Awesome Timing, Thanks

I went and saw the new “physician’s assistant” fella yesterday. He first confirmed that Dr Walter is still my doctor of record and that everything will still go through him… but hopefully after this initial “getting to know each other” appointment (for which I’m sure he’ll have to confer with Dr Walter at least this time) he’ll be able to handle most everything while leaving Dr Walter’s time free to help patients that can actually still be helped, patched up, or even repaired. That’s where his time should go.

Thankfully though, I really like this guy. Dr Walter and I have a decade of history from me going to that clinic for the same problem… so, obviously, even starting to get new guy on the same page as us would be impossible in one visit. But that didn’t stop him from intently listening to everything I said, as well as already offering his preliminary thoughts and ideas about my condition and treatment. I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but the positive vibes were a pleasant surprise. I mean, it was really a crap shoot (what type of doctor I could have ended up with) but I should have known that their office wouldn’t hire a jackass when not a single one of them already there acts that way.

Okay, so that was the good part of the visit. Nothing has changed yet, but I told him that I appreciated having “new eyes” looking at the situation, and letting him know that I am willing to try changing some things up if he, Dr Walter, and I think that it could help with the problems which have slowly been getting worse over the months and years. I then began the walk to the front of the office to make my next appointment and hit the road, when I was told that Laura, the workers’ comp “saint” of the practice, needed to see me before I left.

She told me that my case manager contacted them and told them that I was non-compliant with my scheduled appointments, and that I was also non-compliant with getting my medications filled each month. Now, Laura has been there since the beginning with me, so she (like me) knew that what the case worker was saying was complete bunk. Before I could even say anything, Laura told me that she had already faxed more than sixty pages worth of documentation to them, to let them know that they are either full of crap and are trying to jerk me around again, or that they are incompetent. (My words, not hers.) I mean, how many times have I bitched here myself about how nearly every damn month I have to make multiple calls, multiple visits to the pharmacy, and often still I’m not “allowed” my medications until days after they’ve forced me to run out?

Based on what they are claiming, they are now only willing to pay for one doctor visit every three months – while certain medications that I take require me to be seen every thirty days. (And it sure sounds like their eventual goal may be to straight up “kick me out” or void their obligation to me.) So, this is what I have to deal with now. And I really need some dumb shit like this, right now, when my plate is already overflowing with stuff that is pushing my health and emotions to their limits.

But that’s what I’ll be doing tomorrow, gathering up all of the current information about whoever is my acting case manager, figuring out which of my attorneys handles this type of issue, and probably trying to figure out how to get records from my pharmacy – and maybe a statement from the pharmacy techs who know how I regularly get the runaround – and get everything in some kind of order, to where I can start making calls on Friday.

I had a good day today, and I do want to blog about it at some point, but I’m still furious about this. Yes, it’s all easily, easily refutable… and there’s absolutely no way that I won’t win if this gets forced into another IC hearing or actual court case… but the fact that I have to do it at all, and that they still seem determined to deny me as much of my treatment as they can. I don’t understand how any human could or would take a job like that, where if they complete their task or reach their goal, a person’s life is ruined.

If I keep talking about it I’m not going to be able to sleep again tonight, but that’s the gist of how my Wednesday went. I’m glad Genesee is still in town, because today I had to just pretend that yesterday didn’t happen… just for this one day, so that my brain wouldn’t have a meltdown from immediately trying to fix all of this. I already spent the entirety of Tuesday night through dawn on Wednesday wide-awake, sitting in bed with my phone, looking up countless things regarding my case and treatment, and sending them to the printer so I could compile and highlight them later.

When there is a reliable, well-documented, years-long pattern of delaying or denying a patient’s medication or treatment, when multiple hearings and court cases have already made it clear that the patient is legally entitled to all of it… even if it’s done in a way that technically isn’t in violation of their obligation – you’d still think it might reach a point where a judge would see that it’s nothing less than harassment, and I have to believe that one of that patient’s litigating attorneys would smell blood in the water at that point, so to speak. I’m not a squeaky wheel. Why do they want to push it to that point?

(Okay, tomorrow’s entry will be a positive one. I just had to let this out, for better or worse.)

