The Opposite Of Reassuring

This is the first time I’ve experienced this, probably because I was rarely sick when I was younger, so I don’t think I ever had more than one doctor that I would have regular appointments with… but regarding some of the things with my current condition, I’m getting conflicting diagnosis/treatment advice from two of my doctors. ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿ˜ In more ways than this I’m still a kid, so when I go to a doctor I listen to what they say and take their word as gospel… assuming that they truly know what they’re talking about, and are offering me what is definitely the best diagnosis and treatment plan. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿปโ€โš•๏ธ But I guess as with almost anything, people often end up with differing opinions. Sometimes differing quite a bit. ๐Ÿ˜•

Things have been less than ideal with me for a couple of weeks now, and this week I went back in for a couple of different appointments to discuss it. I tend not to bitch about it unless it’s really bad, but these past few days… on Wednesday I woke up early, took a short nap in the afternoon, and after waking up I wasn’t able to go back to sleep for 30 fucking hours. ๐Ÿ˜ณ Doctor appointment number one wasn’t much fun, going in at the 24 hour point… I mean, I wasn’t even sure I was gonna be able to make it there and back… but at least it wasn’t like when you take your car to the shop so they can fix a rattle, but the rattle doesn’t happen. ๐Ÿ˜’ So at least Doc got to see when it can be really bad, and in a way I appreciate when that happens.

I dunno… I’m being kind of vague because I don’t really like talking about it in a lot of ways, so back to the point – I’ve got two doctors who essentially completely disagree with what the other is saying and doing, and I’m not sure exactly what to do with that. ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ First reaction is to trust and believe that doctor who isn’t saying the scary things, but that may be the doctor who isn’t holding anything back. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ Then I try to think about “what’s in it” for each of them, and even that doesn’t really help.

But in the next couple of days I’ll have to decide who I want to roll with, and that will decide how potentially fucked up my next few months could end up being. ๐Ÿ˜ Gah… I know… vague. I don’t want people to worry.

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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.)ย I mean, how many times have I bitched here myself about how nearly every damn monthย I have to make multipleย 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 theyย stillย 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.)

Phil Collins: Not Dead Yet

Last night was concert night in Columbus, seeing Phil Collins with my friends Jim and Adam at Nationwide Arena.ย ๐Ÿ˜Š I was already nervous the day before, thinking of the handful of things that could make my day difficult, and despite doing my best to screw it up from the start – waking up at 4am and not being able to fall back to sleep – everything ended up alright and the show was great.

For anyone that’s a fan, it’s common knowledge that Phil is pretty gimped up from a failed back surgery and a “fucked foot” as he put it, so I really wasn’t sure what to expect.ย ๐Ÿ˜ณ But despite remaining seated for almost all of the performance, he seemed to get along reasonably well with a cane, so it didn’t feel as… um… I guess I was just worried that it would feel a little “Wheel the old man out and make him sing.” but that wasn’t the case at all.ย ๐ŸŽค๐Ÿ‘ดย It was a relatively long show too, playing his stuff and some Genesis songs, and he seemed to be enjoying it all. (And another “bucket list” concert checked off for me.)

Since he’s unable to play the drums, his son Nic filled in for him.ย ๐Ÿฅ๐Ÿ˜Ž The kid is pretty amazing… he’s 17 now, he was 16 when the tour started in the UK, which means he was probably learning and perfecting all of his dad’s songs by the time he was 14 years old… knowing that he’d eventually be going on a huge tour like this.ย ๐Ÿ˜ฏย (Oh, and he plays piano too ๐Ÿ™„) It was all the way back in May of 1992 that I saw Genesisย in The Shoe at OSUย (26 years ago… holy shitballs)ย but I never thought that I’d get to see him perform his own songs solo, since he swore quite a while ago that he’d never tour again.

Jim’s an awesome friend, surprising me and Adam both by getting us all tickets.ย ๐Ÿ˜ƒย (Five years ago this month we were in Kansas thanks to him as well) And like I told him, I have enough “concerns” about myself that I wouldn’t have even thought about buying a ticket for myself if he hadn’t. The neck and shoulder pain, the thyroid stuff, the random back stuff, the anxiety that comes in times and ways of its own choosing… I don’t think I would have trusted myself to be able to go – but when a friend makes not going not an option, you just put your head down and keep moving forward.

Oh, there were moments that I still wasn’t sure… even up until the point that I was standing in line, waiting to get in…ย ๐Ÿ˜ณ๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿ‘ซ๐Ÿ‘ฌ๐Ÿ‘ซ๐Ÿ‘ญ๐Ÿ‘ซ๐Ÿ‘ซ๐Ÿ‘ฌ๐Ÿ‘ซ๐Ÿ‘ญย … but I’m absolutely glad that I went.

