Cautious, Grumpy Progress

Yesterday and today haven’t been great, but I’m trying to not let it slow me down too much. Woke up yesterday with my neck being more crapped up than usual, which then evolved into a headache that lasted all day. πŸ€• Same deal with my neck again this morning, but thankfully no headache to go along with it so far. I was supposed to go see Bri sometime today, but I went ahead and pushed that off until tomorrow… just wanna give myself one more night of sleep with the chance of waking up feeling better.

I’m not even sure what’s causing it, but the only thing I can think to blame is that I switched ends on my bed. πŸ€”πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I had it cornered against two of my bedroom walls in one direction for a few months, and a couple of days ago I scooted it so it was in the same corner but more against the other wall. 😐 It’s hard to explain, but basically what used to be the foot of my bed is now where my pillows and head are, so maybe that little change is just something that my neck needs to get used to. πŸ˜’ That part might be less compressed from time or whatever. Meh… I’ll probably sleep in the recliner tonight just to be safe. πŸ‘΄πŸ»πŸ’ΊπŸ˜

So, rather than visiting a friend while I’m in a frustrated, semi-grumpy mood, I figured I’d take the day here at the house to accomplish whatever light-duty type things that I get the motivation to tackle. So far today I’ve gotten the carpet vacuumed, the kitchen counters cleaned off, and finally 409’d the stove top. πŸ˜₯Β (That’s why I’m taking a break now… heh) I have to space things out and not push my luck, but lemme tell ya – with the rest of the kitchen relatively clean, that handful of dirty dishes in the sink will be smirking at me until I get them done up as well. Let’s put them on the “maybe” list for much later tonight. 😏

The NASCAR race is actually tonight instead of tomorrow, so that’s something to look forward to… oh, and for shits and giggles I put the 360 camera into time-lapse mode (2s intervals) and stuck it on the lamp post out front to see how long a full charge will last on that setting. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ€“ But tonight, I think during the commercials I’ll work on tidying up the bathroom. That’s one way I make myself do things when I don’t really want to… make the commercials mandatory “do something” time. πŸ˜’ The drawers and closet in there have needed attention for a while, so I’ll probably drag the trash can in there and at least get started on it.

At the end of the day, even though nobody would probably notice that I did anything… except, perhaps, the cleaning of my kitchen counters… I’ll still know that I accomplished (what counts as, to me) quite a bit. πŸ™‚ That’s about the only way I can handle this big ol’ house… little bits at a time, slowly getting room by room in better shape, and hopefully not cluttering it back up before I’ve finished whatever the next room is. πŸ™„πŸ˜ Meh… okay… I should quit rambling and get back to it. (Sorry, sometimes I have to stop and pat myself on the back like this to keep myself motivated… ‘cuz some of this shit isn’t easy for me.)

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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˜

I Know It’s Weird, But…

I wish my day was ending on a better note. 😞 As you can tell from my couple of previous posts, I was trying to get (or keep) myself in the right frame of mind where I could accomplish various things, hopefully have my plans for the weekend go down without any issues… basically just trying to hang on to the “normal” while I was feeling it. (And believe me… just that in itself is a bigger challenge for me right now than you’d probably think.)

Now, as many of you may already know, one of the “weird” things about me is my near inability to talk on the phone. There’s a logical root reason to how I ended up this way, even if there isn’t as much logic to it now, but it’s something that everyone who knows me is aware of. Unfortunately, I have one family member who is apparently as averse to textingΒ through the phone as I am to speaking on the phone, so there’s obviously gonna be some problems when we need to communicate. πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

So even when people do absolutely need to talk to me on the phone, they know to text me first to make sure it’s okay to call. Essentially it’s just giving me a warning that they’re gonna call, which helps my twitchy brain prepare for it, and usually making it something I can do. But over the past two days it’s been cold call after cold call, but at least this last time she left a voice mail saying that she had some good news and that she wanted me to call her.

So even though she knows I’m like this (we talked about it the last time she cold called me… heh), she’s got good news that she wants to share, so it makes me feel bad that this weird part of me won’t let me answer or call back immediately. πŸ™‚πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I have to “save up the oomph” to make a phone call. And yeah, I know that’s a really weird thing… there’s no debating that. I just hate when I’m doing my best to hang on to “normal” for a while, and something like this reminds me that I’ve still got a long way to go…

Of course I’m interested in her news, and I wish that I could just pick up the phone and call back right away, because I don’t want her to think that I don’t care… but now I’ve spent the evening being frustrated by myself, rather than continuing my forward progress. 😟 Dumb. But how many times do you have to tell someone that you don’t talk on the phone, or that if you have to talk to me on the phone – just text me and give me an idea that a call is coming? (Of course this doesn’t apply to anyone who doesn’t have the ability to text me.) I’m not asking people to understand why I’m this way, just that they understand that I am – and that they respect that unfortunate fact and don’t get hurt feelings if it takes me a while to call back.

Gah… okay, I gotta stop dwelling on this. It’s just how I am right now, I’ll talk to her tomorrow, she’ll share her news, everything will be fine… I can’t let my defects erase any of the positives that I’ve been actively working on lately. And I’m gonna keep reminding myself… as hard as it is for me to take or make phone calls, it could be just as hard for her to text – and it could be just a difficult for her to explain as it is for me.

It’s all good… it’ll be fine… I think I just needed to vent.

Oh C’mon…

Getting a half-way decent night of sleep didn’t do anything to recharge my batteries for any significant use today. Of course I do have a little more on my mind than usual, but that wasn’t what was bothering me today. Actually, I didn’t realize that anything was bothering me today – until it did. Around noon I went outside to use my little air compressor to air up my tires, since that was something I could just do in the driveway without having to drive into town or anything. Figured that was within my ability today.

Spent about ten minutes doing that. It was in the sun, yeah, but it wasn’t like it was actually that hot out. But yeah, so I was just waiting in the normal sun as my slow compressor topped off two of my tires… and when I went back inside, I fell asleep within minutes and didn’t wake up until almost two hours later. So bizarre. I wasn’t tired, wasn’t sleepy, and that’s all that I did… but *ploop*… I was out.

It’s still frustrating, and it still bothers me… but being so close to the end of this phase, at least I can think about it at the end of the day and smirk. It would be terrifying if this was just “how I’m gonna be from now on” but that’s not how it is. But knowing that something so truly small can trigger the “nope” button in my brain, which effectively shuts me down, it’s such a weird thing. Not a fan.

Hoping that I can get one more solid night of sleep under my belt tonight, and that maybe that will be enough to at least avoid any unintentional spontaneous naps tomorrow.

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.