Oh Yeah, I’m Still Quite Broken

I enjoyed having some company for a few days, but the one reason why I’m glad that she’s back at her own house now? So I can have my damn chair back. πŸ˜… She’s like me… for whatever reason, we both find the recliner to be the best place to sleep. So while she’s here she sleeps in the living room and I sleep in my bedroom… on my crappy mattress. πŸ˜’ It’s not always bad… but the odds say that you’re more likely to wake up feeling like shit than not – and every night that she’s been here recently I’ve woken up wishing that someone would just put me out of my misery. 😣 Thankfully, hot hot shower “until the hot runs out” makes a lot of it go away.

I think that steroid injection did work, and I think it is starting to wear off… so I’m just having to get used to regularly waking up in pain again. It’s almost enough to make me not want to do an injection again – because, believe it or not, I can get used to the pain… but not if some magic shot makes it go away for a few weeks before letting it get me again. πŸ˜ͺ I’m not meaning to bitch though… I just wanted to say that I’m happy that I’ll be able to sleep in my recliner again and at least give myself a shot at feeling decent in the morning.

The past few days have been really good for me though. I went and did my own grocery shopping without any problems, and then yesterday I went with Cassi when she did her shopping… and at neither time did I feel like running from the store or stabbing anyone in the face. 😈 I think it’s because she’s one of the few people that I can feel human around, which sometimes lets me do human things. Lemme tell you, as weird as this stuff probably sounds to “normal” folks, it’s even more confusing and frustrating to me, the one experiencing it all. 😐

I’m not gonna make any concrete plans based on how I’m feeling after the past few days, but I will say that I’m gonna try to keep rolling with the positive vibes and see where that takes me. 🀞🏻 I’ve got some things in mind, but I don’t wanna pressure myself by laying it all out. See, it is possible to really hurt and still feel somewhat okay. πŸ€” Some days are obviously worse than others, but I have to convince myself that feeling physically miserable doesn’t always mean that my entire day will be destroyed. I know it’s possible.

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That’s Just The Way It Is

It looks like I can just count on one week out of every month being horrible thanks to the runaround I get regarding my medication. πŸ˜’ A full one-quarter of my current existence on this planet, already set aside for fuckery and feeling physically and mentally miserable. 😣 So, starting this month, I’m gonna have to start rationing – so that way when there are extended delays in getting stuff approved, I won’t be going completely without and feeling the affect of that accordingly.

I don’t even have the energy to get into it. πŸ˜” I’m just hoping that it doesn’t mean that I lost my court hearing weeks ago. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I still haven’t gotten any paperwork on it, but I’m guessing the magistrate is probably close to making a ruling if he hasn’t already. But yeah, when I’m already having a hard time functioning like a human, knowing that I’ll lose a week each month like this certainly doesn’t help matters.

But anyway… in an attempt to not think about that for a while tonight, I put my phone on airplane mode and set up a short time-lapse shot. I think the elapsed time was actually about two hours, but it plays out in a minute or so. I used an ISO of about 1200, an exposure of 1/3 of a second, with digital light trail enhancement of 3 seconds. πŸ€“ I’m actually fairly pleased with the result, although I’ve already thought of what adjustments I need to make next time so there’s less grain, brighter stars, and longer light trails.

So yeah… this is just another thing I have to adjust for, the same way that I need to adjust the amount of shit that I do when I’m feeling good – since I know that too much moving around will screw me up. 😐 Meh… it’s almost too hard to explain how complicated it actually is – the stuff that I can actually somewhat control – so when stuff that I can’t control gets added on top of it… yeah, things start to get bad bad. I’ll figure it out. Eventually. But hey, that video is kinda neat, no? πŸ™‚

(I might try to capture the movement of just the stars next time we have a new moon.)

Surveying

Almost screwed up today. Well, maybe I did screw up a little. Opened the garage door to take some boxes and trash out to the buggy, then decided to sit outside for a couple of minutes since it was sunny and almost warm. But then I decided to take a walk to around the back of the house to check out the condition of things. See, I had someone mowing my grass all last summer, and I honestly never even really looked out back. I can see the bushes at the back through the various windows, but it is really only in passing.

First thing I noticed was that one of the flower tree things had died and rotted during the winter. 😐 I was actually able to easily break off many of the limbs and also push over most of the base of it that was still in the ground. It’s not completely gone yet, but it was nice to do something that noticeable without pushing my limits. And the hedges at the back that I mentioned… they’re overgrown and have other sorts of trees growing up in random spots within them, so I won’t be able to put them off for another season.

The other big-ish things that will have to be dealt with are all of the evergreen bushes that surround the house, and the strangely large tree that has grown up inside of the huge pine tree out front. 😳 The bushes in the rear and on the north side are probably small enough that I will (or would) be able to take care of them, but the others are way beyond my ability. And thankfully they did a good job weed whacking the flower gardens (and just mowing over the stuff that I told them to mow over) so they don’t look that bad.

