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? 😏

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.

Pre-Dawn Thought-Stream

Got notice yesterday that my IC hearing has finally been rescheduled. πŸ˜’ It’s gonna fall right in the middle between my most recent WC doctor appointment and the one scheduled for next month. I’ve gotta get two of my WC meds filled later today (I’m not gonna rehash how that normally goes) but with the hearing now on the schedule again, I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s even more trouble.

The past few months I’ve had to pay out-of-pocket to be able to get my meds on schedule, and then just wait and hope that the WC insurer would pay me back. 😐 I feel bad for the folks who are in the same situation as me but aren’t able to do that. And all this crap each month… that’s despite nearly every previous IC hearing over the past decade being found in my favor. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜’ (Making “winning” somewhat of an inaccurate term.)

That’s the thing, you can “win” over and over again, but they can come at you again for those same things, repeatedly, after a certain amount of time elapses. It’s literally a never-ending process, if they want it to be. 😟 No emotional investment from their side, but it can sure wear down the injured worker. I know I don’t mean this, but I’m almost “ready to lose” just to be done with it. Can’t quit now though…

Jim and Adam are coming to town this evening, and they’re gonna pick up Brad so we can all meet up for dinner somewhere. πŸ™‚ Jim lives so far away now, in the past few years I’ve only seen him probably a couple times each year, so (especially since he’s coming all the way down here) I’m really hoping that I can make it. Doesn’t help that I fell asleep early yesterday and have therefore been awake since 3a today. πŸ™„πŸ˜

It’s after 5a now, it doesn’t appear that I’ll be falling back to sleep, so that means I’ll likely need a nap sometime in the early afternoon. 😴 Heh… being old and broken sure has a way of changing how you plan for things and recover from them afterwards. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€πŸ¦³ Thankfully this has been an okay week re: my neck, so with any luck that will remain true tonight. (Unlike the 2018 Sweet Corn Festival when we all met up… 😳)

I was an absolute mess that day. πŸ₯Ί Dealing not just with my neck, shoulder, and some horrible random lower back pain – but also, being right before my thyroid cancer surgery, I had like 1/10th of the energy that I’d normally have when it came to getting around the place. I could tell by how they acted that I must have appeared like I was on Death’s door. πŸ€•πŸ˜·πŸ˜‘β˜ οΈ So, while things aren’t perfect now by any means, they’re at least better than that, eh? So I don’t wanna miss it tonight. Gotta make the moments count.

Got My Stuff Done

Well, that seems to work. If I don’t promise myself or anyone else that I’m gonna do something on a particular day, for some reason that makes it easier for me to do those things… even if it’s on that particular day. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜

(Don’t ask… I don’t get it either.)

My knee, shoulders, and neck are extra fucked today, but I guess the best way I can describe getting ready for today was how a diver psyches themselves up and takes the deepest breath possible before sinking into the water. 😚 That’s kinda what I mentally do when I have to go out and do a bunch of stuff when I’m not feeling great. Heh… actually, any time that I have to go out and deal with the humans for too long. 😏

It was a productive few hours though. Stopped by the pharmacy and managed to get my money back (finally) from one of the more expensive meds that WC was giving me trouble with… then I picked up my new glasses and a few other things from Walmart, dodging all the trashy looking people as best as I could. πŸ˜’ I mean, I try not to judge, but my gosh… the things that some of these people wear when they go to Walmart. I think it must be some sort of ironic thing that they do on purpose these days.

After that I grabbed some things that Genesee requested, along with some Chinese take-out for me and Dad, and then I headed over there for a visit for a couple of hours. πŸ™‚ I’ll say one thing… it’s good that Dad and I share almost identical views on how things are going with our government at the moment. Heh… the conversations would go a lot different otherwise. I also got to explain a little more about what’s going on with my WC case, even though I’m still basically in the dark regarding the half that’s going through the actual Ohio court system, or at least soon will be. πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

He asked if I ever wondered if WC people every tried to watch me. πŸ€”πŸ”­Β And the more that I think about it, man do I wish that they would. Because 90% of the time they’d be paying someone to sit somewhere in my neighborhood to document that my ass rarely leaves the house. πŸ˜„ There’s an easy job for someone, eh? But I don’t know, I suppose anyone that wanted to find fault in something that an injured / disabled person was doing – they could probably find it.

I don’t mow my own grass anymore, but I once did. (On a riding mower) It caused my shoulder to be all jacked up that night and the next day, which is the reason I stopped and started paying someone to do it, but anyone that saw me would have been able to “Look, he’s mowing his grass!” me. πŸ˜•

One of the few “extra” things that I indulge in every now and then are concerts with friends. And while the disability in my neck / shoulder doesn’t have anything to do with whether I can physically “attend” a concert or not, let it be known that those concerts are never without their own unique form of punishment afterwards. Even that rather limited physical activity screws me up for days. 😟 Hell, I didn’t even go to the Skillet concert a few months ago when they were in town… basically because I didn’t want to feel beat up afterwards.

But like I told him, I don’t worry about it too much because everything about my case is real. I don’t try to exaggerate anything, and I don’t make it a secret that I sometimes do things that end up causing me extra pain in the affected areas. πŸ€•πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I’d wager that my doctor’s notes have quite a few remarks from where I’ve told him about things like, I dunno, going to the fair, walking around, taking pictures of the day… because the days following that sort of thing cause me added pain, which is something I want him to know.

