that I really did want to get started with the psych side of things, and that I just needed the nudge of having an appointment straight-up scheduled without any input from me. 😏

The first person I saw (and the only person, until next week) was the therapist lady, and I think I’m going to like her. 🧐 I got the typical hour-long intake visit with generic questions to start sizing me up… and I think I’ll like her not only because we share political and social views (it came up while talking about insurance and pre-existing conditions), but also because I think she’s aware that I’m relatively smart – and she seems pretty sharp herself. I always like therapy better when there seems to be a “fun” but somewhat adversarial type relationship – where we each know that what we both say will likely have merit.

Not much talk about meds yet, since that will fall under the umbrella of what the actual psychiatrist will be handling for me… so, I dunno, it may seem weird but I’ve always liked counseling for some reason. Even if it’s just because I can rant to a disconnected party for almost an hour and then just go home. 🙂 I don’t have to consider any “solutions” that they think might make me “better” compared to what I usually am. I mean, I’m open to suggestions… but do I have any specific goals or methods that I’m particularly interested in? Not really. Hey… I’m not the one who actually made this appointment.

Overbooked / Understaffed

Not thrilled with how my dentist appointment went yesterday. The root canal, to prepare for a crown, was first – and I ended up spending two hours in the chair. Some of that was waiting for the numbing agent to work, but a lot of that time was because she had her office overbooked – and she kept working on me a bit, leaving for a bit to work on other patients, then back to me again. She had to have done this about a half-dozen times… enough that by the end of it all the numbness was wearing off.

Now, I know that what she was doing with my tooth was difficult, and she had to use different tools and try this and that… but in my opinion, once she started working on me that should have been it. And the “rooms” are actually somewhat in the same common area, so it’s not like I can’t hear her working with someone else during the moments she was taking a break with me. And when I said “by the end” it didn’t actually mean that she completed the task. It means I had enough of the pain and the pauses and I told her to either get it wrapped up or put a temporary filling in it and I’d return at a later date when she could actually finish uninterrupted.

I honestly wouldn’t go back to her if the impression hadn’t already been taken of that tooth, and the process of shaping the tooth for the crowd having already been started. But the second dentist working there, after they numbed me up a second time, she came in and got my wisdom tooth out in about five minutes. Granted, her job was just down and dirty with much less finesse required, but I was thankful to get it done and get out of there. It was an awful sounding process… lots of cracking, breaking, digging… *shudder* I’d hate to have actually seen it from a 3rd person point of view.

My entire day after that appointment was fucked… think about two hours of having my mouth pulled this way or that way, opening as wide as I can, and then of course all of the actual trauma to my mouth. Couldn’t even close my mouth during the times where she wasn’t in the room, due to the bite guard. Felt like someone hit me with a 2×4… it kept me from falling asleep and woke me up a few times during the night once I did. So yeah, one of my worst dentist experiences by far. As soon as the crown is in and I know that I can’t be messed with, I’m gonna make sure someone hears my complaint. Take two hours on my mouth, fine, but don’t go running away so often that half of the time in that chair was spent either watching TV or micro-napping.

The Moose Out Front

I swear… life is testing me right now.

Monday:

  • Called my doctor to make an appointment about my thyroid. They said the earliest they could get me in was the end of June. The end of fucking June. 😠
  • Looked around and learned that the FMC-linked clinics in town have “Walk-In Wednesdays” for new patients, people that don’t have an appointment, etc. 🙂
  • Oh, and despite being nowhere around poison ivy when I worked in the yard the other day, I now have a bit of poison ivy on both of my hands. 😑 Awesome.

Tuesday:

  • Went to the MRI place to have them print out my results for me. Sat for almost an hour before they were able to get that done. 😒 (New computers or something.)
  • Now that I’ve been able to read them myself, they aren’t good, but they aren’t necessarily bad bad quite yet. 😕 A little more urgency for the Wed appt now.
  • Received the determination from my Franklin Co Court workers comp case, which is 21 pages long and full of case law and obscene amounts of legal-ese. 🤔
  • The results were in my favor, which is awesome, but my mind is still focused on getting up early to make sure I’m at the walk-in clinic on Wednesday when they open. 🤨

Wednesday:

  • Slept about 4 hours (the same as most nights lately) then woke up at 4am and waited until close to noon to head in town and get in line at the doctor’s office.
  • Arrived 15 minutes early to an empty parking lot and a sign on the door that said all of the offices were closed today for employee training. 😐😑😣😡🤬🤦🏻‍♂️
  • Sat in the parking lot, debating if I should drive around town looking for someone to run down, but decided to go visit Dad instead. (I’ll leave it up to the reader to decide my level of joking on that last comment… heh)

Keep in mind… I’m already twitchy about phone calls and appointments and such, I’m already feeling physically miserable lately, plus I’ve got workers comp shit on my mind. Plus plus I now know what the results of my MRI are, and it’s rather important that a few additional tests are needed sooner than later. 😳

I’m glad that I went out to see Dad though. I had already psyched myself up and found the energy to potentially endure a long, long wait at the doctor’s office – so hanging out for a few hours with Dad, talking, was definitely a better way to spend that time. So I do have those couple of silver linings… the win in court (which, unfortunately, can still be appealed to the Ohio State Supreme Court) and the visit.

