Partial Reprieve

I’m half disappointed and half relieved. πŸ€” Lead attorney said I’d probably get a call to set up a meeting with everyone towards the end of the week… and now the week is over. So, I’m gonna guess that the letter I sent with my concerns, pre-meeting, may have caused a little more research and discussion among the team. Or I’m a piddly case and they’re working on something bigger and didn’t even think of me this week. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜

Obviously I’m torn… part of me is ready to get this shit taken care of as quickly (but firmly) as possible, but part of me is glad that it’s the weekend so I’ll have two whole days of not having to think about it. πŸ™‚ (For the most part.) I did get a printout from the pharmacy though, with the records for all of my meds from 2019… and at some point this weekend I have to go through that and figure out when the WC insurer did pay for things and when they didn’t. 🀨 (As well as calculating the true total cost of all my meds.) That’ll be fun, considering the printouts have no payment info other than the type, date, and cost. πŸ˜’ Meh… I’ll figure it out.

I’m gonna go to the rarely-used “sitting room” in the basement this evening, to watch my shows in complete isolation from the world… 😊 then the weekend is supposed to be nice, or at least sunny, so I’m gonna try to go see Dad on one of those days. The one year anniversary of Mom being called Home is coming up, so of course that’s been bouncing around in my thoughts along with all of the other stuff. 😒😌

It sure doesn’t seem like it has been a year already…

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.

Hope

These are small accomplishments, but today I was able to hang/fold all the laundry and put it away, do up the current small stack of bills, tidy up the living room pretty well, and put away the stuff from the bags of groceries that have been sitting on my kitchen counters since whenever I last went shopping. (All things that, for various reasons, usually manage to tweak my neck and/or shoulder to some extent when I do them.)

Now, I’m still feelin’ it… but not as bad as I normally would be. I don’t know whether to credit that to the med adjustment that my doctor started yesterday, or if I’m just having a good spell following a really bad one. I just figured that I complain enough here about the bad times that it’s only fair to mention the ones that seem good. But yeah, it’s only one day… and I know by now to not get too excited about it.

(Sometimes I feel like Hawkeye in this scene… when I have an unexpected, mostly pain-free day… 😞)

It would be nice if things could stay like this a while. It’s the right balance. This will sound strange, but it wouldn’t be good to feel zero pain. πŸ€” Like, say that you couldn’t detect heat or cold in your hands… there’s a good chance you’d end up burning yourself while cooking because you wouldn’t know it was happening. Same with my neck. Stuff isn’t “right” in there, and I have a feeling that the upcoming MRI will show that… and the pain, as annoying as it is, makes sure that I don’t do anything to make it worse.

Pretty sure I’m still gonna wake up tomorrow with my neck effed like usual though. πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

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

Lengthy Grumpy Ramble

I’m glad that I don’t have anything on the agenda for the rest of the week, since that allows me to take the things that I wanted to do today and move them to tomorrow. I must have slept funny or rough last night, because man did I wake up feeling beat up today. 😣😟 It looks like I’m going to have to actually go in to the pharmacy to deal with two of my WC prescriptions, since I’m gonna have to get some printouts proving that they’re unwilling to pay this month. πŸ˜’ But with my knees and neck acting up today – tomorrow just seems like the better option. (Stress can add to my physical pain, so I don’t need the BS at the pharmacy to pile on today…)

The insurance crap that I was gonna work on… that didn’t go anywhere today, since they needed all kinds of specific info that I didn’t have handy when I made the call. I figured since a bunch of paperwork had already been sent in, giving them the account number along with my name would have been enough. But nope, gotta get into my files and dig out the little notebook with a few dates and some other specifics that I need.

So I dunno… I guess the little bits that I accomplished today will serve as the “getting ready” for tomorrow, when I’ll hopefully conclude things with both of those situations. πŸ“žπŸ˜•πŸ€žπŸ» My mood is shit today anyway, so waiting until tomorrow will probably help me when it comes to not barking at the people who are trying to help me, since they aren’t the folks who are making things difficult. 😏 Those call center / customer service jobs must be awful, since most folks aren’t as considerate to their lack of power or responsibility when it comes to any given account or situation. πŸ“žπŸ™‡πŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ“žπŸ™‡πŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ“žπŸ™‡πŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ“žπŸ™‡πŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ“žπŸ™‡πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

Oh, speaking of crappy jobs… I guess Jim felt like he wasn’t gonna be able to cut it at the Whirlpool factory where he recently started working. πŸ˜• He’s worked in stocking type positions most of his life, sometimes also driving a forklift – sometimes not, so when he’s basically worked one type of job for most of his adult life – you could imagine how his first taste of assembly line work would feel intimidating. 😯😳😬

The difference between his job and my former job… the line at Whirlpool is controlled by the machines, where my line was controlled by the people. Plus, even though we worked at a ridiculous pace (that did end up eventually damaging me) we didn’t have parts that weighed upwards of 40 pounds to deal with. 😣 It’s also concerning when he tells me that he hurt his neck, and that it also caused his shoulder and arm to hurt… ‘cuz that sounds way too familiar. πŸ™πŸ€•

It just sucks that after years of being able to switch stores and jobs if he wanted to, and having an excellent employee / work record, he’s hit a phase where nobody wants him for those positions now. I mean, he didn’t “job hop” a lot, so I don’t think it’s that… so I’m wondering if it comes down to employers seeing his age on the applications. Glowing work histories don’t help if you can’t get past the HR people who see “47” and throw his application on the “nope” pile.

