Bad, But Not Bad Bad

Well, “Doctor Visit #1” is out of the way. Going in, I definitely didn’t know what to expect. I know what I feelΒ (and hear) inside my neck, but I wasn’t sure if the MRI was going to accurately reflect that. πŸ˜• And… it did but it didn’t. πŸ€” Comparing it to an MRI from years ago, he could see more damage directly above the fusion area – but not so much that it requires more surgery. So I guess I got my wish… not that I want to hurt, but that I wanted it to show why I hurt, because I do. (Oh, and I actually have C5, C6, and C7 fused. I thought, for some reason, that it was only C5 and C6.)

It gets tricky now though, because my WC claim only allows for very specific parts of my body to be included. And even though any doctor that you’d ask would know that fused areas often end up with increased damage either above or below the fusion point, because that area isn’t specifically allowed by my claimΒ it may be a fight to get anything done in that regard. 😠 So, even though there’s a suggested course of action, if WC won’t concede that the damage is related to an area within my claim, there’s probably gonna be a delay. πŸ™„ Again.

First of all, he said there doesn’t appear to be much stenosis… a word that I’ve learned to fear from my mom’s own experience with it. 😳 But after spending a little more time than usual trying to describe the where/when/why/how of my current pain, he suggested that we try a steroid injection directly into my spinal cord area. 😯 I guess he’d inject some contrast dye first, and then while under some sort of scan – he would carefully puncture the right areas and inject the steroid, while being careful not to puncture the wrong areas. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈπŸ’‰ A bit unnerving, yes, but I have to do something.

Like I told him… I can’t even explain how much this injury and surgery have stolen from me over the past decade. πŸ˜” Who I am now is not who I was back then, and I don’t hesitate to put a lot of the blame on this disability. But to have my life changed so greatly, yet still be experiencing this kind of pain on a daily basis… frustration doesn’t begin to explain it. πŸ˜‘ But anyway, he’s doing what he can, and he doesn’t like the fight against WC any more than I do, but it’s just how things have to be done. So we’ll see over the next week if it’s allowed or if I’ll have to figure it out some other way.

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Catching Up (More Later?)

Okay, I’ll put some effort into this entry. Things have been rough lately. Cassi and her family moved to a new apartment, and I was asked to help out where I could – and that’s all I could do, help out where I could. But basically what you had was a rag tag crew of broken people, trying to move an entire apartment’s worth of stuff as quickly as possible. 😬 I didn’t do much more than move boxes from the basement, up the stairs, and into the kitchen (what feels like 100 times) and then I did help Cassi with the actual packing of her room and taking those boxes downstairs too. πŸ˜₯ So even though what I was doing was mostly lifting dead weight, which doesn’t kill my neck and shoulder when done in moderation – of course I’m still dying today just due to the scale of what we were trying to do. (I wasn’t there for unloading day, handled by Cassi, Athena, and Athena’s new d00d.)

But anyway, I’ve done enough bitching on Twitter. We did have some other help for the bigger items, so everything that needed to get done got done. Of course we all wish we didn’t have to kill ourselves like we did, but it had to be done. One good thing though is that I’m pretty sure I’m still going to feel horrible by the time I get my MRI done tomorrow. Yes, thankfully it seems the scan has been approved – although now I’m remembering that I have a voice mail on my phone from the risk management company associated with my claim, so I can’t guarantee anything until I check that later. 😠 But the extra pain that I’ve been having, the random seizing that my neck is doing, the “different” noises it makes – I’m just really concerned that something is going bad in there. And I’m torn, because I want them to tell me that yes, it’s worse, and that it’s not just a coincidence… but of course I don’t want it to be something so bad that they start talking about another surgery. 😳

Oh, and in order to not stress Z out while they were getting ready to move, I decided to be cat-sitter again. 😺 I had her for several days, which was long enough this time for her to really start taking to me. No more hiding when I’d go down to the basement to see her – which was probably due in part to the liberal sharing of catnip and the regular “paper wad flipping” sessions. 😊 It’s nice to see that she hasn’t lost her excitement for that game.

So with all of that out of the way, after I get done with my MRI on Wednesday and hopefully get over to Aunt Sharon’s sometime today to help with her computer – then my life can maybe start going back to its normal boring-ness for a few days, and I can put my new vacuum together to see how she works… and do my laundry… and dishes… and bills… and continue packing away “get rid of” stuff… etc… 😏 I’m sure I’ll still pop up to Cassi’s a couple times in the near future to help her unpack things here and there, but thank God all of the ass-busting work has been done.

I’mma Ramble For A Min

I don’t know if I’m going to have to deal with that nonsense every thirty days, but at least yesterday I was finally able to get the situation resolved. πŸ˜’ Everything ended up getting approved and paid for (after I got a refund for what I paid the day before) by the workers comp insurance. Everyone that I spoke to on the phone was super nice and helpful, which was almost disappointing – since I was really needing to shout at some people by that point. 😐 But yeah, it’s all settled for this month…

Now I’m sitting here in the house, living room floor covered with cat hair, wondering when my new vacuum cleaner is finally going to ship from Amazon. 🀨 I got it as part of a Black Friday / Cyber Monday/Week sale, but it wasn’t in stock at the moment and was advertised that it would ship in about a week. (It’s been about a week.) Meh… at least I don’t have any company coming over to see my furry carpet. πŸ™„

Outside, nothing has changed. It’s cold now, so stuff has stopped growing, but I never did get around to hiring someone to trim back all the hedges and other shit around the yard. πŸ™ It doesn’t look that bad, but it stays in the back of my mind that it needs tended to. πŸ˜’ That’ll probably be a “spring thing” to deal with before the lawn even requires mowing for the first time.

