Gimp Grumbling

Today’s going to end up being a “medical themed” day. πŸ€”πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈ Had my monthly appointment with my WC neck doctor, with this visit being a little more comprehensive than usual. The appointments are only monthly because one of the medications requires it, so it isn’t like every single appointment has to be treated like a full-fledged “doctor exam” type visit as you might think of it.

But every few months we do make sure that I run the course and jump through all the hoops, just to make sure that we stay on top of any changes in my condition… πŸ˜³πŸ˜“ as well as to keep his notes current, since they’ve become very important when it comes to all the court and IC stuff that’s still going on. πŸ˜’ But yeah, those appointments (like today) aren’t a whole lot of fun.

Without getting into too much detail, after the various movements and challenges that I did today – he agreed that my condition has gotten slightly worse. It’s nothing that’s unexpected… it’s just unusual to notice such a significant change between my last appointment and this one. πŸ˜• But the tests confirmed that my gimpy arm is struggling to do certain things more than it previously did, and he could physically see a difference between my good shoulder and the bad one, which (over time) I’m basically just bound to experience this type of atrophy. πŸ€•πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

But like I told him, even though I am technically having “more” pain because of this new weakening in my shoulder joint, so far it doesn’t seem to be making my total pain level a whole lot worse. πŸ€” It’s hard to explain. I dunno, it’s like if you accidentally stepped in a huge puddle and got yourself wet… and then someone comes along with a squirt gun and sprays the bottom of your pants with water. πŸ’¦πŸ€¨ Yeah, you’re “more wet” now, but you just roll with it since most of that area was wet already. Meh… not the best analogy, but close enough. 😁

I’m home now, but of course my gimp shoulder is still angry from “doing stuff” hours ago. πŸ™„ It’ll go away, but it’s just irritating when I have to purposely agitate it, even with good reason. But since I’m sitting here, I’ve decided to go ahead and work on some more shit that I need to fill out and send to my regular insurance. I’m not super optimistic about how that’s gonna go, but it’s worth a shot…

Next “medical thing” isn’t until this coming Monday, but it’s one that sits pretty heavy on my mind. It’s the first ultrasound scan on my neck / thyroid area since I had my surgery a couple years ago. 😯😳 I’ve had a couple of radiation treatments and gamma scans between now and then, and both of those came back with “looks good so far” results, so I’m trying to tell myself not to be so nervous… 😐 it’s just tough when I know I don’t always feel great, and each year added to the tally probably doesn’t help. Meh… it’ll be fine.

It’s a nice day, so hopefully by the evening my shoulder will be less shitty and I’ll feel like going back out. πŸ™‚ I’ve done a bunch of 360 videos already, but I want to do a “just after sunset” drive from the far east end of Main St, all the way to Memorial, and then on Memorial all the way out north towards the mall. πŸ€“ I just think it could make a nice one-shot with everything that I pass being lit up. Might make a separate post here in a bit about the vids so far, probably if I end up not going out tonight.

Did Some Things

I had a couple days of being reasonably productive. πŸ˜•πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Finally got through all my mail and bills, had the battery replaced in my car after she decided to go wonky before a would-be trip into town, prepared and sent some stuff off to my WC lawyers, and then treated the cats for fleas and sprayed / vacuumed all the carpets to help with that as well. Not sure how we made it through most of the summer w/o them striking until now.

I’ve got those monthly drops that go on the back of their necks, where they can’t reach, but I’ve also got some Adam’s Flea & Tick Spray which can be used directly on them… 😾 although I spray it on the brush and comb first, rather than squirting it directly on them – which I’m pretty sure they’d hate. But they don’t see to mind too much, because it’s kinda “nice” fussin’ to them, and the wire comb does pretty good at revealing the fleeing fleas or removing their tiny little corpses. 😳😏

The final project that I did was a mostly one-armed trimming of the bush by the picture window. πŸ™„ It’s really the only bush that I ever see, so until I get someone else to do all of the other ones, having that main one done will help to keep the others out of my thoughts. With any luck the work on the others will be starting tomorrow though. πŸ™‚ I’m not sure how I mustered the energy to actually do it, but I needed to test the trimmer anyway, so I figured I’d at least do one bush to feel like I did something on my own. (I still haven’t completely shaken that weird stubbornness.)