I was trying to think of what to say to him to keep his optimism up and his twichy-ness down, but it’s difficult when life seems to constantly bag tag a person. 😏 It sucks that he lives so far north of Columbus now, because I have a friend that could probably get him into Jiffy Lube almost immediately. But after I described the job to Jim, pointing out the ways it would be so much easier than a factory, he just replied that he doesn’t know how to work on cars, so the job wouldn’t be for him. πŸ˜’πŸ€”

It’s frustrating, because he’s almost always good at whatever job he’s working at… and you don’t have to know how to “work on cars” to work at a Jiffy Lube. Not to mention the fact that they’ll obviously train you before letting you loose on customer cars. πŸ€“πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€πŸ”§πŸš˜ For example, if he started off working in the pit, under the floor, he wouldn’t have to do much more than locate the oil plug, drain the oil, plug it back up, and perhaps change some oil filters on the cars that have them more easily accessed from the bottom.

I hate to see him not working and struggling, but I think the anxiety from all of the things that have happened… it’s got him to a point where he’s questioning his own abilities, and thinking that he’s not good enough for even basic “some skill required” type jobs. 😟 And I get not being a “car guy” but employee training will give a person the skillz required for any given position. πŸ˜žπŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Meh… he’s a good d00d, and he’s done a lot of good things for other people who were struggling at various points in his life, so it just sucks watching life doing its best to chew up yet another friend who doesn’t deserve it.

You Don’t Wanna Know

Not sure if we’ll have a White Christmas this year… they feel like they’ve been pretty rare, but I could be wrong… but we did get our first good snow of the season over the past couple of days. πŸŒ¨οΈβ˜ƒοΈπŸŒ¨οΈ The garage got finished just in time, or my car would have been sitting out there getting covered. Snow the first day, freezing drizzle on the second. I didn’t know it was coming, so it was a pretty thing to just wake up to.

I was actually planning on going to Walmart to schedule that eye appointment and grab a new pair of boots and some numbers for my new mailbox… but it wasn’t the weather that stopped me. 😳 It was the new medication that I got at my recent doctor appointment. The one that I had been taking to keep the shoulder tremors at bay… it hadn’t been working as well as it once was, so my doctor suggested an alternate that we could try and I agreed – but I’m about ready to throw in the towel.

I’ve never had a medication so instantly and effectively clog me up. πŸ˜“ I know, TMI, but yeah… πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ and this is taking only one at bedtime – and I’m supposed to slowly ramp up to where I’m taking three of them each night. 😧 Umm… no thanks. I’m 90% sure that I’m not going to take any more of them at all after tonight. But I did want to give it a fair chance. I’m a little nervous that I’m gonna end up dealing with a more-shaky-than-usual arm until I get this sorted, but that’s better than feeling how I’ve felt the past several days.

It’s been about a week, so I’m gonna give the office a call tomorrow and see what he wants to do. I imagine he’ll just call in a script for the most recent med, even though it wasn’t perfect, because it sure didn’t have any unpleasant side effects like this one. This is just how it goes though… gotta work around what WC is willing to pay for, what sorta works, what might work better, etc… basically trial and error. And it’s not great timing, with a hearing eventually coming up, because I need to know which meds I need to fight for. πŸ™„πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜ Sounds like a good opportunity to try and get my Lyrica back. Tried and true.

Maven can tell I’m not feeling well though… heh… poor kitty. 😿 I mean, she tends to always want to be around me anyway – but when I’m just lying around because of how crappy I feel (no pun intended) I feel kinda bad for her, ‘cuz I’m her only real source of entertainment if she wants to play or fight or whatever… and boy am I not very entertaining right now. I’m sure it’ll pass though… (and yes, pun intended there… heh)

World Mental Health Day

(Just got done writing this one. Heh… sorry, it turned out way longer than I anticipated, but here we go…)

Any time you get on Twitter and scroll through your feed, you see any number of people posting something because it’s a “National (whatever) Day” of some sort. Usually it’s not… but it gives folks a good excuse to post cute pictures of their cat, dog, kid, or whatever – but after seeing several posts and doing a quick google, it turns out today really is World Mental Health Day.

