Checking Off Boxes

Typical “workers comp, beginning of the month, get my scripts filled” day today. Three different calls to the pharmacy, issues with my information in the computer, problems with certain ones not being approved… same bullshit as usual, except due to the incorrect information in their system I even had to stop in myself, with receipts and printouts and crap from last month. The folks that work there are great. It’s never the people there that I have a problem with… and after my visit we think everything is now updated, correct, and in process of being authorized – so maybe sometime today I’ll actually be able to pick them up.

I had to be out today anyway, so stopping in to get all this stuff sorted out wasn’t a big deal. I mean, I actually feel kinda bad for them – with how much of a pain in the ass “my case” is for them each month. It makes me wonder if any pharmacies have ever decided that certain customers’ situations were just too much work, too many calls, and too big of a PITA – and just told them to take their business elsewhere. ‘Cuz I can see how they could feel that way about me, if they weren’t such understanding and helpful folks.

But at my other stops, along with having several vials of blood drawn, we’ve started getting a lot more things set in stone. I’ve now got dates (if not exact times, yet) for the next blood draw, the administration of the radiation dose, how long I’ll need to stay away from people (which included rearranging another unrelated doctor appointment), when the full scan at FMC will be, and then the followup with my main thyroid doctor after all of the results are back and interpreted.

It’s surreal… how this is such a “big deal mind fuck” thing for me as I’m going through it, yet I’m just one of many. There are enough people needing this kind of treatment that once a week, every week, it’s radioactive “dosing day” for thyroid patients at FMC. But for whatever reason, even as you’re out in town, seeing other people doing whatever… it’s easy to feel like you’re the only person going through this shit, while actually we probably pass by people each day who are going through the same thing or worse. Working in nuclear medicine, giving the doses… I can see how that job could start feeling pretty heavy after a short while.

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The “Subjectively Positive” One

This is gonna be another really long one… it’s more fun for me this way. 😏 Settle in and enjoy.

Now, this is something that’s almost impossible to explain to someone who doesn’t or hasn’t experienced severe social anxiety. πŸ€” But last Saturday, after spending about a week and a half without even leaving my house, while trying (and failing) to adjust to a new medication, and still tending to my gimpy knee… I had to go to a concert in Columbus. 😐 At the Schottenstein Center, which holds about 18,000 people. 18,000 loud, screaming, drinking, super enthusiastic, having an awesome time, concert-goin’ people. 😏 (God bless ’em… heh) Oh, and we had “Meet and Greet” VIP passes for Debbie Gibson and Tiffany after the show.

The story begins last year, when my friend Jim got us tickets to see Phil Collins at Nationwide Arena. I had seen Genesis before, but never Phil on his own… so it was a bucket list thing. We had a great time, so in the fall of last year when “The Mixtape Tour” tickets came available – I went ahead and got our tickets, sort of as a birthday gift / way to pay back his generosity re: the Phil Collins tickets.

Flash forward to last Saturday… and it took every ounce of oomph that I had to make myself get up, get ready, and go to the venue to meet Jim. πŸ₯Ί My anxiety was so bad that up until the minute I was finally able to make myself get in the car, I wasn’t even sure I was gonna be able to do it. 😬 But I had already cancelled on Jim on a few other things, and I would feel like a giant shit if I bailed on him again, and he ended up just going by himself. So I honestly went more because of Jim, rather than a desire to actually go. Well, no… that isn’t entirely accurate… because I absolutely wanted to go… heh… like I said, it’s hard to explain how anxiety can overrule anything that you think you might want or be able to do. πŸ™„πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Heh… I’m realizing that this isn’t gonna sound like a positive experience, so let me go ahead and interject here to say that I did have a good time while I was there, and was glad that I went. πŸ™‚ It was the getting there and getting home that were the biggest hurdles for my uncooperative brain. And of course there had to be construction all along the freeway on the way there, which is always fun – anxiety or not. And then when I got there, because I left so late, I ended up having to walk… *consulting google maps* … I had to walk “Total distance:Β 2,885.24 ftΒ (879.42 m)from the parking lot to the venue. 😧 But I had my cane, I took my time, and didn’t die too much. 😏 In fact, not only did it help me to unwind from the traffic, but it continued my DIY physical therapy that I’m trying – to avoid the costly, painful, inconvenient, time consuming, real thing.

