New Trick

I learned something new at my most recent doctor appointment for my neck, shoulder, nerves, spine, etc… I learned that there’s a way to completely deactivate my left arm. 😳😧 Seriously. It switches to rag-doll mode and isn’t good for a GD thing. πŸ₯Ί My neck was close to frozen and the muscles were all jammed up in my left shoulder and neck, so I asked him to show me some stretches that might be able to break me out of that.

What he showed me definitely worked… it relaxed the constantly-tense muscles and reduced some of the pain, but man… for about 10 minutes it also made me think that I wasn’t gonna have use of my arm again. ☹️ I ended up finding a place to park in the far end of the parking lot so I could lie on the hard ground, brace my scapula, and do some range-of-motion type stretches to get it working again. πŸ˜£πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

What a weird feeling though, to get in the car and mentally place both of my hands on the steering wheel… for only my right arm to actually do it as the left one just hung there. πŸ₯Ί It didn’t feel “asleep” or tingly or anything, it just didn’t respond. Scary shit. So, it’s not a great feeling to know that the painful / annoying tension has to be there (at least in some part) in order for my left arm to be even slightly useful. 😠 Because when you totally relax those bad muscles, there aren’t enough muscles left that are attached to good nerves that make it do what it’s supposed to do. 😟 And yeah, I know this is a weird blog entry, but trust me… when an entire arm suddenly just doesn’t work, it’s pretty jarring.

As I was laying on the ground, moving my arm up, down, and around… I thought for sure that someone would either send a medic out to check on me or, more likely, someone would call the cops on the weirdo lying on the ground, flailing around. πŸ˜πŸ˜―πŸš” So I don’t know how I feel about all this. Learned some specific stretches and motions that help relieve the pain and pulled muscles, but at a pretty big cost. At least the option is there, I guess, and everything is temporary… both good and bad. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

No more news on the other stuff yet, but I’m taking a break… I need to lie down.

Prepare to Launch

Surprisingly, all of that mail that I was dreading… it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. πŸ€¨πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I can’t say yet if any of it is actually good, but the information that came in over the past week or so was of a type that at least keeps me optimistic and motivated, and that’s something that I really need in order to keep fighting the never-ending WC game. 😟 Like I told Dad, even if a lot of it ends up falling through, at least it’s helping to keep me going right now.

My attorneys are still working from home for the most part, so I don’t think all of this information has trickled out to the ones that need it yet. πŸ€”πŸ˜’ So tomorrow I’ll be calling in again to see if I can find someone to talk to before my doctor appointment and possible stop by the Social Security office. 😞 With all of this stuff going on, of course SS is gonna perk its ears up and wanna know what’s going on (Like a cat that hears the cat food bag crinkle, or a dog that hears when his squeak toy get stepped on… 😏) so I just wanna make sure they’ve got all of the information they need as well.

And ironically, my neck has been extra janky today, so I’m hoping that my condition doesn’t improve before my appointment tomorrow. 🀨 It doesn’t usually work out where my “worst moments” coincide with the time and date of my appointments, but it’s nice when the doctor can actually see the true extent of the suck. I think it’s because I was folding so much laundry over the past couple days, along with several other small chores that I forced myself to do while the energy was there. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Meh.

Oh, and regarding my attorneys… there’s a good chance that I am gonna have to go to the main office to either give them copies of what I’ve gotten, or perhaps start signing some different things if they did get these same papers and have already begun working on them. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€πŸ’ΌπŸ‘©πŸ»β€πŸ’ΌπŸ€“ But their office is located downtown, and that hasn’t been the most car-friendly area over the past couple of weeks. 😯 I’ll have to check the different news sites tonight and see what they say about protests / areas, and maybe start looking for a “back way” into the nearby parking garage so I can sneak in and out if needed.

I’m not looking forward to tomorrow though. πŸ˜• Basically all of the things that are great at stealing my energy… that’s the stuff I’ll be doing all day. Visit with my doctor, impromptu SocSec office stop, phone calls with my attorneys (w/possible trip up to Columbus), stopping by my insurance agent’s office for some things, etc. 😐 But it’s my choice to glom all of this shit together this time, because I’d rather do it, have it hurt and/or drain me, but then have it all (hopefully) out of the way for a little while.

Calling it a day early though. 😴 Gonna go dark, find a movie to watch, and hopefully sack out soon. πŸ‘πŸ»

Alone Together

I like when people make weird things like this, since I, myself, am a weird thing. 😏

I’ve been coming across more and more articles that talk about taking care of your brain during this stressful phase of “locking ourselves away” but this is the first animation that I’ve come across – and it’s made in a way that speaks to me probably more than it would most folks. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Now, whether or not I’ll follow any of its advice, that’s another story. (Although, I gotta do something… the past couple days have been particularly bleh.)

