One Day at A Time

Fox Sports did a great job with the “virtual” race that they put on today. I forget what the official name was, but it was an eNASCAR / iRacing / Invitational / Exhibition race… that they somehow managed to get on TV with an impressive presentation. Sure, there were more wrecks than in a real race, and a few glitches here and there… but overall, if you were just walking in and out of the living room, only half paying attention, you wouldn’t have even noticed that we were all watching a video game.

A nice little escape for a couple of hours today. Back in reality, Mike DeWine declared that Ohio will have a stay-at-home order starting on Monday. We’re all basically doing that already, but I think this may actually affect folks who were still wanting and trying to work. Only certain jobs are on the approved list, so here’s hoping that the government comes through with unemployment or another form of relief quickly – ‘cuz as if the virus itself doesn’t cause enough anxiety, now people are gonna have to worry about utilities, rent, car payments, food, etc.

The problem is, the way they’ve worded things, the way they’re going to enforce this order… it’s way, way too soft – and the people who want to be out, or just don’t want to be told what to do, they’re gonna find and use all the loopholes. I’d give it a week or two before DeWine gets fed up with the lack of cooperation and puts something stronger in place. But right now, you can still go out to the park, walk around, walk your dog, drive to shop, visit family, go to doctor appointments… I mean, I don’t know what the right amount of “enforcement” would be, so maybe that’s why it’s starting off light.

I didn’t watch Trump’s press briefing today, and I’m probably a whole lot better for it. I’ve seen a couple clips, and have read things that he said or did… and yeah, as many, many people and journalists are starting to say on Twitter – there’s no reason that these things should be carried live, since there is so much misinformation that causes fear and anxiety. So my day was a bit better than I was feeling last night. Honestly, I don’t really know how I feel at the moment… it’s almost like anticipation… not knowing how I should feel until we start seeing things happening closer to home each day.

I’m probably still right on the edge of that same anxiety that I had last night, so after I get off of here I’m gonna seek out Airplane! (the movie) so I can kick back and absorb some stupid, clever, dumb comedy as I hopefully get sleepy. I hope everyone out there made it through the day as uneventfully as I did today.

Another Person’s Dream. Yay.

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve got a decades-old blog, somewhere, where I used to regularly keep track of my weird ass dreams. But sometimes they’re interesting enough to merit a spot in the regular blog. Last night’s dream was a single, long, awful, hyper-realistic “action” nightmare. 😳 (And when it comes to what I may have seen, heard, or done during the prior day to cause any of it… who knows.) The cast, for whatever reason, was mostly people that I went to high school with. πŸ€” Not necessarily even the “closer” of my friends.

It started off with Chris Woolard and Rich Nagel showing me their raptor pen, where yes… they had a real baby raptor, probably the size of a human toddler. They said I could go in and play with it, but that they didn’t advise it. 😧 I did anyway, though. It immediately knocked me down to my hands and knees and then proceeded to bite and attack my right shoulder. (Why my right? My left one is the one that’s damaged. Maybe fear of losing use of my remaining good arm?)

It chomped into me several times, finally just locking its teeth deep into my shoulder. πŸ˜–πŸ˜« I fell even closer to the ground, blood pouring into a puddle on the floor around me. I stayed as still as I could, which caused it to finally stop biting into me – and I was then face down on the floor, unintentionally blowing bubbles in my own blood as I tried to keep my breathing shallow enough that it would leave me alone. 😯

Brian White then pulled me up from the floor and helped me out of the pen, and had someone bandage up my shoulder. πŸ€• As soon as that was done, I started looking for my phone so that I could leave… but it wasn’t in my pocket, wasn’t on my desk, wasn’t anywhere that it should have been. 😳 So I began to frantically look for it, with the panic of knowing that whoever had it would have access to my entire life…

As I walked up and down this dark auditorium, looking all around the chairs, desks, and people – eventually Matt McKinster motioned me towards a huge “home improvement store” area just outside the room we were currently in. πŸ€” As soon as I got out there, I saw Jamie Faught carrying light posts for a customer… but he was about 20 feet tall, and they were like street light light posts. 😧 He nodded and smiled at me, but as I drew his attention away from what he was doing – the posts he was carrying smashed into dozens of giant ceiling fans that were above us all.

(If you’re still here and reading… well done. Other people’s dreams are so not-interesting… heh)

Everyone in the store, who were all regular sized like me… we all started running and screaming, because Jamie was falling, the posts were falling, and the smashed ceiling fans were falling – all in our direction. 😯😫 Some of the fans were still spinning like airplane propellers, which resulted in several violent “glass tornados” from which we all had to escape. ☹️ Luckily I spotted a big metal glove on the floor near me… 🀨

I put the glove on and shielded some people behind me as the glass shards began hitting us. The glove was able to deflect most of the debris, but we were still getting sliced and gashed by the stray pieces of glass as they flew by. πŸ˜–πŸ˜­πŸ€• I was able to save five or six people before a different glass tornado attacked us from above, rather than straight on like the others had done. πŸ‘†πŸ»πŸ˜³ It rained down on us so hard that it broke through the floor underneath us, sending us all falling into a darkened pit below.

