“Customer Service”

Might as well continue my bitching into Tuesday.Β πŸ˜’ Had to get up really early for my appointment with Dr Walter… and everything was routine until he asked me if I would be willing to be seen by a new physicians’ assistant that they have added to the office. 😳😟 I think they actually added two other doctors as well… but like he and I were discussing, ever since the big changes that were made about six months ago they’ve been struggling to try and keep up with appointments, paperwork, insurance stuff, medicare stuff, workers comp stuff, etc.

So while I’m glad (for them) to see that they’ve added some auxiliary people that will help evenly distribute the workload, it’ll definitely take a while to get used to the new guy.Β πŸ™ Dr Walter isn’t going anywhere, so if my condition changes he’ll be able to handle it, but that was his point… my condition has been relatively stable for a long time now, so my appointments are really just about prescription refills rather than treatment.Β πŸ€• That’s why he felt like I was a good candidate to go to the new guy – freeing up Dr Walter (someone with a lot of seniority) to choose appointments with patients he still has a chance of repairing. 😏 And to be honest, it could be interesting to bounce ideas off of new guy – since on most days I still struggle to just reach “okay” … so fresh ears and eyes couldΒ help me in the long run.

After that, I didn’t really feel like going to the Social Security office to handle my insurance enrollment issues… so as soon as I got home I was on the phone again. 😐 I’m not sure why it took as long as it did, but just enrolling in the dental part of my Medicare Advantage plan took over a half hour. And for me, someone who gets super twitchy if I have to be on the phone for more than a few minutes, it may as well have been three or four hours. 😣

I ended up calling it a day around 3pm, even though there was still stuff that I couldΒ (should?) have made calls about. Couldn’t get through to the hospital again, despite definitely calling during business hours, and so far they haven’t returned my calls. 😠 That’s fine though… I’m fine just sitting here and waiting until another notice for those bills arrive, and another, and another. I mean, I’ll call again, but if they don’t seem interested in dealing with it, then I’m not gonna be terribly interested either.Β πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Strangely, despite twitching out over the obscene amount of time that I spent on the phone today, I’m still feeling enough of a burst of energy that I’m gonna try to work on a few things around the house. I’ve got a couple of friends who have been hinting heavily that they’d like to come over, so I feel kind of obliged to make it look less like the house of a single guy and his white cat that’s in the process of being groomed. 😳🐱 But mostly I’m doing this stuff for myself, because the more organized and calm this place is, the more organized and calm it makes me. 😌

But after these crap days starting the week, I think tomorrow I’ll take at least half of the day off… maybe get my cameras organized and charged up, get the C64 Mini all updated, set-up, and hooked up. I dunno… Monday and Tuesday have me pretty grrr, so I really need to make tomorrow different.

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Mundane Monday

Today has been very Monday.Β πŸ˜• Ordered something online last night and woke up to a fraud alert on my phone, where the company – and it’s one of the main, big-name ones – had attempted to charge my card five times for the one order. 😧 So that was the first bit of “customer service” shit that I had to deal with. Just to be safe I had them cancel all of the charges, which allowed me to just create the order again from scratch. So far no alerts, so I guess that all got sorted.

Then I had to get online to sign up for new Medicare Advantage insurance, and of course I ran into glitches during the process. 😠 I swear, with the way that some sites seem cobbled together and barely hanging on to their functionality – it’s a wonder that big entities like this don’t collapse in on themselves in a flaming pile of data loss.Β πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ–¨πŸ–₯πŸ’ΎπŸ”₯πŸ”₯Β I could have called to get this issue fixed, but you know how I am with phone calls… so “online chat” was the way I went.Β πŸ“žπŸ˜¬β˜Ž The lady was helpful, seemed to give only 50% (or so) canned responses, and despite not really fixing anything – she said everything that needed to be in their system was in their system, so there shouldn’t be any issues.

And the third thing, which I’m still in the process of dealing with, is getting these couple of rogue hospital bills figured out. One bill is for an appointment with my workers comp doctor, which are the same every thirty days and always billed to workers comp. 🧐 And then the other one, well, it’s a big enough amount that I need to investigate – to find out if that’s the amount due even after the financial aid has been applied, or if I just need to wait it out until it eventually goes away.Β πŸ₯πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈπŸ€•πŸ’Έ Still waiting on a call back from those folks.

