Hmm, This Is New

I’ve been cautiously creeping through the past couple of days, making sure that I didn’t do anything that could possibly tweak my neck (since it’s been acting up again) but the past 12 hours have been awful anyway. πŸ˜‘ Sleeping for an hour here and there, and then when I finally woke up and stayed up for good this morning at 6am – I had some serious chest pains going on. 😳

My breathing was fine, I wasn’t lightheaded, and I didn’t feel any tingling in my arms, legs, or face – so even though it caused me concern I decided to not go to the ER. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I actually went in town to get some aspirin though… a couple to chew right away, and the rest to add to my normal daily pills. Just in case. (I even sat in the parking lot at the hospital for a bit. Also just in case.) But the idea of heart troubles or a heart attack… my brain goes “You’re fine, that only happens to old people.” while forgetting that I amΒ close to being “old people” if not there already.

I caught a nap after coming back home, hoping that if I got a little more sleep that it might make me feel better, but that’s not been the result so far. 😟 I swear, it’s like I slept on my front, and someone snuck a baseball-sized rock in between the mattress and my sternum. 😣 I’m not dead so far though… heh… so I’m gonna give it one more day and if it isn’t noticeably better then I guess I’ll almost have to go to the ER.

Do the majority of folks my age (and older) always feel like they’re falling apart? 😒 I’m obviously really hoping that this is just nothing… so I’d definitely appreciate any “thoughts and prayers” that anyone may care to throw at me until it passes. β€πŸ™πŸ» Looks like I’ll be remaining in neutral for a while longer.


So, I Went Out

Yesterday was an all around recipe for failure. πŸ˜’ I was still dealing with the pharmacy issues andΒ already feeling like shit, but I had made a promise to a friend and I was determined to not be a disappointment again. 😞 For her birthday, a couple of months ago I bought Cassi two tickets to a concert she wanted to see at the Newport, and that show was last night. It was never my intention to go with her, as I just can’t do it right now (I didn’t even go see Skillet at Winter Jam) but I wanted her to be able to take a friend or her sister to share the fun with.

Unfortunately they didn’t have a ride to get to the show, so I went up there, picked them up, took them to the show, dropped ’em off, and then I had to find something to do until the show was over and I could pick them up again, take them home, and then make my way back home myself. πŸ€” I didn’t mind doing that at all… it was part of the gift. But I was already in bad shape before I left, and the sea of humans and traffic on campus only made things worse. 😬 I was gonna just find some thrift stores or something to kill time, but there were just too many people so I needed to go elsewhere.

That lead to one of the high points of my evening at least, after deciding to go over to Hollywood Casino. I hadn’t been there since maybe last summer, and I remembered that being in a casino often masks my pain… but not so much last night. 😐 It was fun, but not fun, if that makes sense. 😏 Too much time in the car, too much sitting in uncomfortable chairs… and it just kept getting worse. The one saving grace is that I kept losing and winning at a rate that had me only slightly down from when I walked in – and then right when I was leaving, I hit on a machine that Jim always says I should play. πŸ˜ƒπŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ This makes the second time he’s picked a winner for me.

But anyway, by the time I got home around 11pm… omg… worst neck pain that I’ve had in months. πŸ˜“ I’m not yet going to assume that the steroid injection is wearing off, since there were other factors, but yeah… it took exhaustion to finally make me sleep, because there wasn’t a single position that I could turn to that would make it go away. That sort of pain that makes a person go, “Oh shit… I’m really screwed if it just stays like this.” But like I said, thankfully, today the pain was down probably 90% from yesterday.

I guess I should wrap this up. 😏 Waking up feeling somewhat okay today… it’s allowed me to sit and plan my way towards the weekend in a way that I might be functional and okay. Don’t get me wrong, I hate that have to do any of this, and I hate that I have these days where I know I should do absolutely nothing, before baby-stepping my way out of it… but despite how it makes me look or how it may affect others, I have to start figuring out how to not be physically miserable and emotionally fucked because of it. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

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.

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.

