Catching Up

I’m going to try and practice my brevity with this entry… πŸ™„πŸ˜

Furnace repair job is done. First thing was the blower capacitor that absolutely needed replacement, the second thing a couple days ago was replacing the intake fan and motor. It was still working, but it was drawing too many amps for what it was rated at, plus you could actually see cracks and “forming damage” which would have been dumb to not have replaced as well. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜• Sounds different now, but runs as it should, has a little better output, so hopefully that gets me a few more years with it.

Since I didn’t do any Black Friday shopping, I actually decided to hit a few thrift stores. I bought a janky little radio / tape / CD / record player unit. I mean, it’s small and generic, and was probably crap even when it was new – but the record player part, the tone arm hadn’t even been un-twist-tied – so even though the other stuff looks in rough shape, I’m hoping the record player will work with my sound system just for Christmas vinyl playing this year. πŸŽ„πŸŽΆβ˜ƒοΈ

I also got a factory sealed, “damaged packaging” Kenmore microwave at half the price of retail. (They had a bunch of various models, probably from a pallet purchase) An almost imperceptible teeny dent on one edge, but my old one was struggling after years and years of use – so the $39.99 was worth the risk. ☒️😳 I should probably try to actually cook something in it today before I get too cocky though. 😏 But she looks nice sitting there with all of the lights and LCD stuff actually working.

New tires have been performing well. Not only do I not have to air them up once every week or so due to leakage, but I can also actually feel a difference in them when I drive on wet roads. I’m glad to have swapped them before the snow really gets here. πŸš—πŸ˜ŽπŸ‘πŸ» Took the car through the wash the other day so it would scrub off all the grease pen marks and tire mounting goo, so they’d look like normal tires as they should.

Gen got me a couple more security cameras for my birthday, so I’ve been moving them all around a bit, getting nearly complete coverage of my outside property – and indoor coverage in all the places where boogers might try to sneak in. πŸ“Ή (And no, they aren’t Ring cameras) I don’t really worry about break-ins or even package theft, but at least the lawn guys and Amazon people won’t be able to sneak up on me, eh?

So all of that stuff above has helped reduce some of my stress, so on days like this I can just chill and not be dwelling on everything. Tomorrow gets busy again though. Gonna go see Dad for a short visit, then my doctor appointment – followed by a “fingers crossed” (as always) trip to the pharmacy, along with a few other misc things depending on how “up to it” I’m feeling.

I’m also anticipating getting mail from the Industrial Commission before the weekend with my hearing date, but I’ve not been dwelling on that either. Once I get the time and date, then I will sit and put the finishing touches on my argument / case – should I even be asked any questions or offered the chance to speak. πŸ™„πŸ˜’ And speaking of mail, I finally have my drill, my bits, and all the appropriate pieces of wood, screws, washers, nuts, etc – that I should be able to swap the mailbox this weekend. πŸ˜„Β (Y’all need to understand my fear of how much pain this could cause, should it not go as easily as I hope.)

Okay… I know that’s a lot of paragraphs for allegedly trying to be concise, but I really did write this differently than I normally would – trying to leave out smaller details and avoiding elaborating… because all those things could have had way more detail or “story” to them. πŸ€“ Plus, this covers like two or three weeks worth of crap. Weather is still causing havoc with my joints, despite avoiding as much movement in the gimped areas as possible. πŸ˜’ Still annoyed by that every day, but also still reminding myself that a lot of folks have it a lot worse than me, so I try to keep the self-pity to a minimum.

Seeing Some Happy

Wasn’t feeling great when I woke up this morning, before friggin’ dawn, but throughout the day things got progressively better. It helped that early in the day I got some good news from one of my friends… where upon opening her mail she learned that she regained full custody of her son. πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜Š This is definitely one of those “not my story to tell” things, since it’s pretty personal, but yeah… it was nice to see that the system finally did its job and justice was served.

As unfair as many of the past instances with the court have seemed, I don’t think anyone expected that favorable of an outcome. 😯 She deserves that outcome, so don’t get me wrong, but after so long you start to doubt that the system is capable of doing what’s right. So it’s gonna be a busy and exciting weekend for them… πŸ˜ŠπŸ‘©β€πŸ‘¦β€πŸ‘¦ such a big change, almost out of the blue, but he’s already super happy – so it’s just a matter of getting all the logistical stuff ironed out and them getting used to the new “new.” πŸ™‚ I’m really excited and happy for the both of them. This is how it should be.

