New Trick

I learned something new at my most recent doctor appointment for my neck, shoulder, nerves, spine, etc… I learned that there’s a way to completely deactivate my left arm. 😳😧 Seriously. It switches to rag-doll mode and isn’t good for a GD thing. πŸ₯Ί My neck was close to frozen and the muscles were all jammed up in my left shoulder and neck, so I asked him to show me some stretches that might be able to break me out of that.

What he showed me definitely worked… it relaxed the constantly-tense muscles and reduced some of the pain, but man… for about 10 minutes it also made me think that I wasn’t gonna have use of my arm again. ☹️ I ended up finding a place to park in the far end of the parking lot so I could lie on the hard ground, brace my scapula, and do some range-of-motion type stretches to get it working again. πŸ˜£πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

What a weird feeling though, to get in the car and mentally place both of my hands on the steering wheel… for only my right arm to actually do it as the left one just hung there. πŸ₯Ί It didn’t feel “asleep” or tingly or anything, it just didn’t respond. Scary shit. So, it’s not a great feeling to know that the painful / annoying tension has to be there (at least in some part) in order for my left arm to be even slightly useful. 😠 Because when you totally relax those bad muscles, there aren’t enough muscles left that are attached to good nerves that make it do what it’s supposed to do. 😟 And yeah, I know this is a weird blog entry, but trust me… when an entire arm suddenly just doesn’t work, it’s pretty jarring.

As I was laying on the ground, moving my arm up, down, and around… I thought for sure that someone would either send a medic out to check on me or, more likely, someone would call the cops on the weirdo lying on the ground, flailing around. πŸ˜πŸ˜―πŸš” So I don’t know how I feel about all this. Learned some specific stretches and motions that help relieve the pain and pulled muscles, but at a pretty big cost. At least the option is there, I guess, and everything is temporary… both good and bad. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

No more news on the other stuff yet, but I’m taking a break… I need to lie down.

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™‚

Weekend Work

Quite a bit of mail arrived over Thursday and Friday. 😳 Enough that I don’t wanna let it wait until next week before I start getting to it. (Mostly because the piece on top of the stack was the IC hearing info, so there’s probably attorney crap as well.) It’s sitting on my couch, soon to be joined by today’s mail, because I don’t wanna look through it all (yet) and stress myself out over the weekend.

I also got a couple calls from unfamiliar numbers yesterday, and they left voice mail, so I’ll tackle that along with the mail tomorrow. Gonna try to keep today good. I just have little reason to believe that those messages will be anything that I wanna hear. πŸ˜’ Probably something from one of my doctors, one of my attorneys, or it could be in regards to the recent request for a new MRI scan of my neck. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

I suppose it’s never “good” if you’re getting an MRI scan, and the process on its own is horrible. But given that a past scan to check my neck injury also revealed my thyroid defect, not only might it reveal that my cervical spine fusion area has gotten worse, but who knows what unrelated concerns it might also reveal. 😟 Bleh. 😞 Hopefully that makes my anxiety re: answering calls / checking voice mail somewhat understandable.

Heh… I’m just shit when it comes to getting older and / or experiencing damage. πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Of course it wasn’t like I thought that I’d be young and invincible forever, so I don’t know why my brain is so reluctant to finally accept my various injuries and ailments. πŸ€” It doesn’t help that WC has fought me every step of the way when it comes to anything meant to at least make me feel as good as possible given the situation.

I know… you’ve heard all of this before. πŸ™„ This blog sure isn’t what it once was, eh?. 😏 I’ve gotta do less grumping and post more “random” type stuff, along with more entries about the (increasingly rare) “fun shit” that I might get into. πŸ€”πŸ€¨ Guess that means I’ll have to do more of that shit, eh? I have felt better than average this week, so maybe if things continue like this… with spring coming up, perhaps I really will find a way to get out among the humans more often and get my mind off of the negatives. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

The opposing side in my WC case has already used bogus “Look! He’s doing stuff!” types of accusations, so I’ll have to find a way to get past that concern. πŸ˜• The thing is, if they weren’t accusing me of doing too much, they’d be accusing me of not doing enough, not trying to get better… so, basically, I’m the “bad guy” no matter what I do. πŸ™„ I may as well try to put a little more “living” in my life, no?

But yeah, new plan: I have to post one good/random thing for each “bleh” thing that I post. 😏 Hold me to it.

