Still Working Through It

I mailed out my rebuttal report yesterday, so today I called my lead attorney to let him know to expect it, leaving a brief message describing what I thought about the doctor’s IME report and explaining that even though I know they’ve got the situation covered – that I hoped the information I provided will help them out. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€πŸ’ΌπŸ€“πŸ—’οΈπŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I also told him a return call wasn’t necessary, since I really would like to get this all out of my thoughts, but that he could of course call if he had any questions after he spoke with my doctor. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈ

I realized today, though, that even though I supplied all of that extra information for my attorneys to use as they see fit, that it’s going to be hard to stop thinking about it and to stop subconsciously “defending myself” until I’ve really done everything that I can to prepare for the hearing. πŸ€”πŸ€¨ And the Industrial Commission hearings have proved to be a mixed bag for me. It’s a very stressful and anxiety-filled situation to be in, so I don’t remember every detail from every hearing… but I do know that sometimes I’ve been asked questions, sometimes I’ve been asked nothing and basically just sat there, and sometimes I’ve been asked if there was anything in general that I wanted to add.

If they decide to ask me questions, that’s great… because one good thing about my answers, because they’re based on the truth and over a decade of experience, my answers won’t be much different from anything that I’ve said to them, to any of my doctors, or anyone else in the past many years.Β But if they ask if I have anything that I’d like to add, that’s where I now need to focus my thoughts – and figure out the most concise way to convey the most amount of (what I believe is)Β relevant and important information.

I’m literally at the mercy of this “deciding body” when it comes to my future medical treatment, so I can’t afford to stumble over my words or not know what I want to say if given the opportunity to speak. So probably over the next day or two I’ll start jotting down several points, and then turn that into something that will hopefully be effective when delivered. πŸ˜•πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

When there’s a new doctor that has provided a new report that has all kinds of new claims and allegations, some of which I absolutely disagree with… some of which are simply false (there’s no other way to say it)… that’s a change since the last hearing, so of course any references to that in my comments would also be “all new information” that I’d be responding with. So I think you can see why I’m still feeling anxious, having not yet prepared what will basically be my “closing statement” if it’s asked for. πŸ˜“ So that’s the plan for the weekend.

Even if I’m not asked to speak, even if I end up not using it – obviously I’ll feel much better knowing that I’m prepared rather than not, and I’m hoping that will help me feel a little less nervous about the whole thing while I wait for all of the official paperwork to start pouring in, along with a notification of the date that the hearing will actually happen. πŸ™‚πŸ€žπŸ»πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ™πŸ» (And hopefully I won’t mention any of it for a while after this.)

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Hopefully Motivational Rambling

Now I just have to decide how much other stuff I want to do this week. πŸ€” The car has been crying about an oil change for a while now, but it’s because I forgot to tell it (through the computer system settings) that I used synthetic oil last time instead of the typical cheap stuff… so I know it’s fine, but it thinks it isn’t. πŸš—βš οΈ Whether it ends up being important at some point or not – I know that it’s keeping track of all that sorta stuff, so I’d rather just get it done so she can stop whining at me. πŸ™„πŸ˜

And while she’s not ready for a new set just yet, I find myself airing up the tires a few times each month, so I’ll probably actually schedule the oil change with Piper’s service center there by the railroad tracks on Maple. That way they can rotate the tires, check ’em over, and hopefully plug anything that can be plugged. I could try to do all that through the local Ford place, which would also allow me to get any trivial recall shit taken care of – but that sounds like a longer process than I think I’m up for. πŸ˜’ I suppose I could get a rental for a night or two if I really wanted. Meh… again… just thinking out loud. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈΒ For whatever reason, it helps.

The other “gotta do” thing on the list, eventually, is getting into Walmart to get my vision checked and glasses updated. πŸ€“Β I’ll be able to keep the Rx shades I’ve already got for driving 😎 because I don’t think my vision has changed that much, but when it comes to my normal glasses – pretty sure it’s gonna end up being bifocals this time. 😟 I’ve actually been wearing older “backup” glasses since the end of last year, so it’s gonna be like having new eyes whenever I get around to getting this done. Still glad that I did my LASIK all those years ago, it’s just a shame that it’s not a “fix it and forget it” thing that lasts forever. But I’m not gonna push my luck and go under the laser for what would be the third time in total for each eye, because even if they correctly and safely fixed my distance vision again, I’d still have to wear reading glasses.