At that point the wind stopped, the glass stopped flying around, the screaming people stopped screaming… and those of us that survived falling into the pit realized that we needed to climb our way out, over piles of busted glass and even more busted people. 😟☹️ When I made it to the edge at the top, thankfully my friend Desiree was there to take my hand and successfully pull me to safety. πŸ˜ƒ

She was crying and acting so sorry that she wasn’t there to protect me when it all started, but told me that even though she was late – that I can always rely on her to be there for me eventually, when it really counts. 😊 There was other little stuff after that, which I can’t really remember, and then I woke up. And I was friggin’ tired, man. 😞 I mean, I know all of this shit just comes off as bizarre – but imagine experiencing it all as vividly as you’re experiencing things in the room around you right now as you read this blog entry. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜

Crazy shit. I’ll definitely take a pass on any dreams tonight if they’re gonna be anything like that again. πŸ˜“

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? 😏

Refresh

My neck and shoulder are finally calmed down (mostly) after a long “recovery” day, so I think I better go ahead and make a “good” entry tonight in case my mood changes and I’m not feelin’ it tomorrow. 😏

Over the past month or so I’ve ordered three different cosmetic upgrades for my car. The first one was an OEM-looking spoiler, already painted in “Magnetic Metallic” with clear coat, so it is ready to install straight out of the box. πŸ™‚ It was about $100 and came from California, I believe.

The second one was a gloss black splitter / lip (or whatever you wanna call it) for the bottom of the front bumper. Now, this one came from whatever Asian area that all cheap reproduction goods seem to come from these days, so not only did it take a while to get here – but it arrived without the 3M adhesive tape and the screws to attach it to the car, so I’ll have to pick those up elsewhere. πŸ˜’ No big deal, since it was around $30.

Those two things… I had watched a few YouTube videos and convinced myself that I’d be able to do them myself, albeit with the help of a friend with tools and two functioning arms. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ The spoiler and splitter both require only minimal prep and effort compared to the third thing.

Also right around $100, a few days ago I ordered a gloss black honeycomb grill similar to what you’d see on the Fusion Sport, Mustang, and a bunch of other cars these days. My Fusion is a 2016 SE, so it came with the straight line “chrome” plastic grill… and while it obviously doesn’t look bad, I just think it’ll look better with this new one. (Plus I can sell the old one.) But this upgrade, there’s no way I’d be able to do it on my own, since it requires removing the nose of the car in order to pop out the old grill and snap the new one in. 😯

It hasn’t arrived yet, but it shouldn’t be too much longer since it’s also coming from CA. But when I made the decision to pull the trigger on the grill, that’s when I also resigned myself to the idea that it would be better to let someone else install all this crap in one shot. 😏 Especially since the splitter will go on much more easily when the nose is already off the car for the grill swap.

I know a few people who work on cars for a living, including a couple who do restorations and body work, so at some point I’ll probably hit one of them up and see if they’d be willing to handle my little project. Just because I think I could install the spoiler and splitter… it doesn’t mean that I should. 😟😞 There’s no doubt that it would take me 10x longer than anyone else, plus it would almost certainly tweak my neck and shoulder in some way. πŸ˜’ This is no time for my proud-but-stupid “I don’t need help” side to be stubborn.

But yeah, I’m looking forward to seeing how she’ll look with her new gear. πŸ™‚

Perfect Storm

Three things:

  • I didn’t get my nap today, so I’ve been awake since 3a… and it is currently 11p.
  • Despite that, I still made it in town to meet up with my friends for dinner.
  • I had a good time… but my shoulder is fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucked. πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Note, this isn’t a complaining post, even though it’ll sound like it. ‘Cuz my shoulder is frozen in the “up” position, but thankfully isn’t throwing a fit anymore. πŸ™„ Good lord, I haven’t had it shake this much in a long time. I’ve also got that familiar tilt of the head to the left. πŸ€• Yeah, tomorrow is going to royally suck.

This was one of those “price of entry” situations I’ve mentioned before. Where a combination of normally trivial things combine to flip the switch, even though it was something I wanted to do. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Not quite enough sleep, sitting up against the wall in an uncomfortable booth, not being able to fidget around as needed, loads of noisy people all around, using “social energy” I didn’t really have, an unfamiliar place, and then going from the warm to the cold as we finally gave up our seats and took it outside to finish talking. 😏

But it was Jim, Adam, and Brad, and we all went to The Pink Cricket. Haven’t stepped inside that place since I was barely a teenager, when me and my cousin Jim went in because they had a new (at the time) Ms Pacman machine. Ironically, they still have three arcade machines, and they’re all vintage. πŸ€“πŸ‘πŸ» Adam is a bit of a foodie, so I was happy to go there – since us getting together these days technically qualifies as “an event.”

The only time we weren’t talking was when we were cramming food in our mouths, but at a little over an hour my shoulder really started twitching. 😳 We had finished eating and were just taking up space, so I asked if they’d mind going outside so I could move around a bit. Well, we ended up standing outside for another 45 minutes, and all the little triggers came together and I ended up putting on a pretty good show. πŸ€•πŸ˜ Just meaning that my shoulder wouldn’t stop, and it’s probably the worst that they’ve seen it.

We covered a lot of topics but of course eventually it turned to my shoulder, then workers comp stuff, then all of our various aches and pains that we now bitch about… 😏 typical fare for four d00ds who are approaching “old fart” territory a little quicker than we’d like. But they had to drop off Brad before Adam could head back to Columbus, and then Jim up to Marion, so we broke it up and headed out around 10:30p.

Fun fact… I started this entry around 11p when I got home, but I’ve had to take so many breaks that it’s now after midnight. 😳 That’s the stuff that people don’t see. Spending an hour leaning against the space heater, typing a couple sentences here and there, and doing my best to make the “ugh” go away. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ At least my shoulder’s down and my head’s back in a normal position now. But yeah, still glad that I went.

(But ask me tomorrow when I wake up. 😏 It’s time for bed.)

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™‚