Figuring It Out?

I’ve been bitching a lot here in the blog lately, so I figured I’d drop in to make a more positive post about the weekend. I actually ended up getting pretty much what I was hoping for – putting the stress of my WC stuff to the back of my mind for a couple days, and just letting Saturday and Sunday work themselves out however they wanted. I didn’t even put any self-imposed obligations of “chores” or “being productive” on myself, and it actually worked.

I went in town to grab some groceries and some stuff for Dad, so I ended up making my visit with him on Saturday instead of Sunday. We were talking about maybe watching the race together, but after the visit on the day prior – we ended up just watching the race at the same time and texting back and forth about it. And that track… Homestead… I still think that it’s a little too generic to be the final race, and the one that determines the season champion. The racing from Phoenix, the week prior, was actually more exciting and entertaining… but meh, racing throughout the 2019 season felt improved overall, so at least things are moving in the right direction.

Caught up with some friends and family on Sunday, through messages, since I’d been flying under the radar most of the week. Toni sent me a few pics and vids from their Philly trip, where Matt participated in the Rocky Run, and also sent me a clip of Matt and Wendi’s gender reveal party thing. But she just wanted to check in on me to make sure I was okay. She jokingly offered to get a life-sized cardboard cut-out of me, which she could then take around town and take pictures with it every few days and post the pictures to Facebook – so my friends would “see” that I’m okay. (Since I still haven’t been able to make myself get back on there and socializing again… heh)

Also got caught up with Bri and Cassi… both of whom are dealing with various crap, but they also both seem to have a pretty good handle on things – or at least are doing their best to fake it as they deal with their respective crap. Not only did Bri have to take her youngest son to Children’s for some more tests on Friday, but then today she has her final custody hearing. However it all goes, I’m still impressed with how well she’s dealing with it all, despite obviously being nervous (and me being nervous right along with her), she’s just facing things and tackling them as they come. Same thing with Cassi, just with different issues. I could learn something from both of them when it comes to that.

In fact, I think that’s what helped my weekend (and even today, so far) feel pretty decent. Living a little more “in the moment” than usual. Reminding myself that constantly worrying about things that might not happen for several weeks… there’s just no point to it. You get things settled in your mind and in your plans as best as you can, and then you put it out of your thoughts until it’s time to actually deal with whatever it is. I mean, that’s not a new theory to me, but it’s something I’ve always struggled with. But watching and listening as others deal with some serious shit, and seeing how they do it without letting it crush them, it could be in my best interest to emulate how they do it.

And for good reasons and bad reasons, I found that “cats” ended up being a frequent topic of the weekend… and while talking to Genesee, I had her remind me about the whole story of Maven’s birth. I won’t go through it all, but basically Maven was lucky to have even survived – which made me remark how lucky she (Maven) was. And Genesee replied thatΒ she and IΒ were the lucky ones, considering the influence that Maven has had on both of our lives… and I definitely can’t disagree with that. But it was neat hearing the whole story again, with her lazy butt sleeping next to me by the space heater, and realizing how much she overcame in her first few days and weeks.

So, yeah… I guess it’s sort of crappy that just an “okay” weekend like that feels like such a positive improvement, but it really was a decent couple of days – and I needed it. And like I said, I’m gonna try to follow the lead of the folks that I know who are dealing with just as much as me, if not more, to try and keep the stressful stuff from weighing me down so much. Disability and pain are a couple of challenging adversaries when it comes to that… so not only do I need to embrace the good days when they come, but I also need to do more to nudge the “less good” days in the right direction whenever possible.

(Sorry, I can’t be arsed to go back through and add all the normal emojis today… just gonna hop off here and see where the rest of the day takes me since I’m not feeling too gimped up at the moment.)

World Mental Health Day

(Just got done writing this one. Heh… sorry, it turned out way longer than I anticipated, but here we go…)

Any time you get on Twitter and scroll through your feed, you see any number of people posting something because it’s a “National (whatever) Day” of some sort. Usually it’s not… but it gives folks a good excuse to post cute pictures of their cat, dog, kid, or whatever – but after seeing several posts and doing a quick google, it turns out today really is World Mental Health Day.

