I’ve Got Too Much *clap clap* Time On My Hay-unds

I’ll do this and that on any given day, but overall, my life feels like it has been on pause for a long time now. πŸ˜” Three big things are much of the reason behind it. Getting diagnosed with thyroid cancer two years back and then surgery to have that removed, my workers comp situation that’s been going on for well over a decade, and then waiting while my lawyers try to hammer out an agreement for the medical portion of my WC claim. 😐 So, technically, it’s guess it’s just two “big” things that have me on pause. πŸ€”

I mean, like everyone else, I’ve got a billion other little bitty tiny things that will pop up and add to the stress or anxiety whenever they feel like it, but it’s those things mentioned above that feel like they’ve put the brakes on “who I was” the most. πŸ˜• This entry isn’t about getting into the finer details of how or why… even though it’s relatively obvious, at least on the face value things, how it would make life different for anybody if they had to deal with them as well.

I’ve got a “checkup” ultrasound scan that I’m supposed to schedule sometime around the end of spring / beginning of summer, and I’m not super excited for that. 😬 My yearly check up last fall, which included a second dose of radiation and a gamma scan, went fine… in so far that there wasn’t anything to be immediately worried about. πŸ€”πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ But of course with something like this it’ll take a few return trips before anyone’s gonna be so bold as to declare me cancer free… and it’s hard not to be anxious about your future with that just floating out there. (It is a good sign that I’m only getting an ultrasound vs the whole other shpeal.)

And then the workers comp stuff, which (considering the above) should feel smaller than it does… but it’s another thing that’s been hanging over my head for what feels like forever, and as some of you may know – it has a way of being a thorn in my side almost every month, so it’s something that once it’s “solved” that month – I immediately start thinking about next month and what dumb shit I’ll have to deal with then. It’s just another “always there” thing. 😠 It’s a shame what a pain in the ass it all is, considering how great my doctor is. And it’s been the same d00d for all this time… πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈπŸ™‚ I’m lucky, there.

Even though I probably won’t, I could say that I’m gonna start tomorrow… trying to change whatever it is that needs to be changed in order for me to feel like I’m restarting things. πŸ˜•πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Granted, not the best time, given the stay-at-home stuff goin’ on… but still, I’m gonna at least give it a little more of a shot. Tomorrow, the next day, the day after that… while allowing myself to have days where it’s just not working, but without letting those days totally sink the idea of getting myself headed in the right direction. πŸ€žπŸ»πŸ™‚

I gotta get out of this trap, where just because I know that some big shit is gonna go down soon regarding my WC settlement talks, it ends up causing me to waste most of my days as I sit there just waiting and wondering when “the next thing” is gonna happen. πŸ˜’ I miss so much of each day because my brain is looking too far ahead, fearing the worst. I suppose that applies to both of the examples that I mentioned in the first paragraph.

It’s not that I’m feeling sorry for myself or anything like that. I look around, I watch the news, I read the articles, and I know that I’m extremely lucky compared to a whole bunch of people. That’s all the more reason that I need to figure out how to stop being so affected by my stuff in the way that I am. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜” Meh… so yeah, this has been bouncing around in my head all day… figured I better put it in print so someone can remind me about this post and rightfully wag their finger at me if it seems I’m not doing what I said. πŸ˜πŸ‘πŸ»

Unfortunate Opportunity

In the same way that it can be awkward to discuss “after death” financial topics with someone from whom you might be getting an inheritance, talking publicly about investment possibilities that are coming on the back of a stock market that’s plummeting due to fear of a COVID-19 pandemic… it does feel a little bit wrong, but the opportunities of a down market also cannot be ignored. 😐

The Dow Jones has lost more than 12% of its value over the past seven days of trading. Unfortunately, the cause isn’t solely due to “scary thoughts” around the spread of the virus. 😟 With China being ground zero, the precautions that need to be taken and the effects that are already being experienced by the industries and workforce there… it was inevitable that markets around the world would reflect the disruption. 😳 Global economies, global trade, global investing… it’s all great stuff, until it isn’t.

Before COVID-19 was even a thing, I had already started researching different types of investing that my family (historically speaking) never really took advantage of. πŸ€” I’ve tended to use methods that I’ve seen work for my dad and my aunt, and they probably used methods that they saw work for their parents. 🧐 It makes investing feel comfortable, but the returns are usually modest in comparison.