It’s meant to raise awareness, show support for folks getting or needing mental health care, and to also reduce the stigma that’s sometimes involved. Often involved, actually. πŸ˜’ For example, a while back at one of my primary care doctor appointments I was discussing some of the things in my life that were causing me anxiety. My disability, pain, the (then) newly discovered cancer, Mom being sick and now having passed, other close friends dying from cancer, dealing with workers comp, etc… 😟 like I told her – stuff that would probably cause anyone to feel stressed. I was just telling her so she’d have the full story, but she said she could refer me to a counselor if I wanted to talk to someone about it. πŸ‘©πŸ»β€βš•οΈπŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Seemed like a good idea to me. Sometimes just being able to let out your stress or anxiety to someone that’s not involved in your life in any way… it can just take a little bit of the weight off. I saw her like once a month for a few months, and she said she could refer me to their in-house doctor to see if there was any medication that might be able to help. I wasn’t really interested, since I was feeling an appropriate amount of “bleh” in regards to the stuff that was causing it… but I went ahead and took her suggestion.

I now see that doctor about once every six or eight weeks, and I’ve actually got an appointment with him tomorrow where I’ll need to make a decision. πŸ€” Because, despite this feeling like a normal series of doctor visits – just as if I was dealing with a physical health condition – the fact that this doctor gives me medication to help with my anxiety is now being used against me. 😠 And being used against me by the last person that I would expect to further the stigma surrounding mental health care… another doctor. ☹️

And when I say “mental health care” … I don’t even take any type of super serious medication, and I haven’t been diagnosed with any extreme disorders. Until this hiccup happened, I looked at this doctor and my treatment there as “Yeah, I guess it makes me feel a little better maybe… or at least I know it’s not making me feel worse… so I guess I’ll continue going.” Like, in my mind, it was barely a thing, but I continued going since it was now part of my current medical routine.

But when I had to go to the independent medical evaluation for the workers comp system (a week or so before getting that second radioactive iodine dose and scan for my cancer followup) one of the things discussed with that doctor was what medical treatment I was currently getting, and from who. (Regardless if it was related to my WC injury or not, to get a complete picture…) So of course I talked about the cancer doctor and treatment, my WC doctor and treatment, and then my PCP doctor and referral regarding the mental health care.

Now, these exams, they’re initiated by my former employer’s insurer, so of course they’re rarely going to be helpful to my cause. So I expected him to say certain things, but I never expected that being treated by a doctor for occasional anxiety would essentially be “weaponized” and used against me the way that it is. 😟😞 Because this doctor took the names of the two meds I’m prescribed, and picked some of the absolute worst possible reasons that I may be taking them. You know how almost every medication has one “thing” it is known for treating, but then it can also be used for treating a half dozen or more other things?

You could even do this test on yourself. Just grab whatever meds you take, get on WebMD, pick out the most extreme, “worst case scenario” possible uses for each medication, and see how close that sounds – compared to what you’re actually taking them for. 🧐 That’s what this doctor did to me. Taking what is run-of-the-mill, minor anxiety treatment to me, and twisting it into all sorts of implied, speculative, “concerning” mental conditions that could be so severe that they even affect how I interpret / talk about my pain and disability. πŸ˜§πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜  Reading those things in his report was honestly shocking. πŸ₯Ί

The funny thing is, for most people… just the pain that I deal with each day, and the sheer amount of things that I can no longer do due to the disability in my left shoulder and arm… just those things alone are enough reason that a person might want to include anxiety treatment in their normal medical routine. And I was doing it mostly because another doctor suggested it, and it sounded like a “might as well” thing, rather than me desperately needingΒ it or seeking it out. And now it has bitten me in the ass. πŸ™„πŸ˜’

Well, maybe it has bitten me in the ass. (Maybe the commission will see right through it, as they should.) I won’t know how his report will affect my worker comp case until the hearing is scheduled and all of the doctors’ information (from both sides) is reviewed. But now I’m stuck, wondering if tomorrow I should let this doctor know that I no longer need his services. πŸ˜ŸπŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ He probably helps me a little bit, but it’s certainly something that I could do away with if it’s going to damage the treatment that I get for my work injury. It’s obviously more important (and logical) for me to want to keep the treatment that keeps my pain to a minimum, which also helps keep my stress and anxiety to a minimum.

Yeah, so anyway, it’s a bit of a clusterfuck… and, unfortunately, anyone that reads my story here… anyone that may have been considering seeing a counselor or psychiatrist for the first time… they’ve now got something to add to their mental “nope” list when it comes to the pros and cons of seeking any type of mental health treatment. πŸ˜’ I don’t take it personally, what the “independent” doctor wrote. I understand that his job is to come up with all of the “worst case scenario” stuff that he can, since my doctors will obviously be talking positively about all of the ways that my current treatment is as effective as the WC situation will allow.

I guess I look at those types of doctors the same way that you might look at public attorneys who are appointed to defend obvious criminals in court. They still have to give that defense their maximum effort, even if it goes against what many people would consider to be “right.” That doctor has chosen that job for reasons only he would know… so I can only hope that sometimes he stops to think about the effect that his actions have on us folks who rely on our WC treatment to keep our pain and lives at least tolerable. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜Ÿ

Happy World Mental Health Day 2019. πŸ˜’πŸŽ‰