Of course the garage door still needs attention, but that’ll be based more on Rick’s schedule once I give him the go ahead to come check it out and start, and then after that he’ll be able to start on the shower. 😬 That’s the first thing on my “to do” list that starts making me a little twitchy. He knows what he’s doing, so it’s not that… it’s just the “fuss” of having people here and the bathroom sorta torn up in the process – along with that same type of worry that you also have with car repairs. 🀨 Where you go in for a rattle or whatever, they find the rattle, but then they also find “this, that, and the other” which also could or should be worked on. He’ll be able to handle whatever, it’s just that cringe of not knowing exactly what’s going on behind the tile and hoping there’s not bigger, unknown problems ahead. 😐🀞🏻

I suppose me thinking and talking about this stuff now… it’s all because of how my scan results turned out. Like, in a good way. Before I got the results, there was this subconscious feeling of “Why bother doing (whatever) if…” that I was probably having. Getting mostly positive (good) results from the scan, rather than getting something worse or even an expiration date… it’s allowed my brain to at least start thinking about shit that needs to be done, even if it still takes me a while to actually do it. πŸ™‚πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

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.

Nerves

As of my last post, I was feeling the then-immediate relief of not having to learn of the plan for my next session of treatment that day. I thought that might make my weekend a little more relaxed, but with each hour closer that Monday gets – the more my nerves started messing with me. 😐 I’m still good, but knowing that tomorrow I’ll be getting the call, it did change what I ended up doing with my weekend.

I’m aware that I could be making a bigger deal out of this than it’s going to end up being, but the alternate is also true… so the best course of action, one that starts me out on better footing before whatever’s next, was to use these two days to get the house nice. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I don’t know if it’d be this way for everyone, but if I’m really negatively affected by stopping my thyroid meds (and most everything that I’ve heard so far is that I will be) then it’s important that the house is clean, laundry is done, dishes done up, etc.

It’s simple… feeling shitty feels shitty, but feeling shitty while also being stuck in a dirty house, with unwashed dishes taunting me, baskets of laundry waiting on me… that would just be so much more shitty for me. πŸ˜₯ Like I said, it might not be something that would bother other folks, but it would bother me more than you can even imagine. 😣 One bit of good news, and I’ll give partial credit to the way I’ve tried to keep moving, but I’m finally walking completely without a cane again. πŸ™‚ There’s still some pain, and I can still feel the unpredictable weakness… but it’s good that I’m off the meds I had a bad reaction to, and that I’m getting along much better when it comes to my knee. (Which is surprising, honestly, the way that I pretty much killed it the night that I was in Columbus several days ago.) See, it’s not always bad news around here… 😏

I am disappointed that I wasn’t able to visit a couple people that I had put on the “possibility” list for the weekend if I was feeling alright, but I’m staying hopeful that this next session of treatment will be able to conclusively “clear” me. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈπŸ₯ΊπŸ™πŸ» Then I can hopefully work at getting my head in a better place again, eventually feeling more like a previous version of me, and potentially more able to make random trips out of the house without the anxiety stopping me before I even make it to the door. πŸ˜‘ As much as I want friends and family to “get me” when it comes to all my twitchy problems, they shouldn’t have to put up with the way that I am as much as they do. 😟 “Clean bill of health” (at least when it comes to my thyroid stuff) could do wonders for snapping me back to something more close to normal. πŸ€•Β That’s the hope anyway…

Nervous But Not Worried

One week to go until my surgery (don’t worry, I’m not gonna count down each time I make a post… heh) but I’m trying to make today as “normal” and chill as possible. Trash runs tomorrow, so I’ve gotta fill the buggy and drag it to the road… then I’ve got a small stack of mail that I should probably get to… and then I wanna straighten up the living room, vacuum up all this kitty hair, etc. 😏 Normal.

I’m nervous, but I’m at ease. Nothing about “right now” is how I want it, and I plan to work to change what I can after the surgery and recover time, but the way things are right now should get me through to next Wednesday without any big chance of unintentionally triggering anxiety attacks or whatever. Right now I have to worry about me. (And I know I’ve got all my loved ones’ support, which definitely helps.)

I still haven’t told a majority of my friends. Some have learned about it through the blog here, I’ve told a small handful in a private Facebook group, but I haven’t yet figured out how to tell “everyone” in a way that won’t trigger a huge reaction. I guess that’s the point of friends though… to provide those huge reactions, since it means they care. πŸ™‚ But yeah… not today.

Today I get to pretend that it’s just like any other day.

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.