So here’s where I’m at. I know there are quite a few things that I’d be able to do, but I would really only be able to do small bits at a time, over a span of several days for each of the things… so is that really worth it? πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Cringing each day as I go out to do the small amount of work that I can do before it fucks my shoulders and neck, and hoping that I never bump up against that point. 😬 Doesn’t sound like an awesome way to spend my spring, and it risks stealing a bunch of days that might otherwise be days that I’d feel like leaving the house. So I guess I’ve made my decision. 😟

As much as I hate spending money when I feel like I don’t absolutely have to, this is a situation where the right call is to just hire some d00ds to do it. Why should I spend (likely) several days trimming the smaller bushes, when a full time landscaper type person will probably come and bust through all of them in a couple of hours – whether I’ve trimmed anything or not. πŸ˜’ There are a couple more examples of that same scenario but with different stuff in the yard, so I just have to suck it up and accept that I can’t do it and get someone who can. That’s a hard thing to admit. πŸ™‡πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

The one thing that has saved me from getting too twitchy about this today is the thought that even if I have someone come in and do everything that needs to be done… the amount I’m gonna have to pay is still gonna be less than one month’s rent in a decent apartment. And then, other than mowing, none of it will really need to be done again until the same time next year – or even longer if I have someone chop the bushes on the property line down to nubs. 🀨 So I’m gonna make a list of what I need to have done and what I’d like to have done, and then probably call my uncle after the weekend to talk to him about it and see if he has any d00ds that he can recommend.

Not being in constant miserable pain > swallowing my pride / being a tightwad

Faith In Medicine

Got up early yesterday and went and got that steroid injection taken care of. Since I was having it done at a local “surgery pavilion” (yeah πŸ™„ I know) it ended up feeling like the real deal. 😯πŸ₯ I had to strip and change into a gown in the staging type room, got all wired up with sensors and an IV, was rolledΒ way down to a procedure room full of huge lab machines, and when I was done they wheeled me all the way back up to a different area (recovery) where, after having my vitals taken a couple more times, I got dressed again and then had some bloke guide me to the exit. 😳

The doctor that did the procedure is the same one that I’ve been seeing every month for the past decade, so after seeing him for years in “diagnostic mode” – it was kewl to see him in that environment, runnin’ the theater, calling out to either of the nurses for this and that, and then of course jabbing me with needles. πŸ’‰πŸ˜¬ And I’ll admit, some of the stuff hurt a little more than I expected. Kind of like when you get a tattoo on your bicep, the underneath part is super sensitive… well, in order to get me numbed up, the area(s) that he had to hit repeatedly with the lidocaine injections had that same “YOWZA!” effect.

So, the site was numb, and he went in… needle, then saline, then dye, then… oops, a bit of blood. 😯 I’m not sure exactly how bad that could be, but none of them seemed worried and he decided to try one level lower instead. (Which means I had to go through the anesthetic process all over again. ☹ Yay.) This time it went without issue… but let me tell you, it’s quite an unusual sensation having extra fluid (as limited as it probably was) pumped into your spine. It’s like it’s used to a certain “normal” pressure, and that bit of extra… at least for me, it was like someone plopped down on my back for a few minutes. So strange.

My doctor is awesome though… and I’ve probably said that to various people in various places over 100 times by now. 😏 But he talked to me through the whole thing, told me everything that was happening, everything that was getting ready to happen, and then when I was in the recovery room he came out and showed me the pictures, described it all over again to make me feel at ease, and that was about it. πŸ€— There was a lot more “fuss” than I was expecting, but if I notice that it’s making a difference over the next few weeks I certainly won’t object to doing it again when needed. 🀨 ‘Cuz something’s gotta give… something has to eventually work better on me again, right?

The day before all of this, I stopped in again to see Mom and Dad. πŸ‘ͺ As I was telling him about what I was getting ready for, he mentioned the procedure that he was getting ready to have… but he said it in such a “matter of fact / no big deal” type of way that I didn’t really pause to consider the seriousness. πŸ€” More serious than mine, anyway. A heart cath is one of those common-ish surgeries where you just expect that cardiac surgeons can basically do them in their sleep… but each patient can obviously be very, very different – so you can’t really say for sure how safe it is or isn’t. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈπŸ‘πŸ»

But, and I think it started way back when Mom had a brain tumor removed, for whatever reason I just have a strong faith in medicine, the people that practice it, along with the technology and science behind it. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Yeah, I’m all fucked up now, but not because of the fusion surgery… it was because of the delay of the surgery. So that’s why I wasn’t sweating my injection yesterday, and why I’m only slightly sweating Dad’s upcoming procedure. Oh, and you may have noticed that I didn’t mention God in all those things I said have faith in… but yeah, he’s absolutely watching over all of it, for all of us, so while it’s not a guarantee – it does add a subconscious sense of “unconcern” when thinking about it all.