Predictably Unpredictable

Had one of those fortunate times where my workers comp doctor appointment coincided with my neck acting up. Obviously “fortunate” is a relative term… but I think it’s important that the doctor sometimes see me at the worst of my worst times, since at many of my appointments I’m “okay.”

The spasms started yesterday, after carrying a big bag of cat food in from the garage. It used to be that I could still use my right arm to carry about any amount of “dead weight” … where I don’t really do any lifting but just let whatever-it-is hang there at the end of my arm. I guess I’ve got to be more careful about even that now.

It makes sense that something heavy, carried with my right arm, could still pull across the muscles and tendons of my neck and therefore irritate the damaged area… I’m just not stoked about the potential of losing even more ability than I already have. 😟 I’m also not stoked that sometimes just the act of sitting down a little too hard triggers a nerve spike that radiates out over both of my shoulders. 😣 I know I’ve got a big head, but just that little bit of “extra” downward force on my neck… it’s scary that that’s enough to sometimes cause an unpleasant jolt.

But my visit with the doctor was productive. It’s great that after more than a decade (with a basically stable, yet slowly deteriorating condition) he’s still more than happy to give me as much time as I need at an appointment, and this was one that took a little longer as we discussed everything. And while I’m not a fan of the process, we both agreed that it’s probably time for another MRI to see what’s going on in there. 😳 Now, whether workers comp will approve it, that’s another matter.

This was one of those “C’mon, there has to be a way to make it where I don’t hurt like this.” visits, which are probably as frustrating for him as they are for me. 😐 It’s just that there’s only a limited amount of reasonable things we can try, and I’ve already done treatments like cervical spine injections – which only provided limited relief, both in the amount the pain was reduced and for how long. πŸ˜’ And with the risks involved in that method, I’m not sure that it’s worth it when adjusting my meds could prove to work better.

Meh… I’m so tired of medical stuff. 😞 But I’ll wait to see if the MRI is approved, I’m also waiting for a call back about some other things, and then we’ll just go from there. Like I told him today, I’m still too young to just accept that this is how I have to feel, and I haven’t battled with workers comp for this long just to feel “bad, but not really bad” most of the time. πŸ˜’ If there are still things that could help me, they need to remain open as options – otherwise what’s the point? Thankfully, he still seems to agree.

Predicted? Or Jinxed…

Stayed up late last night, not only trying to get some pics of the lightning, but also watching the delayed Southern 500 which didn’t finish until 2am. I had a feeling… wasn’t really sleepy even at that hour, my neck was feeling different, so I didn’t end up falling asleep for good until around 4a – and at that, it was with the idea of trying to “sleep carefully” so I didn’t wake up with my neck feeling even worse. πŸ˜’ It worked, but only because every time I would stir in my sleep, I’d wake up a little too much – making sure that I wasn’t being rough on my neck. Meh… so five hours of not-so-solid sleep… not in the greatest mood today.

And even using a “lightning capture” app to cheat a bit, I still wasn’t able to capture a single decent photo last night. If I didn’t have the ISO and exposure either too high or too low, resulting in images that were too dark or too blown out – the other problem was just the thickness and multiple layers of the clouds. πŸ˜‘ When the lightning wasn’t bright enough it was just obscured by the clouds, and when it was bright enough – it was like a strobe light going off in the middle of a huge ball of cotton. Just no definition.

So I think today I’ll do the bills, catch up on laundry, just general meh stuff around the house. Once the week actually starts tomorrow, that’s when I’ll have to start worrying about oil changes, glasses, haircuts, and all the other “out and dealing with people” stuff… so keeping to myself and just getting some minor chores done around here actually sounds like the most appealing way to spend my time today, believe it or not. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜•

I’m sure as my morning meds kick in I’ll start to feel better, along with mentally feeling better about getting some random shit done around here. πŸ™‚ I’m just never good when I first wake up, especially when I basically predicted last night that my neck would be an issue and that I’d be glad that today was still part of the 3-day weekend. πŸ™„ Just gonna tune the world out as much as possible, put on some music, and do my thing.