I’ve been a mess since getting home last night around midnight though.ย ๐Ÿ˜• The “post-concert buzz” ended up keeping me awake until about 5am, and man did I hurt.ย ๐Ÿ˜ฃ๐Ÿ˜ข It’s mostly better now, but between the cold, the sitting, the standing, the singing, the recording of video, the crowds, the traffic… as usual, my body and brain eventually weren’t having any of that nonsense, and they let me know as soon as the show ended.ย ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ I think Jim and Adam could see it in me once the lights came up, so we all sat for a bit and let the crowd clear. After we left the arena they walked along at my pace until we parted ways at the parking garage. Luckily Jim gets me though, so he knows that all of that “beat-up old man” stuff doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t do it all over again.ย ๐Ÿ™‚

I Am The Eye In The Sky

Had a bit of a setback with my back yesterday. ๐Ÿ˜ฅ The pain woke me up around 4am, and a quick trip to the bathroom made me realize that the strength/ability in my right leg wasn’t really there. I probably just slept on something wrong, but rather than dwell on it and get upset about it, I decided to devote the first half of the day to staying in bed, watching movies, and eating a few boxes of that ready-to-make chicken salad and crackers. ๐Ÿ– I could still find certain ways to lay that would alleviate the pain, so I just did that and totally plucked myself from what would have been my “normal” routine, and plopped myself into this “being a potato in bed” zone that was outside of my normal timeline. ๐Ÿง™๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ My weird way of trying to explain it anyway… but it worked… that half day of removing myself from everything but Netflix and the cat actually helped – and I was able to get up and around by the early afternoon.

As I was lying there though, I started pondering my various aches, pains, and disabilities… wondering which ones will get better, if any of them are starting to just stayย with me, and how I’m gonna be as I get older and have to deal with compounding issues like this. ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ Like I told Dad, I ended up coming to the conclusion that I’m only complaining as much as I have been because I still feel like I can recover or at least improve. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ If the “bleh” feels temporary, it’s easy to bitch about it when it’s slow going… but honestly, and my neck is proof of this, I can learn to live with pain and disability – to the point where eventually it’s “just there”, sucking, but something I can compartmentalize for the most part. ๐Ÿ˜ For the most part… ‘cuz there’s always super painful exceptions. Summarized, my bitching will eventually slow. ๐Ÿ˜

In the evening I went in town to deliver those two Yi security cameras to my cousin. I’m obviously more excited about any kind of A/V tech than they would be, but I could still tell that she was having fun playing around with the one as she went through the setup process. ๐Ÿ“น๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿป Matt’s already running through the possible installation locations, so as soon as they get a couple little memory cards they’ll be ready to roll. It’s crazy how even just five or ten years ago, creating any kind of home video security system was expensive and a pain in the ass. There’s no way that Yi makes any money off of these cameras. ๐Ÿคจ I’m guessing they’re banking on people like me to sign up for the monthly cloud storage fee – which I don’t mind doing at all.

So anyway, despite feeling pretty rotten for the first half, it actually wasn’t that bad of a day overall – and it definitely made me happy to gift those cameras to Toni and Matt. โ˜บ I really hope that they never have any bad reason that they’ll need any of the footage that they record… but I’m glad that they’ll have those cameras just in case they do.

Hurt, Heal, Push, Hurt, Heal, Push…

Yesterday evening ended up being bad. Normally you do some sort of physical activity, it’ll work up your muscles a bit, then as the day and night progresses – the pain or stiffness gradually goes away. Not last night. ๐Ÿ˜ฃ๐Ÿ˜  I left PT feeling awful and it continued to get worse all the way until I somehow fell asleep despite it. And even today, as soon as I effing woke up – neck is stiff, head and eyeballs are pounding with a headache still… heh… I really wasn’t anticipating it being this bad, considering the relatively limited movement that I allowed my bad arm and shoulder yesterday. ๐Ÿ˜’ Even being actively aware of and discussing it as I was going through exercises with the physical therapist, I still allowed myself to get this effed up. ๐Ÿคฌ

I got wrapped up in that “authority figure” syndrome thing. ๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿปโ€โš•๏ธ๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿปโ€๐Ÿซ๐Ÿ‘ฎ๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿปโ€โš–๏ธ Where you’re talking to a cop or doctor or teacher or whatever… and because you see them as an authority figure, you’re more likely to just do what they say, or give their words more weight than compared to a “normal” person. ๐Ÿ™„ I wanted to do the exercises that they have determined should help me, and in “trying to do my best” (like always) I really messed myself up. ๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ But anyway – I’ve already decided that I’m barely going to do any of that shit during the next visit – or at home, where I’m also supposed to continue the exercises.