Then later in the evening Rick came over to work on my busted garage door. One of the springs broke quite a while ago, but with the various other stuff I’ve been dealing with – honestly it wasn’t that high on the priority list, so today just ended up being the first convenient time for him to mess with it. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ‘·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ He makes it all look so easy… especially to someone with a left arm that’s basically worthless when it comes to any kind of manual labor. πŸ™„πŸ˜ Didn’t take him long to get new 2x4s up where they’re needed and the new springs installed.

(There was more to it than that, w/ the cables, guides, track aligning, roller adjustments, etc… but yeah…)

The only glitch (for the moment) is that he wasn’t able to find any springs locally that match the ones that were originally on it. πŸ˜• These days, garage doors are made of super light material… but my garage door, a “two-car garage” garage door… is made of thick wood and weighs too effing much. πŸ˜„ So despite buying the strongest springs available, the old 1/3 HP garage door opener just wasn’t having it. It can lower the door, but to raise it again it requires someone giving the door a manual boost for the first part of the raising cycle.

But his suggestion sounds good to me. New garage door opener. The one that’s installed now is probably at least half as old as I am, and wasn’t really meant to handle a door as big and heavy as this one even when it was new. So I’m gonna look for a more powerful replacement over the weekend, and between that and the new springs – we’re pretty certain everything will work as it should again. 🧐🀞🏻 And like many things in this house, it was probably past-due for replacement anyway, so I’m all for this solution.

Talking with him while he worked… there’s not much he hasn’t done when it comes to building, remodeling, installing roofs, electrical work, deck builds, garage doors, well installations, etc. You name it, he’s probably done it. In fact he just recently quit his job at Lowe’s to completely go into business for himself. 😯 That takes some balls, but he knows the right people… not only to have continuous jobs lined up, but also having a good group of folks that he can pull into those jobs depending on the needs or specialties.

Plus, Amy will be able to work from home, helping with the behind the scenes stuff like scheduling, accounting, and much of the other You have to do this now.” legal / payroll / insurance / etc type business stuff. πŸ˜πŸ‘©πŸ»β€πŸ’ΌπŸ’»πŸ–¨οΈ Really hoping this works out for them, ‘cuz it’s gotta be a pretty good feeling to work when you want, where you want, on what you want, while having only yourself and your clients to answer to. πŸ™‚πŸ‘πŸ»

Chugging Along

Not quite the break I was hoping for this week. More documents from the lawyer, hearing is going to be scheduled, couple of tires losing air every 3 or 4 days now that it’s cold, and now my furnace is acting a bit wonky. πŸ˜• I didn’t act on much of that yesterday, but today I went out and got a set of tires ordered, dropped off some paperwork, and scheduled a furnace repair person to come out and give it a once-over. And both the tires and furnace stuff won’t happen until next week, so… awesome. πŸ™„Β (He said, sarcastically.)

Aired up the tires, so that’ll likely get me through the next few days, and as for the furnace… it works, mostly, but every now and then the blower doesn’t seem to want to come on and it just cycles off almost immediately. πŸ§πŸ€” Luckily, as long as I pay attention, I can heat the house up and then just turn it off before going to bed, just to be extra safe, and rely on a couple of space heaters. πŸ₯Ά Still… not really something I wanna be dealing with along side all of the other crap, but that’s just how it goes I guess. I’m almost starting to get used to “crap” falling around the same time, since that’s how it usually seems to happen.

I guess that’s good? πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Meh… more “nothing” days please. πŸ™‚

Figuring It Out?

I’ve been bitching a lot here in the blog lately, so I figured I’d drop in to make a more positive post about the weekend. I actually ended up getting pretty much what I was hoping for – putting the stress of my WC stuff to the back of my mind for a couple days, and just letting Saturday and Sunday work themselves out however they wanted. I didn’t even put any self-imposed obligations of “chores” or “being productive” on myself, and it actually worked.