It’s meant to raise awareness, show support for folks getting or needing mental health care, and to also reduce the stigma that’s sometimes involved. Often involved, actually. πŸ˜’ For example, a while back at one of my primary care doctor appointments I was discussing some of the things in my life that were causing me anxiety. My disability, pain, the (then) newly discovered cancer, Mom being sick and now having passed, other close friends dying from cancer, dealing with workers comp, etc… 😟 like I told her – stuff that would probably cause anyone to feel stressed. I was just telling her so she’d have the full story, but she said she could refer me to a counselor if I wanted to talk to someone about it. πŸ‘©πŸ»β€βš•οΈπŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Seemed like a good idea to me. Sometimes just being able to let out your stress or anxiety to someone that’s not involved in your life in any way… it can just take a little bit of the weight off. I saw her like once a month for a few months, and she said she could refer me to their in-house doctor to see if there was any medication that might be able to help. I wasn’t really interested, since I was feeling an appropriate amount of “bleh” in regards to the stuff that was causing it… but I went ahead and took her suggestion.

I now see that doctor about once every six or eight weeks, and I’ve actually got an appointment with him tomorrow where I’ll need to make a decision. πŸ€” Because, despite this feeling like a normal series of doctor visits – just as if I was dealing with a physical health condition – the fact that this doctor gives me medication to help with my anxiety is now being used against me. 😠 And being used against me by the last person that I would expect to further the stigma surrounding mental health care… another doctor. ☹️

And when I say “mental health care” … I don’t even take any type of super serious medication, and I haven’t been diagnosed with any extreme disorders. Until this hiccup happened, I looked at this doctor and my treatment there as “Yeah, I guess it makes me feel a little better maybe… or at least I know it’s not making me feel worse… so I guess I’ll continue going.” Like, in my mind, it was barely a thing, but I continued going since it was now part of my current medical routine.

But when I had to go to the independent medical evaluation for the workers comp system (a week or so before getting that second radioactive iodine dose and scan for my cancer followup) one of the things discussed with that doctor was what medical treatment I was currently getting, and from who. (Regardless if it was related to my WC injury or not, to get a complete picture…) So of course I talked about the cancer doctor and treatment, my WC doctor and treatment, and then my PCP doctor and referral regarding the mental health care.

Now, these exams, they’re initiated by my former employer’s insurer, so of course they’re rarely going to be helpful to my cause. So I expected him to say certain things, but I never expected that being treated by a doctor for occasional anxiety would essentially be “weaponized” and used against me the way that it is. 😟😞 Because this doctor took the names of the two meds I’m prescribed, and picked some of the absolute worst possible reasons that I may be taking them. You know how almost every medication has one “thing” it is known for treating, but then it can also be used for treating a half dozen or more other things?

You could even do this test on yourself. Just grab whatever meds you take, get on WebMD, pick out the most extreme, “worst case scenario” possible uses for each medication, and see how close that sounds – compared to what you’re actually taking them for. 🧐 That’s what this doctor did to me. Taking what is run-of-the-mill, minor anxiety treatment to me, and twisting it into all sorts of implied, speculative, “concerning” mental conditions that could be so severe that they even affect how I interpret / talk about my pain and disability. πŸ˜§πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜  Reading those things in his report was honestly shocking. πŸ₯Ί

The funny thing is, for most people… just the pain that I deal with each day, and the sheer amount of things that I can no longer do due to the disability in my left shoulder and arm… just those things alone are enough reason that a person might want to include anxiety treatment in their normal medical routine. And I was doing it mostly because another doctor suggested it, and it sounded like a “might as well” thing, rather than me desperately needingΒ it or seeking it out. And now it has bitten me in the ass. πŸ™„πŸ˜’

Well, maybe it has bitten me in the ass. (Maybe the commission will see right through it, as they should.) I won’t know how his report will affect my worker comp case until the hearing is scheduled and all of the doctors’ information (from both sides) is reviewed. But now I’m stuck, wondering if tomorrow I should let this doctor know that I no longer need his services. πŸ˜ŸπŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ He probably helps me a little bit, but it’s certainly something that I could do away with if it’s going to damage the treatment that I get for my work injury. It’s obviously more important (and logical) for me to want to keep the treatment that keeps my pain to a minimum, which also helps keep my stress and anxiety to a minimum.

Yeah, so anyway, it’s a bit of a clusterfuck… and, unfortunately, anyone that reads my story here… anyone that may have been considering seeing a counselor or psychiatrist for the first time… they’ve now got something to add to their mental “nope” list when it comes to the pros and cons of seeking any type of mental health treatment. πŸ˜’ I don’t take it personally, what the “independent” doctor wrote. I understand that his job is to come up with all of the “worst case scenario” stuff that he can, since my doctors will obviously be talking positively about all of the ways that my current treatment is as effective as the WC situation will allow.