I only ran out of juice (and muscle) right near the end, but it actually ended up looking pretty good. The spring growth has been around all summer, so I was worried that it had time to really beef up and establish itself, but for the most part nope. 😊 As the night went on though, of course everything started seizing up and hurting more. It ended up keeping me awake, and / or waking me up if I did nod off, until almost 5am. πŸ˜’ Heh… having to use both arms to lift my can of pop since neither could be trusted to do it on its own.

I wish I could understand the nature of what’s physically wrong when it comes to my damaged nerves. πŸ€” My left arm seems to almost have a circuit breaker, where it’ll just stop doing anything useful after a certain point, and as the sensation goes across my neck and into my other shoulder, even that arm starts to get weak and shaky. 😟 24 hours later and the left is at about 25% and the right is probably 75% or so. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Had some tentative possible plans with a few friends sometime over this weekend, but I’m not gonna push my luck and try to do anything else unusual over the next couple of days. It didn’t seem like it was gonna come together anyway, so I’m not missing out on anything that can’t be rescheduled for sometime later. Just gonna pick out a couple movies tonight, take another hot shower, and continue to take it easy. 🀞🏻😊 I should be in okay shape to supervise tomorrow if the trimming of the bushes begins.

I’ve also got two different WC meds that I’m supposed to be able to pick up over the next few days, but we already know how that’s likely to go… 😠 so yeah, maybe I shouldn’t have voluntarily zapped away most of my physical and mental energy right before having to deal with that, but meh, whatever… I’m still proud of myself for even being able to have done it. πŸ™‚πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Let’s Not Do That Again

I’ve been kinda sidelined today. Heh… that stretching trick that I mentioned yesterday? Yeah, probably not a great idea. I did actually sleep pretty good somehow, but when I woke up it felt like (and has continued to feel like) someone was driving a set of keys into my back right under my left scapula. 😣 Now, it may be a situation where if I continue to do stretches each day, it could become where the “after” result isn’t as tight and painful… but until I can talk to my doctor and let him know about all this, I think I’m just gonna let it be. 😐 No sense in playing around with it, when I can just “accept” the normal pain and tightness that I’m familiar with and have managed to get by with. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜Ÿ (Also, I’m not blaming my doctor… it was my idea to ask and try something new… only way to know…)

The way I look at it, even though this definitely shows that my condition is getting worse, at least it’s in a way that isn’t noticeable unless I really try to do something that changes how that shoulder feels or use it more than I know I should. And speaking of my condition, I haven’t even sorted out everything regarding all the paperwork I’ve already gotten… yet today I got another big envelope full of stuff along with a normal sized one for good measure. πŸ™„πŸ˜‘ Haven’t opened them up yet, ‘cuz I can’t really do anything with it all until I huddle with my attorneys.

It’s frustrating that they have to work from home, ‘cuz it’s not as easy as going to the conference room in the main office and sitting down to look at everything, to make sure we’ve both gotten all the same stuff, and then figuring out what they need to do / what I need to do. πŸ˜³πŸ—ƒοΈπŸ—ƒοΈπŸ—ƒοΈπŸ‘¨πŸ»β€πŸ’ΌπŸ‘©πŸ»β€πŸ’» I’m not anxious to do much of it by e-mail either, since it’s not secure… so I’ll have to check their site and see if they have a portal for submitting documents if there’s anything that they need to see but haven’t gotten yet. πŸ˜’ But of course when I’ve got the mental and emotional energy to deal with the stuff, something else is effing it up. It’s fine though, I’m gonna make sure that it starts to get addressed tomorrow. Not gonna let this be heavy on my mind over the weekend… 😠