Then and Now

I’m gonna make an effort to feel Christmas this year. Without going into details, the past several years have thrown a lot of stuff at me, Mom, Dad… hell, most folks in the family, as well as many of my friends. It just seems like the past several years have gone out of their way to shit all over everyone. πŸ˜• Whether it’s on Facebook or from what I see and hear during the rare personal appearances that I make with friends and family – life just has this gloomy film all over it, that even the best “fake happy” can’t camouflage.

I’m glad that most folks are better able to get through the gloomy times than I am. I mean, I’m glad for them… heh… that they aren’t like me. 😏 But some of my friends and acquaintances… some of them I really worry about. I’ve watched as a couple friends have essentially become alcoholics, a couple others who frantically cling to awful relationship partners, and some who have just stopped trying over the past couple of years. πŸ™ Facebook is great for introverts like me, who don’t regularly “hang out” or whatever, but it sure gives you a window into people’s lives that even they might not realize they’re giving. (Yeah, I know… “… says the guy with the endlessly rambling personal blog.”)

Anyway, my point is that the more “bleh” a person is exposed to, the more difficult it is to be resistant to it. (Obviously)Β I don’t want to completely miss Christmas again this year though, so once I get my medication situation taken care of I’m gonna focus my efforts on that. I don’t think I even put up any decorations last year… I’m not even sure I still have a tree, as strange as that sounds.

It helps that recently I was going through some old family boxes and found a bunch of Christmas decorations and stuff from when I was little. Each significant ornament or decoration has some sort of good memory attached to it, and I need to keep reminding myself that just because things are “how they are” now – I can’t let that stop me from thinking back to all of the better times. Just because me and a lot of other people have countless reasons to feel miserable, it doesn’t mean that we can’t allow ourselves to feel good about the things that are worth feeling good about. πŸ€”πŸ™‚

Granted, this is something that non-screwed-up people already know and do… but right now it just doesn’t come naturally to me, hence the constant reminders to myself. 😏 I’m sure that in the 19 days between my birthday and Christmas there will be plenty of things that will challenge my efforts, so I just hope that they’ll be mild.

I want this Christmas to feel like Christmas.

Prior Authorization

It’s crazy to think that I’m going to be 45 years old tomorrow. 😐 It just doesn’t seem possible… that I’m… old. 😏 Thankfully, I very rarely feel my age… and even when I do, it’s usually because of my old work injury and the effects that I still feel each day because of it and the surgery. And as the fates would have it, right now it’s particularly bad – because I haven’t been able to get my medication refilled for three days now (due to mysterious insurance processing delays)Β and the withdrawal symptoms from Lyrica and Skelaxin are no joke. 😟

They aren’t even new prescriptions. I just need refills. Refills for meds that I’ve taken regularly for the better part of a decade. And while I won’t say that the two are related, it is curious to me that when I’ve got a court case pending and settlement talks ongoing… that’s when I’m suddenly forced to go “cold turkey” and suffer due to delays in processing the payment by the insurer. πŸ˜’ I’ll probably have to go in tomorrow and pay out of pocket (and hope for a refund eventually) in order to not feel like I’m dying. πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Trying to conceal my anger has been challenging. I just keep telling myself that it’ll get taken care of, because eventually it always does.

Bear with me… just a bit more complaining…

It’s just a helpless feeling to know that due to delays, clerical errors, product shortages, tactical fuckery, or whatever it is… to know that each time that my medication is due to be refilled, that it simply might not happen… and then while suffering from the understandable withdrawals, having to gather the motivation and energy to fight and figure out what to do to get those meds… ugh… it’s a fucking nightmare.

It doesn’t help that I’m slowly but consistently getting worse. Like I told my doctor, the pain and disability that I have right now… several years ago I would have been complaining loudly about it at each visit, but I’ve learned to live with it – that it’s just going to be there, and that’s that. But it shouldn’t be like that. 😠 So at my most recent appointment we decided that I should go in for another MRI to find out why I’m getting random pops and seizing of my neck when I’m less active now than I’ve ever been in my life. I can’t stop fighting to feel better, as frustrating as the workers comp process is. πŸ˜“

I should find out soon if they’ll allow me the test or if I’ll have to fight for that too…