I Ain’t As Good As I Once Was…

This has been on my mind, so I’mma ramble. πŸ™‚ If we’re able to come to a settlement agreement regarding the medical portion of my claim, I wonder if I’ll be able to eventually undo all of the damage that’s been done. πŸ€”πŸ˜Ÿ Not the physical stuff, of course, since that’ll slowly continue to get worse over the years… but the way the whole process has mentally changed me, especially over the past several years. 😞

It’s just that I’m guaranteed that one week out of every month will be filled with anxiety and stress, simply because I have to get my medications filled. 😐 The meds are required to be covered by my claim, and many years ago I could pick them up without issue – even being able to get them a few days early at times. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Then the problems started. πŸ˜’ Short delays turned into long delays, and long delays became even longer. Eventually the delays were so long that I’d have to pay out-of-pocket just so I didn’t go without, and then wait and hope that I’d get paid back. πŸ˜• If my doctor prescribes a new medication, it can be denied pending an IC hearing. Even when a prescription doesn’t change they can still sometimes deny coverage pending an IC hearing to prove that it’s still necessary. (Which, after a decade, it obviously will be.)

Three weeks of “tolerable” pain at best, followed by a week of worrying, fussing, and fighting just to get the meds that they’re legally required to provide. 😠 Repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat… πŸ™„πŸ˜ž Combine that stress with fluctuating pain and lack of ability, and eventually it consumed so much of my thoughts and time that I started backing away from everything else.

(Don’t mind my rambling… like I said, this blog sometimes acts as my therapy…)

When I can’t guess how I’ll physically feel, and I can’t even count on having (or being able to get) my meds to help… things became too unpredictable to continue like I had been. πŸ™ A couple of years ago I had a long phase where I couldn’t do anything if it meant someone “counting on me” for something. Family started getting shut out, friends definitely got shut out, all because I never knew how I’d feel when I woke up that day nor if I’d be facing (or getting pulled into) another hearing or lengthy process with the pharmacy.

That hasn’t changed. 😐 The concern and worry, that is. πŸ˜’ Along with my family and friends’ understanding, I’ve been able to make some adjustments that has kept me from totally isolating myself these days… but lemme tell ya, sometimes it feels easier to just remove myself from people’s lives than to disappoint them over and over again when things are bad. πŸ₯ΊπŸ˜ž And that leads me back to my original question… how long does it take for a person to escape that mindset, if that 1/4 of each month no longer has that anxiety and stress from the fight? 😐

The stress now, for better or worse, is making sure the settlement (whether an annuity or lump sum) is truly enough to cover the things that it will need to cover. If not, I’ll just be trading the stress of fighting for meds each month for the stress of not being able to take the same meds, because I won’t have the funds to pay for them. πŸ˜’ Medicare is technically supposed to step in at that point, but they’ll require all kinds of proof that I spent the settlement money only on applicable things, and the more expensive meds still might not be covered. πŸ˜– So as you can see, there truly is “always something.”

Kinda makes all the “You’re so lucky that you don’t have to work anymore!” folks reconsider, eh? 😏

Tripped My Breaker

Everything caught up with me in a bad way today. 😞 First time in a week and a half that (for no apparent reason) I woke up with my neck frozen – combined with a splitting headache at the base of my skull. 😣

That’s never fun, but today it was apparently my tipping point. With the mental stress of all the various things getting ready to happen (as well as currently going on) with my workers comp situation, all the work I’ve been doing on it, plus still nervously waiting for my attorneys to call regarding setting up a meeting… waking up feeling utterly miserable along with all of that just flipped a switch. πŸ₯Ί

My anxiety about all of it had turned to irritation, anger, and determination over the past couple of days – but that’s when I wasn’t physically suffering at the same time. 😟 So while I’m not thrilled that I lost the entire day today – after taking my morning meds, letting the hot shower rain on the back of my head, and waiting to see if the pain was going to let up… I nodded back off and ended up sleeping the entire day away. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜•

I would have heard my phone if my attorneys reached out… but, again, the call didn’t come. A couple people texted me, but it’s late now – and I’m honestly in no condition to act like I’m “okay enough” to return messages and hold a conversation. I hate ghosting people, but today has been a bad, bad day. 😞 I’ve taken my evening meds though, so I’m hoping that’ll do something… but it’s hard to say if I’ll be back out in an hour or if I’ll end up awake all night due to sleeping all night and day. πŸ˜’ That’s just how it goes sometimes…

And when I mention this next thing, I’m not looking to be medicated… but when an injured workers is put through the ringer like I’ve been – it should honestly be a requirement that the coverage includes the option of talking to a counselor or therapist. 🀨 It’s obvious that mental and emotional stress can affect a person’s physical health, so it would truly be in everyone’s best interest. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ (This blog is usually my therapy.)