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Checking In

Haven’t been able to shake this funk. 😕 Started with that shitty low-iodine diet, then the self-imposed house arrest so I wouldn’t unintentionally expose anyone to radiation, and even now after the scan the other day I’m having a hard time bouncing back. And I was only hoping to bounce back to “meh” rather than “okay” or “good” since I know those two options are unavailable to my brain right now. 😔

It’s not even really about my own stuff… it’s just tough knowing that Mom has been having bad days recently, and knowing where things are eventually headed. 😟 It’s not even a conscious choice… but I have a hard time attempting a good mood when I know Mom’s going through things that certainly won’t allow her mood to be that great. And like I’ve mentioned, it’s not just her… my friend Christina just passed, another couple of friends are still fighting different types of cancer as well, dealing with my stuff, worrying about Mom and Dad… it’s just hard to break out of the “bleh” that I feel for all of those things, even though I know nobody would want me to be “bleh” on their behalf. 😏

But anyway… my scan… I think I may have mentioned that I really didn’t know the details before I went in, although all of my assumptions were correct. I don’t dare google anything about thyroid cancer, because I’m sure that I’d accidentally expose myself to horror stories that would make me stress more than I already am. 😳 But the imaging machine looked like an open MRI for the most part, although not only did it scan in that traditional method, but there were parts during the process where the entire thing would slowly rotate all around me as I was lying there. 😬

I didn’t have to get into a gown, and only needed to remove my keys, wallet, belt, ring, etc. The most difficult thing was lying flat on my back for an hour. 😣 Whether I’m sitting (usually on the floor) or sleeping (either flopping around or in one specific “good” position) I rarely maintain a posture where I’m completely straightened out and flat. Thankfully the machine made little noise, and nothing even close to the anxiety inducing buzzes and thunks of a damn MRI machine. So all-in-all it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.

But it sounds like the scan was just a scan, since all of the current treatment had been ongoing since the week prior – as the radioiodine 131 was flowing through me and into any stray, dying thyroid bits that remained after the surgery. 🤕 The scan basically just documents any little glowing specks… at least I hope that specks are all that’s left… then in several months I’ll have to do it all over again, and the results then will be compared with the scan from the other day. 🙏🏻

I do have another appointment scheduled with the endocrinologist in a little more than a month, where I’ll have to do all my bloodwork again so they can check all of the various levels that indicate how good of a job they’ve all done to this point. 😷💉😐 It’s difficult knowing that there isn’t really an “Okay, we’re done. You’re good.” with this. 😔 They’re not able to tell me that I’m cancer free, because even if the scans show zero specks, it’s just one of those things that a person has to live with, have regular tests for, and if specks are found again in the next scan… then the cycle will start all over again. 😟

I’d say that I get a break from worrying about all of this for a while, but I don’t know if there could be something in the recent scan that would make my doctors go “Ahh, shit…” and require me to come in for something else before my already scheduled followup. 😒 Next on the agenda, though, is my first full appointment with the new shrink on Monday. 🙄 I’ll certainly have a variety of things to tell her about, which make me the way that I am right now.

Unrelated to Adulting

Okay, now that I’ve got all that other shit out of my brain for the moment… now I can write about the other stuff from the past week or so. Let me start off by talking about a new toy that I couldn’t resist. 😊 It was only $80 shipped, which isn’t too bad… and considerably less than what the original (with disk drive) would have cost new. It’s called The C64 Mini, and while it’s not an official Commodore product, it’s essentially an entire C64 emulated on a teeny board, in a teeny replica of the original “breadbin” style Commodore 64. 😃 And before you ask, no… the keyboard doesn’t actually work… but you can plug a USB keyboard into it and use it as an actual computer – and the company intends to come out with a full-sized, completely working replica soon. 😁

I’ve yet to even power the thing on, because I’m waiting for a spell when I’ll be able to do nothing but mess with the thing… which will include upgrading the firmware to allow me to load any program from a flash drive, and loading it up with all of my favorites from when I was a kid. It does have 64 licensed games built in, but most people are like me and get it so they’ll have the closest thing to an actual C64 – but with HDMI output – for the best looking Commodore 8-bit computer ever. 😊

I suppose everyone has a “thing” from their generation that they loved when they were younger, and therefore want to have again once they’re old. 😏 Classic video games and Commodore computing are definitely my thing, the same way that HAM radio is Dad’s thing… and like me, he’s still got a few toys as well that he plays with to this day. 🤓 I’m even learning how to take a C64 disk image, open it on a Windows 10 laptop, add or remove C64 programs as I see fit, and then export the new C64 disk image for use on this thing. 😯 That’s how it is with me though… give me something I’m genuinely passionate about, and my brain will start absorbing everything that it needs to know about it.

Okay, gotta keep this entry short-ish. 🤨 Maven is almost completely done with her home-grooming, which means my bathroom and living room carpet are covered with poofed hair for now. 😟 I’m lucky that she’s so cooperative though. In fact, for the most part she loves the process. Bri came for a visit right before Halloween, not only to hang out (she drew the face on the pumpkin and I carved it up 🎃😁) but to also distract from her mom’s deteriorating health. She’s actually had a couple of good days, so it was nice to see her have a little more energy. However, my friend Greg, his mother passed away this past week. 😢 She was having a rough time, so it’s one of those deals where you’re almost relieved.