Don’t mind me… just a little grumpy today due to feeling like ass when I woke up, not really getting much better throughout the day, more shitty mail coming that I can’t immediately do anything about, and then not knowing exactly how I will get a pow-wow with the attorneys to get shit taken care of. 😠 I hope the whole system is aware that there’s gonna be some delays in things due to the current COVID situation. ‘Cuz it would sure be like the legal / WC system to find some shitty little loophole to somehow kick me out just because some of the documentation is moving slowly. πŸ˜’

Okay… deep breath… gonna try to make this evening less sucky. Wish me luck.

New Trick

I learned something new at my most recent doctor appointment for my neck, shoulder, nerves, spine, etc… I learned that there’s a way to completely deactivate my left arm. 😳😧 Seriously. It switches to rag-doll mode and isn’t good for a GD thing. πŸ₯Ί My neck was close to frozen and the muscles were all jammed up in my left shoulder and neck, so I asked him to show me some stretches that might be able to break me out of that.

What he showed me definitely worked… it relaxed the constantly-tense muscles and reduced some of the pain, but man… for about 10 minutes it also made me think that I wasn’t gonna have use of my arm again. ☹️ I ended up finding a place to park in the far end of the parking lot so I could lie on the hard ground, brace my scapula, and do some range-of-motion type stretches to get it working again. πŸ˜£πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

What a weird feeling though, to get in the car and mentally place both of my hands on the steering wheel… for only my right arm to actually do it as the left one just hung there. πŸ₯Ί It didn’t feel “asleep” or tingly or anything, it just didn’t respond. Scary shit. So, it’s not a great feeling to know that the painful / annoying tension has to be there (at least in some part) in order for my left arm to be even slightly useful. 😠 Because when you totally relax those bad muscles, there aren’t enough muscles left that are attached to good nerves that make it do what it’s supposed to do. 😟 And yeah, I know this is a weird blog entry, but trust me… when an entire arm suddenly just doesn’t work, it’s pretty jarring.

As I was laying on the ground, moving my arm up, down, and around… I thought for sure that someone would either send a medic out to check on me or, more likely, someone would call the cops on the weirdo lying on the ground, flailing around. πŸ˜πŸ˜―πŸš” So I don’t know how I feel about all this. Learned some specific stretches and motions that help relieve the pain and pulled muscles, but at a pretty big cost. At least the option is there, I guess, and everything is temporary… both good and bad. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

No more news on the other stuff yet, but I’m taking a break… I need to lie down.

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.

Unfortunately… Nope

This will be a lengthy entry.Β Β πŸ€”Β  Although, I suppose that’s typical for me and the blog… 😏

A few days after going to my full dose of Paxil, one in the morning and one at night, the side effects that I hoped would go away were actually getting much worse. 😳 So over the past couple of days I’ve weaned myself back off… and today was the first day I started feeling close to my normal “normal.” 😟

The biggest problem was the tremors. Any time I would yawn, which was a lot,Β probably due to the new med… every time I would yawn, my left shoulder and arm would start shaking uncontrollably – sometimes lasting up to 30 seconds before it would calm. 😧 And then it started doing it with my other shoulder as well, to where eventually when I yawned (and even when I wasn’t) I’d honestly compare the tremors to what you would see in a person with Parkinson’sΒ disease. πŸ˜₯ I suppose it makes sense, as the disease is related to dopamine problems and that’s often something that psych meds mess around with as well.

The daily waking up in a near panic attack… that didn’t stop either. And when on the full dose, taking the morning dose was no longer relieving the anxiety when I took it. So, it was waking up with severe anxiety, taking the pill (along with my others) that was supposed to help with anxiety, only to have it then stay around all day. 😣 Awesome. πŸ™„ That was reason enough for me to reconsider if I wanted to continue taking it… and I really did want to give it a chance, to wait out the side effects to see if they’d pass. But you have to remember, after my work injury, the main thing that my doctor and I had to work on for a long time was getting my left shoulder with the nerve damage to stop randomly shaking.