I went in town to grab some groceries and some stuff for Dad, so I ended up making my visit with him on Saturday instead of Sunday. We were talking about maybe watching the race together, but after the visit on the day prior – we ended up just watching the race at the same time and texting back and forth about it. And that track… Homestead… I still think that it’s a little too generic to be the final race, and the one that determines the season champion. The racing from Phoenix, the week prior, was actually more exciting and entertaining… but meh, racing throughout the 2019 season felt improved overall, so at least things are moving in the right direction.

Caught up with some friends and family on Sunday, through messages, since I’d been flying under the radar most of the week. Toni sent me a few pics and vids from their Philly trip, where Matt participated in the Rocky Run, and also sent me a clip of Matt and Wendi’s gender reveal party thing. But she just wanted to check in on me to make sure I was okay. She jokingly offered to get a life-sized cardboard cut-out of me, which she could then take around town and take pictures with it every few days and post the pictures to Facebook – so my friends would “see” that I’m okay. (Since I still haven’t been able to make myself get back on there and socializing again… heh)

Also got caught up with Bri and Cassi… both of whom are dealing with various crap, but they also both seem to have a pretty good handle on things – or at least are doing their best to fake it as they deal with their respective crap. Not only did Bri have to take her youngest son to Children’s for some more tests on Friday, but then today she has her final custody hearing. However it all goes, I’m still impressed with how well she’s dealing with it all, despite obviously being nervous (and me being nervous right along with her), she’s just facing things and tackling them as they come. Same thing with Cassi, just with different issues. I could learn something from both of them when it comes to that.

In fact, I think that’s what helped my weekend (and even today, so far) feel pretty decent. Living a little more “in the moment” than usual. Reminding myself that constantly worrying about things that might not happen for several weeks… there’s just no point to it. You get things settled in your mind and in your plans as best as you can, and then you put it out of your thoughts until it’s time to actually deal with whatever it is. I mean, that’s not a new theory to me, but it’s something I’ve always struggled with. But watching and listening as others deal with some serious shit, and seeing how they do it without letting it crush them, it could be in my best interest to emulate how they do it.

And for good reasons and bad reasons, I found that “cats” ended up being a frequent topic of the weekend… and while talking to Genesee, I had her remind me about the whole story of Maven’s birth. I won’t go through it all, but basically Maven was lucky to have even survived – which made me remark how lucky she (Maven) was. And Genesee replied thatΒ she and IΒ were the lucky ones, considering the influence that Maven has had on both of our lives… and I definitely can’t disagree with that. But it was neat hearing the whole story again, with her lazy butt sleeping next to me by the space heater, and realizing how much she overcame in her first few days and weeks.

So, yeah… I guess it’s sort of crappy that just an “okay” weekend like that feels like such a positive improvement, but it really was a decent couple of days – and I needed it. And like I said, I’m gonna try to follow the lead of the folks that I know who are dealing with just as much as me, if not more, to try and keep the stressful stuff from weighing me down so much. Disability and pain are a couple of challenging adversaries when it comes to that… so not only do I need to embrace the good days when they come, but I also need to do more to nudge the “less good” days in the right direction whenever possible.

(Sorry, I can’t be arsed to go back through and add all the normal emojis today… just gonna hop off here and see where the rest of the day takes me since I’m not feeling too gimped up at the moment.)

Ray of Sunshine

No updates this past week because there hasn’t really been that much worth talking about. I did go to my first appointment with the WC doctor at the new facilities. About a month ago they moved to the brand new FMC-connected health care center / emergency room building, from the older medical center directly next door. It’s quite the upgrade. Big open waiting room areas with tall ceilings and tall windows, many more rooms to see patients, and even a few new doctors on the payroll.

But, especially right now, anything revolving around my workers comp case kinda has me anxious – so I did the typical thing the night before, where I couldn’t fall asleep at a reasonable hour and then I also woke up way too early. πŸ˜’ The appointment went fine… they always do… but it also involved going over some things about the rebuttal report that he’s going to be writing for the upcoming IC hearing – and to say that I’m tired of thinking about, talking about, and working on that topic… that would be an understatement.

After not getting enough sleep that night, it managed to shift my schedule to where I’m falling asleep around 8p each night, and then waking up around 3a… while also getting interrupted throughout the night by shitty, stress-themed dreams. (Of which I can’t even usually remember the details.)Β πŸ˜• I’m hoping I can shake things up this weekend and get out of thatΒ rut. Several people I know haven’t been feeling good, a couple friends got some crappy news that they didn’t need, my knee and shoulder are still meh… it’s just been one of those weeks for a bunch of us. 😟 Crossing fingers that next week will bring some positive change.

