I’m Ready

It’s approaching midnight on Friday, and I think that I’m finally ready to face this week. So, these next couple of hours better watch out, because I’m not feeling too bad at the moment. 😏 Heh… but seriously, this week has felt more “challenging” than usual. Although, as I’m sitting here trying to explain why, I can’t even really think of anything specific that should have made it feel that way. πŸ€”πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I dunno… I think all the “get ready, we’re opening” talk / news has just made my brain tired and my sleep shitty, which made every other small or “normal” thing feel that much more laborious. (I still got some chores done and got out of the house once or twice.)

But I’m not gonna sit here and try to remember all of the things from the past week that made it suck, ‘cuz I might end up damaging my calm. But yeah, this week… it definitely took me the entire week to be ready for whatever comes – and for the most part, nothing came. πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ So now that the weekend is here I’m much more prepared for it than I was the current week. πŸ€“ Hopefully that makes sense.

Ahh, I do know one thing that has improved my mood over the week… getting my two cats to tolerate each other. 😏 Yeah, I’ve officially adopted Maggie – a cat that I was formerly just babysitting – so it’s been a week of anxiously hoping that her and Maven didn’t feel the need to murder each other. πŸ˜ΎπŸ˜…πŸ™πŸ»πŸ˜Ύ Thankfully, possibly because they’re both too old to be bothered with such things, they don’t seem to have any desire to fight or be a pain in each other’s asses. (Although Maven does grump at her every now and then.)

They’re not even close to being buddy buddy, but they at least tolerate each other. In fact, I think they both actually like that there’s one “other critter” around, even if they don’t necessarily want to interact with that other critter. 😏 I have a short video of them simply sitting upright next to each other, no more than a foot apart, but neither one of them wanting to look at or acknowledge the other… 😁 … but both of them seeming to enjoy the moment in some way. (Purposely “ignoring” each other while making sure the other noticed.)

It would be too much to explain here in the blog, how I ended up with Maggie, but basically I was watching her while her previous owner was moving – but with things not going as planned there, the environment wouldn’t have been great for a kitty who’s already anxious and nervous all of the time. 😳😬 On her first day upstairs she went around the house looking for her former roommates, but once she realized they weren’t here – it’s almost like she felt relieved, because she started actually acting like a cat again rather than just hiding all the time and trying to avoid anything and anyone. πŸ₯ΊπŸ˜Š

Maven and I lead a pretty tame life here in the house, and that’s exactly the kind of life that Maggie needs right now… so it just made sense for me to adopt her officially. It all depended on Maven being okay with it though, and since she hasn’t really done anything to indicate that she objects – it looks like this is a done deal. πŸ™‚ See, just typing about the situation has made me smile… so hopefully I’ll hang on to that feeling through the weekend too. (As long as these two buttholes continue to play nice.)

Not Yet

It’s a deceptively beautiful day outside so far today, but I don’t think I’m ready to make a trip to the store like I was considering quite yet. My brain hasn’t really made it out of “weekend” mode, and after a night of bad dreams and waking up in a cold sweat a few times – I’m finding it easier to kinda just sit here with the doors open, trying to absorb some of the “nice” while I plan a few things I need to work on later this afternoon.

I think, lingering in the background processes of my brain, the way that a lot of the country is planning to “re-open” is filling me with an ominous feeling. 😳 Since not every state practiced a well-thought, simultaneous “shelter at home” order along with every other state – the effectiveness of such precautions has already been damaged. Sure, your state will have lower numbers while they individually practice such restrictions, but if surrounding states aren’t being as careful and allow their infection numbers to grow, what do you think’s gonna happen when your state decides to relax their rules?

You may have seen the videos on Twitter or the news… where, just because rules have been relaxed, hundreds of people decided to pour into the streets, the parks, the sidewalks, the beaches… basically just because they haven’t been allowed to for so long, and now they can. Good for them? πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜Ÿ And when reporters ask them why they’re out and mingling with others, it’s almost always a “Because I can!” / “Because it’s our right as ‘murricans!” type of answer. Awesome. 😐 Way to prove a point. 😐 Job well done. 😐

If you look at the actual numbers though, you’ll see that we’re getting ready to open back up right at the time when people should be recognizing that the isolation is making a difference, and that if all states keep/start doing it, the downward trends should continue. But no, politicians are obviously gung-ho about opening up, the citizens hear the optimism, and far too many of them are now thinking and acting like the danger has passed and there’s less (or no) need for precautions. 😞 And in a further display of stupidity, our governor was going to mandate that for the time being – employees of stores and their customers must all wear masks. Sounds like a responsible idea, right? Well, he had to go back on that because of public outcry, of people being that vocal that they shouldn’t have to wear a mask, and so he not only backtracked on that – but essentially apologized for it by saying that they “went too far” with that rule.

