Small Steps… Always

Still not much going on lately. πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I’ve been continuing the incremental bits of cleaning and packing up of stuff, spreading the work out over time so I don’t excessively aggravate any of my gimpy parts. I wish that it made a bigger visual difference in the house, but honestly most of what I’ve been doing has revolved around cleaning out closets, working in the (rarely used) basement, and cleaning out various junk drawers. It’s nice to get my desk organized though, with all the “office stuff” that used to be scattered around the house. πŸ€“

It’s still being done mostly for the sake of “doing something” during my otherwise lackluster days, along with the feeling of accomplishment when a long-delayed project / task is finally finished. πŸ˜•πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I’m not usually thinking about it, but it’s feeling more and more like I’m subconsciously preparing the house and myself to eventually move out of here. πŸ€”πŸ€¨ I’ve talked about the reasons before, which are all still valid, but when I’m not getting any younger and have been dealing with my various health problems – I think I just wanna be closer to town, people, stores, fast food, civilization, etc… just for convenience sake, if nothing else.

Meh… like I said, it’s not something that’s in my thoughts most days, but the idea is there. And in the same way that I’ve had to make adjustments to my daily life due to my disability and thyroid / energy issues, I can just see how being closer to all that stuff in general could make life easier and more bearable when it comes to the things that are a little more challenging for me. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€πŸ¦―πŸ€• I’ve got several friends that are feeling similarly, as they realize they’re a little more isolated than they’d like, so I think that’s also partially motivating me. Where do I want to live? 😐 Who knows. πŸ˜… But at least the chores that I do, essentially just to give myself some purpose, is preparing me for whenever I might be ready for whatever the next phase will be.

It’s Nice When They Go Well

I was anxious as I drove to my appointment today. 😐 Even after I had checked in and was walking down the hallway to his office, I still wasn’t sure if I was going to decide to stop seeing him or not. But once I got to sit down and talk with him, it made my decision to continue going there an easy one. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈπŸ™‚ I explained how the IME doctor’s report made it seem like my treatment there should be something that demands great concern, with all of the “scary” things that were implied, and (even though we obviously continued our conversation) his reaction told me all that I needed to know. 😏 In a good way.

One of the first things he said, was that it was absolutelyΒ fine if I decided to no longer continue my appointments with him. Not only because my primary care doctor could prescribe the same relatively run-of-the-mill meds that he currently does, but also because he wouldn’t want it to cause me any unnecessary problems with my WC case, as ridiculous as the questioning of my mental health may be. 😎 See, that’s how a doctor should be… giving me his blessing to stop going there, even though he’d be losing a paying client, because he wants to do what is best for me.

That in itself made me decide to schedule at least one more appointment with him, about two months from now… not only so he could follow up on me, but so I could also follow up with him and let him know how the (yet to be scheduled) hearing went. He also said that he’d be happy to write a rebuttal report as well, setting the record straight when it comes to my treatment, as well as correcting other facts that the report got undeniably wrong. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈπŸ€“ Because, as you’d expect, having another doctor doing things that serve to further the stigma of mental health care… 😟 I don’t think he appreciated it. 😏

So I felt much better leavingΒ that appointment than I did when I arrived, and to let my thoughts stay on that positive path – I took most of the rest of the day off when it came to checking messages, watching the news, or doing anything else that could possibly subject me to negative stuff. πŸ™ˆπŸ™‰πŸ™ŠπŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ And now that I have started catching up on the news tonight… 😯 Goodness. I think I made the right choice in avoiding it for the better part of the day. Our government is a mess, man…

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‰

What Was Their Secret?

Other than being a little frustrated while trying to fix the dirt spots in my yard today, it’s honestly been a decent day. I’m getting a little bit better at having those moments of “grr” and then letting them go… for the most part, anyway. But I can’t help but think about my grandparents – Grandpa S and Grandpa B in particular – and remember how even when they probably had plenty of things they could have been grumpy about, and maybe even were, they still never seemed to carry their frustration or aggravation with them for long.

With Grandpa B, it was more when he was working in his workshop, or tending to the grass, bushes, and flowers outside… 😏 which is kind of ironic, considering the latter of those things is what causes my frustration. But those were “his things” and when he was doing them, you’d have no idea if anything was bothering him. 😌 He’d just let himself get lost in whatever project he happened to be working on.

And Grandpa S, much like Grandpa B, was a man of few words… so even if he was in a bad mood or had something negative on his mind, you’d never know it. I can still “see” those memories in my head, when we’d have family reunions out at their house when I was much younger… and Grandpa S would quietly sit there enjoying the company, making an occasional joke or comment here and there, with a slight smile or ornery grin on his face. πŸ™‚ And even when we would see him on just a “normal” visit, it was like he had an invisible shield that was keeping all the “bleh” away from him.

I’m not completely naive… I know that there was plenty of stuff that both of those grandparents could and did get irritated, annoyed, or bothered by… but that’s why I look at how they were and envy it. Maybe it’s a generational thing, where being a grump ass or expressing your “bleh” out loud just wasn’t a thing that you did. πŸ€”πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ But however it was that they did it… I want that.