So, I’ve been dealing with this crap pretty much from the moment I woke up.Β πŸ˜΄πŸ˜’ My brain hasn’t started getting twitchy about it (yet), mainly because everyone I’ve spoken to or chatted with – they’ve been helpful… and if not actually helpful, they’ve been nice and have given me confidence with their “Everything looks fine.” type shpeal.Β πŸ™‚ And since I’m somewhat in the flow of all this bullshit, there’s a couple other things that I need to tend to as well – so I’ve probably got just as many calls to make after this blog entry as I did before.Β πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Turning The Corner

Well, the last day of the three-day weekend went by a little too quickly. πŸ˜• Got some stuff done around the house, but just as importantly, got the number of a repair guy to come look at the AC unit outside. Rick and Amy used them when they had central air installed in their house, and they’re based on Bauman Hill – not too far from where we lived when I was a kid. I can’t believe it’s still been near or in the 80s during the first week of October. πŸ˜“ Thought for sure that I’d be fine waiting…

So tomorrow morning I get to call the AC guy, the pharmacy (of course), the endocrinologist’s office, and Ricart. I have three recalls on my car, including the one that says my steering wheel could fall off, so it’s about time to get all of that looked at. 😧 I might also see about having them repair the cracked plastic around the mirror housing on the driver’s side. But yeah, lots of calls.Β Yay. πŸ™ Oh, and I almost forgot the billing office for my WC doctor, since they accidentally billed me for my last appointment. (As if I haven’t been going there on WC’s dime for over a decade… heh… wth)

Talking with Bri yesterday, she asked if I was going to be going to the fair at all this week. Jim G is already coming down on Friday, so I was planning on at least making an appearance there with him… but now it looks like I might be making a sooner-than-expected trip to the fair tomorrow with her. It’s not a done deal, but if she’s not doing anything else I know she wants to go. And between my stuff, her stuff, her mom’s stuff… we’ve got plenty to catch up on. I just hope I’m up for all the walking.

If I do end up going, I’ll probably take the new camera with me. We were talking about just looking at critters and eating shitty food, but I’m sure I can find something worth covertly recording. 😎 A viewer request has asked for a comparison between “as shot / true 360”, “standard HD with focus points / target tracking”, and “little planet” modes. One of these days I’ll even do the “bullet time” mode, even though I think I’m gonna look goofy. I guess there’s also a hyperlapse mode somewhere in there as well… this camera really is amazing compared to my first 360 camera. πŸ˜ƒ

I dunno… just trying to get back to feeling “normal” and not dwelling on medical stuff each day. 😐 I’m feeling better now that I’ve gotten the house straightened up some and got the bills all done up, so now I’ve just gotta keep doing the normal adulting that’s required and just hang out until I know what the next step’s gonna be. πŸ˜” And whatever “big” stuff that I’ve got to do… I’d rather just get to it. πŸ™„ This waiting isn’t doing my brain any favors.

Preparation

Yesterday was a strange day. 😐 I feel good, having completed a bunch of stuff that I felt neededΒ completing, but the nature of the stuff left me feeling a little uneasy – and definitely unable to fall asleep at a normal hour. πŸ˜• Despite that, I managed to have some awesome dreams. Awesome enough to have actually woken me up every hour or so – but of course I can’t remember a single detail at the moment. 😠 I’m just lucky that they weren’t about the topic at hand yesterday.

Of course I expect my upcoming surgery to go fine, but being the type of person that I am I’ve gone into “prepare” mode – just in case it doesn’t. 😳 As part of that preparation process, I spent a good amount of time typing out letters to my cousin Jim and my ex-wife Genesee, as they would be the ones handling everything in the event that things need to be handled. Those letters are just my way of easing them into the process. (Since I was the executor for my aunt, I learned a few tips and tricks.)

They won’t even get those letters unless the situation calls for it, so that allowed me to be a little more free with what I said… but for the most part it was just explaining my will, explaining my wishes when it came to my personal belongings, explaining a good deal about how the process will go, and what they will need to do to keep things moving along, hopefully without too many hiccups and at a reasonable pace. 😎 It’s a lot to ask of someone, so I also made sure that my appreciation was made super clear.

But between the several pages that I wrote for Mongo, and then the three pages that I wrote for Gen… I was just doing a whole lot of thinking about a topic that nobody wants to have to think about. It wasn’t all bad… in fact, a lot of the thinking that I did was about good memories, good times, good things with family and friends, etc. 😊 Oh, and I’m up to 19 separate audio recordings when it comes to the little archive of messages that I’m recording for people to have and listen to after I’m gone… which, like I said, I don’t anticipate happening for a good long while. πŸ™‚ I’m actually really enjoying doing that.

