Good Days = Still Remarkable

Today was a nice, uneventful day. Having caught up on my sleep over the past couple of days, I woke up in a pretty good mood so I decided to head in town to wash the car and pick up some pop, bread, and other misc. $13 seems a little steep for a car wash, but I’ll give the place credit – as cruddy as she was when she went in, she came out shining as if someone had washed her by hand. 😎

Next time I’ve just gotta remember to spray on some wheel cleaner that I’ve got, and let it sit for 5 or 10 minutes, because that’s the only part that remained somewhat cruddy. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜ Even the dryer section completely dried her off, unlike the freebie wash that I sometimes get from the dealership. Oh, for reference, it’s that barn shaped car wash out by the mall… can’t remember its name at the moment. πŸ€”

I also took the opportunity to stop in at the new Ohio Thrift there in the Plaza shopping center. It started as a furniture place, then turned into a thrift, and then it was vacant for several years before this new one moved in. Nice place, lots of variety – likely due to it being part of one of the bigger chains from around Columbus. πŸ˜ƒ I doubt that much of their inventory came from the area, with as much as they had in there.

I had the 360 camera in the car with me, just in case my motivation held up, but walking around the thrift store ended up being enough exercise for me. πŸ€• So I just took a short drive through the fairgrounds and Rising Park before heading back home, but that did give me the chance to stick the camera to my roof and get two recordings. πŸ€“ I’ve had that camera for quite a while but haven’t put it to much use due to this or that, so now I’ve at least got a couple of clips to mess around with as I re-remember how it all works.

Trying to think of a use for that camera did make me kinda “meh” again, thinking about not being able to ride a motorcycle anymore. πŸ˜’ Using the fairly heavy duty selfie-stick that it came with, if it was mounted off the back seat or fender of a bike (sort of like a kid would have a goofy orange flag waving off the back of a bicycle) it would result in some impressive looking footage. 🀨 The stick is digitally removed automatically, so it would look as if I had a drone following behind me the entire time – but with the ability to “look around” in any direction that you wanted at any time. Meh…

It’s weird how there are things, things that I can’t do anymore due to my shoulder, that I’ve gotten over… and this is a good example. I tried a short ride a few years after my surgery, but I could tell that if anything unexpected happened, I just couldn’t count on my left shoulder to do what it might need to do. πŸ˜³πŸ˜• And for those who aren’t aware, bikes are friggin’ heavy… so not only would riding hurt, but it would have just been a really bad idea anyway. πŸ˜’ So yeah, having that bike / camera idea pop into my head for a split second, before remembering that I can’t ride anymore… those unexpected reminders just suck sometimes. 😟

But no worries with all that. πŸ™‚ Like I said, I’m quite happy with how today went. Grabbed some kitchen supplies, hit a thrift store for a few “new” shirts, took a joyride through the parks, and got to mess around with yet another camera. And with the way people drive in this town, I wouldn’t trust half of those assholes to be around me while I was on a motorcycleΒ anyway. πŸ˜› Similar to my dash cam, I bet most riders these days have some sort of camera on their bike or helmet. I know that I sure wouldn’t ride without one.

Hoping that “good days” keep coming along, to where they no longer merit entire blog entries… 😏

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Some Today, Some Tomorrow

Woke up to my neck feeling all janky today… either from sleeping on it wrong, or just from the building stress of the last few days. But I still dragged my ass out of bed with intention today, determined to get some of the stuff on my mental to-do list done. It wasn’t until I was getting ready to leave the house that I realized it was 92 effing degrees outside today. The heat still takes a little more toll on me than it used to, and along with the neck / headache shit – I ended up scaling back my goals just a bit.

First stop was gassing up the Fusion and topping off the air in the tires, then to the bank, then to the post office – to mail out that report for my attorneys. I wish I could snap my fingers and it would just be there, but I’ll have to be okay with them getting it tomorrow and then finally actually looking at it at the start of next week. I’m gonna give Jim a call though and leave him a message, letting him know that it’s coming.

And then since my car has gone from “change oil soon” to “oil change required”, I figured I should go ahead and get that done while I was out today. It was like I suspected though… and why I like these new guys that I go to for service… he said the synthetic blend that I got last time could have actually lasted me many more miles, and the car was only crying because I forgot to inform it that it got synthetic this last time, and didn’t increase the mileage interval before it starts squawking at me. But yeah, for an oil change place to say 7,500 miles on synthetic is cake, and even 10,000 wouldn’t be that bad… that shows some honesty that you wouldn’t always expect.