Cassi came down to spend the night on one of her days off. Her life is so hectic, between all of the hours that she’s been putting in lately and then having her, her mom, and her (very opinionated) 17 year-old sister all there at her house, making noise at each other. 😏 So coming here, even if half of her time is spent sleeping… it really is like a teeny mental vacation for her. 🙂 Plus she helped me out with some chores, including the whole de-flea-ing process with the sprays and the carpet powder, etc. (Plus the most important and helpful thing… getting Maven to swallow that damn Capstar flea killin’ pill.)

As we sat in the living room watching the new “Charmed” show, we also each had our notebooks and were fastidiously jotting down the things that we intend to work on in the next few days. It’s strange how just having her here “working” in the same way that I was, how it helps to settle my brain and let me get down to business without getting as easily distracted by Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube. 😵

So there ya go… just so you don’t think my entire existence is grumping and bitching. 😐 There’s always some good sprinkled in there – and even when it isn’t “good” in general, I’m thankful that I have the right kind of friends to help me through those times, and vice versa. 🙂 Okay, carry on…

Depth Perception

I’m not feeling too great, so I’m gonna keep this post short. Today was the day that Jim and his brother were going to the county fair, and he also wanted to drop off the Phil Collins concert ticket that he got me – so I just saved him the extra driving and time and met them at the fair. I wasn’t much fun for the Sweet Corn Festival, and I’m not sure I was a whole lot more fun today, but I did make an appearance. Plus I wanted to get some longer “real-world” footage with the 360 camera and take some “portrait mode” iPhone shots to see what Facebook’s new “3D” algorithm could do with them.

(Wow… vertical video shows up bigger than I expected. Click to make it “screen sized” at bottom of vid.)

It’s a neat little trick that they’ve come up with… something that I wish the phone could do natively… but it’s also something that once everyone and their brother learns how to do it, the motion sickness that it may cause will probably be enough that the peanut gallery starts demanding a button to disable this nerdy new trick entirely. But I’m feeling a little too “off” to fuss with that 360 video right now… not sure when I’ll get around to it, but don’t be surprised if it sits on the back burner for a while.

One More Day

I’m taking one more day, tomorrow, and then I plan on doing my best to return to society and engage with the humans again when necessary. 😐 I already know that I have a crapload of phone calls to make and take, but I’m actually talking about not looking like a hobo anymore, and actually leaving the house more than once a week. See, I haven’t shaved since the day before my surgery, so that means I’ve got 18 days of mostly gray beard that needs to get gone. 🧔🏻 I haven’t shaved through this point because I didn’t want to risk mowing over my stitches and ripping the incision open. 🚜😯

Being somewhat laid up, unable and/or unwilling to go out in public… it’s been grand. 😊 It’s selfish, yes, but “me doing me” for the better part of two weeks, even though I’ve been physically “bleh” for most of it, has done wonders for my mood. 😏 And discussing with friends, when I noted my unusually “okay” mood lately, they suggested that maybe my thyroid was actually causing some of the “mood disorders” – and now that it’s out and its function is being replaced by medication, it’s a possibility that it could be easier for me to maintain an okay mood because of it all. (There’s also a good chance the whole idea is psychological trickery, and I’m psyching myself into a decent mood under false pretenses. 😅)

I did get a ton of shit done yesterday. 🤨 Pretty sure I’m completely caught up on medical, mail, and bills… and it’s a good thing that I’m going through the medical stuff in such detail, because I’ve already caught a fraudulent bill for over $100 – for services that I know I shouldn’t have been charged for. (That’s one of the folks on the list of Tuesday calls…) The side effect is that my living room floor, where I do my work, is covered with various piles of paperwork, pens, envelopes, receipts, file folders, etc. 😯 I”ll take care of that tonight though, so tomorrow can be reserved for just laundry and a shave.

I’ll probably make sure the Insta360 is charged up tonight. Oh… yeah, I didn’t go out today – except for a quick trip to the truck stop down the highway for foodstuffs. 🌯🍩🍞🥤 But I’m gonna have that cam charged in case I wanna try anything, and then there’s also the Dover NASCAR race, the premiere episode of Series 11 of Doctor Who, and then I think the new season of The Walking Dead airs tomorrow evening as well. 😃🧟 Haven’t yet decided what I’m gonna do with my Monday though. When I made that “Three Day Weekend” post, I was only joking – because I was treating Friday as part of the weekend… and I didn’t even realize that there actually was a legitimate holiday this Monday. 🤔 Hmm, note to self, don’t put all these envelopes out in the mailbox until Monday night.