Yeah, I’m thinking about my situation, but I’m also thinking about the tens of thousands of other people who’ve been in the fight for years that might not handle it as well as I have, which isn’t always that great. 😟 It should help once I get the call and the meeting is scheduled, and it’ll help even more once that’s done… no matter how it seems to go. It’s the “unknown” and the waiting that’s really tweaking me right now. 😠 If this stuff’s gonna take a different course here soon, I’d like to get the show on the road.

So today went straight into the trash, but I’ve got something to look forward to tomorrow. Map of The Soul: Seven (by BTS) is being released, it’ll be available on Spotify, so I’ll have a whole album of new music to listen to and hopefully be distracted by. πŸ™‚πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Here’s hoping for a better tomorrow.

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.

Ramping Up

It’s barely past noon and I’m already needing to disengage my brain for a little bit, before I put it back in gear and get to work on various upcoming shit. And today was supposed to be a day off. 😏

Rather than calling my doctor’s office about the pharmacy’s weirdness, I decided to just go in to talk to them so I could better convey what was going on, and so I could also check to see if my MRI request had been approved or denied yet. (It has been submitted but so far there has been no further action.) That was also the only way I could avoid making a phone call, since my anxiety re: that has been increasing lately. πŸ“žπŸ˜³

But just like my pharmacy problem reached out to inject itself back into my sphere of shit to handle, my workers comp stuff in general has reached a point where my lead attorney had to contact me today. By phone, of course. πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ (And it happened right as I was preparing to go through the car wash.) So I drove into the Target parking lot, turned the car off, and had a 20 minute conversation with him.

Twenty minutes of unexpected, serious legal conversation… when my brain is already mostly full with my concerns about the upcoming Industrial Commission hearing as well as the actual court case that is meant to bring my situation to a resolution. I took in everything that he said, but I need to take a break here at home for a little bit before I can start lining it all up. 😐 Right now it’s bouncing around in my head, waiting for me to find a place for it among all the other WC nonsense.

It was an overall positive conversation, but still… anything regarding workers comp, meds, treatment, settlements, court, etc… it’s still friggin’ exhausting to process after having been in the system and fighting the good fight for well over a decade. πŸ˜• And while he is the lead attorney, handling all the bigger issues, he isn’t the one that handles my case on a day to day basis, for lack of a better term.

So he said he’s gonna talk to my trial attorney, and they’re going to set up a time when I can go up to Columbus again to their main office (which is an entire floor of a downtown high rise) to meet with the team. πŸ€“πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€πŸ’ΌπŸ‘¨πŸ»β€πŸ’ΌπŸ‘©πŸ»β€πŸ’ΌπŸ‘¨πŸ»β€πŸ’ΌπŸ—ƒοΈ Even though “the other side” is the party that initiates all the complications, it seems that they’re finally getting tired of fighting these same fights over and over again. Especially since the IC almost always finds in my favor. The total billable hours they’ve spent to challenge me must be insane.

So I’m kinda in the driver’s seat right now, but I’m well aware how quickly that could change. Once I’m done with this little break I’m gonna have to figure out the implications of all of the things we discussed, and then I’ll start a list of my questions and concerns that I’ll need to discuss with him and my other attorneys about before I make any decisions. πŸ€”πŸ€¨ Okay… I could probably ramble on with more details, but I think that’s good for now. I need to sit on this for a bit and not screw it up.

Not What I Planned

Yup, like I said, last night was fun, but I’ll be paying for it today. Thinking that this would be a lazy Sunday, I made the mistake of pushing a bunch of things from last week off until today. I’ve gotta handle my mail, work on a bunch of stuff regarding my upcoming IC hearing, listen to my voice mails and deal with whatever those require, plus I’ve gotta call the pharmacy to continue trying to get my current prescriptions filled…. and that’s all gonna be a lot harder now with a frozen neck.