So, yeah… πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ that’s about it. I mean, there’s been positive things this past week too… got a new mailbox (that I’ve yet to try and install), the little ring of grass around the light post is actually growing, I got the trash cleaned out of my car, completed some random light chores around the house, etc. But yeah, like I said, not stuff that’s really worth blogging about. (I know… when have I ever let that stop me… heh) 😏

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‰

Thursday Mission

Woke up stupid early yesterday so I could help out a friend. She’s been in an ongoing custody “disagreement” with her former SO for quite a while now, where they’ve each been representing themselves in court due to how expensive an attorney can be. 😟 And without having a lawyer on her side, while things have been going in her favor, it’s just happening so slowly. With another hearing coming up in about a month and a half, she knew she had to start doing something differently, so I looked up a few places that claim to offer pro bono representation for people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford it.

She’s got an aversion to talking on the phone, just like me, but on Wednesday I encouraged her to start making some calls… and by that afternoon she had spoken with someone at SEOLSΒ who seemed open to the idea of taking her case, or at least hearing her out and looking at all of the information to figure out the best way for her to proceed. πŸ™‚ So that evening I printed out all of her case information to date, a ton of things meant to show that she’s the “more ideal” parent, and got it all sorted and organized in a way that would make it easy for an attorney to look through. πŸ€“πŸ“’

So then yesterday morning I picked her up to take her to the closest SEOLS office serving Fairfield County, which is unfortunately way down in Chillicothe. πŸ˜’ I left the house around 9:30a, and by time I got back home it was after 3p. That’s a long friggin’ time (for me) to be out and about, working on a stressful project… even though, obviously, she’s the one bearing the most amount of that stress. I just really want things to go well for her, and being familiar with the frustration of facing hearings with unknown outcomes, the empath in me kicked in and I couldn’t help but feel many of the things she was feeling. πŸ˜•

I didn’t go in with her when she actually met with the attorney, but she said things seemed to go well and that it felt more positive than negative. He made copies of all of the information that he needed and said that he wanted to talk to some folks who specialize more in custody cases on Monday… so while things sounds good, she’s still gotta wait a few more days before she’ll know for sure if they will provide someone to represent her. It was worth the trip regardless, because at the very least they’ll be able to hold her hand through what she should do next, even if they end up not being able to actually be with her on the day of her hearing. I’m gonna stay hopeful though, because having an attorney could make all the difference.

But I was wiped out by time I got home. πŸ˜₯ I’ve done very little “out of the house all day” stuff lately, and especially for something that’s as “high stakes” as this. And of course helping her with her legal stuff kept my legal stuff in the back of my mind… the upcoming WC stuff, that is… and starting off the day so early, with my shoulder already bugging me, all of the time in the car didn’t help. 😣 But it was a small sacrifice to help her with something that could end up being a game-changer in the long run, and I knew that I’d have all day today to recover if I needed to.

Well, my body didn’t wanna wait until today. 😏 Shortly after getting home I knew I wanted to take a short nap, but also not screw up my sleep schedule. But my nap lasted until the evening, and when I did wake up I went ahead and took my evening meds and thankfully ended up falling back to sleep – not waking again until a little after 6a today. πŸ˜―πŸ˜ƒ So I’m just now starting to catch up from messages from all day yesterday, but I’m gonna wait a while to reply so I’m not waking people up as early as it is.

I’ve still got a friend or two that gets concerned if I don’t reply in an undefined amount of time. That’s thoughtful of them, but boy I wish that folks in general would consider that even the most nerdy of humans don’t necessarily get online every day, or multiple times a day… and that sometimes whatever is going on during a particular day might cause messages to be ignored until the next. πŸ˜•πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Yesterday’s situation was based on necessity, but I still do wanna try to take “days off” from the digital world every now and then… a luxury that younger people these days probably don’t really have. Imagine taking a teenager from today and transplanting them to 1985, during summer break from school, living out in the country, with only a landline telephone as means of keeping in touch with friends. πŸ˜…

Heh… another “old fart” thing to add to the growing library of “old fart things” in my head. πŸ™„πŸ‘΄πŸ»