Am I Ready For This?

I burned out early today. Woke up and began work on a bullet list of questions and concerns regarding the settlement talks that may start soon. Plus I banged out a quick letter to go along with it, basically expressing my concerns about some of the things that have been suggested so far, and making sure that this upcoming meeting is one where we’re going to further discuss things – and not one where they’ve got papers that I’m expected to be ready to sign.

So I dropped that off in the mail when I went in town to hit the pharmacy again. Half-success this time. One of my two workers comp medications was approved and covered, but I had to pay for the other one in order to not go without for who knows how long. Luckily I dealt with the two people there who are probably the most familiar with how I get jerked around, and they were both great and did everything they could to help.

That doesn’t sound like I did much, but starting on that stuff when I woke up, spending a good amount of time making a list of all the things that stress me out about the idea of a settlement, along with making it clear that I’m not super enticed by the whole thing yet… I obviously don’t want to appear “difficult” to my attorneys, but I’m also making sure they know from the start that I don’t want to get stepped on.

So working on that, trying to make the letter and list as brief-yet-effective as possible, and then immediately going in and dealing with the continuing stress (that happens each month) of trying to simply get my normal medication. When there’s three different WC related trajectories that are coming to a head, and I focus my thoughts and energy on just those things for several hours… heh… I just can’t really do that. Not if I want to be of much use in the later afternoon and evening. All of the “ugh” just wears me out.

But I completed the important things today, so I’ll let it slide that I wasn’t able to do much more than that for the rest of the day. Reset tonight and start again tomorrow. Hopefully they get that letter tomorrow, before anybody gets ahead of themselves, and before he calls me to set up that meeting. I’d just prefer them to be at least close to “on the same page as me” before I go up there and potentially waste anybody’s time.

In this situation, I imagine that a settlement requires concessions from both sides, where the final product isn’t necessarily something that either side is thrilled about… but with as much unneeded stress, anxiety, delays, hearings, pharmacy difficulties, etc that they’ve injected into my life (and it’s still ongoing…) nobody should expect me to come to the table and be an agreeable broken person that’s just gonna be happy with whatever scraps they may be willing to give me. I want my team to lean on these people with a force stronger than they might even realize they’re capable of. 😠

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.

Well, Here We Go…

Not in a big hurry to get my day started today. Plenty of time to run in to the pharmacy, and plenty of time to make my calls to the insurance place. But it looks like, unless something happens between now and when I get to the pharmacy, I’m gonna have to pay over $400 for this one prescription. 😐 At least for now.

Last month WC approved the med the day after I paid for it, and the pharmacy refunded my money accordingly, but man is that an irritating way to do things. Especially since I never know for sure if they will eventually pay for it. It’s feeling more and more like I’m gonna be stuck with it this month though.

I’m trying to put myself in the mind set of accepting that I’m gonna have to take the L, and if so, I’ll have to figure out something with my WC doctor at my next appointment – ‘cuz there’s no way that I’m gonna pay that much each month. There’s no way that I can. 😣 But one time isn’t gonna kill me, so I’m allowing myself to be “grr” for a bit – but then I have to put it out of my mind. πŸ’†πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ What’s done is done, essentially.

Fun Fact: I actually have another prescription that’s due for a refill, which will also be ran through my WC insurance… so as I’m finishing up this first little fight, I might be starting a second one. πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ At least that one is covered by my normal insurance, should WC refuse to pay for that one as well. So at least the outcome, whichever way it goes, won’t make me nearly as twitchy. Hopefully.

I’m gonna try to enjoy the drive into town, blowing a little stink off, and maybe picking up some fast food to bring back home. Still haven’t gotten a notice regarding the IC hearing being rescheduled, and I’ve heard absolutely nothing about the court case… so I’m really feeling like I’m in limbo here. 😟 The phone just rang (unrecognized number) and they left a voice mail, so I’ll cross my fingers and hope it was one of my attorneys letting me know what the heck’s going on. (C’mon… who actually answers their phone these days?)

Got a solid six hours of sleep, and woke up with my neck and other achy parts feeling pretty decent so far today, so at least that’s not something adding to my stress. But I’m gonna chill here for another half hour or so and then get on this. 😠 I wanna get it over with so I can get back home and straighten up a bit, do the laundry, put away the groceries, etc… as well as squeezing that insurance call in there at some point.

Wish me luck. πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

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…

A Little of This, A Little of That

The past several days have been kind of mundane, but I suppose that could be considered a good thing. I did make it out to see Bri on Sunday, and Ariel and the girls were also there when I first got there, so it was nice to get to see all of them in one pop like that. πŸ™‚ Bryson’s growing like a weed, and man is he a happy baby… always giggling and smiling at his mama, and for whatever reason he thought I was particularly funny and worth staring / laughing at for most of the time that I was there too. πŸ™„πŸ˜

Once the week started, everything’s just been kinda meh. Tending to bills, various paperwork, doctor calls, dealing with insurance, dropping off medical release forms at my attorneys’ office, etc. πŸ˜’ I could have just mailed those back to them, but because I let my mail sit for over a week before realizing that their correspondence was in one of those envelopes, I didn’t wanna cause any further delay – so taking the forms directly to them was the quickest option. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ™‚Β (I wanna do whatever I can to help them help me.)