The thing that probably saved the night for me, once we found our way to our seats, was that we were at the absolute top of the seats. Literally everyone in front of us, with the backs of our chairs being against the wall. 😊 Plus the seat next to me was empty. 😁 I can’t stress enough how much of a difference it makes to be “outside” of the humans rather than surrounded by a sea of them in every direction. So for the duration of the actual show, I was golden. πŸ™‚ Me and Jim, catching up on shit, no assholes around to be a nuisance, a decent view of everything due to the big LED screens, despite being in the very definition of “the nosebleed seats” for the concert… and it was awesome. I was glad that I “made” myself go.

Then the show ended. 😳 At which point we had to navigate through the herd of exiting humans, trying to figure out where we had to be to do the Meet and Greet part of our experience. 😬 Buttloads of people, slight confusion of where to go, the prospect of meeting a couple of celebrity singers… so, again, I found myself *this close* to just walking out one of the nearby doors and just waiting for Jim to go and do that part on his own. But he said the right things I needed to hear, I took a few woosah moments, and once a lot of the people were gone we found our way to what was essentially the basement under all of the seating. 😯

Sorry, I’ll try to tighten this up a bit. 😏 There were different M&G packages, some with just Debbie, some with just Tiffany, some with both – so thankfully, even though they had us all crammed into a relatively small waiting space, we got to do our thing pretty quickly since we had the dual package. Got a hug from Tiffany, they both autographed my lanyard, and while there was a little confusion with the official person taking the photos – it gave me some time to actually talk with Debbie while we had a short wait.

She asked if I had a good time and I told her “Oh, absolutely…” with a smile, but since other people were distracted I was able to lean over to her and kinda quietly say “… but man is my social anxiety kickin’ right about now.” Heh… probably a little weird, but it would have been awkward just standing there silently as we waited for the photographer to get ready. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ But she just smiled back at me and said she actually knows what I mean, and that before each show she usually stays in her dressing room with her piano and just plays some random jazz or classical to help her get rid of herΒ pre-show anxiety. πŸ™‚ And that was a comforting thing to hear… since rather than her thinking I was a weirdo, she could actually relate. Then we got the pic, I got a hug from her as well, and that was that.

Well, that was it for me I mean. 😏 Jim still had to get his picture with them… but keep in mind, Jim wasn’t Jim for the night… he went as Squirtman. πŸ˜³πŸ˜„ The orange body suit, the cape, the Squirtman puppet, flashing LED glasses, the cowboy hat… heh… the whole deal. That was actually another good thing throughout the night – because when you’re next to Squirtman, you’re essentially invisible – which was perfect. πŸ‘πŸ»

He got there an hour before the doors even opened, so he was parked right in the first lot and was able to give me a ride out to my car – since all of the walking and stairs and such did finally take its toll on me. πŸ˜•Β I did have the typical “I need to be home”Β voice repeating in my head as I was driving, but the goody feeling from the concert buzz made the long drive home much more bearable than some drives I’ve made in the past. πŸ™‚

So yeah… yay me. 😊 I did a thing. 😏

If you remember any of these bands or singers and wanna check out some clips, here ya go:

Alrighty, that’s about it. Congrats if you made it through all of my (hopefully) descriptive weirdo rambling. πŸ˜‰

Adjustment

At my most recent shrink appointment, he prescribed Paxil and Lamictal. He spooked me with the Lamictal though, so I haven’t started taking it yet. Serious talk about the possibility of a rash that could mean something very bad. 😳 So it’s a difficult medication to “sell” when someone already has high anxiety. But the Paxil, the first week (which is now done) I was to take only one in the morning. Now, I’m supposed to take one in the morning and one at night. I’m hoping that will help the problem that I’ve noticed all this week.

I’m also going to start the Lamictal tonight as well. I just never like starting two new meds at the exact same time, because then whether I experience a benefit or a side effect, you can’t know which one was the cause… although I suppose sometimes you don’t get the benefit or side effect unless you’re taking both of them. 🧐

This past week, even though I usually slept well, every time that I’d wake up the next day I would have instant severe anxiety already happening. 😣πŸ˜₯ Now, it’s not like this is the first time that this has happened… and I know it sounds bad to describe it this way, but sometimes when anxiety is so bad, it’s just the disappointment of waking up that triggers it. 😐 Oof, yeah, that sounds way worse than I intend it to. But yeah, it was random before, but it’s been a constant since I’ve started taking the Paxil in the morning. So hopefully now that I’ll be taking an evening dose as well, maybe that’ll change how I wake up.