I’ve got plenty of things to be frustrated by, annoyed with, pissed off about… and like I said, I’m actually getting better at letting it go… but I wanna keep working on allowing myself to have those feelings, because there are legit reasons behind it all and it’s not good to keep things bottled up, but then letting them go once the initial feelings are over and no good can come from continuing to dwell on them.

And I’ve mentioned it a couple of times recently, but I do think that the “always connected” nature of the world today makes it harder to escape any “bleh” feelings – because when you’re already bothered by whatever your own “thing” is, it’s so easy to get online and unintentionally drown in all sorts of unrelated negative news. Where just “keeping up to date with things / people” can end up feeding whatever crappy feeling you’ve already got if you’re not careful. πŸ˜• But yeah, I’m feeling better from earlier, the race is almost over, so it’s time to get off here and get on those couple of chores.

Meanwhile, I’m gonna treat this “project” as a very early New Year’s resolution. πŸ™‚Β Somethin’s gotta give, eh?

A Little of This, A Little of That

The past several days have been kind of mundane, but I suppose that could be considered a good thing. I did make it out to see Bri on Sunday, and Ariel and the girls were also there when I first got there, so it was nice to get to see all of them in one pop like that. πŸ™‚ Bryson’s growing like a weed, and man is he a happy baby… always giggling and smiling at his mama, and for whatever reason he thought I was particularly funny and worth staring / laughing at for most of the time that I was there too. πŸ™„πŸ˜

Once the week started, everything’s just been kinda meh. Tending to bills, various paperwork, doctor calls, dealing with insurance, dropping off medical release forms at my attorneys’ office, etc. πŸ˜’ I could have just mailed those back to them, but because I let my mail sit for over a week before realizing that their correspondence was in one of those envelopes, I didn’t wanna cause any further delay – so taking the forms directly to them was the quickest option. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ™‚Β (I wanna do whatever I can to help them help me.)

The bills from the hospital didn’t end up being as bad as I was fearing. Six envelopes arrived from them within a day of each other, all having the same appearance as their typical “amount due” mail… 😟 so I just cringed and put them off to the side for a while, not quite ready to start writing checks. But when I opened them the other night, each one was just a form letter that let me know that because I have a fixed income, their financial assistance program covered the difference between what everything cost and what my insurance actually paid. πŸ˜―πŸ˜ƒΒ Nice to have something go my way, particularly right now.

Then today I had to go to pick up some soda, so I decided to go out to Meijer – where I could also grab a bag of dirt, some grass seed, and a couple bags of pebble-type stone. 🀨 The lawn guys kinda “over-whacked” some weed areas, like around my light post and the clothesline poles out back – so the next time we’re gonna have a few days of rain, I’m gonna try to cover those areas. πŸ€” Nobody was working in their garden department to help me get the bags over to my cart, but luckily I was able to just slide them over from the stack and onto the underneath rack of my buggy. πŸ˜₯ Getting them into my trunk, however… that required creative use of my right arm and right leg.Β (And that crap can stay in my trunk until I’m ready to use it, thankyouverymuch.)

Oh, the pebble stones… that’s for out by my mailbox. When it rains a little more than average, that area turns to slop – and not only does it make it slick for the mailman, but their vehicle also then continues to wear away that spot each time they drive through it. πŸ˜• I put sand there a couple of years ago, but it’s just time for me to try something else. I’m gonna wait until it’s wet for that as well, when I’ll drive my car out to the end of the driveway and just spill the new gravel directly out of the trunk instead of effing with the heavy bags.

But that’s been the tone of the first half of the week… just thinking about or working on “meh” stuff and getting it out of the way. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜ Some good, some bad, but most just “whatever.” I’ve been sleeping in the recliner, and that’s actually helped when it comes to getting sleep and waking up in a little better condition, but I’m starting to miss my comfy bed. πŸ˜΄πŸ’­πŸ›οΈΒ  Β (Well, it’s comfy as I’m going to sleep, at least… heh)

One more night in the chair and then my bed gets another shot. This all makes me sound so old… πŸ˜πŸ€•πŸ‘΄πŸ»
Oh… and my friend had her pacemaker installed yesterday, they had her in and out of surgery before noon, and she was back in her room and texting with me like normal by the early afternoon. πŸ˜ŒπŸ™πŸ» We’re fortunate to live in a time where there’s such a thing as “minor” heart surgery like that. I’ve got a short list of things that I wish we had cures or fixes for though, that’s for sure… but overall we’re lucky with what’s available to us when it comes to procedures and treatments for a whole lot of stuff. πŸ₯πŸ‘©πŸ»β€βš•οΈπŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈ

Unexpectedly Chill Day

My earlier post from today was actually written last night and just scheduled to post this morning… because I was sleeping in, comfortably in my big ol’ recliner. 😊 I’ve had it for quite a while now, so it is starting to lose some of its poof, but it’s still almost perfect for sleeping in. Gawd… what an “old person” thing to say and admit to, but hey, if it works it works, right? 😏

And for better or worse, after that decent night of sleep and then waking up and getting moving around… I had one of those rare days where I didn’t feel compelled to do a damn thing. I often mentally paint myself into a corner, planning this or that, then being frustrated if I can’t or don’t get to it – but today was just a nice nothin’ type of day. (It’s amazing what a difference “not waking up in pain” can mean for any given day.)