Unique Blog Entry Title

A month or two ago, Dad asked me if I’ve ever had moments where for no real reason, you just get a “content” or unexplained happy feeling that comes over you. 🤔 At the time I said no, but I think that how I’ve been feeling these past couple of days is what he was talking about. No real reason to be in a good mood, but here it is… for me to not exactly know what to do with it. 😏 Genesee keeps telling me to not dwell on it and just let it be, which is obviously the correct answer. 😁

After all of my appointments this week, I agreed with myself that today should be a day off. I did that with the intention of tricking myself though, because whatever I actually do accomplish by the end of the day – it’s now all just “bonus” stuff. 😊 So that’s been today… staying at home, inside my bubble (so nothing can accidentally crap up my mood), while working on office/organizational type things. 🤓 No need for details because I’ve already covered it in recent entries.

My PCP appointment yesterday was a mix of good and bad, which is what I expected. 😕 And rather than doing the referral to the psychiatrist (that I never got around to from the last visit) I told her that I’d compromise and set up some appointments with a therapist. 👩🏻‍💼 I already had plenty of stuff that I could have talked about, and that was before learning about my whammy medical condition. But I’ve always liked therapy, the handful of times that I’ve gone… so why not.

If my mood maintains I might go for a walk around Alley or Rising Park tomorrow. I need to stop doing an impersonation of a potato every day… so I’m gonna try to find my misplaced passion for photography/videography and maybe use that as an excuse to leave the house. Oh, and every damn human that I encountered while out doing my runnin’ this week… they’ve been nice, polite, friendly, jokey, etc. 😯 Local society acting so welcoming that I almost felt “normal” being out among them.

Oh, and the hospital finally called today to let me know that they read my letter, and that they’ve talked about it with the people involved. 😳 That’s good enough for me. Acknowledgement. Being heard. I’m hoping that they did take my concerns seriously, but not so seriously that anyone got hollered at or suspended or worse. I ended the call by joking with her, saying that I don’t wanna end up “The Patient with The Scarlet Letter” though, should I ever have to return there for another procedure. 😅

So between feeling a little accomplished today, and then hopefully doing something distracting over the weekend, I should have a few good days before I have to field calls from the two new doctors’ offices that are supposed to be setting up appointments for me. 😬☎ I really hope that the next steps don’t interfere with the fair and Phil Collins concert. I could live without going to the fair, but I’ll be damned if I’m gonna miss that concert. 😠 Especially since Jim got my ticket as a “no particular reason” gift.

Okay, time to find something good on Netflix and get back to work, but not.

What’s This?

Only got a couple hours sleep last night and then still had to wake up at 8am to get ready for my monthly appointment with Dr Walter. 😒 I don’t know how he does it, but he always seems to be in a good mood no matter what the time of day. If nothing else, he’s got a great “game face” for when it comes to dealing with patients. 😏 I told him how my left arm was literally like a limp noodle the day that I came home after my surgery, but how since then I haven’t really had any pain – thanks to the temporarily increased meds.

So it was a good visit, with nothing for me to really complain about. Like I mentioned to him, I think that sometimes the amount of pain that I’m feeling in my shoulder and in my neck is relative. When that’s the only thing that I’ve got to focus on, there’s a good chance I’ll notice it more and feel genuinely worse – but when I’m barely two weeks out from a major surgery, my old injury is the last thing on my mind as long as it’s staying at that moderate level of pain where it’s usually at.

I filled him in about the next steps that I’ll be taking with all of that, and we agreed that next month would probably be better for evaluating any changes, since I’ll have had plenty of time to heal from the surgery. I had to leave there and head directly downstairs to have more blood drawn for a thyroid panel, but I still left in a surprisingly good mood.

It’s weird… I haven’t had much to feel good about in a while, and in a way I still don’t… so having those hints of “good mood” just felt weird, since it then caused me to sit here waiting for something or someone to come along and ruin it. 😞 Like Charlie Brown said, “I think I’m afraid to be happy… because whenever I get too happy, something bad always happens.”

But with that little boost of positive energy, I did go ahead and throw the Insta360 One camera out there on a tripod in the front yard, set to time-lapse mode. One frame every five seconds, and I had one lens directly facing the setting sun, with the lens on the other side obviously completely shielded from the sunlight. 😎 I wanted to not only do a time-lapse, but to see how bad the stitching is when there’s such an exposure difference between the two lenses. In practice, it would probably be better to turn the camera 90 degrees, where both lenses would get a similar amount of bright light on them. 🤨

Meh… I’ve gotta recharge the camera before I can hook it up to the phone and export the video, so I’ll just drop it in here later once it’s done. In the mean time I’m gonna get a notepad and start documenting all the medical bill stuff, and try to figure out what I wanna cover at my PCP appointment tomorrow. Oy… too many doctors this week, eh? And it ain’t over yet…