The volatility in the markets isn’t going anywhere, so I’ll have plenty of time to continue reading, learning, and eventually planning… even if “the plan” ends up being that I don’t change much of anything. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ And while loads of people have been cashing out, to “protect” their gains from the past year or longer, the farther the markets fall – the better it is for folks who are only just now wanting to get in. 🀨

I suppose I should mention that I’m not thinking about individual stocks when I’m talking about all of this. I don’t know enough yet to speculate on individual companies and their ability to bounce back. I’m thinking mostly about ETFs with holdings that are properly weighted to match gains / losses of the Dow. πŸ˜πŸ€“

Historically, you’re on pretty solid ground if that’s what you’re invested in… but just as there have been extremely good years, there have been some really bad ones as well. More often than not though, the gains for each year have been remarkably good. (Which doesn’t mean a heck of a lot if you didn’t buy your shares on (and only on) January 1st of each year… heh) Meh… just kinda thinkin’ here… πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ™‚

Predictably Unpredictable

Had one of those fortunate times where my workers comp doctor appointment coincided with my neck acting up. Obviously “fortunate” is a relative term… but I think it’s important that the doctor sometimes see me at the worst of my worst times, since at many of my appointments I’m “okay.”

The spasms started yesterday, after carrying a big bag of cat food in from the garage. It used to be that I could still use my right arm to carry about any amount of “dead weight” … where I don’t really do any lifting but just let whatever-it-is hang there at the end of my arm. I guess I’ve got to be more careful about even that now.

It makes sense that something heavy, carried with my right arm, could still pull across the muscles and tendons of my neck and therefore irritate the damaged area… I’m just not stoked about the potential of losing even more ability than I already have. 😟 I’m also not stoked that sometimes just the act of sitting down a little too hard triggers a nerve spike that radiates out over both of my shoulders. 😣 I know I’ve got a big head, but just that little bit of “extra” downward force on my neck… it’s scary that that’s enough to sometimes cause an unpleasant jolt.

But my visit with the doctor was productive. It’s great that after more than a decade (with a basically stable, yet slowly deteriorating condition) he’s still more than happy to give me as much time as I need at an appointment, and this was one that took a little longer as we discussed everything. And while I’m not a fan of the process, we both agreed that it’s probably time for another MRI to see what’s going on in there. 😳 Now, whether workers comp will approve it, that’s another matter.

This was one of those “C’mon, there has to be a way to make it where I don’t hurt like this.” visits, which are probably as frustrating for him as they are for me. 😐 It’s just that there’s only a limited amount of reasonable things we can try, and I’ve already done treatments like cervical spine injections – which only provided limited relief, both in the amount the pain was reduced and for how long. πŸ˜’ And with the risks involved in that method, I’m not sure that it’s worth it when adjusting my meds could prove to work better.

Meh… I’m so tired of medical stuff. 😞 But I’ll wait to see if the MRI is approved, I’m also waiting for a call back about some other things, and then we’ll just go from there. Like I told him today, I’m still too young to just accept that this is how I have to feel, and I haven’t battled with workers comp for this long just to feel “bad, but not really bad” most of the time. πŸ˜’ If there are still things that could help me, they need to remain open as options – otherwise what’s the point? Thankfully, he still seems to agree.

Terminate Background Process?

I feel almost silly for realizing this only just now, but I’ve figured out why my sleep got screwed up… why I have been feeling a little off. With as “aware” as I am regarding my struggles with anxiety, you’d think that any new potential issues would be immediately apparent. πŸ€”πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Nope. 🀨 For whatever reason, I typically don’t recognize an inciting moment until it’s already had enough time to have an effect. Like walking out of your house into a rain storm and then wondering an hour later why you’re soaked.

Not wanting to bury the lede any further, I’m pretty sure that ordering concert tickets the other day was what put me a bit out of whack. So you can maybe see why I wouldn’t have suspected that as the cause. Since, on its face, that concert is something that I obviously think will be fun, something that I want to do, something that I’m choosing to do. πŸ™‚ So the anticipation of waiting to see if I’d even be able to get tickets, and then managing to get really decent seats – all of the “Yay! πŸ˜ƒ of that masked the subconscious concerns that I always have when it comes to attending a concert these days.