I’m taking the rest of the day off now. I’m not gonna think about any of this negative shit for the rest of the day, so that way when I get up tomorrow I can hopefully make some phone calls regarding insurance, cards, workers comp shit, etc. 🤞🏻

Same Ol’ Song and Dance

Ended up staying awake for 28 hours straight, then slept from 8a to 3p today… so now I’m likely to be up all night, which doesn’t really help with my plans for tomorrow in the early afternoon. I’ll keep my fingers crossed regarding that, but man… so glad to finally have my medication in hand. It took some oomph to get up and go in town to get it, but yeah… this month was ridiculous when it came to getting these filled. They weren’t even new scripts, just refills.

If I didn’t know how much I’d hurt, and how negatively my ability would be affected, I’d try to wean myself off of this shit. Not only do I have to go through this routine nearly every month, but in the days leading up to when I call for my refills – I’m already starting to worry what type of clusterfuck will happen this time, that will end up with me going through temporary withdrawals. So basically 1/3 of every month is either spent worrying about my refills, waiting for my refills, or suffering withdrawals from being delayed from getting my refills.

Gah… so tired of it. But yeah, I think frustration built up over the past couple of days, which is why I ended up barfing out those two super-long recent blog entries about all the stuff going on down in Florida. I needed something to take my mind off of how I was feeling, and that seemed to do the trick. But it looks like I’m going to have to set back even more of my meds for the end of the month from here on out. Shouldn’t have to short myself each day just to make sure I don’t run out when I get screwed over, but yeah, I guess that’s what I have to do.

Believe it or not, even though my court case was back in the middle of February, they still haven’t made a determination. That might account for some of the delay, if they were waiting and hoping that I’d lose my right to those meds, but who knows. Whenever I do get a chance to talk to my lawyers next though, I do intend to point out what’s being done each month to see if there’s something that they can do – or even if it could be seen as some sort of spiteful or unjust action that could carry some sort of penalties for them.

Reality tells me there’s not shit they can do, that I can be yanked around basically as much as they wanna yank me around, and that it’s up to me to figure out how to protect myself towards the end of each month. Ahh, what a feeling.

That’s Just The Way It Is

It looks like I can just count on one week out of every month being horrible thanks to the runaround I get regarding my medication. 😒 A full one-quarter of my current existence on this planet, already set aside for fuckery and feeling physically and mentally miserable. 😣 So, starting this month, I’m gonna have to start rationing – so that way when there are extended delays in getting stuff approved, I won’t be going completely without and feeling the affect of that accordingly.

I don’t even have the energy to get into it. 😔 I’m just hoping that it doesn’t mean that I lost my court hearing weeks ago. 🤷🏻‍♂️ I still haven’t gotten any paperwork on it, but I’m guessing the magistrate is probably close to making a ruling if he hasn’t already. But yeah, when I’m already having a hard time functioning like a human, knowing that I’ll lose a week each month like this certainly doesn’t help matters.

But anyway… in an attempt to not think about that for a while tonight, I put my phone on airplane mode and set up a short time-lapse shot. I think the elapsed time was actually about two hours, but it plays out in a minute or so. I used an ISO of about 1200, an exposure of 1/3 of a second, with digital light trail enhancement of 3 seconds. 🤓 I’m actually fairly pleased with the result, although I’ve already thought of what adjustments I need to make next time so there’s less grain, brighter stars, and longer light trails.

So yeah… this is just another thing I have to adjust for, the same way that I need to adjust the amount of shit that I do when I’m feeling good – since I know that too much moving around will screw me up. 😐 Meh… it’s almost too hard to explain how complicated it actually is – the stuff that I can actually somewhat control – so when stuff that I can’t control gets added on top of it… yeah, things start to get bad bad. I’ll figure it out. Eventually. But hey, that video is kinda neat, no? 🙂

(I might try to capture the movement of just the stars next time we have a new moon.)

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 feel (and hear) inside my neck, but I wasn’t sure if the MRI was going to accurately reflect that. 😕 And… it did but it didn’t. 🤔 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 claim 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. 🙄 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. 👨🏻‍⚕️💉 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. 😔 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. 😑 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.