I’m sure I’ll grab my phone this evening and catch up on messages and such, but for the most part I’ve just been trying to absorb some non-twitchy type news, and looking up various other random shit on the laptop. πŸ€“πŸ’» Local news, weather stuff, SpaceX stuff, concerts over the next few months, looking up apartments out of curiosity, getting caught in the YouTube rabbit hole of course… just random fluff like that.

Every now and then I check all the mapping sites to see if there have been any updates, and I noticed that Google Earth’s imagery of Millersport sure makes it look like they filled in their public pool with dirt – with a large building or house being built right next to it. 😧 Might have to see if I can get a closer look in person. It’s sad though… I mean, I didn’t go there a lot as a kid, but I remember that it was one of the few things that could bring out what seemed like half of the town on those hot hot days. And that’s saying something, considering the two beaches that Buckeye Lake still had at that time. (Not only is “Sandy Beach” not a beach anymore, but they un-island’d the island that was right off the shore there. Weird.)

I hope the weather for this weekend is close to how it was today. Yeah, it’s not like I spent much time out in it… but it’s nice to open the doors again to let the breeze blow some stink out of the house, without sweating balls a half hour later. For today, I’ve been quite fine just watching the pretty sky and clouds blow past, either from out of my living room window or via one of the many security cameras that let me peek at various angles around the house.Β  β˜οΈΒ Β πŸŒžΒ Β πŸ“ΉπŸ§

The day did have some purpose though. Back’s definitely feeling better than yesterday, didn’t wanna accidentally blow all my energy trying to do something today that can wait until next week, plus I’ve got an early doctor appointment tomorrow that I had forgotten about… so today just felt like the right day to take it a little more easy than usual. πŸ™‚ Oops, there I go again… worrying about justifying it to myself or whatever. πŸ™„πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Heh… change takes time… and that’s okay.

Sweet Corn Festival

A few months ago, when I was still looking at the then-upcoming schedule of medical stuff, it looked like everything would be wrapped up well before this year’s SCF in Millersport. It’s tradition that me, Jim, Adam, and sometimes Brad will meet up for at least one of the days there to walk around, catch up, and see how many former classmates or teachers we can spot. But Jim messaged me yesterday to let me know where and when he’d be there… and it wasn’t until then that I realized that this week was already festival week. 😯⌚

The surprise is from bouncing back a little more slowly than I originally anticipated, so as my mind has been on all that stuff, I guess it just snuck up on me. I’ve got every intention of going… and in fact, I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to handle it much better than last year. 😬🀞🏻 Last year, I hadn’t had my surgery yet, so my energy levels were all over the place, and I was also stuck using my cane at the time. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€πŸ¦― I can’t remember if it was for my back or for my knee, but I do remember that I only had enough oomph to make a single meandering “pass” with them from the ride area through to the food booths a bit past the covered bridge area. πŸ˜•

I was trying to “mind over matter” myself through the evening, but it just wasn’t happening. I feel kinda bad about how I was, because I know that my friends were concerned about me – and seeing me struggle to just walk around probably ended up being somewhat of a buzzkill for the rest of their evening. 😟 I think I was there for an hour at most before I realized that I was gonna have to call it a night, so it was nice that they walked me all the way back to where I parked so we could get in as much time as possible. There were a lot more unknowns at that point in time.

Since then I’ve had my thyroid removed, been dosed with radioactive iodine twice, been to doctors and a chiropractor for my back, learned of some new damage in my neck… but when it comes to the thyroid stuff, most of that ended up going about as well as it could, and the new “neck stuff” isn’t something that’s an urgent or immediate issue – so this year’s Sweet Corn Festival meet-up should be a heck of a lot better for all of us than the last one. πŸ™‚πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I suppose anyone with visible health problems feel the same way… for certain moments in time you wanna act like nothing’s wrong, you don’t wanna let your friends or family see how bad it can get, ‘cuz you don’t want them worrying about you – whether the worry is justified or not. You want your “normal thing” to be that normal thing.

Meh… I’m just thinking out loud here. πŸ˜’ I’m obviously still not 100%, so I think I’m talking about it to keep myself motivated and optimistic. πŸ€” I did fix my sleep last night, something that actually surprised me, so I (hopefully) know what I need to do to not screw up my sleep or energy the day before we’re supposed to meet up. (Man, am I trying to jinx myself lately or what? 😏)Β I’m just really looking forward to the possibility of having a normal day with my friends at our old stomping grounds, with the thoughts of all my current “other stuff” being pushed from my brain as we have a good time being reminiscing old farts, eating overpriced crappy-but-awesome fair food, and maybe seeing some other old fart friends in the process. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ™‚