But by the time the oil change was finished, the base of my skull was thumping and I was feeling pretty meh due to hanging around in the heat as I waited, so I decided that was enough “on the go” chores for the day. Hoping I’ll bounce back overnight tonight, so I can finally go get my hair cut and schedule an eye appointment tomorrow.

Ugh… I hate that the workers comp crap is still in the back of my mind though. Today is a good example of something that would be used against me. “Look! He admits to working on his car!” (Because they’d count putting air into my tires as work.) And if I didn’t specifically state that I took my car somewhere for an oil change, they’d probably claim that I didΒ that myself as well. And of course, regardless of whether I mention any levels of pain or not, there’s this strange “Robert admits to performing multiple chores, including multiple stops at various locations throughout his day.” kind of stuff that’s obviously intended to imply something…

I guess I just thought that I was past the point of having to justify doing things that I simply have to do, or pointing out every time that something causes me difficulty or pain each time I do it. It hurts to do certain things, such as folding laundry, standing and doing dishes, etc… but of course I still have to do those things. I’m not sure how pointing out that I’m still managing to get by, despite my disability and pain, somehow makes me the bad guy. Meh… but anyway… I’m okay with what I was able to accomplish today.

EDIT: After I finished this entry, I remembered something else that annoyed me enough to come back to add this. Weeks ago I learned that Skillet was having a concert at the end of September in Columbus. However, I’m not going to that concert… a concert by one of my most favorite bands… because it’s a general admission show, and it would simply hurt too much to stand and be bumped around for that hour and a half. I’ve fought with myself, trying to make myself go, but I chose not to because I don’t want to hurt. I think I even made an entry where I wondered about “disabled seating” for folks like me… but in the end, despite it being a show I’d desperately love to see, I’m not going. My life is a constant balancing act because of my disability and pain… sometimes I have to do things that hurt (like chores) that I don’t want to do, but I have to. Sometimes I choose to do something fun, despite knowing that fun thing will likely cause me pain… and I think that’s okay too. But then there are examples like this – where I really wanna do something, but I’m not willing to pay the pain-equivalent of “the price of admission” to do it, because I’m that concerned with avoiding extra pain. Yet the legitimacy of my disability and pain is still being questioned, year after year after year…Β  fml.

You Never Get Used To It

(Oh yeah… this is quite a rambling one.Β  Strap in…)

While I was off of my thyroid meds, losing energy with each day that passed, preparing to have my second cancer scan done, as you may remember – I still had to drive over an hour up to NW Columbus, to go to the “Independent Medical Evaluation” initiated at the request of my former employer’s WC insurer. πŸ˜’πŸ€’ For those who haven’t been through it, it’s essentially one of the methods that can be used to try to get medication or treatments disallowed from a claim, based off of a report from a doctor (like in this instance) who has seen you as little as one single time. 🀨 That almost always sets up an Industrial Commission hearing, where (in my case) that report will be compared against the records of my own doctor, who has been treating me consistently for this work injury and disability for well over a decade. 😯

Of course my thoughts were more focused on the upcoming cancer scan at that point, so I went up, had my exam, went back home, and then mostly forgot about it while I dealt with my other medical concerns. But upon collecting my mail from the box a couple of days ago – I saw that enough time had passed for that doctor to have generated his report, which is easily 30-40 pages (if not more), and have copies sent to me, my attorneys, and my own doctor. I waited a few days to open it, because I knew there would be nothing good about it, nor would there be anything that I could do about that fact. 😟 It might as well have been labeled “Envelope Full of Frustration” but I finally made myself open and read it all yesterday.

I’m going to sugar-coat the shit out of this as I continue. πŸ™„πŸ˜ For my second pass through this thick report, I grabbed a yellow highlighter and began to mark and number the areas where more info was needed. 🧐 Whether it was adding context, pointing out inconsistencies, noting conflicting statements within the same report, or bringing attention to things that were implied, inferred, or assumption… I ended up with 48 different sections that required a response. And, unfortunately, there were several things that were simply false. Absolutely false. But still written in this report as if it were fact. 😠 I’m not saying that this doctor just pulled some things straight out of his ass, but it’s a shame how many “inaccuracies” were made by someone that shouldΒ have the presumption of being knowledgeable and accurate, especially given the duty that he’s performing and the way it could affect the future of anyone that he evaluates.