That’s the one positive though… as long as I take it immediately upon waking up in a near panic attack, the feeling actually goes away relatively quickly. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ™‚ So I’m still hoping this will be something good, and it’s just a matter of getting on the right dosage. And yeah, it’s probably a little weird that I’m just putting this all out here for anyone to read – but it’s not like I’ve tried to keep the “twitchy” side of me a secret. 😏 And I really do know the majority of the things that have triggered it (and keep triggering it) so it’s not like I’m staggering around in the dark, unable to see the boogeyman.

It’s not a permanent solution, because it’s not a good solution, but part of me getting my head straight is by cutting myself off from people for a while. 😞 As I’ve described it before, my empathy is like a horrible super power that I’ve got… and when I know so many people that are going through so many awful things, I absorb the feelings that they’re experiencing regarding many of those things. 😣 Add that on top of my medical stuff, my workers comp stuff, my disability, etc… and unfortunately the easiest way to reduce anxiety is by avoiding the sources (and even potential sources) other than my own. πŸ₯Ί Then (I’m hoping) once I’m in a better place, I’ll be better able to function like a “normal” human and bring myself back into the fold. I don’t know if it’s a good plan, but it’s a plan…

EDIT:Β  Jesus… maybe I’m not quite ready to risk this Lamictal. 😯 I shouldn’t have googled.Β 

Why Do I Make Plans?

(Alternate / Extended Title:Β  Haven’t You Learned By Now? You Should Know Better…)

Another day, another disappointment. Not forΒ me… well, yeah, actually for me too… but the night before last I was feeling pretty good, planned on having a productive day yesterday, maybe even go grab Bri and take her somewhere so she could get groceries… but nope. πŸ˜’ I just haven’t found the “trick” when it comes to sleeping and my knee in its current state. One night it’ll be fine, next night… fucked. 😠 Last thing I really wanna do is have another round of xrays and scans, fearing that they’ll all “look fine” like with my lower back recently… but yeah, definitely gonna request xrays when I see the doc at the beginning of next week. 😣 Hopefully it’ll be something where a steroid injection will help, because I’m much more inclined to let them do that to my knee than to let them do it in my spine at the base of my neck. 😳

I think I’ve got it through my head now that “feeling better” on one day doesn’t mean it’s actually getting better. It’s not like I’m even pushing myself, but yeah, when I have a slightly better day – I do slightly more stuff… but that’s not working this time. So I’ve been in a shit mood, kinda disappeared from people for a couple of days, haven’t done most of the stuff that I had on my mental “maybe” list, but today – even though it hasn’t been quite as bad – I still haven’t pushed it, and I’m not feeling too bad. πŸ˜’ So that’ll keep my mental mood good enough to finally get through the bills (that I skipped the other night due to an instant headache) and probably check and respond to e-mails and messages. 🀞🏻 I think it being the weekend actually helps too, even though that’s sorta dumb when I don’t really keep a normal M-F human schedule except when appointments dictate.

But yeah, I’m around… and I’ll get around to the stuff that I need to get around to, whenever I end up getting around to it. 😏 It’s funny, when you’re young and healthy… and someone older tells you to enjoy it while you can, and tells you about all the random aches and pains and whatever… when you’re young, your brain just won’t allow that idea to register. (And therefore I don’t think anyone is really prepared for it, or accepts it gracefully.)Β Your brain doesn’t realize that you’ll eventually be the one with all the defective pieces, telling someone younger than you that this is what they’ve got to look forward to. πŸ™„ Heh… see… this is why it’s better that I just avoid people when I’m like this. Not exactly a ray of sunshine right now.

And say what ya’ want… but I still don’t think I’m old enough to feel this consistently beat up. πŸ˜•Β </whining>

Inescapable Appreciated Visitors

Feeling a little anxious about tomorrow, having the AC service guys here for the better part of the morning and afternoon. πŸ˜• Gonna have to do a little more prep tonight, including plans for keeping Maven comfortably in the bedroom and out of the way… there’s just gonna be a lot of noise, people coming and going, and possibly “unexpected this or that” to deal with. I’m just gonna be glad when it’s over, ‘cuz right now I’m really just not looking forward to tomorrow. I suppose I should think of Tuesday as just another “mostly” day off – where I don’t have to do a heck of a lot, other than just being here if and when I’m needed.