So not only was the new med increasing my anxiety, but it had brought back the uncontrollable shaking in my left shoulder, which always leads to much more pain by the end of each day. πŸ˜’πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ So I hope most people would understand why I wasn’t willing to “just keep hoping it’ll pass” while possibly risking it getting worse or even becoming permanent again.

It’s disappointing, but again I’m experiencing the “Ahhh” of just losing all of those awful and scary side effects, and returning to my “normal” self… which now feels like a relief – hopefullyΒ returning just to “how I was” a couple of weeks ago. πŸ™‚Β (The tremors weren’t gone today, but they’ve lessened quite a bit.) And with my thyroid doctor calling today and wanting to accelerate the next step with that issue, I just don’t think I’d be able to do it while essentially fighting against the side effects of the Paxil. The next step with my thyroid stuff is gonna be difficult enough as it is. πŸ€•

More on that when I know more. (Although I’m gonna try to squeeze in a subjectively more positive entry between this one and that one.) But in the mean time, I’m still wondering if sometimes it’s in the doctor’s plans, or at least something that they know can happen – where a medication that is supposed to help makes you feel so awful that when you stop taking it, you actually feel happier and more relieved just to be back to how you were. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈπŸ€¨ Because boy, that’s been the trend with me, the few times I’ve been prescribed something by a shrink. 😏

  • Just to cover my ass, I’m not saying with any type of certainty that the Paxil definitely caused all of the symptoms that I was experiencing while taking it. It’s possible that all of the things that I considered “side effects” were completely unrelated… this is just my account of how things went while I was taking it.

Bad At Feeling Bad

Saw my workers comp doctor on Thursday, discussed the additional pain in my neck and shoulder from relying on my cane (for my unrelated knee pain) this past month, but mostly discussed the upcoming WC mandated “review” – and he’s just as frustrated by what they’re trying to do as I am. πŸ˜’ Then I finally went back in to my prescribing shrink after taking a couple months’ break to get used to my new WC doc meds… and ended up spending an entire hour with him.

Granted, when you talk to a counselor you usually get an hour, but typically the pill shrink just wants to get you in and out of there, prescribing what he feels is appropriate based on the counselors notes and maybe a few followup questions. He talked to me about so many different possible meds, I have to admit that I don’t even know which ones he ended up calling in for me. I guarantee you that I’m going to be doing a lot of googling before I start taking anything… especially considering the other meds I’m already taking, and that in about a month I’ll have to stop taking my thyroid meds to prep for the next radiation pill treatment.

Meh… I’m not gonna get into all that. But I’m gonna try what he thinks I should, as long as I don’t find anything concerning that he maybe didn’t consider. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ But for the past hour or so, I’ve been waking up and psyching myself up for the trip into the pharmacy. Three different doctors, multiple prescriptions, many new, some to be covered by WC, but still might not be, and then others meant to go through my regular insurance. 😣 For some reason they can’t mark it in their system, which meds go through which insurance, nor can I count on some of them being approved anyway, so this’ll be a fucking process today. 😠

I know. 😐 This is just what people have to do. The medical / workers comp / insurance programs in the US are shit, nobodyΒ does it without jumping through hoops, dealing with delays and irritation… but I’m still gonna bitch about it. 😏 And sure, whether it’s WC or traditional insurance… once, maybe twice, do what you have to do to verify that “Yeah he’s broken. Yeah he needs those meds.”Β (I get it… fraud prevention) but then just cover the shit plz. πŸ€• Go through that sort of bullshit long enough and you can totally understand why people, as they get older and feel more broken, just can’t or don’t want to have constant adversarial engagements with the whole system – and just stop bothering with some of it. 😒 Especially when the doctor’s hands are tied and they can’t even prescribe you the meds that could actually make you feel better – whether due to WC guidelines, insurance not covering it, or it simply being too cost prohibitive. 😠 Man it fucking pisses me off…

giphy

I’m just bad at feeling bad when a)Β I’m denied treatments that could make me feel better, and b) people are still fighting to take the things away from me that merely keep my pain tolerable. πŸ˜–