So now my copy of that doctor’s report has 48 highlighted areas, to go along with a numbered “rebuttal report” that I created to address each of those problem areas. So when I give it to my attorneys, they’ll be able to read my comments right along with the numbered and highlighted areas on the original report. πŸ€“ And despite having another doctor appointment at 11am this morning, I was up until after 2am last night… because correcting or clarifying (what I believe to be) inaccurate things in that report is really the only thing that I can do right now when it comes to “defending myself” or possibly helping my attorneys with their argument points. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜ž But yeah, once I started, the areas that needed my attention just kept coming, and I wasn’t going to stop and go to sleep until I had addressed everything that I felt needed it.

Of course my doctor will write a rebuttal report… something that he’s done many times before, to the point where he’s often repeating himself – because the facts are the facts, and they don’t change over time. But when there’s a hearing, it’s just expected that the doctor of record will submit a report, so he’s unfortunately stuck in this situation just like I am. πŸ˜• Thankfully, my doctor is awesome. And like me, he’s not a fan of having his words twisted, his knowledge and methods belittled… and he’s definitely not a fan of any claims, implications, or “facts” that seem to be based on little-to-no actual evidence. So not only will he write a truthful and accurate rebuttal based on all of the medical evidence, but it also serves as a way for him to “defend” himself – which is the same feeling that I have, and why I wrote my index of rebuttal points. 🀨

I have a ton of other things that I would like to say about the doctor’s report, but it’s in my best interest to just stop at this point. I’ve covered the basics, and you’re more than welcome to imagine the non-sugar-coated version… but even if you did that, there’d still be some things that would legitimately shock you. So now I can only hope that my rebuttal points will be helpful and useful to whichever attorney ends up representing me at the actual hearing. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€πŸ’ΌπŸ‘©πŸ»β€πŸ’ΌπŸ—’οΈπŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš–οΈΒ (And I’ve always felt the “commission” folks do seem to care as well.)

But the law firm that represents me is great, and we’ve (knock on wood) got a great track record from the beginning through today… so I know that they’ll have already picked apart many of the same things that I’m bringing attention to, but there still might be something that I say here or there that will contribute to the arguments that they use on the day of the hearing. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ And at the very least, having more information “straight from the horse’s mouth” will be beneficial in general, since we usually only have about a half hour to sit and quickly discuss the case before the hearing starts.

It would be hard for anyone to find the words to accurately express the feeling and level of frustration that comes along with this situation. πŸ™‡πŸ»β€β™€οΈ To have decisions being made by other people, about things that will dramatically affect your future, knowing that “the truth” is the only weapon that you have… it’s such a helpless feeling, especially when you’re already feeling pretty damn helpless most of the time, due to the disability and pain that this whole thing is about in the first place. 😒 So other than the info I’ll be giving my attorneys, it comes down to sitting, waiting, and hoping… and there’s nothing relaxing or reassuring about that. 😞

Any good luck or positive juju that you want to mentally send my way is greatly appreciated. πŸ€žπŸ»πŸ™‚πŸ™πŸ»

Still Unpredictable, Of Course

I had a scenario today where I was gonna be a backup person in regards to getting a friend to the Sweet Corn Festival for the parade this evening. They’ve got a handful of kids, with some needing to be here, some needing to be there, so basically between scheduling and other helpers and everything – I said I’d be willing to take her or her “band kid” to the parade if needed, because it’s not like I’d mind even seeing the parade myself since it’s been quite a while.

But luckily my name wasn’t drawn, because I woke up today with my neck and back again just feeling a little bit off. 😟 I took my morning meds, including an Rx anti-inflammatory, so hopefully that’ll help… but yeah, after doing some work around the house yesterday, I’m definitely gonna take it easy today. 😳 I just don’t wanna pester my injuries to the point where it screws up my main SCF plan this weekend.

Like it usually is when I have lower back problems, I can’t think of anything specific that I did that would have triggered it… πŸ˜’ and now that I know the damage in my neck could actually affect nerves in my lower back and leg, it does make me nervous when I notice anything different. But just knowing about the damage in itself causes me to be more “aware” about any unusual feelings, and more alert to any changes in general.

So it’s NBD at the moment, but I think I might sleep in the recliner for the next couple of nights – since that’ll keep me from flopping around in bed like I usually do when I sleep. Hopefully if I did tweak something in my neck it was just minimal, and if I try to sleep in a more “still” manner and maybe activate “robot head” for a couple of days (where I either just move my eyes, or move my entire body if I wanna look in any certain direction)Β when I need to look around, I can keep things from getting worse. ‘Cuz this has happened before, and it doesn’t always end with huge pain and the temporary need for a cane.