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˜

Turning The Corner

Well, the last day of the three-day weekend went by a little too quickly. πŸ˜• Got some stuff done around the house, but just as importantly, got the number of a repair guy to come look at the AC unit outside. Rick and Amy used them when they had central air installed in their house, and they’re based on Bauman Hill – not too far from where we lived when I was a kid. I can’t believe it’s still been near or in the 80s during the first week of October. πŸ˜“ Thought for sure that I’d be fine waiting…

So tomorrow morning I get to call the AC guy, the pharmacy (of course), the endocrinologist’s office, and Ricart. I have three recalls on my car, including the one that says my steering wheel could fall off, so it’s about time to get all of that looked at. 😧 I might also see about having them repair the cracked plastic around the mirror housing on the driver’s side. But yeah, lots of calls.Β Yay. πŸ™ Oh, and I almost forgot the billing office for my WC doctor, since they accidentally billed me for my last appointment. (As if I haven’t been going there on WC’s dime for over a decade… heh… wth)

Talking with Bri yesterday, she asked if I was going to be going to the fair at all this week. Jim G is already coming down on Friday, so I was planning on at least making an appearance there with him… but now it looks like I might be making a sooner-than-expected trip to the fair tomorrow with her. It’s not a done deal, but if she’s not doing anything else I know she wants to go. And between my stuff, her stuff, her mom’s stuff… we’ve got plenty to catch up on. I just hope I’m up for all the walking.

If I do end up going, I’ll probably take the new camera with me. We were talking about just looking at critters and eating shitty food, but I’m sure I can find something worth covertly recording. 😎 A viewer request has asked for a comparison between “as shot / true 360”, “standard HD with focus points / target tracking”, and “little planet” modes. One of these days I’ll even do the “bullet time” mode, even though I think I’m gonna look goofy. I guess there’s also a hyperlapse mode somewhere in there as well… this camera really is amazing compared to my first 360 camera. πŸ˜ƒ

I dunno… just trying to get back to feeling “normal” and not dwelling on medical stuff each day. 😐 I’m feeling better now that I’ve gotten the house straightened up some and got the bills all done up, so now I’ve just gotta keep doing the normal adulting that’s required and just hang out until I know what the next step’s gonna be. πŸ˜” And whatever “big” stuff that I’ve got to do… I’d rather just get to it. πŸ™„ This waiting isn’t doing my brain any favors.

What’s This?

Only got a couple hours sleep last night and then still had to wake up at 8am to get ready for my monthly appointment with Dr Walter. πŸ˜’ I don’t know how he does it, but he always seems to be in a good mood no matter what the time of day. If nothing else, he’s got a great “game face” for when it comes to dealing with patients. 😏 I told him how my left arm was literally like a limp noodle the day that I came home after my surgery, but how since then I haven’t really had any pain – thanks to the temporarily increased meds.

So it was a good visit, with nothing for me to really complain about. Like I mentioned to him, I think that sometimes the amount of pain that I’m feeling in my shoulder and in my neck is relative. When that’s the only thing that I’ve got to focus on, there’s a good chance I’ll notice it more and feel genuinely worse – but when I’m barely two weeks out from a major surgery, my old injury is the last thing on my mind as long as it’s staying at that moderate level of pain where it’s usually at.

I filled him in about the next steps that I’ll be taking with all of that, and we agreed that next month would probably be better for evaluating any changes, since I’ll have had plenty of time to heal from the surgery. I had to leave there and head directly downstairs to have more blood drawn for a thyroid panel, but I still left in a surprisingly good mood.

It’s weird… I haven’t had much to feel good about in a while, and in a way I still don’t… so having those hints of “good mood” just felt weird, since it then caused me to sit here waiting for something or someone to come along and ruin it. 😞 Like Charlie Brown said, “I think I’m afraid to be happy… because whenever I get too happy, something bad always happens.”

But with that little boost of positive energy, I did go ahead and throw the Insta360 One camera out there on a tripod in the front yard, set to time-lapse mode. One frame every five seconds, and I had one lens directly facing the setting sun, with the lens on the other side obviously completely shielded from the sunlight. 😎 I wanted to not only do a time-lapse, but to see how bad the stitching is when there’s such an exposure difference between the two lenses. In practice, it would probably be better to turn the camera 90 degrees, where both lenses would get a similar amount of bright light on them. 🀨

Meh… I’ve gotta recharge the camera before I can hook it up to the phone and export the video, so I’ll just drop it in here later once it’s done. In the mean time I’m gonna get a notepad and start documenting all the medical bill stuff, and try to figure out what I wanna cover at my PCP appointment tomorrow. Oy… too many doctors this week, eh? And it ain’t over yet…