Lazy Sunday

Wasn’t able to fall asleep until about 5am this morning, but my alarms woke me up at 11am to see that Genesee had made it home safely without any further airline incidents. πŸ™‚ I’m glad that it’s sunny out, ‘cuz man did I wake up feeling like crap. In this case, I’ll take the nice view out the front window, even though I’m not gonna be going out to do anything in it. 😏 Same old story… a few days where I was doing more stuff than usual, so today everything gets to hurt more than usual – at least for a while. It’s fine though… nothing important on the agenda today, and I’ll gladly pay the “price of admission” (the pain, for the slow folks) whenever she wants to come for a visit. 😊 I’m really glad I don’t have to do anything today though. πŸ˜…πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Meds should slowly make things better in that regard, then there’s the race in Texas to watch in the afternoon, and while that’s going on I’ll probably dig through some old blankets and sheets in the basement to get the cat house done and put outside. I don’t really want an outside cat, but if he insists on hanging around, I figure that’s the least I can do for him. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜Ί Somewhat unrelated, I had another one of those weird, split-second thoughts about Mom when I was waking up earlier. I’m not sure what triggered it, but it just popped into my head that I needed to e-mail Mom to tell her about Gen’s visit. 😟 A thought so brief that you realize the problem with it, before that thought even has the chance to be completed…

I only mention it today because when I told Genesee about it, she said she had a similar thing happen when she was out with her friend and the horses. The natural thought of her wanting to stop by and tell her dad about the horses and show him the pictures when they were done. πŸ§πŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸŽ It’s strange how that still happens, and makes me wonder if it will always happen… those instinctive thoughts that pop into your brain and stay only long enough to make you sad. πŸ˜• Not sad sad… because I’m confident that Paul had already been watching her mini-adventure, and that Mom has been happy about Genesee coming to visit from the moment I picked her up at the airport… but you know what I mean. πŸ˜‡ It’s a weird feeling.

But I’m gonna hop off here, tidy the living room, and then try to take it easy for the rest of the day – saving the “returning to my normal routine / responsibilities” stuff for tomorrow. 🀘🏻😎

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‰

Oh C’mon…

Getting a half-way decent night of sleep didn’t do anything to recharge my batteries for any significant use today. Of course I do have a little more on my mind than usual, but that wasn’t what was bothering me today. Actually, I didn’t realize that anything was bothering me today – until it did. Around noon I went outside to use my little air compressor to air up my tires, since that was something I could just do in the driveway without having to drive into town or anything. Figured that was within my ability today.

Spent about ten minutes doing that. It was in the sun, yeah, but it wasn’t like it was actually that hot out. But yeah, so I was just waiting in the normal sun as my slow compressor topped off two of my tires… and when I went back inside, I fell asleep within minutes and didn’t wake up until almost two hours later. So bizarre. I wasn’t tired, wasn’t sleepy, and that’s all that I did… but *ploop*… I was out.

It’s still frustrating, and it still bothers me… but being so close to the end of this phase, at least I can think about it at the end of the day and smirk. It would be terrifying if this was just “how I’m gonna be from now on” but that’s not how it is. But knowing that something so truly small can trigger the “nope” button in my brain, which effectively shuts me down, it’s such a weird thing. Not a fan.

Hoping that I can get one more solid night of sleep under my belt tonight, and that maybe that will be enough to at least avoid any unintentional spontaneous naps tomorrow.

Creeping Toward The Finish Line

I figured I better get on here and make an entry while I’ve got the juice to do so. I know I said I wouldn’t bitch after doing that weed spraying outside the other night, and I’m not doing this to bitch – just to update… 😏 but cripes, that little bit of work messed me up somethin’ fierce. πŸ˜“

Overheated, energy sucked away, yet even with my full compliment of evening meds I laid awake all night, until about 9am the next morning. πŸ˜’ I got a couple hours sleep at that point, but still feeling exhausted I actually took that day’s evening meds and went to bed at 7pm. πŸ™πŸ»πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Had to be at the hospital for labs the next day, so I didn’t want to take any chances that it would be another sleepless night.

The whole night followed the routine of falling asleep for a couple hours, then waking up for one… lather, rinse, repeat. By the time I was actually able to wake up enough to get my day going the next day, I had spent a total of 15 hours in bed 😳 yet woke up feeling more drained than when I originally went to bed the night before. It’s amazing how screwed up my body has become, from just missing that teeny tiny single thyroid function replacement pill each day, and obviously I haven’t hit the bottom yet.

But I made it to the hospital, got my blood drawn and labs started, and on the way out I actually ran into a friend in one of the hallways. She was on her way to see one of her family members, but I was so out of it I barely even realized when she waved as I passed her. She looked like she wanted to be there about as much as I did, and the way I almost just walked past her, I had to comment that we were like “The Walking Dead” just lumbering past each other. πŸ§Ÿβ€β™‚οΈπŸ˜ Not in any sense of the seriousness of why I was there, but more that I was just oblivious and drained and grumbling to myself in my head, to where I passed literally two feet from one of my friends and almost didn’t even notice.