Don’t take this the wrong way. 🀨 All of this preparation is just being done out of necessity, and it’s something that any responsible person would want to do before a major surgery. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈ It can just really mess with your head when you end up dwelling on the topic for too long. I’m still good though, and I know everyone that loves me has my back. 😏 I’m still optimistic about this surgery, I’m gonna get through it, and then whatever is next is next. One step at a time.

Wringer

Pardon the length of this entry, but yesterday was kinda tough, basically as I anticipated. Anxiety had me up most of the night, so I ended up doing all this stuff on only three hours of sleep – but at least that meant I was awake at dawn, so I could just hop up and start getting ready instead of grumbling at my multiple alarms squawking at me every two minutes until I rise and shine.

From 8am until 12.5pm I was doing “something medical.” 😐 Starting with my monthly neck doctor appointment, where we also covered my upcoming surgery, some of the medications that I might have to start taking because of it, and how they should or shouldn’t react with whatever meds I’m getting from him for my fusion spot, nerve damage, and grumpy muscles in the area. πŸ˜³πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈ

Next was another blood draw for multiple panels of testing. πŸ’‰ I already had this done a little over a month ago, but they not only wanted to get the most current results, but there were also specific tests that they needed that weren’t in my other test. I volunteered my right arm, and the girl did her best… I mean, she hit the biggest vein available there, but for some reason it was only spitting a little bit of blood – and it was definitely not enough to fill the three vials needed. 😯 My left arm ended up being successful, and of course now I look like a junkie with two big bruises on each elbow-pit. 😏

Next was theΒ electrocardiogram, which actually didn’t take that long due to it (thankfully) not including stress testing or anything like that. Just the normal dozen-or-so electrical leads, a few minutes of holding really still, and on to the next. πŸ™‚ But the next thing was where it started to get shitty. πŸ˜₯

Since they’re going to have to manipulate my head quite a bit while they’re working on my neck, and since they’re aware of the C5-C7 fusion, they had to take a crapload of x-rays while my head and neck were in extremely stretched, compressed, or otherwise super-uncomfortable positions. ☒😣 I do my best each day to not move my head in all of the ways that I had to do for those x-rays, so my neck was fucked after everything was said and done. πŸ™‡πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ So not only will my surgery site be painful, but the ways they are gonna have to move my huge lump-of-a-head around while I’m under anesthesia… let’s just say that I’m really not looking forward to how that area’s gonna be feeling when I wake up.

I almost wasn’t able to complete all the scans that they needed, since one of them (while standing) was given with the instructions of “Put both of your arms straight up, directly over your head.” 😧 If there was a bar or something above my head I could have done it with little issue, but the only way I could do it without my left arm shaking was to get the arm up there, then actually lean against the plate/target of the x-ray machine to basically jam it up there in that position. πŸ˜¬πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ The fella doing it was really patient and understanding, and after reviewing them he said that the results should be fine, including that one which I thought would be pretty uncertain.

And I know, to a healthy person that all probably doesn’t sound like much… but man was I worn out after everything was done. πŸ˜“ Between the lack of sleep, the multiple stops, the blood loss… heh, the painful x-rays, and then my leg jumping around between “fine” and “omg stop” heh… I was just thankful that I was able to knock all of that stuff out in one day, along with being able to just go home and recover at my own pace. πŸ˜” It’s all good though… all of this stuff is now done with a couple weeks to spare, so I’m just happy to keep everything on track.

The Calm

Tomorrow (if I stick to my current self-imposed schedule)Β is shaping up to be a doctor/test heavy day, so I spent today in a way where I mostly didn’t have to think or talk about all of that. Nothing out of the ordinary… saw a couple of friends, went to a couple of thrift stores, grabbed some food… keeping myself distracted with the good-yet-mundane. 😏