I’ll make a separate post about the show, but yeah… when just this past year I skipped a Skillet concert that was less than 30 miles away because it was a general admission show, and I didn’t want to risk how beat up I’d feel afterwards – committing to a much, much bigger concert, and one that will require hours of travel time just to get there, it’s kind of a big deal for me. 😳πŸ₯΄

So, without me even realizing it, I think my brain was running a background process that was contemplating all of the various issues that could pop up. πŸ§ β€ΌοΈ The main concern, obviously, is how I’m going to physically feel… before, during, and after. The long drive, the masses of people, trying not to “bop around” too much during the show… 😏 and then the long drive back home, which will likely feel even longer than the drive there. When I can’t predict how broken I’m going to feel on a day to day basis here at home… it’s just giving quite a bit up to faith that it’ll all work out okay. 😟

Now, despite all that I’ve typed here… I’m not sweating it as much as it probably sounds. 😏 I’m still excited about it, still glad that I have something to look forward to, and planning it all out will even be fun. Figuring out the best travel routes, of course staying over the night before and the night after, checking everything out on Google Earth, and then the concert itself… I really am looking forward to it. I’d say I’m like 90% “Yay! πŸ˜ƒ and only 10% “Ugh… this could be a nightmare 😳

More details soon… πŸ’πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸŽŸοΈπŸ’πŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸŽŸοΈ Β  πŸŽ΅Β πŸŽ€πŸ§πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ§‘πŸ»β€πŸ€β€πŸ§‘πŸ»πŸ‘¬πŸ»πŸ§‘πŸ»β€πŸ€β€πŸ§‘πŸ»πŸ‡°πŸ‡· 🎡

Feels Good

Being only a couple of days before Steven, Cassi, Athena, and their mom start moving, Cassi asked if I’d wanna come visit one more time in the afternoon yesterday – since she knows that once the process starts it’s unlikely that I’ll be making any appearances until it’s over with. πŸ˜• It’s just that I’ve already told her that I can’t risk trying to help them out, possibly hurting myself in new and exciting ways. And just hanging around while they all hustle about… yeah, no need to emphasize my uselessness in that situation. πŸ˜’

But since things are about to get pretty crazy for them, I figured I should go up for one more chill visit (and my last time at that apartment) to serve as a distraction for both of us. πŸ™‚ After hanging out for a while, I remembered that I had a little bit of free play on my casino card. And since money is obviously gonna be tight as they move, I figured I’d go over and play $100… twenty bucks at a time, cashing out any time that I’d double my money, and then whatever “winnings” I ended up with – I’d share with her. πŸ€”πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ™‚

Maybe it was karma paying me back for helping Jim out with a little money this month, and then offering to share my winnings with Cassi… but the very first machine I played, I hit for over $500. πŸ˜―πŸ˜ƒ Hell, if that was all that I won during that trip I would have been happy, but then the same machine – just a few pulls later – hit again for over $300. 😁 Since I was way, way ahead, after that I decided to try a few different machines that I’d never really played before, just as a change of pace.

If I wasn’t hitting decent little wins, they at least kept me “even” so I could keep playing. I eventually left not because I was losing, but because it was getting later and I wanted to spend a little more time with Cassi before it started to get dark dark. After all was said and done, I ended up going home with $700 (including my original investment) and was able to give her $400 to help with moving expenses. 😌

It always feels good when you can win enough that you can plop down a wad of bills in front of someone, and go “Here.”Β πŸ˜…πŸ˜ŽΒ (Especially when it’s legitimately helpful and appreciated.) And in times past when we’ve gone to the casino, I’ve noticed that she breaks down her winnings into five dollar bills before leaving… so I even went to the cashier and had him count out $400 worth of fives for me. πŸ˜πŸ’΅ (I did give the guy a tip, ‘cuz that was admittedly a slight pain in his ass for him… heh)

So that definitely made yesterday better than average. Didn’t anticipate things turning to shit overnight and waking up feeling like I do today, but I keep reminding myself that other than the lack of sleep and awesome new neck pain – nothing else has changed since that “goody” feeling of yesterday, so I’m trying to get the feeling of this day turned around. 😏🀞🏻 It helps that the weekend is essentially here, so I can recover without any obligations hovering over me.

Out Of The Loop Too Long

A while back I used to go to auctions a lot, but it’s been years now since I’ve been. But there was one older fella that was always at the local one that I’d go to with my girlfriend at the time, Kayla. We both liked buying the random boxes of junk that would go for only a few dollars, and he would always dig out any shampoo, makeup, or random girly stuff from the boxes that he’d win and give it to me and Kayla. 😏

I actually ended up running into him again somewhere after the local auction house closed… I wish I could remember where it was. πŸ€” But he invited me to come out some time to see all the stuff that he had for sale at his house, which was also a Christmas tree farm. He and his wife had an entire extra building outside their house, where he had the better of his auction winnings on display and for sale for anyone who came out for a tree. And obviously any time he invited someone out.

