Overdue For One Of These

Had my monthly WC doctor visit today. Good timing for two reason… first, because it looks like we’re gonna get our first measurable snow tonight (possibility of 2 to 3 inches) and second, because my shoulder was bad this morning. 😣 Most of the time when I have my appointments with him, I’m in my typical / average condition. Not good, but not too bad. But luckily, every now and then, my shoulder has one of its little fits while I’m in the office so he can see in real-time what I deal with a lot of days. Of course I never want to hurt, but it’s like when you take your car to the repair shop and it just won’t “make that noise” for the guy… yeah… my shoulder was making all kinds of “noise” for the doctor today.

It kinda doesn’t matter though… πŸ˜• and that sucks. πŸ˜’ I mean, my treatment is based on my condition, and he already knows that’s part of my condition – so seeing it happening “live” isn’t gonna change anything about it. It’s hard to describe the frustration of just wanting to “feel okay” while also knowing that there really isn’t anything that can make that happen. 😐 (And yeah, I know, I’m far from the only person that feels that way.) I’m gonna have to ask him at my next appointment, how much WC is affecting what he’s able to do for me. Lord knows they look for any reason to fight even paying for the meds that I’m on now, so I could see where he might know that some options would just be “off the table” from the start.

Meh… gotta try to not dwell on that stuff. πŸ™πŸ» But that’s why I’m a little more twitchy than usual once a month. Every time my WC appointment comes around, it just brings up all the frustration that I go through, for treatment that just makes things tolerable, and the fun waiting and wondering if / when my pharmacy will be given approval for each of my meds, etc, only to do it all over again a month later. πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ It’s just a shitty cycle that it seems I’m gonna be stuck in forever.

But like I told the doctor today… yeah, I might have times where I bitch about this stuff more than usual, but I also know that things could be a lot worse. I see the other people as they walk into the office… or, sometimes, as they’re rolled by in a wheelchair. 😟 I know that while my disability is definitely full of suck, there’s a lot of folks that have it a lot worse than me – so I try to keep my perspective. (But it doesn’t stop me from thinking that there’s got to be something out there that could still help me more.)

So, yeah, I haven’t done one of these rants for a little while… so there it is. πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Honestly, if you took my doctor appointment off of today’s schedule, everything was about the same as any other day – a random mix of good, bad, frustrating, okay, painful, tolerable, etc. πŸ™„ It just happened that today, the worst of the tremors happened at the most influential time. So despite several paragraphs of complaining, I’m fine… just thinking out loud and getting shit off my chest like usual. πŸ™‚πŸ‘πŸ»Β It’s all good…

Weekend / Winter Prep

I’m glad that today’s a Saturday, ‘cuz I can definitely use the additional time watching football and NASCAR to allow the morning meds to kick in and start helping out before I try to get up and do anything. It was a cold one last night, and I’ve yet to put a thicker comforter on the bed, so I just woke up more gimped than usual. πŸ˜•πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ But days like today are why I try to be somewhat productive on the days that I can, so I don’t feel like I’m being lazy when it takes half-a-day before I’m worth a shit. 😏

Once the game is over I’m gonna head in town to grab some Rax and go visit with Dad for a while. I’ll probably also stop by the thrift store in the Plaza while I’m out, to see how their comforter section looks. ‘Cuz to be honest I’d rather sleep under a pile of blankets than to have to keep my house at 70 degrees around the clock.

But yeah, I think that’ll be the extent of my “plans” for today. Keeping it light and easy, especially since tomorrow is already reserved for bills, paperwork, catching up on housework, etc. Getting out of the house here in a bit will probably help, but today just seems weird for some reason.Β πŸ€”πŸ˜Β I suppose it’s the bunch of little “meh” things collectively making it feel like the day never really got a solid start, so I guess I’m just feeling a bit restless because of it. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ One of these days I’ll eventually “be okay” with just being a potato on the days where being a potato feels like the reasonable thing to do. 😏

It’s okay to treat the weekend like a weekend, man… πŸ˜…Β Β (Or any day, for that matter…)

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‰

Why Am I Still Surprised? (@Me)

It looks like it is supposed to rain tomorrow and the next day, so even though I’m pretty sure this isn’t “grass planting season,” I went ahead and dumped that bag of soil around my light post out front, spread it out a bit, and covered / mixed it with new “drought resistant” blue-colored grass seed. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€πŸŒΎ The light pole area took the whole bag of dirt, but I did have half a bag of seed left over to spread around the other areas that got weed-whacked down to solid dirt. πŸ€”πŸ˜’Β (And yes, the mailbox gravel is still in my trunk… heh… maybe tomorrow. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ )

It’s partially my fault, because I’ve always told the guys to do whatever they needed to do to clear the yard out and make the mowing easier for them, since there used to be a whole bunch of stuff planted in random places that still tries to pop up. But when a few trees, bushes, and poles end up with big dirt rings / divots around their base… I think it’s safe to say “Okay, I’m pretty sure you got the weeds, buddy.” πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈΒ But I know they’re just trying to earn their money, staying busy while the other guy mows, and the only spot that really bugs me is the light post – because I can’t avoid seeing it when I leave the house.

So even though the dirt is almost as hard as rock around those other areas, I went ahead and threw down the remaining seed and got everything good and soaked with water, with a handful of back-and-forth trips to the spigot with an old watering can I found in the garage. πŸ’¦πŸŒ±πŸŒ±Β Unfortunately that’s about the extent of the oomph I’ve got for right now. πŸ˜₯ (And why I’m taking a break to sit here and blog… heh) I hate it, but between my neck, shoulder, and now lack of a thyroid… I have to accept that there’s an even newer limit to what I can do, even when it comes to this minimal amount of shit. πŸ™„ It was supposed to be old age that slowly took away those abilities, not being broken and having pieces of meat removed. 😠 Meh…

But anyway, it’s done now… πŸ™‚ I’m optimistic about the light pole, and if the other areas can sprout up a little bit of green (whether it’s new grass or “other”) that’ll just be a bonus. Of course I’ll have to let them know to take it easy around those areas for a while, and hopefully they’ll just be like “Kewl. Less work.” and not feel like I’m bitching. (Even though I’m kinda bitching… heh) Laundry and dishes are still on the agenda for today, but only after I chill for a bit, let the Aleve kick in, and maybe catch some of the Xfinity race.

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.)

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»