I guess I look at those types of doctors the same way that you might look at public attorneys who are appointed to defend obvious criminals in court. They still have to give that defense their maximum effort, even if it goes against what many people would consider to be “right.” That doctor has chosen that job for reasons only he would know… so I can only hope that sometimes he stops to think about the effect that his actions have on us folks who rely on our WC treatment to keep our pain and lives at least tolerable. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜Ÿ

Happy World Mental Health Day 2019. πŸ˜’πŸŽ‰

It’ll Be Fine

I’ve developed a bad habit of letting my mail sit and gather dust for a week or two before getting to it, but sometimes that procrastination yields interesting results. For example, in the current batch I got two bills from the hospital for relatively small amounts… but I also got two checks from the hospital as well, which total about five times more than what the bills are asking for. πŸ€¨πŸ€” Part of me wants to say nothing and mark it up as a win, but the twitchy side of me insists that I go in and talk to someone in the billing office and get my account in order before the actual expensive things start up again here soon. πŸ˜’

Toni actually messaged me a few hours ago (before I got into my mail) to see if I wanted to go with her when she cuts Dad’s hair tomorrow. I told her I’d have to sleep on it, since every day is basically a crap shoot lately – but between the hospital mail and some other mail that I got, I’m hoping it’s a sign that I’ll feel good enough to at least go see Dad, and then hopefully hit the hospital on the way home. Didn’t start feeling extra shitty until half the day was done today, so hopefully tomorrow can be the same. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I just hate feeling so off of my game… 😟 and worry that being around me could be mostly depressing.

And yeah, I know I instantly jinx myself whenever I “make plans” for something, but both of those things are things that I want and need to do, so I’m gonna do what I can to make it happen. Now, when it comes to my car crying about an oil change, or that one of my tires is low on air… (and how rude is it that it knows which tire, but won’t specifically tell me?) 🀨 yeah, that stuff can definitely wait. No pushing of the luck tomorrow. 😠 In fact, no pushing of the luck tonight… I’m not even gonna waste any energy cleaning up all the sorted mail and trash and whatever. Time to hit the recliner for some Avengers: Endgame and hopefully sleep soon after.

“Wake Up, Case 1485729-4”

Fell asleep around dawn and then was awoken by a phone call from one of my attorneys a few hours later. πŸ˜’ We’ve got quite a bit of outstanding issues right now, and after the long weekend I could almost feel this call coming… so much so that I didn’t turn my ringer off, since I did need to talk to him.

This entry might as well be titled “What Else Is Wrong?” since, in part, it’s essentially going to be a sequel to my most recent post. As you may or may not know, I try to keep my online presence as free as possible from a) bitching about my pain/disability, and b) talking about specifics of my workers comp case. Partially out of pride, partially because nobody really wants to hear about it anyway.

I’m not sure I even remember what I used to be like before all of this dominated my life. I know it’s not pleasant now, to put it extremely mildly, and I know it’s a constant pain in the ass… so even though it’s hard to remember, I do miss the time when my life was my own and I wasn’t being led by the nose through by doctor visits, IC hearings, physical disability, medication requirements, mental stress, pharmacy policies, insurance companies, and now actual an actual court case. 😞

I’m just frustrated because we’re less than two months away from the court stuff starting and so far the settlement stuff is going nowhere. πŸ˜• Their side will submit their brief to the court, my side will have a few weeks to reply, and then it starts getting serious. The court will likely want to depose any doctors that have seen or treated me, on both sides, which means I’d have to hope that I could essentially “rent” my doctor for half a day to give testimony – which would be ridiculously expensive. 😣 (Not to mention ridiculously annoying since he’s already submitted report, after report, after report, in writing.)

So my attorney is going to find out how much they’ve paid each year, on average, for my treatment and medication – and then tomorrow or the next day, when I go to the pharmacy to pick up this month’s meds, I’m going to have them print out what the “out of pocket” cost would be for each medication if I was paying for them with no insurance at all. πŸ€“ With those figures we’ll again try to come up with what we believe is a fair settlement, and then they’ll have to decide if the continuing costs of fighting me are worth it – rather than just settling this and making me go away.

I’m just worried that we won’t be able to get this done before the date of the first hearing. I’m sure it’ll be (us) “Here’s our offer.” followed by (them) “Well, that’s nice, but this is what we’re willing to pay.” followed by (us) “C’mon, get out of here… we need at least (this much)” and then (them) “We’re gonna have to think on this.” with (us) “Well we’re gonna have to think on this too.” Heh… so I don’t know what the odds are of avoiding this court case at this point, but I’d think they are slim.