Oh, and my insurance company… they keep leaving messages, saying that they want to schedule an in-home visit from a doctor that can evaluate me and give me his or her opinions as well. πŸ™„ Yeah, um, no. You’re insurance. Just be insurance. Get my health info from my records like a normal company… and don’t expect me to invite you into my house with another handful of hidden hoops behind your back. 🀨 Okay, I guess I’ve dragged my feet long enough, and should get in town and see what kind of luck I have with all this shit.

Your Warranty Has Expired

I wish that I felt more capable of adjusting to whatever illness or injury that might be affecting me at any given time. πŸ˜’ I don’t usually complain directly to anyone about such things, instead saving it for shouting into the void here, so I dunno… maybe everyone else has just as hard of a time adjusting to certain things like I do. But for example, the better part of the last couple of weeks have been really good – and then out of nowhere my knee just decides that it’s going to hurt. Hurt hurt. 😣 And my past couple of days have been mentally, physically, and socially fucked up because of it.

It makes sense that physical pain, along with losing some ability and motion, would also trigger my twitchy… I just hate that I don’t have any more control over it than what I do. 😠 But after a few days of hobbling around, and a few nights of long but often-interrupted sleep due to feeling the pain throughout the night, I wish I could just say “Well, I guess I’ll just take it easy and stay off my feet today.” but instead I let it fuck up my day, being irritated about being so irritated about it.

One problem, almost all of my friends (for a long time now) tend to be younger than me. It keeps my mind young, but my body doesn’t get that memo. So I’m not surrounded by similarly aged people with similar aches and pains. 😏 Another problem, with my work injury happening to me as young as I was, I’ve been dealing with that pain / disability for over a decade now… and it is pain that I feel like I didn’t really earn. πŸ˜•

I’ve joked with my cousin Matt and Dad about how “At least I was never in great shape when I was young…” compared to Matt, who loves / loved playing basketball, and Dad who is a Marine and served during Vietnam. In a way it’s a joke, but you’d also like to think it would be true… if you were never in great shape when you were young, it should be less of a deal when parts start to get defective when you get older. That’s turning out not to be the case. Now it’s more like “Dammit, I didn’t use myself up when I was young, so I shouldn’t be breaking down like this already.” πŸ™„

And I’m not making this entry to complain… it’s actually something I’ve thought about as I’ve faced various things, and it has also made me wonder how I’m gonna handle things when it inevitably gets worse as I get older. πŸ€” Like my Aunt Carol, she was in all kinds of awful shape, but she didn’t bitch about it or let it slow her down – let alone stop her. πŸ™‚ I just hope I can eventually become more like that. Everybody gets old, everybody sooner or later starts feeling worse and worse, and I just don’t want to end up a grouchy old recluse because I’m still struggling to handle the changes that every other human just seems to handle.

One thing I’ve noticed though, even my younger friends don’t give me shit about it – when either my neck and shoulder are extra screwed, or when my back or knee just randomly decides to go to shit for a while. I think it’s that insecurity of (in most ways)Β being on the same page as someone regardless of our ages, and worrying that if I have to hobble around or use a cane for a few days that they’re gonna look at me like “Oh my gosh… I forgot how old he is.” Heh… but so far that’s not been an issue, and if anything it just ends up being something that we joke about rather than it being some eye-opening revelation… heh… as if they don’t know my age until a physical sign appears. πŸ™„πŸ˜„

Meh… it’s just a gimpy knee, it’s not gonna be permanent, I’m gonna be fine, and I’ll surely have plenty of otherΒ “fun” new things like this to deal with in the future. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Gotta figure out how to just start sucking it up.