Just another aspect of testing what I can get away with in my attempts to avoid becoming a potato. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜

Rambling Elaboration

Yesterday’s entry was admittedly pretty bleak… but not all of yesterday was completely full of suck, so I figured I should come back in here and sprinkle a little bit of that “good” around – even though I know it won’t really do much to balance out the tone of the blog lately or overall. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜•

Knowing that soon I’ll be runnin’ completely without my thyroid meds, there were a few things inside and outside of the house that I wanted to get to… just in case the next several weeks are as “challenging” as I’m expecting them to be. 😟 The inside stuff was whatever… but the outside stuff, that’s the kind of stuff that kicks my ass even when I’m at my relative best these days. It also didn’t help that it was still 87 degrees in the late afternoon, when I finally went outside, since “waiting for the heat to die down” wasn’t really gonna work unless I intended to do my yard work in the dark.

When they took out my line of bushes, they plucked about a 1/3 of them, and the remaining 2/3 were cut off at the base – as close to the ground as possible. I told Jason that I had plenty of poison spray when they were doing it, and he suggested that after they were done I should probably go out and hit all the remaining “nubs” in the ground, to discourage them from trying to make a comeback – and to hopefully make them brittle enough that anything still above ground will eventually just start breaking off. So, that was mini-project number one, and luckily I didn’t need my cane nor did I have any neighbors eyeballing me as I worked.

I still had juice left in the sprayer when I was done, so I started hitting weeds along the fence, under a bunch of the evergreen bushes, all over the empty-but-weedy spot (where a big bush used to be) beside the garage, and then all around the AC unit just to make sure nothing considers growing up around it. I was sweating balls at this point. Actually, I was sweating balls within the first 10 minutes of being outside… but yeah, it was time for a break in the cool air inside.

It felt nice, but when it became obvious that I wasn’t gonna stop sweating, I sucked it up and went back outside. I’ve got a couple different sprays for spiders, wasps, bees, and ants – so I treated all the areas that needed it. 😷 Front porch got most of the spider attention, back porch had the bees, and then I sprayed what amounts to an “ant barrier” at the bottom and lowers sides of all of the doors that go outside or into the garage. (They’re a fan of Maven’s messy eating habits, usually leaving bits of cat food on the floor for them to sniff out and come after.)Β Bugs don’t really count as “critters” I suppose, but I still hate to be an exterminator. πŸ˜• But when they won’t stay outside, or try to take over certain areas when they do, they’ve gotta go.

Don’t you love how I can take “Sprayed some poison on the bush stumps and weeds, then killed some bugs” and turn it into a multi-paragraph blog entry? This time it’s intended… to make it sound as time-consuming and exhausting as it actually was. πŸ˜“ I ended up sweating so much that the mosquito repellent finally quit working, but I had done everything that I wanted – so it was time for a shower, and to stop friggin’ sweating.

Throughout the process, I learned that I have another mutant ability. πŸ™„ I can work outside for a little less than an hour, come inside into the cold air conditioning, take a shower to get all the stink, grass, and stray poison mist off of me… but I can continue sweating for a full two hours after everything was done and I should have been good. πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I’m guessing it’s a thyroid thing that I just hadn’t discovered yet, since I’m usually too gimpy to work that much outside. But yeah… cool shower, cold air, and two more hours of sitting here with a towel to keep drying myself off.

It’s fine though… because as much as this all might sound like bitching, it felt good to accomplish so many things when there were so many other things trying to mentally or physically discourage me from doing so. Until I started to not be able to do a lot of things, I didn’t realize how important that it could be to be able to do something with purpose. So even though this stuff is probably most people’s typical weekend, it’s my little thing to grab hold of and feel good about. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

And, obviously, I have to take what I get when it comes to stuff like that these days.

Hands Off The Controls: Autopilot Has Been Engaged

I didn’t get to sleep until almost 6am this morning, and I had posted a somewhat moody blog entry about an hour before that… but I went ahead and deleted it when I woke up, deciding that I should wait until I had a little more sleep, time, and information under my belt before commenting on the stuff I was commenting on.