It’s just amazing to me that there are that many people bitching about having to wear a mask. Something to protect them. Something to protect employees. Something to protect everyone by lowering the transmission rate. Who are these angry people? Who could be so selfish to angrily protest such a rule, others be damned? ☹️ It blows my mind…

So, yeah, I was originally gonna go out today and get pop for me and Dad, along with some other stuff, but obviously with all of that stuff swirling around in my thoughts, today isn’t the day for me to go out and do that. Especially since it’s likely that there will be a lot more folks out today than before. It’s just a creepy feeling to live in a state where so many people are vocally and angrily opposed to cooperating with a very simple precaution. 😟 Yeah, that’s not most people, but it doesn’t take many careless or indifferent infected people to cough or smear their cooties all over the place and ruin it for everyone else.

If anything, the state starting to “open up” is more likely to make me stay at home. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ It’s like if you’re at the beach and there’s been a shark warning – but the lifeguard says it’s all clear now, and people can return to the water if they want. 😧 You’ll have plenty of people who go running in, neck-deep… meanwhile, my ass would stay planted in the sand as I watched the water to see what happened. πŸ˜ŸπŸ€” That’s what right now feels like to me… the time to watch from the safety of my living room for a while, to see what’s gonna happen. πŸ₯Ί And if this virus is anything like what most doctors are saying, “what happens” ain’t gonna be good.

Another heavy blog entry… I’ll try to balance it out with something lighter this evening. 🀞🏻 My mood isn’t actually that bad otherwise, it’s just taking me a lot longer to get mentally and physically moving today than I’d prefer. I’ve got workers comp / settlement mail that I’ve yet to read, and then wanna do some typical straightening up around the living room and bedroom… so if I’m hard to reach today, I’m probably just trying to do something to make myself feel productive and normal. πŸ™‚

Meh…

I think technically it was still a full moon last night, but I couldn’t muster the oomph or the motivation to get back out to try and perfect my exposure, focus, zoom, etc. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ So, instead, I decided to stick the camcorder out back and let it run in time-lapse mode until the battery ran out. πŸ€” I was just curious how it holds up against the iPhone 7 Plus, and other than having a tighter field of view, it actually looks pretty darn good. Oh, and while the iPhone can do 4k time-lapse, the camcorder “only” does 1080p. But yeah, it was just kind of a half-assed attempt at capturing some clouds yesterday… and I think it ran for about 5 hours or so.

Sped up and thrown onto YouTube for your viewing pleasure… 😏

I really need to go out and find somewhere with a better (or at least wider) view into the distance, where I can “plant” this camcorder for an afternoon and then go back to (hopefully) pick it up and see what I got. 🀨

Not What I Planned

Yup, like I said, last night was fun, but I’ll be paying for it today. Thinking that this would be a lazy Sunday, I made the mistake of pushing a bunch of things from last week off until today. I’ve gotta handle my mail, work on a bunch of stuff regarding my upcoming IC hearing, listen to my voice mails and deal with whatever those require, plus I’ve gotta call the pharmacy to continue trying to get my current prescriptions filled…. and that’s all gonna be a lot harder now with a frozen neck.

Of course because of the physical aspect, but also because it’s particularly stressful to be coordinating my fight against workers comp and struggling to get my meds filled while I’m experiencing the exact thing that they’re fighting me over. It’s emotional stress that makes the physical stress worse, which makes the emotional stress worse, ad infinitum… the ouroboros of my disability. 😞

When that cycle starts it’s hard to escape. That’s why I worry so much about things like my planned concert trip later this year. Yesterday, my only concern with meeting up with my friends was that I might be too tired to do it, but then my shoulder shows up too, goes nuts, and now today is screwed. If I make just the smallest misstep, things can go downhill so quickly.

So I’m gonna wait a little longer for the morning meds to kick in, then I’ll start slowly tackling this stuff. But ugh… cringing about what else the mail might contain, cringing about what the voice mails might say, cringing about yet another hearing that will determine the quality of my life for the indefinite future… it would just be nice if I felt like I had some control of where my life is heading.

It’s probably partially my fault for not dealing with stuff as it showed up, but again I made the mistake of thinking that because I felt okay on those particular days that I’d feel okay today when I planned to deal with everything. Meh… I have very little control over how this will all turn out, so I might as well just power through it as best as I can and then give it up to God. And yeah… this counts as a negative post.

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.