This house. I really don’t know what I want to do about it. It’s way too much house for one person, but it’s never been lived in by anyone other than a Batina. Grandparents, Dad, Aunt C, and now me. 😳 Lots of memories here, both good and bad… and it will/would be hard to not feel a little bit guilty about selling it and moving somewhere else. 😟 It shouldn’t be that way, but you know me – and how much memories / history / nostalgia / etc plays into my life. Plus, it’s the last thing that acts as “established Batina history/presence” and man would it feel weird to not have it around anymore to keep me feeling connected to my past. Hard to explain… but anyway…

Thankfully, now that I have all of my required meds in my system I’m feeling pretty good. Neck is still feeling more funky than it has in a long time, but I’m trying not to complain. I’m still waiting to see if the MRI is approved… and I’m hoping that if it’s not, that maybe I can use my Medicare insurance to cover most of it. Because I’m not doing it just to do it… something feels different, not good, and it’s making me a bit anxious. 😬 It’s been a decade since my cervical fusion surgery, so I don’t think it’s that far fetched to think that things may have changed in there since then.

Prior Authorization

It’s crazy to think that I’m going to be 45 years old tomorrow. 😐 It just doesn’t seem possible… that I’m… old. 😏 Thankfully, I very rarely feel my age… and even when I do, it’s usually because of my old work injury and the effects that I still feel each day because of it and the surgery. And as the fates would have it, right now it’s particularly bad – because I haven’t been able to get my medication refilled for three days now (due to mysterious insurance processing delays)Β and the withdrawal symptoms from Lyrica and Skelaxin are no joke. 😟

They aren’t even new prescriptions. I just need refills. Refills for meds that I’ve taken regularly for the better part of a decade. And while I won’t say that the two are related, it is curious to me that when I’ve got a court case pending and settlement talks ongoing… that’s when I’m suddenly forced to go “cold turkey” and suffer due to delays in processing the payment by the insurer. πŸ˜’ I’ll probably have to go in tomorrow and pay out of pocket (and hope for a refund eventually) in order to not feel like I’m dying. πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Trying to conceal my anger has been challenging. I just keep telling myself that it’ll get taken care of, because eventually it always does.

Bear with me… just a bit more complaining…

It’s just a helpless feeling to know that due to delays, clerical errors, product shortages, tactical fuckery, or whatever it is… to know that each time that my medication is due to be refilled, that it simply might not happen… and then while suffering from the understandable withdrawals, having to gather the motivation and energy to fight and figure out what to do to get those meds… ugh… it’s a fucking nightmare.

It doesn’t help that I’m slowly but consistently getting worse. Like I told my doctor, the pain and disability that I have right now… several years ago I would have been complaining loudly about it at each visit, but I’ve learned to live with it – that it’s just going to be there, and that’s that. But it shouldn’t be like that. 😠 So at my most recent appointment we decided that I should go in for another MRI to find out why I’m getting random pops and seizing of my neck when I’m less active now than I’ve ever been in my life. I can’t stop fighting to feel better, as frustrating as the workers comp process is. πŸ˜“

I should find out soon if they’ll allow me the test or if I’ll have to fight for that too…

Wait, How Much?

The other day I did some investigating in regards to the monthly cost of the various medications that I’m prescribed, for the injury/disability that is currently covered by my workers comp claim. It’s been quite a while since I’ve given it much thought, but man… now that I see the numbers… damn. 😧 These are the prices that I would pay if I had no insurance, and was paying for my prescriptions with cash.

  • Medication #1” – Brand Name: $284.99 / Generic: $73.59
  • Medication #2” – Brand Name: $1314.99 / Generic: $535.99
  • Medication #3” – Brand Name: $996.99 / Generic: (N/A)

So with those figures… add in the monthly office appointments, the potential tests or procedures that I might need to have in the future… and you can see how I’d be a bigger financial burden to my WC insurer than one might originally think. (And it sure makes these settlement negotiations feel a whole lot more significant to my future.)

Typical Tedium

I don’t know why I sometimes can’t let myself just sit and not feel the need to be doing something. Like, I am still not completely back to “tolerable” from the trip, yet I spent a good part of yesterday doing what ended up being four baskets full of laundry. (Nevermind the fact that they’re now sitting in my living room, taunting me to fold/hang them and put them away.) And to make things a bit more annoying, I think something is going on with the heating element in the dryer, because a full dry cycle is no longer leaving the load dry. Not gonna bother with looking into that quite yet though, since all my clothes are clean at the moment – and I’m obviously good at hoarding away dirty clothes in the spare bedroom for as long as needed.

Pain didn’t let me fall asleep until 4am this morning, which I suppose was actually a good thing since I had a neck doc appointment today. (Sometimes it’s good to go in there feeling more banged up than usual, just to reinforce that this crap is real and affects me on a daily basis.) I can’t say enough though, how lucky I am to have had this same doctor for the ten -plus years that I’ve been dealing with this. I even showed up an hour early for my appointment, since I already had to be in town for something else, and they scooted me back to a room just a couple of minutes later anyway.

I told him all about Lake Hope, and my foolish-yet-fun decisions that ended up kicking my ass… heh… but we kind of agreed that sometimes the fun that can be had is worth enduring the pain afterwards. Doing things that make you feel at least a little bit like the person you used to be, knowing you’re gonna hurt, but letting yourself have the whole experience anyway. πŸ™‚ I actually left there in pretty good spirits about everything. (Which isn’t unusual I guess… so yeah, my doc is pretty awesome.)

And somehow I lucked out and didn’t get a single “work/business” call today. I thought for sure that all of the threads that I started pulling on at the end of last week would start unraveling into my phone as soon as folks got into the office… but nope. No attorney, no other attorney, and no IRS. A normal person would probably be a bit mad, or feel ignored… heh… not me. I needed a day.