It was just really bad timing last night… first, forgetting to drag the trash buggy out to the road, so I ended up doing that around 3:00am. And of course since I was out there, I grabbed whatever was in the mailbox from the past couple of days. And the letter on top had to be from my WC attorneys, letting me know that my mandatory “independent” WC exam has been rescheduled. That was the appointment where I got up at dawn to drive to the NW side of Columbus, with my bum knee at the time, and they cancelled on me about five minutes away from their office. 🀨 Yeah, so that’s now rescheduled near the end of the July.

It had actually slipped my mind, since my brain has been in a state of constant anxiousness regarding my lengthy but (hopefully) finalΒ thyroid cancer treatment beginning. So with that and other other crappy stuff on my mind, having had to deal with the kitten situation yesterday, and then just not being able to sleep because of all of it – seeing that envelope pushed me past sad, mad, frustrated, nervous, or whatever… eventually to just numb. 😐 It’s happened before… I’ve simply “felt” to the point of no longer being able to feel. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜• And I don’t know… with the way I’ve been, numb is probably better.

I’ll let my attorneys know that the appointment is just days before I’m due to begin the radiation part of my treatment, so we’ll see if WC still demands that I show up – or if they’ll decide to wait until it’s over and I’m at what they’d consider my “normal” physical self. The latter would give a more accurate representation of how my disability and meds affect me, but who knows what they really want.

The last handful of entries should give you a good idea of where I’m at and where things are heading. I don’t know how much time I’m going to be spending online in the near future, and there’s a good chance that I’m going to be even more difficult to reach than usual. I apologize that I’m probably going to come off as more inconsiderate than typical… but I can’t really do anything for anyone, I can’t see how my presence right now could possibly be a good thing… so I might end up in my bubble for a while. 😐 If anything significant happens though, good or bad, I’ll make sure I at least make a small post – just to keep the people who still care in the loop. Try not to worry about me though. Whatever happens next is all out of our hands.

Less Bad, Overall

They came and plucked / cut all of the bushes out the other day. πŸ™‚ I don’t know why it made me feel so awkward, sitting in the house doing nothing while other people were out in my yard taking care of things… but I thought about the x-ray results of my knee, how nothing was apparently wrong, and whether I wanted to do physical therapy – and all of those thoughts resulted in me doing quite a bit of work inside the house over the past couple of days.

I figure that physical therapy would be “Yeah, I know it hurts, but keep moving your knee.” so I decided if I was going to hurt, it would be for something useful… something that allowed me to feel productive instead of sitting around like a turd while other people did work outside that I still feel (even though I physically can’t) like I should be taking care of myself. 😟 They did a great job though, and left the area in a condition where all I’m gonna have to do is spray a little poison on the nubs that didn’t get plucked, and then spread some grass seed (actually, quite a bit) and cross my fingers.

Inside, it was basically just a continuation of what I’ve been off-and-on working towards. The yellow bedroom is never actually used as a bedroom, so I donated the bed from that room to Bri when she got her apartment. Now, that’s my new “auction / sale” staging area. So a lot of what I did was just moving boxes from one bedroom to another, but getting it sorted much better and stacked more efficiently… keeping the more valuable things in their own area, separate from the random household goods or whatever.

It was frustrating, only being able to do a couple boxes at a time before taking another break for my knee… but I just spent a couple of days “keepin’ at it” and even getting several more tubs and boxes packed with stuff and stacked with everything else. πŸ™‚ It’s still frustrating that it took me two days to do something that would normally have taken an afternoon at the most, but I wanted to keep moving – but with breaks so I could tell if I was making my knee worse. 🀨 Which, luckily (and surprisingly) I don’t think it was. It doesn’t feel good now, but it’s actually slightly better than before I started doing all this… so, who knows, maybe my slow-ass self-PT’ing is working. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

I did take today off though, because the next logical step that I would be taking is working in the basement, either packing stuff down there and trying to carry tubs and boxes up the stairs, or bringing individual items up one at a time and packing them upstairs… and I can’t quite trust my knee enough to consider either of those things. πŸ˜’Β I guess I could just take the laptop and go down there with the intention of staying down there and working, letting Netflix play in the background, and just wait until things are better before I try to haul anything upstairs. πŸ€” Meh… could have done that today actually… but after two days of solid “going” it’s probably better that I didn’t confine myself to the basement today.

I’ve basically stayed offline, I’ve been ignoring most of my messages… but to have the oomph to do what I’ve been doing, I needed to unplug and just do my stuff in my own little bubble here. 😞 That’s a sucky thing, I’ll admit, but at least I get to feel good about finally getting a good amount of something done around here, after over a month of my knee making sure that that wasn’t likely to happen.