Since the holiday weekend is coming to an end tonight, I can no longer put off dealing with the stack of mail and bills from the past week and a half. πŸ˜’ I’m sure you can understand my logic… didn’t do it FridayΒ ‘cuz it was almost the weekend, didn’t do it Saturday since banking stuff wouldn’t go through on a Sunday, and didn’t do it on Sunday because today is Labor Day. 😁 I’m all out of procrastinator tricks, so here I am at the laptop. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Oh, and the thrift… I actually picked up a few things. πŸ™‚ There’s an obscure-ish British comedy show that I like called The Mighty Boosh, and I actually found a big ol’ hardback book that focuses on it. I can’t even imagine how or why it even got created, but yay me. πŸ™ŒπŸ» The second thing was a Roland EP-3 digital piano. (Because four keyboards in the house just wasn’t enough… heh) I haven’t tested it yet, but it looks solid, and was only $9.99. 😯 How could I not, eh? The third thing is actually pretty silly, but also not…

When I was a baby, one of my relatives (I believe it was my Uncle (?) Frank) got me a stuffed panda bear as a gift. I kept that thing with me when I slept for years… long enough that I have actual memories of it and not just from photos – not to mention that I still have the well-worn, one-eye-less guy still sitting in a box here in my house as evidence. πŸ˜…

Here’s where the silly comes in. Walking past the toys and stuffed things, I caught a panda bear in my peripheral vision – and when I actually looked over at it, I immediately thought about my own old bear, the family back then, not to mention all of the aforementioned pictures that I’ve seen of me and that bear. πŸ™„πŸΌ Heh… and at that point, my bear and that bear were suddenly, unintentionally, and officially connected through all of the feels that I was having at that moment – so I had to get him. πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜„

He’s obviously quite a bit healthier looking than my well-loved teddy, so it won’t creep me out if I put him on my “no explanation” bookshelf of crap in the bedroom, which is probably what I’ll end up doing. I texted Genesee about it, so I could sort of laugh at myself as she laughed with me, and ponder over what unknown history that bear has… and explained to her why I couldn’t leave him there on the shelf with the rest of the low-rent stuffies. 😏

Silly, but not…

Oh Yeah? Hmm… Okay

No updates for a while due to various circumstances. Thyroid biopsy was done a little over a week ago, which wasn’t as bad as I expected – but also more serious than I expected. πŸ€”πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈ Other than the doctor using a needle rather than actually cutting me open, it was actually a real deal procedure. Hooked up to monitors, in my gown, rolled from the waiting room to the procedure room… and then a couple nurses or technicians dealing with the ultrasound and instruments, while the doctor repeatedly jabbed me in the neck with a thicker-than-I’d-have-preferred needle. πŸ˜―πŸ’‰ It took three different “pokes” to get enough cells for the tests that they needed to run, but the folks were all great, and always spoke in a very calming way that made it not nearly as anxiety inducing as it could have been.

Then on Monday I made it to my first of four dentist appointments. 😳 Rather than attack my whole mouf at once, they figured it would be easier on my face (and at least psychologically, on my wallet) if we split up the work on my teefs. So that appointment was a deep cleaning on the bottom, and then a gum line filling on one of the right rear molars. A little uncomfortable since they had to use a tool to push my gums down until the filling was complete, but I was good and numb so it didn’t really hurt until much later into the day.

Things have been hit and miss with my sciatic issue. Some days it’s almost unnoticeable, and then others there’s a continuous mild pain with some sharp bursts that also come with some weakness. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I’ve got a followup appointment with my chiropractor in the first week of next month, and I guess I’m still gonna go see him – just so I can update him in case I have my doctor doctor contact him for my info, when I ask her to look into this problem for me through whatever avenue she thinks might help.

And then my biopsy results… they came back a day sooner than I was expecting, and I actually got the call from the specialist on my way home from the dentist. πŸ˜’ They can’t really tell you anything definite from a small sample like that, so he says surgery is in my future. 😐 I actually had an appointment with him earlier yesterday, and I left feeling about as optimistic as possible when talking about this sort of thing. Like I had already been doing myself, he pointed out many reasons that I should feel far more optimistic than the average person when it comes to this – especially noting that sometimes people have thyroid defects that grow for years and years, and are never even discovered until they’ve grown to a size where it interferes with a person’s swallowing or breathing. 😧

There’s way too much to the situation to get into real detail, but I’ll just say that his “matter of fact” way (in a good way) of talking about the surgery, the treatment, the positive results that he expects and has gotten many times before in others… it helped provide a little ease to a decidedly uneasy thing to think about. So, it’ll come, we’ll hope for the best, and if that isn’t enough, we’ll just face whatever the next thing is after that. I think that things will be fine, even if not on the first try.