The bills from the hospital didn’t end up being as bad as I was fearing. Six envelopes arrived from them within a day of each other, all having the same appearance as their typical “amount due” mail… 😟 so I just cringed and put them off to the side for a while, not quite ready to start writing checks. But when I opened them the other night, each one was just a form letter that let me know that because I have a fixed income, their financial assistance program covered the difference between what everything cost and what my insurance actually paid. πŸ˜―πŸ˜ƒΒ Nice to have something go my way, particularly right now.

Then today I had to go to pick up some soda, so I decided to go out to Meijer – where I could also grab a bag of dirt, some grass seed, and a couple bags of pebble-type stone. 🀨 The lawn guys kinda “over-whacked” some weed areas, like around my light post and the clothesline poles out back – so the next time we’re gonna have a few days of rain, I’m gonna try to cover those areas. πŸ€” Nobody was working in their garden department to help me get the bags over to my cart, but luckily I was able to just slide them over from the stack and onto the underneath rack of my buggy. πŸ˜₯ Getting them into my trunk, however… that required creative use of my right arm and right leg.Β (And that crap can stay in my trunk until I’m ready to use it, thankyouverymuch.)

Oh, the pebble stones… that’s for out by my mailbox. When it rains a little more than average, that area turns to slop – and not only does it make it slick for the mailman, but their vehicle also then continues to wear away that spot each time they drive through it. πŸ˜• I put sand there a couple of years ago, but it’s just time for me to try something else. I’m gonna wait until it’s wet for that as well, when I’ll drive my car out to the end of the driveway and just spill the new gravel directly out of the trunk instead of effing with the heavy bags.

But that’s been the tone of the first half of the week… just thinking about or working on “meh” stuff and getting it out of the way. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜ Some good, some bad, but most just “whatever.” I’ve been sleeping in the recliner, and that’s actually helped when it comes to getting sleep and waking up in a little better condition, but I’m starting to miss my comfy bed. πŸ˜΄πŸ’­πŸ›οΈΒ  Β (Well, it’s comfy as I’m going to sleep, at least… heh)

One more night in the chair and then my bed gets another shot. This all makes me sound so old… πŸ˜πŸ€•πŸ‘΄πŸ»
Oh… and my friend had her pacemaker installed yesterday, they had her in and out of surgery before noon, and she was back in her room and texting with me like normal by the early afternoon. πŸ˜ŒπŸ™πŸ» We’re fortunate to live in a time where there’s such a thing as “minor” heart surgery like that. I’ve got a short list of things that I wish we had cures or fixes for though, that’s for sure… but overall we’re lucky with what’s available to us when it comes to procedures and treatments for a whole lot of stuff. πŸ₯πŸ‘©πŸ»β€βš•οΈπŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈ

Medically Deferred Deportation?

I’m gonna try to do a mental reset tomorrow, and get all this workers comp stuff out of my head until a hearing is scheduled and things are closer to being in motion in that regard. I did what I needed to do in so far as writing a response to claims in the report, so I can’t let the frustration and annoyance linger when there’s nothing else that I can do.

Plus I’m watching Rachel Maddow right now, and she’s covering the topic of people who are in the United States who have been receiving some sort of deferred deportation due to medical conditions that they have, for which they are receiving treatment within the United States. Apparently there are still plans in place which will remove that protection from at least some of the people who are getting life-saving treatment here. Treatment that they wouldn’t be able to get if they were sent out of the country… so that helps to put my problems into context.

Yeah, all of the stuff I’m going through is a giant pain in the ass, and there are significant implications to my future medical care that will be decided based on these current reports I’ve been talking about… and yeah, it’s really working my anxiety. But it’s nothing like what those people are facing. I can’t even imagine being previously allowed to stay in the country because you’re getting life-saving treatment, only to be told that nope – you have to leave the country within the next 30 days, which essentially sentences some of those people to death. It must be nearly impossible to process that news.

So yeah, what I’m dealing with feels unfair, unjust, and uncalled for… and I know how awful just that makes me feel – but man, how does your mind react when you find out that the country is kicking you out, and sorry about your luck when it comes to your medical treatment. Ugh…

And this isn’t even meant to be a political post. I don’t know how these “medically deferred deportation” people got here… whether they have visas, whether they were brought illegally as kids, whether they were originally granted entrance because they were seeking medical care and the administration changed its mind… because it kind of doesn’t matter. What matters is one moment they’re legally allowed to be here and get their treatment, and the next moment someone has decided that that particular program is no longer going to be allowed, at least in some circumstances, and they just have to go.