I’m not gonna give up on trying to get my back to heal properly and train it for a little more endurance, but I’m not gonna be able to do it the way a completely functional human would. ๐Ÿค• Tomorrow is supposed to be my last appointment with them anyway, so it’ll be up to me to make the choices about how I’m gonna keep things moving in the right direction. Heh… I can’t explain how angry this pain makes me… it’s a combination of the actual pain, the resentment regarding the original injury that has made me this fragile, feeling like “taking the initiative” to push myself to heal just results in punishment, spending every other day hurting and recovering… meh… I’m just gonna basically drop the extensive PT and do what I can, because prior to this I was actually healing and feeling pretty good.

It’s just one of those days where as soon as I woke up I was already done with this day. ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ Gonna try to make this headache go away and hopefully do something that can flip my mood. Apologies to anyone who has messaged me or sent e-mails and haven’t gotten a reply yet. I’m gonna try to get at all that before the afternoon is over. It’s hard to put on “happy, socializing face” when I’m feeling like this…

And I’m gonna find something positive to post about later too. Tired of being miserable.

Incremental Progress

It’s been a while since I’ve had to work… but all of these doctors, specialists, tests, and referrals that I’m dealing with right now – I can’t imagine how someone with a job would be able to do hardly any of it. Since last Friday, there’s only been one weekday where I didn’t have to be out and doing something related to my current medical situation. ๐Ÿ˜’

Like I told my dad though… I know that this is just what people have to do to keep their motors running, but I’m just having a hard time adjusting to needing all of the maintenance. I mean, my neck and shoulder have been fucked for a decade, yeah, but other than that I’ve been mostly healthy and capable. ๐Ÿ˜ So suddenly dealing with multiple new medical things, plus adding dentist stuff on top of it… having it consume so much time on so many days… it’s just hard for me to get used to it when I’m feeling miserable, considering that my schedule essentially used to be blank prior to all this.

It really is all headed in the right direction though. And I appreciate that my doctor’s office calls me quite often, nudging me to do whatever it is that they’ve wanted me to do, making sure I’m making the appointments with the specialists. ๐Ÿ˜ I actually need that, since my fucked back has been the only thing constantly in my brain for a while now.

Cassi came down yesterday to help me out, which I really appreciated. Sitting here in the messy house was twitching me out, so she came down and picked up the living room, vacuumed, took the trash buggy out to the curb, did some laundry… just stuff to make my brain a little happier, and so I didn’t have to push myself too hard too soon. I was also able to see Dez the other day, by stopping by her job after my ultrasound and hoping that she might be getting off work… that way I wouldn’t have to try and walk inside. (And I probably wouldn’t have, because it’s embarrassing, the way I have to move in order to not hurt.)

We sat in the parking lot and talked for almost a half hour, and I gave her her birthday/graduation present along with a letter that I had written her in case we didn’t get to talk when I dropped it off. ๐Ÿ˜Š She told me all about the past couple of months, and she was so happy with her present. I think it wasn’t even so much about what it was, but more that even though I’ve been kinda “gone” lately – I was still thinking about her, being proud of what she’s accomplished, and wanted to give her something nice to hopefully brighten her day. ๐Ÿ™‚ But yeah… it was nice seeing her again… she’s a great kid.

Lots Of Thinking

Superstition is silly, but I still feel like I’m gonna jinx myself… but I’ve actually noticed a bit of improvement over the past 24 hours. I’ve been feeling confident enough to shuffle around the house as needed without the damn cane, but still hunched over and taking super careful steps. And even though I’m only sleeping a couple hours at a time, at least the pain hasn’t been worse when I wake up.

I’ve definitely learned that I wasn’t remotely prepared for something like this. When it is difficult to even take ten steps, having my shoes by the door, the remotes on the couch, my phone by the chair, my pills back in the bedroom, unfolded laundry in the basket, the pop out in the garage…ย it’s like I left myself an unintentional endurance course to run. Oh, and going out for groceries? Heh… yeah.

I’d be embarrassed right now if someone had to come in to this house to help me, because it’s frozen in a state where the dishes haven’t been done, the carpet hasn’t been vacuumed, clothes haven’t been put away, etc… and I feel like that person would think that this is just how I live.ย I dunno… when you’re feeling good you just take for granted that you’re going to continue feeling good and so all that shit doesn’t matter because you “know” you’ll be able to easily get to it at some point.

It definitely makes me sympathize with older folks who’ve just become less mobile over the years, who have to save their energy for key things and sometimes have to let other things go for a while, if not for good. Meh… it’s hard to explain… I guess I’m just saying that you never really understand until you’re going through it yourself, even if it is (hopefully) temporary. Hangin’ in there though…