Nothing New

Still haven’t completely bounced back from the weekend, but I have a feeling that the stress of waiting for all of the workers comp stuff to play out is adding to that problem. 🀨 Unfortunately there’s no getting around the fact that emotional stress causes a physical reaction, especially when my injury is in my neck and shoulder… because that’s where stress tension often tends to land. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜• Even in folks without other physical defects there, most people definitely feel stress in those areas.

But this was “Day One” of two pretty decent looking days when it comes to the weather forecast. Sun’s out (mostly), I’ve got the windows open, breeze blowing through the house, and was hoping that would help motivate me to do some laundry and whatever… πŸ€” but rather than pushing myself I just took the day off and enjoyed it the best that I could through my picture window. No hurry on the laundry, so why not.

I hate “not doing anything” but I’d also like to make it in town to visit with Dad tomorrow, so I didn’t wanna push my luck. At some point we’re supposed to go on a sight-seeing ride to check out some of the places from our family history, to see what everything is looking like these days compared to back then… so part of me is kinda thinking about that for tomorrow, but if not – a regular visit would still be a success. πŸ™‚ Waking up each day with different levels of brokenness makes it so it’s better to not necessarily “plan” some things… but rather just “let them happen” if they’re meant to happen.

I never hold my breath on these things, but so far the “take it easy” approach to today seems to have helped with the aches and pains. Now if I can only manage to not “sleep funny” I should be in decent shape for getting out of the house tomorrow. 😏 I’ve been really stressed out the past few days, so I’ve been in hermit mode but still texting back and forth with Dad and Genesee which helps me escape my thoughts throughout the day. Fingers crossed for the continued bounce back to something close to normal…

(I don’t know why I still feel “guilty” or “bad” if I take a day and do absolutely nothing with it. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜• )

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? 😏

Tripped My Breaker

Everything caught up with me in a bad way today. 😞 First time in a week and a half that (for no apparent reason) I woke up with my neck frozen – combined with a splitting headache at the base of my skull. 😣

That’s never fun, but today it was apparently my tipping point. With the mental stress of all the various things getting ready to happen (as well as currently going on) with my workers comp situation, all the work I’ve been doing on it, plus still nervously waiting for my attorneys to call regarding setting up a meeting… waking up feeling utterly miserable along with all of that just flipped a switch. πŸ₯Ί

My anxiety about all of it had turned to irritation, anger, and determination over the past couple of days – but that’s when I wasn’t physically suffering at the same time. 😟 So while I’m not thrilled that I lost the entire day today – after taking my morning meds, letting the hot shower rain on the back of my head, and waiting to see if the pain was going to let up… I nodded back off and ended up sleeping the entire day away. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜•

I would have heard my phone if my attorneys reached out… but, again, the call didn’t come. A couple people texted me, but it’s late now – and I’m honestly in no condition to act like I’m “okay enough” to return messages and hold a conversation. I hate ghosting people, but today has been a bad, bad day. 😞 I’ve taken my evening meds though, so I’m hoping that’ll do something… but it’s hard to say if I’ll be back out in an hour or if I’ll end up awake all night due to sleeping all night and day. πŸ˜’ That’s just how it goes sometimes…

And when I mention this next thing, I’m not looking to be medicated… but when an injured workers is put through the ringer like I’ve been – it should honestly be a requirement that the coverage includes the option of talking to a counselor or therapist. 🀨 It’s obvious that mental and emotional stress can affect a person’s physical health, so it would truly be in everyone’s best interest. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ (This blog is usually my therapy.)

Yeah, I’m thinking about my situation, but I’m also thinking about the tens of thousands of other people who’ve been in the fight for years that might not handle it as well as I have, which isn’t always that great. 😟 It should help once I get the call and the meeting is scheduled, and it’ll help even more once that’s done… no matter how it seems to go. It’s the “unknown” and the waiting that’s really tweaking me right now. 😠 If this stuff’s gonna take a different course here soon, I’d like to get the show on the road.

So today went straight into the trash, but I’ve got something to look forward to tomorrow. Map of The Soul: Seven (by BTS) is being released, it’ll be available on Spotify, so I’ll have a whole album of new music to listen to and hopefully be distracted by. πŸ™‚πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Here’s hoping for a better tomorrow.

Not What I Planned

Yup, like I said, last night was fun, but I’ll be paying for it today. Thinking that this would be a lazy Sunday, I made the mistake of pushing a bunch of things from last week off until today. I’ve gotta handle my mail, work on a bunch of stuff regarding my upcoming IC hearing, listen to my voice mails and deal with whatever those require, plus I’ve gotta call the pharmacy to continue trying to get my current prescriptions filled…. and that’s all gonna be a lot harder now with a frozen neck.

Of course because of the physical aspect, but also because it’s particularly stressful to be coordinating my fight against workers comp and struggling to get my meds filled while I’m experiencing the exact thing that they’re fighting me over. It’s emotional stress that makes the physical stress worse, which makes the emotional stress worse, ad infinitum… the ouroboros of my disability. 😞

When that cycle starts it’s hard to escape. That’s why I worry so much about things like my planned concert trip later this year. Yesterday, my only concern with meeting up with my friends was that I might be too tired to do it, but then my shoulder shows up too, goes nuts, and now today is screwed. If I make just the smallest misstep, things can go downhill so quickly.