When you’re upset about your own shit, sometimes you forget how bad other people’s shit can be. πŸ˜•

You Never Get Used To It

(Oh yeah… this is quite a rambling one.Β  Strap in…)

While I was off of my thyroid meds, losing energy with each day that passed, preparing to have my second cancer scan done, as you may remember – I still had to drive over an hour up to NW Columbus, to go to the “Independent Medical Evaluation” initiated at the request of my former employer’s WC insurer. πŸ˜’πŸ€’ For those who haven’t been through it, it’s essentially one of the methods that can be used to try to get medication or treatments disallowed from a claim, based off of a report from a doctor (like in this instance) who has seen you as little as one single time. 🀨 That almost always sets up an Industrial Commission hearing, where (in my case) that report will be compared against the records of my own doctor, who has been treating me consistently for this work injury and disability for well over a decade. 😯

Of course my thoughts were more focused on the upcoming cancer scan at that point, so I went up, had my exam, went back home, and then mostly forgot about it while I dealt with my other medical concerns. But upon collecting my mail from the box a couple of days ago – I saw that enough time had passed for that doctor to have generated his report, which is easily 30-40 pages (if not more), and have copies sent to me, my attorneys, and my own doctor. I waited a few days to open it, because I knew there would be nothing good about it, nor would there be anything that I could do about that fact. 😟 It might as well have been labeled “Envelope Full of Frustration” but I finally made myself open and read it all yesterday.

I’m going to sugar-coat the shit out of this as I continue. πŸ™„πŸ˜ For my second pass through this thick report, I grabbed a yellow highlighter and began to mark and number the areas where more info was needed. 🧐 Whether it was adding context, pointing out inconsistencies, noting conflicting statements within the same report, or bringing attention to things that were implied, inferred, or assumption… I ended up with 48 different sections that required a response. And, unfortunately, there were several things that were simply false. Absolutely false. But still written in this report as if it were fact. 😠 I’m not saying that this doctor just pulled some things straight out of his ass, but it’s a shame how many “inaccuracies” were made by someone that shouldΒ have the presumption of being knowledgeable and accurate, especially given the duty that he’s performing and the way it could affect the future of anyone that he evaluates.

So now my copy of that doctor’s report has 48 highlighted areas, to go along with a numbered “rebuttal report” that I created to address each of those problem areas. So when I give it to my attorneys, they’ll be able to read my comments right along with the numbered and highlighted areas on the original report. πŸ€“ And despite having another doctor appointment at 11am this morning, I was up until after 2am last night… because correcting or clarifying (what I believe to be) inaccurate things in that report is really the only thing that I can do right now when it comes to “defending myself” or possibly helping my attorneys with their argument points. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜ž But yeah, once I started, the areas that needed my attention just kept coming, and I wasn’t going to stop and go to sleep until I had addressed everything that I felt needed it.

Of course my doctor will write a rebuttal report… something that he’s done many times before, to the point where he’s often repeating himself – because the facts are the facts, and they don’t change over time. But when there’s a hearing, it’s just expected that the doctor of record will submit a report, so he’s unfortunately stuck in this situation just like I am. πŸ˜• Thankfully, my doctor is awesome. And like me, he’s not a fan of having his words twisted, his knowledge and methods belittled… and he’s definitely not a fan of any claims, implications, or “facts” that seem to be based on little-to-no actual evidence. So not only will he write a truthful and accurate rebuttal based on all of the medical evidence, but it also serves as a way for him to “defend” himself – which is the same feeling that I have, and why I wrote my index of rebuttal points. 🀨

I have a ton of other things that I would like to say about the doctor’s report, but it’s in my best interest to just stop at this point. I’ve covered the basics, and you’re more than welcome to imagine the non-sugar-coated version… but even if you did that, there’d still be some things that would legitimately shock you. So now I can only hope that my rebuttal points will be helpful and useful to whichever attorney ends up representing me at the actual hearing. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€πŸ’ΌπŸ‘©πŸ»β€πŸ’ΌπŸ—’οΈπŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš–οΈΒ (And I’ve always felt the “commission” folks do seem to care as well.)

But the law firm that represents me is great, and we’ve (knock on wood) got a great track record from the beginning through today… so I know that they’ll have already picked apart many of the same things that I’m bringing attention to, but there still might be something that I say here or there that will contribute to the arguments that they use on the day of the hearing. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ And at the very least, having more information “straight from the horse’s mouth” will be beneficial in general, since we usually only have about a half hour to sit and quickly discuss the case before the hearing starts.

It would be hard for anyone to find the words to accurately express the feeling and level of frustration that comes along with this situation. πŸ™‡πŸ»β€β™€οΈ To have decisions being made by other people, about things that will dramatically affect your future, knowing that “the truth” is the only weapon that you have… it’s such a helpless feeling, especially when you’re already feeling pretty damn helpless most of the time, due to the disability and pain that this whole thing is about in the first place. 😒 So other than the info I’ll be giving my attorneys, it comes down to sitting, waiting, and hoping… and there’s nothing relaxing or reassuring about that. 😞

Any good luck or positive juju that you want to mentally send my way is greatly appreciated. πŸ€žπŸ»πŸ™‚πŸ™πŸ»