Better Than A Telemarketer

Heh… should have seen that one coming… the moment I wake up, my phone rings. 😱 Almost like my subconscious knew that a call was coming. πŸ§™πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ It was the fella that will be doing the litigation for my court case here soon, responding to the e-mail that I sent him late last night. It was a great conversation though, and he filled me in on all of the stuff that’s been going on lately, along with what his plans are for the upcoming appearance. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€πŸ« I can tell he’s a smart guy, and he didn’t dumb things down for me, which I appreciated. (It’s nice to have a conversation about something of importance with someone who absolutely knows what the hell they’re talking about. πŸ˜…)

He also blessed me with the knowledge that I don’t actually have to attend. Almost like I assumed, if I were to go I would end up just having to sit there and listen, which I don’t totally object to – but I’d rather let them do their thing and not put myself through the stress and probable pain of driving up to Columbus in shit traffic and snow, possibly still feeling side effects from the steroid injection two days prior, and then sitting there on my hands for 15 minutes while they bust through their arguments. πŸ˜’ Even just writing about this stokes my stress, which then stokes my pain.

Oh, I think that was the only surprising thing that he told me… the very limited amount of time that each side has to present their argument. 😯 The magistrate will already have all of the paperwork that he really needs regarding my claim though, so oral arguments basically just act as salt and pepper on the main dish. But man, sometimes just the right amount of salt can make bland mashed potatoes taste awesome. 🀀 So, as usual, I’m cautiously optimistic. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ He explained in detail the angle that he’ll be going with, and it does sound pretty solid.

Like I was thinking though, the ruling on this case will most likely set a precedent that many, many more cases will eventually rely upon in the future. 😬 I know that it honestly has nothing to do with me personally, but I’m still sitting here hoping that my case doesn’t end up being the one that causes problems for other injured people like me who will come along in the future. πŸ˜” Oh and get this, if the magistrate finds in my favorΒ – my former employer can still elevate this one more time, this time to the Supreme Court of Ohio. πŸ˜§πŸ‘©πŸ»β€βš–οΈπŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš–οΈπŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš–οΈπŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš–οΈπŸ‘©πŸ»β€βš–οΈπŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš–οΈπŸ‘©πŸ»β€βš–οΈ Just typing that sentence seems nuts. That court does have the option of telling them to just piss off though, so I guess there’s that. 😏

This was probably the easiest that I’ve transitioned into “handling unexpected phone call when you can’t even do phone calls” though. πŸ˜₯ Smart attorney who is also personable and is able to relate legal information to shlubs like me… that definitely helped. But between getting my brain topped up again and knowing that I don’t have to physically be in the courthouse for the process this time… that’s a call that I’m glad to have answered.

So Much Fuss

This is difficult. I have to go to court in about a week, in regards to the workers comp stuff that I’ve been dealing with for over a decade now. πŸ˜’ I have access to a crapload of documents that are directly related to this case, as well as information from past cases that may provide precedents that could either help or hinder the arguments coming from my side. 😐 But in this instance, for this appearance, all of that information that I could start digging into… it wouldn’t really do me any good, and that’s what’s difficult. 😣 Telling myself to just “let it go” because the attorneys are gonna attorney.

This particular phase has been elevated, because rather than just being about me trying to get a medication or treatment approved – this case is actually about whether all of the “powers that be” have been playing by the rules. 😯 I don’t want to get into too much detail, so it’s hard to explain it, but that’s why my input isn’t going to be needed. Because it’s more about making sure that every “T” was crossed, every “I” was dotted, and every rule was interpreted and followed in a way that should meet the court’s approval. 😬 There really is quite a bit riding on this.

So I could memorize everyΒ related case that came before mine, I could write an impassioned speech that recounts the trials and tribulations of this frustrating process over the entire past decade… but none of it would matter, because none of it is required. πŸ˜• None of it would even be welcomed (at least as far as it seems to me) because this time it’s all about the proper administration of my claim. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš–οΈ To be honest, I’m not even sure why I have to be there at all.

So yeah, I’m a bit anxious… one of those situations where the cards have already been dealt, but we have to wait a week to see who’s hand comes out on top. πŸ™‡πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ It’s really starting to look like this might happen, too. It’s been delayed a few times for various reasons on both sides, but with the information dump that has happened and the lack of anything promising in regards to a settlement, I think it’s actually gonna go down on the date as planned this time. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Time to tighten my belts and keep my hands and arms inside the vehicle at all times.

(Did I mention that the trial date is two days after my cervical spine injection? πŸ’‰πŸ˜¨ Yay? πŸ˜…)

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.