So I’m gonna wait a little longer for the morning meds to kick in, then I’ll start slowly tackling this stuff. But ugh… cringing about what else the mail might contain, cringing about what the voice mails might say, cringing about yet another hearing that will determine the quality of my life for the indefinite future… it would just be nice if I felt like I had some control of where my life is heading.

It’s probably partially my fault for not dealing with stuff as it showed up, but again I made the mistake of thinking that because I felt okay on those particular days that I’d feel okay today when I planned to deal with everything. Meh… I have very little control over how this will all turn out, so I might as well just power through it as best as I can and then give it up to God. And yeah… this counts as a negative post.

Lengthy Grumpy Ramble

I’m glad that I don’t have anything on the agenda for the rest of the week, since that allows me to take the things that I wanted to do today and move them to tomorrow. I must have slept funny or rough last night, because man did I wake up feeling beat up today. 😣😟 It looks like I’m going to have to actually go in to the pharmacy to deal with two of my WC prescriptions, since I’m gonna have to get some printouts proving that they’re unwilling to pay this month. πŸ˜’ But with my knees and neck acting up today – tomorrow just seems like the better option. (Stress can add to my physical pain, so I don’t need the BS at the pharmacy to pile on today…)

The insurance crap that I was gonna work on… that didn’t go anywhere today, since they needed all kinds of specific info that I didn’t have handy when I made the call. I figured since a bunch of paperwork had already been sent in, giving them the account number along with my name would have been enough. But nope, gotta get into my files and dig out the little notebook with a few dates and some other specifics that I need.

So I dunno… I guess the little bits that I accomplished today will serve as the “getting ready” for tomorrow, when I’ll hopefully conclude things with both of those situations. πŸ“žπŸ˜•πŸ€žπŸ» My mood is shit today anyway, so waiting until tomorrow will probably help me when it comes to not barking at the people who are trying to help me, since they aren’t the folks who are making things difficult. 😏 Those call center / customer service jobs must be awful, since most folks aren’t as considerate to their lack of power or responsibility when it comes to any given account or situation. πŸ“žπŸ™‡πŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ“žπŸ™‡πŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ“žπŸ™‡πŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ“žπŸ™‡πŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ“žπŸ™‡πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

Oh, speaking of crappy jobs… I guess Jim felt like he wasn’t gonna be able to cut it at the Whirlpool factory where he recently started working. πŸ˜• He’s worked in stocking type positions most of his life, sometimes also driving a forklift – sometimes not, so when he’s basically worked one type of job for most of his adult life – you could imagine how his first taste of assembly line work would feel intimidating. 😯😳😬

The difference between his job and my former job… the line at Whirlpool is controlled by the machines, where my line was controlled by the people. Plus, even though we worked at a ridiculous pace (that did end up eventually damaging me) we didn’t have parts that weighed upwards of 40 pounds to deal with. 😣 It’s also concerning when he tells me that he hurt his neck, and that it also caused his shoulder and arm to hurt… ‘cuz that sounds way too familiar. πŸ™πŸ€•

It just sucks that after years of being able to switch stores and jobs if he wanted to, and having an excellent employee / work record, he’s hit a phase where nobody wants him for those positions now. I mean, he didn’t “job hop” a lot, so I don’t think it’s that… so I’m wondering if it comes down to employers seeing his age on the applications. Glowing work histories don’t help if you can’t get past the HR people who see “47” and throw his application on the “nope” pile.

I was trying to think of what to say to him to keep his optimism up and his twichy-ness down, but it’s difficult when life seems to constantly bag tag a person. 😏 It sucks that he lives so far north of Columbus now, because I have a friend that could probably get him into Jiffy Lube almost immediately. But after I described the job to Jim, pointing out the ways it would be so much easier than a factory, he just replied that he doesn’t know how to work on cars, so the job wouldn’t be for him. πŸ˜’πŸ€”

It’s frustrating, because he’s almost always good at whatever job he’s working at… and you don’t have to know how to “work on cars” to work at a Jiffy Lube. Not to mention the fact that they’ll obviously train you before letting you loose on customer cars. πŸ€“πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€πŸ”§πŸš˜ For example, if he started off working in the pit, under the floor, he wouldn’t have to do much more than locate the oil plug, drain the oil, plug it back up, and perhaps change some oil filters on the cars that have them more easily accessed from the bottom.

I hate to see him not working and struggling, but I think the anxiety from all of the things that have happened… it’s got him to a point where he’s questioning his own abilities, and thinking that he’s not good enough for even basic “some skill required” type jobs. 😟 And I get not being a “car guy” but employee training will give a person the skillz required for any given position. πŸ˜žπŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Meh… he’s a good d00d, and he’s done a lot of good things for other people who were struggling at various points in his life, so it just sucks watching life doing its best to chew up yet another friend who doesn’t deserve it.