Of course because of the physical aspect, but also because it’s particularly stressful to be coordinating my fight against workers comp and struggling to get my meds filled while I’m experiencing the exact thing that they’re fighting me over. It’s emotional stress that makes the physical stress worse, which makes the emotional stress worse, ad infinitum… the ouroboros of my disability. 😞

When that cycle starts it’s hard to escape. That’s why I worry so much about things like my planned concert trip later this year. Yesterday, my only concern with meeting up with my friends was that I might be too tired to do it, but then my shoulder shows up too, goes nuts, and now today is screwed. If I make just the smallest misstep, things can go downhill so quickly.

So I’m gonna wait a little longer for the morning meds to kick in, then I’ll start slowly tackling this stuff. But ugh… cringing about what else the mail might contain, cringing about what the voice mails might say, cringing about yet another hearing that will determine the quality of my life for the indefinite future… it would just be nice if I felt like I had some control of where my life is heading.

It’s probably partially my fault for not dealing with stuff as it showed up, but again I made the mistake of thinking that because I felt okay on those particular days that I’d feel okay today when I planned to deal with everything. Meh… I have very little control over how this will all turn out, so I might as well just power through it as best as I can and then give it up to God. And yeah… this counts as a negative post.

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.

Got My Stuff Done

Well, that seems to work. If I don’t promise myself or anyone else that I’m gonna do something on a particular day, for some reason that makes it easier for me to do those things… even if it’s on that particular day. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜

(Don’t ask… I don’t get it either.)

My knee, shoulders, and neck are extra fucked today, but I guess the best way I can describe getting ready for today was how a diver psyches themselves up and takes the deepest breath possible before sinking into the water. 😚 That’s kinda what I mentally do when I have to go out and do a bunch of stuff when I’m not feeling great. Heh… actually, any time that I have to go out and deal with the humans for too long. 😏

It was a productive few hours though. Stopped by the pharmacy and managed to get my money back (finally) from one of the more expensive meds that WC was giving me trouble with… then I picked up my new glasses and a few other things from Walmart, dodging all the trashy looking people as best as I could. πŸ˜’ I mean, I try not to judge, but my gosh… the things that some of these people wear when they go to Walmart. I think it must be some sort of ironic thing that they do on purpose these days.

After that I grabbed some things that Genesee requested, along with some Chinese take-out for me and Dad, and then I headed over there for a visit for a couple of hours. πŸ™‚ I’ll say one thing… it’s good that Dad and I share almost identical views on how things are going with our government at the moment. Heh… the conversations would go a lot different otherwise. I also got to explain a little more about what’s going on with my WC case, even though I’m still basically in the dark regarding the half that’s going through the actual Ohio court system, or at least soon will be. πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

He asked if I ever wondered if WC people every tried to watch me. πŸ€”πŸ”­Β And the more that I think about it, man do I wish that they would. Because 90% of the time they’d be paying someone to sit somewhere in my neighborhood to document that my ass rarely leaves the house. πŸ˜„ There’s an easy job for someone, eh? But I don’t know, I suppose anyone that wanted to find fault in something that an injured / disabled person was doing – they could probably find it.

I don’t mow my own grass anymore, but I once did. (On a riding mower) It caused my shoulder to be all jacked up that night and the next day, which is the reason I stopped and started paying someone to do it, but anyone that saw me would have been able to “Look, he’s mowing his grass!” me. πŸ˜•

One of the few “extra” things that I indulge in every now and then are concerts with friends. And while the disability in my neck / shoulder doesn’t have anything to do with whether I can physically “attend” a concert or not, let it be known that those concerts are never without their own unique form of punishment afterwards. Even that rather limited physical activity screws me up for days. 😟 Hell, I didn’t even go to the Skillet concert a few months ago when they were in town… basically because I didn’t want to feel beat up afterwards.

But like I told him, I don’t worry about it too much because everything about my case is real. I don’t try to exaggerate anything, and I don’t make it a secret that I sometimes do things that end up causing me extra pain in the affected areas. πŸ€•πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I’d wager that my doctor’s notes have quite a few remarks from where I’ve told him about things like, I dunno, going to the fair, walking around, taking pictures of the day… because the days following that sort of thing cause me added pain, which is something I want him to know.

So it just is what it is. 😐 Most of my time is spent avoiding things that cause me additional pain, but sometimes I do things that I have to do that cause me pain – and sometimes I do things that I want to do that also cause me pain. I’d hope that anyone who was genuinely, fairly judging me wouldn’t hold it against me that every now and then I wanna pretend like I’m not as damaged as I am, whether it’s a random task I have to do myself or if it’s an occasion where I just wanna do something fun for a change.

I just do me. If anyone decides to follow and takes notes, I don’t have anything to hide. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ™‚