But the past 48 hours have made me toss away (for now, anyway) that urge that I always have… that I need to do something useful or productive each day, no matter how shitty I feel. Yeah, F that. I gotta be realistic, because with this shit there is no “mind over matter” that will allow me to pull energy from some mysterious reserve. πŸ˜• It’s really okay though – because now that it has proven itself to me, that there is no fighting against it or whatever… that’s just how it’s gonna be until I can get back on the thyroid meds. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ It’s still indescribably awful… but like I keep reminding myself… it’s temporary.

But just so people aren’t concerned, I am still able to drive, so if there’s an emergency or I need to get food or whatever – Lancaster has plenty of drive-thru joints that I can go to without leaving the car… and if I really need anything beyond that I can always hit up Toni, or Genesee – who has reminded me that she’s still got plenty of people around here that would be willing to help out if needed. I mean, it won’t come to any of that (at least I don’t think it will) because as long as my labs come back the way they want – I’ll get the radiation dose next week and will only have to make it through that following Thursday.

Heh… how lame. πŸ™„ Sitting here, happy that I had enough mental/physical oomph to write this. πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Carry On

Well, Genesee made it home safely a little bit ago, so now officially starts the time of “carrying on” I guess. When all the condolences have been given, everyone’s concern has been shown, etc… so now it’s just back to normal. As much as I appreciated the company, I’m glad that I’m gonna have a couple days and nights where it’s just me and the cat. I can feel crappy if I want, I can feel good if I want, and I can talk out loud to Mom if I want. I could have done all that with Genesee here, but you know how it is when you have company… you want it to be the best experience for them, and right now I’m definitely not the person to be around for the best experience. Meh… I know it sounds weird, but she understands.

In a way it was difficult to make myself do it, but yesterday I took Brianna to her “4D Ultrasound” appointment. She’s approaching 32 weeks, I believe, so she wanted to see if they would be able to get any good pictures of her yet-to-be-popped-out baby. At first he had his hands (and a foot) blocking the view, but after a little poking he moved around and the technician was able to get a handful of really good shots. It’s pretty remarkable… you can actually get a decent idea of how his features look, with his Brantley-like ducky lips, Brianna’s chin and nose, and the daddy’s brow line. She has already been ready to squeeze this kid out, and seeing the pictures in such detail only made that feeling even stronger. I think he needs to cook for a couple more weeks… but she’s right, the time is definitely getting closer. I’m glad that I went.

Meh… I dunno… I just felt like typing something I guess. Not really planning to socialize much for a few days. I just wanna be here in my thoughts, feelings, and memories. Of course I’ve got a doctor appointment tomorrow, so that kinda craps up my isolation plans a bit, but it’s one where I don’t really have a choice. Not really sure what I’m gonna do other than that, but after the weekend I’m probably gonna go in and visit Dad. I’ve got that new batch of scanned photos on the iPad, and rather than just e-mailing them to him, I figured it would be nice to look at them together so he might be able to tell me stories relating to them that I haven’t heard before.

Okay… checking out. Wish me luck. (Sorry for the lack of emojis… maybe next time)

Normal For The Day

I’ve only told a couple of people so far about my upcoming surgery and why it needs to be done, and I know I’ll have to let the rest of the family and my friends know soon – but I’m not sure if I’m gonna go out of my way to do that today. I’d kinda like to brush it out of my thoughts for the better part of today, and maybe just put on some music and do some cleaning and then maybe working on some paperwork later tonight. Especially now that I know there isn’t going to be some huge rush to get me onto an operating table.

I’ve already talked to my friend Jim about it, especially since we’ve got a concert planned in October, and have been talking about maybe doing a “bucket list” type trip to Las Vegas for the past several years. I’m not letting the current news change my plans for my plans, but it’s better to talk all that stuff out rather than just acting like it could never become a variable to consider. The Millersport Sweet Corn Festival is going on this week and weekend, and he’s going to be there tomorrow – so I’m gonna try to go up there and hang out at least for a bit. Throughout the years, since we went to school there, the SCF has been something we’ve always tried to hit together… a little less regularly in the past decade or so, but it’s nice to have that “traditional” thing when we’re able to pull it off.

But yeah, even though I’m going to try and avoid tackling it with folks today, I do think I’m gonna stop at some point during the day and sit down here at the laptop and type up a summary of the whole situation in a detailed but brief-as-possible way, that way I can just copy and paste it into the emails and messages that I’m going to directly send to some people, and then maybe an alternate version for Facebook if I feel like the information is starting to seep into my social media stuff as a side effect of privately letting people know.

Before I even really knew what was going on with my own stuff, I spent a lot of time talking to a friend of mine who had to reveal her “scary stuff” to her friends and family… and she said what she experienced was about what you’d assume. When most people are hit with scary sounding potentially sad news, their thoughts instantly turn to worst-case scenarios. πŸ˜” So it’s probably not gonna matter how optimistic, hopeful, confident, and determined that I am when I tell people, they’re still just gonna see “dead man walking” until they fully process it all. I get it, I do I mean, it’s hard to know or control how you’re gonna react to something like that when it’s someone you care about… but it’s gonna be hard to keep my head up if everyone else keeps hanging theirs. πŸ˜•