Maybe Nobody Will Notice…

The twitchy snuck up and got me over the past 24 hours. 😟 It’s funny how even being anxious for someone else’s “thing” can cause my brain to act up. My evening meds did zonk me out last night, earlier than anticipated, but I still didn’t sleep through most of the night. I kept waking up every couple of hours, thinking that I slept through my alarms and was gonna be late for Bri’s shower. πŸ˜’Β So, that didn’t help…

But I did get up and make it on time, and I felt about as out of place as I assumed that I would. Dez didn’t make it since she worked the whole night prior, but Bub, Jake, and John were all there… so at least I wasn’t the only d00d there. I dunno… it was fine, Bri was happy, but it was a bunch of people I didn’t know, all the kids running around like tiny crazy people… heh… it just wasn’t for me. In fact, I bailed after an hour. Went outside for a smoke break and my brain was like “Psst… you’re already in your car… you know you could just leave now, right?” 😏 And after messaging Bri to let her know, that’s exactly what I did.

Whatever was wrong with me today, I couldn’t even make myself drive just a couple blocks over to drop off Anna’s birthday card and gift. I just needed to get back home. 😐 Bri understood, and we caught up through messages after everything was done and she seemed happy enough with how things went – and with the goodies that she got. But I know that I’m her person, and sometimes she needs her person… but today wasn’t one of those times, because there was a whole room full of people there just for her. So she didn’t mind that I decided to dip out early. 😌

It’s late in the evening now, but I still haven’t been able to shake this weird mood. I think I’m a bit anxious because I’m behind on some things, and this coming week already has a couple important appointments scheduled, with a couple more calls that I still need to make when I wake up to set up a few more things. I swear though, for someone that’s essentially retired, I sure manage to allow myself to feel a lot of unnecessary pressure sometimes.

μ•ˆλ…•ν•˜μ„Έμš”

There was one other day where I allowed myself to do something a little frivolous. It was already something that was going to be a little bit outside of my comfort zone, but then we had to completely change our plans. 😳 The original plan was for me to go up to Columbus and pick up Cassi from work, so we could then head over to Arirang Market – which also has (or had) a restaurant in the back that serves authentic Korean food.

We went into the store and I asked the fella at the front if the restaurant was open yet, since it was only around 11am, and he said that the restaurant is no more. πŸ˜• It’s a shame, because they had a ton of variety, at good prices, and they had all sorts of good reviews on the various sites. But since we were there, in a Korean market full of authentic Korean foodstuffs, we decided that we could just buy the stuff that would allow us to make our lunch and dinner from scratch. πŸ™‚

In no particular order, we got kimchi, tofu soup starter, yam noodles, seaweed, soju, red pepper paste, rice, sesame oil and soy sauce, eggs, chicken and cabbage rice dumplings, rice cakes (for soup), and then a few misc snacks and a couple pairs of metal chopsticks. We were excited, because between the music, the travel and foodie videos on YouTube, the differentΒ TV shows, the picking up of the language here and there – I dunno, it just felt like we were taking our next step in the appreciation of the country and culture.

I made the soup meal on the first day, including the kimchi… and while the kimchi was pretty awful, the tofu soup, noodles, and rice cakes were tolerable. 😐 Not good, not bad… it just kinda was what it was, and that would be something that neither of us necessarily needs to try ever again. πŸ˜… On the next day we teamed up in the kitchen, with her making the fried rice from scratch, and me frying up the chicken dumplings in condensed broth. Now that meal was amazing. 🀀 Part of it was because I was super hungry, but no… it really was amazing. I ate until I was beyond poofed, and I still wanted to keep going.

Granted, that was probably the furthest from “authentic Korean” and towards “normal food” that we could have gone, but it still counted as Korean. 😏 And neither of us were that bad with the chopsticks, either. From both days there was enough left over that I was able to send a decent sample of it all back up with Cassi so her mom could give it a try. And she agreed with us when it came to the dumplings and rice, for sure. (I forgot to send the kimchi… which is probably a good thing for her.)