Nothing New

Still haven’t completely bounced back from the weekend, but I have a feeling that the stress of waiting for all of the workers comp stuff to play out is adding to that problem. 🀨 Unfortunately there’s no getting around the fact that emotional stress causes a physical reaction, especially when my injury is in my neck and shoulder… because that’s where stress tension often tends to land. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜• Even in folks without other physical defects there, most people definitely feel stress in those areas.

But this was “Day One” of two pretty decent looking days when it comes to the weather forecast. Sun’s out (mostly), I’ve got the windows open, breeze blowing through the house, and was hoping that would help motivate me to do some laundry and whatever… πŸ€” but rather than pushing myself I just took the day off and enjoyed it the best that I could through my picture window. No hurry on the laundry, so why not.

I hate “not doing anything” but I’d also like to make it in town to visit with Dad tomorrow, so I didn’t wanna push my luck. At some point we’re supposed to go on a sight-seeing ride to check out some of the places from our family history, to see what everything is looking like these days compared to back then… so part of me is kinda thinking about that for tomorrow, but if not – a regular visit would still be a success. πŸ™‚ Waking up each day with different levels of brokenness makes it so it’s better to not necessarily “plan” some things… but rather just “let them happen” if they’re meant to happen.

I never hold my breath on these things, but so far the “take it easy” approach to today seems to have helped with the aches and pains. Now if I can only manage to not “sleep funny” I should be in decent shape for getting out of the house tomorrow. 😏 I’ve been really stressed out the past few days, so I’ve been in hermit mode but still texting back and forth with Dad and Genesee which helps me escape my thoughts throughout the day. Fingers crossed for the continued bounce back to something close to normal…

(I don’t know why I still feel “guilty” or “bad” if I take a day and do absolutely nothing with it. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜• )

Pretty Good Evening

Forced myself out of the house for the second half of the day. Had a bit of normal running (grocery/bank/etc) to do, but for a change I also hit some thrift stores while I was out. πŸ™‚ Helped to calm my nerves as I was out among the humans, as well as keep my thoughts free of any of the “bleh” I’ve been dealing with lately.

Found an OSU shirt for me, along with a couple of big bowls for salads or cereal or whatever, and then saw a white poofy coat with a fur-lined hood and “sparkle” along the seams / pockets – so I grabbed that for Cassi, since I knew she’d have liked it if she was there. 😊 I also found something for Genesee. With her being a Snoopy fan / collector, I went ahead and grabbed this giant Pez dispenser with a Snoopy head. 😳😯 Figured it would make good decoration for a shelf somewhere if nothin’ else. 😁

Stopped by and saw Dad on the way home, and ended up staying there longer than I thought I would. He had the Roku fired up so I was able to introduce him to Daily Dose of Internet and the benefits of the YouTube app. πŸ€“πŸ‘πŸ» I only recently discovered that channel myself, but we ended up watching an hour-long compilation followed by the better part of an hour-and-a-half one that followed. πŸ˜… It was nice though… and like I said to him, there’s all kinds of awful stuff we could have been watching or talking about, but these little videos just kinda “take you away” from everything in the real world while you’re watching. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜Œ

It’s funny… as I was getting up to leave, Dad mentioned something about the WC stuff, and I had actually totally forgotten about it at the time. πŸ™„πŸ˜„ But I did wanna update him on everything that was going on, so I’m glad he reminded me. It’s a lot to take in all at one, but I think I got him up to speed, and he’s on the same page as me when it comes to what seems fair and what doesn’t. 🀨😏 It worked out good though, being able to get all the info across without accidentally having spent the entire visit talking about it.

Balance It Out

There’s only so much that I can do to prepare for the various things coming up in my near future, but I still end up feeling like I “didn’t do enough” work on it – if at the end of the day I don’t feel like it has eaten some of my soul. πŸ˜³πŸ™„πŸ˜… I’m being dramatic, but it is pretty damn stressful when I get to over-thinking it.

So today I took a few hours in the morning before I even started thinking about it, although my cousin then texted me about help with troubleshooting her laptop that had just died. 😏 I told her that I’m currently booked up, but that I had just spent several days bringing my own laptop back from the dead, so I might be able to help when I get some free time. πŸ€“πŸ€žπŸ»

During the middle of the day I did focus on some things that I definitely needed to research further, but in order to flush it from my brain for the evening (other than talking about it here) I just got in the car, rolled the windows down, and took a cruise as I listened to some of the older and / or more obscure songs on my Spotify playlist. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ It actually helped, since right now my living room is littered with letters, hearing notices, research, rescheduling, insurance paperwork, etc. 😐 Just getting away from that made a difference.

(I suppose I just shouldn’t πŸ‘πŸ» leave πŸ‘πŸ» that πŸ‘πŸ» stuff πŸ‘πŸ» out πŸ‘πŸ» once I’m done with it for the day. πŸ™„πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜)

But for the time being I’ll just have to play it by ear like today, making sure that I don’t dwell on this stuff for longer than I should… although I know that I can’t “run away” in my car each time it feels too heavy, so we’ll see what I figure out. πŸ€”πŸ˜ Today wasn’t bad though. And I was joking at first, but I think I really will pick all this stuff up in an orderly fashion and put it on the desk for the night. πŸ™‚ Out of sight, out of mind.

Pre-Dawn Thought-Stream

Got notice yesterday that my IC hearing has finally been rescheduled. πŸ˜’ It’s gonna fall right in the middle between my most recent WC doctor appointment and the one scheduled for next month. I’ve gotta get two of my WC meds filled later today (I’m not gonna rehash how that normally goes) but with the hearing now on the schedule again, I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s even more trouble.

The past few months I’ve had to pay out-of-pocket to be able to get my meds on schedule, and then just wait and hope that the WC insurer would pay me back. 😐 I feel bad for the folks who are in the same situation as me but aren’t able to do that. And all this crap each month… that’s despite nearly every previous IC hearing over the past decade being found in my favor. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜’ (Making “winning” somewhat of an inaccurate term.)

That’s the thing, you can “win” over and over again, but they can come at you again for those same things, repeatedly, after a certain amount of time elapses. It’s literally a never-ending process, if they want it to be. 😟 No emotional investment from their side, but it can sure wear down the injured worker. I know I don’t mean this, but I’m almost “ready to lose” just to be done with it. Can’t quit now though…

Jim and Adam are coming to town this evening, and they’re gonna pick up Brad so we can all meet up for dinner somewhere. πŸ™‚ Jim lives so far away now, in the past few years I’ve only seen him probably a couple times each year, so (especially since he’s coming all the way down here) I’m really hoping that I can make it. Doesn’t help that I fell asleep early yesterday and have therefore been awake since 3a today. πŸ™„πŸ˜

It’s after 5a now, it doesn’t appear that I’ll be falling back to sleep, so that means I’ll likely need a nap sometime in the early afternoon. 😴 Heh… being old and broken sure has a way of changing how you plan for things and recover from them afterwards. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€πŸ¦³ Thankfully this has been an okay week re: my neck, so with any luck that will remain true tonight. (Unlike the 2018 Sweet Corn Festival when we all met up… 😳)

I was an absolute mess that day. πŸ₯Ί Dealing not just with my neck, shoulder, and some horrible random lower back pain – but also, being right before my thyroid cancer surgery, I had like 1/10th of the energy that I’d normally have when it came to getting around the place. I could tell by how they acted that I must have appeared like I was on Death’s door. πŸ€•πŸ˜·πŸ˜‘β˜ οΈ So, while things aren’t perfect now by any means, they’re at least better than that, eh? So I don’t wanna miss it tonight. Gotta make the moments count.

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‰