But watching the Charlie Brown Christmas special just now, and seeing them hunting for a tree, it made me think of him… and sadly it looks like he passed away a couple of years ago. I’d say it’s been about six years since I was last out to his place, and he had stowed away a bunch of Atari and Nintendo stuff for me, which he sold to me cheap, because he knew that was the kinda stuff I was usually looking for at the auctions. 😌 He was a great guy, just soft spoken and nice… it’s a shame I didn’t get to interact with him any more than I did. I didn’t even realize that he was formerly a local fireman… he just never spoke of it. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ But yeah, he was one of those people that you were glad to have met.

johnJohn BeckΒ  |Β  1943 – 2017

I think I’ll tell Mom to tell him that I said “Hi.” πŸ˜‡

Overdue For One Of These

Had my monthly WC doctor visit today. Good timing for two reason… first, because it looks like we’re gonna get our first measurable snow tonight (possibility of 2 to 3 inches) and second, because my shoulder was bad this morning. 😣 Most of the time when I have my appointments with him, I’m in my typical / average condition. Not good, but not too bad. But luckily, every now and then, my shoulder has one of its little fits while I’m in the office so he can see in real-time what I deal with a lot of days. Of course I never want to hurt, but it’s like when you take your car to the repair shop and it just won’t “make that noise” for the guy… yeah… my shoulder was making all kinds of “noise” for the doctor today.

It kinda doesn’t matter though… πŸ˜• and that sucks. πŸ˜’ I mean, my treatment is based on my condition, and he already knows that’s part of my condition – so seeing it happening “live” isn’t gonna change anything about it. It’s hard to describe the frustration of just wanting to “feel okay” while also knowing that there really isn’t anything that can make that happen. 😐 (And yeah, I know, I’m far from the only person that feels that way.) I’m gonna have to ask him at my next appointment, how much WC is affecting what he’s able to do for me. Lord knows they look for any reason to fight even paying for the meds that I’m on now, so I could see where he might know that some options would just be “off the table” from the start.

Meh… gotta try to not dwell on that stuff. πŸ™πŸ» But that’s why I’m a little more twitchy than usual once a month. Every time my WC appointment comes around, it just brings up all the frustration that I go through, for treatment that just makes things tolerable, and the fun waiting and wondering if / when my pharmacy will be given approval for each of my meds, etc, only to do it all over again a month later. πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ It’s just a shitty cycle that it seems I’m gonna be stuck in forever.

But like I told the doctor today… yeah, I might have times where I bitch about this stuff more than usual, but I also know that things could be a lot worse. I see the other people as they walk into the office… or, sometimes, as they’re rolled by in a wheelchair. 😟 I know that while my disability is definitely full of suck, there’s a lot of folks that have it a lot worse than me – so I try to keep my perspective. (But it doesn’t stop me from thinking that there’s got to be something out there that could still help me more.)

So, yeah, I haven’t done one of these rants for a little while… so there it is. πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Honestly, if you took my doctor appointment off of today’s schedule, everything was about the same as any other day – a random mix of good, bad, frustrating, okay, painful, tolerable, etc. πŸ™„ It just happened that today, the worst of the tremors happened at the most influential time. So despite several paragraphs of complaining, I’m fine… just thinking out loud and getting shit off my chest like usual. πŸ™‚πŸ‘πŸ»Β It’s all good…

Giveth Taketh

Found out late last night that one of my friends has become unexpectedly unemployed. He was actually working at one place, but had been tentatively hired at another place, so he put in his two weeks notice… only for the job to fall through due to unforeseen circumstances. 😟 He’s already been putting in applications at other places, including companies where he used to work, but in different locations… so hopefully this will just be a small blip – and that his wife’s check will get them by until he gets things back on track.

And apparently it happened on the same day that I posted about my other friend’s boyfriend getting hired on as an assistant manager with a buttload of hours. So maybe I didn’t “knock on wood” correctly. It’s like snapping with the Infinity Gauntlet, or howΒ The Monkey PawΒ works… where things can work out, but maybe not exactly as you expected. I was concentrating on not jinxing them, but didn’t consider that a different friend could be having exactly the opposite experience. πŸ˜• I mean, I know I didn’t jinx him, but the irony of talking about it when I posted about it isn’t lost on me.

And I know I had some funky dreams last night, because I actually woke up because of them a couple different times… but I can’t remember the details. πŸ˜’ Woke up still thinking about his situation though, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the dreams had something to do with all that. I’ve gotta implement a “winding down” period before I go to bed each night, where I avoid caffeine, avoiding worrying about the next day’s stuff, and where I avoid allowing myself to absorb crappy news right before I sack out.