So it just is what it is. 😐 Most of my time is spent avoiding things that cause me additional pain, but sometimes I do things that I have to do that cause me pain – and sometimes I do things that I want to do that also cause me pain. I’d hope that anyone who was genuinely, fairly judging me wouldn’t hold it against me that every now and then I wanna pretend like I’m not as damaged as I am, whether it’s a random task I have to do myself or if it’s an occasion where I just wanna do something fun for a change.

I just do me. If anyone decides to follow and takes notes, I don’t have anything to hide. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ™‚

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.

Learn To Relax

I know it’s only Thursday, but I think I’m gonna mentally start my weekend now. Had all kinds of horrible nightmares last night, even though I can’t tell you a damn thing regarding what they were about. 😟 I just know that multiple times throughout the night I’d wake up in a sweat from whatever I was dreaming about… I dunno, maybe bits will come back to me throughout the day as dreams sometimes do. Just takes hearing the right word or seeing the right image on TV and stuff can start coming back into view.

So, not much sleep, headache when I finally woke up for good… although at least it’s a normal headache and doesn’t seem related to my neck, so hopefully some Aleve will be able to help with that. I think it’s just the stuff that has been occupying my thoughts for the first part of the week kinda building up… worrying about my friend’s surgery, thinking about and helping out another friend who has a custody hearing today… and then despite doing pretty good at keeping my WC stuff out of my thoughts, struggling while shopping yesterday agitated my frustration – by barely being able to handle a few relatively small bags of dirt and gravel – I think my brain just got a little full, and last night’s dreams may have been a product of that. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Regardless, I’m gonna take it easy today, stay relatively disconnected from the digital world, and probably do a little work around the house. Lawn guys were here yesterday, bills and paperwork have been handled, no appointments to worry about, no calls to make or people to see… so I can just chill here in my bubble and not worry about any of the stuff that might stress me out. 😌 I mean, I’m definitely interested in politics and all of the “goings on” when it comes to all that, but I’m even gonna try to avoid that today… and today sounds like it could be pretty “big” when it comes to potential news. (I’m sure I’ll catch Maddow later, though… I just like the long-form way that she sums up the day’s biggest stories.)

But yeah, just figured I’d go ahead and get some “me time” before the weekend gets here. It’s funny, even though I don’t have a traditional Monday-thru-Friday type schedule since I don’t work anymore, I still feel like I have to justify it to myself if I wanna take a “day off” during the week. πŸ™„πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Hell, even at that, I’m still gonna do some laundry, put away the groceries from yesterday, other light misc chores… and I’ve gotta learn to give myself credit, even for small crap like that, when I’m not feeling great. So, yeah, I’ll probably be a little slower at reading and responding to any messages today… it’s not you, it’s me. 😏

Sweet Corn Festival

A few months ago, when I was still looking at the then-upcoming schedule of medical stuff, it looked like everything would be wrapped up well before this year’s SCF in Millersport. It’s tradition that me, Jim, Adam, and sometimes Brad will meet up for at least one of the days there to walk around, catch up, and see how many former classmates or teachers we can spot. But Jim messaged me yesterday to let me know where and when he’d be there… and it wasn’t until then that I realized that this week was already festival week. 😯⌚

The surprise is from bouncing back a little more slowly than I originally anticipated, so as my mind has been on all that stuff, I guess it just snuck up on me. I’ve got every intention of going… and in fact, I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to handle it much better than last year. 😬🀞🏻 Last year, I hadn’t had my surgery yet, so my energy levels were all over the place, and I was also stuck using my cane at the time. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€πŸ¦― I can’t remember if it was for my back or for my knee, but I do remember that I only had enough oomph to make a single meandering “pass” with them from the ride area through to the food booths a bit past the covered bridge area. πŸ˜•

I was trying to “mind over matter” myself through the evening, but it just wasn’t happening. I feel kinda bad about how I was, because I know that my friends were concerned about me – and seeing me struggle to just walk around probably ended up being somewhat of a buzzkill for the rest of their evening. 😟 I think I was there for an hour at most before I realized that I was gonna have to call it a night, so it was nice that they walked me all the way back to where I parked so we could get in as much time as possible. There were a lot more unknowns at that point in time.

Since then I’ve had my thyroid removed, been dosed with radioactive iodine twice, been to doctors and a chiropractor for my back, learned of some new damage in my neck… but when it comes to the thyroid stuff, most of that ended up going about as well as it could, and the new “neck stuff” isn’t something that’s an urgent or immediate issue – so this year’s Sweet Corn Festival meet-up should be a heck of a lot better for all of us than the last one. πŸ™‚πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I suppose anyone with visible health problems feel the same way… for certain moments in time you wanna act like nothing’s wrong, you don’t wanna let your friends or family see how bad it can get, ‘cuz you don’t want them worrying about you – whether the worry is justified or not. You want your “normal thing” to be that normal thing.

Meh… I’m just thinking out loud here. πŸ˜’ I’m obviously still not 100%, so I think I’m talking about it to keep myself motivated and optimistic. πŸ€” I did fix my sleep last night, something that actually surprised me, so I (hopefully) know what I need to do to not screw up my sleep or energy the day before we’re supposed to meet up. (Man, am I trying to jinx myself lately or what? 😏)Β I’m just really looking forward to the possibility of having a normal day with my friends at our old stomping grounds, with the thoughts of all my current “other stuff” being pushed from my brain as we have a good time being reminiscing old farts, eating overpriced crappy-but-awesome fair food, and maybe seeing some other old fart friends in the process. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ™‚