Well, Sure Didn’t Expect That

Slept most of the day away again, since I didn’t get to sleep until around dawn, but when I woke up I decided that I was really gonna take the day off and try to find something actually fun to do. ๐Ÿ™‚ I can’t remember the last time I did something where I was like “This is a good time…” ๐Ÿ˜

As I was going through all of my mail last night, I noticed that I got a thing from Hollywood that said I had $55 in free slot play today. ๐Ÿค” So I messaged Cassi to see if she’d want to meet me there when she got off work, and I’d let her play the free stuff while I’d take $100 from my surprise insurance check. Figured that would get us both out of our houses for a while, and let us play whatever new machines they installed since the last time I was there, forever ago.

I couldn’t believe it when on my second pull of this Monopoly machine, I hit this bonus wheel game… ๐Ÿ˜ง

It’s kinda funny, ‘cuz the light was burned out on the wheel, so it was hard to tell what the arrow was aiming at – and for a moment I grumbled as it passed the “1000” and landed on the question mark. ๐Ÿ˜„ Not knowing what the bonus round was, I just stood there and watched as the money bags lined up. (Man, if it had only stopped on all three of them on that last reel, eh?) ๐Ÿ˜ƒ But yeah, before she had even gotten there – the first $20 that I played, just to kill time ’til she arrived… crazy stuff. ๐Ÿ˜Š

I had them deduct the taxes from it before giving it to me, that way when I file at the end of the year I’ll get it all back as kind of a secondary surprise. ๐Ÿ™‚ But that initial jackpot let us play a whole lot more than we would have otherwise, and me and her both ended up leaving with a good chunk of change. ๐Ÿค‘๐Ÿ˜Ž It was crazy how we both had such good luck right there at the start, and then it pretty much continued through the rest of the time we spent there. That hardly ever happens, and is probably why I hadn’t been back in a while.

But between the two of us, we left with as much as that jackpot gave me… and then like I said, the $400-ish that they took out for all the taxes will be back in my pocket in a few months. Really good trip there this time, and hopefully we avoided touching anything with the ‘rona. ๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿคข๐Ÿคฎ๐Ÿ˜ท (We did use the hand sanitizing stations whenever we saw them.) Speaking of that, even with that concern floating around… literally… it was still really crowded. ๐Ÿ˜ณ I mean, I can’t talk, since I was there too… but yeah, it was surprising.

But it makes me feel good to be able to do something that not only distracted Cassi for the evening, but then to also have it wind up being a big financial help too. ๐Ÿ˜Š I’m big on karma… I feel like if I wouldn’t have shared, I wouldn’t have done as well as I did. I am still more nervous than your average Joe about COVID though, so I really hope that going out for the first time in a long time didn’t end up pushing my luck. ๐Ÿคž๐Ÿป๐Ÿ˜Ÿ๐Ÿ™‚

After Much Thought / Research

Before I get on to today’s topic, figured I’d follow up the last post with another dream that I had last night. Not gonna bore you with the entire contents, but the method of near-death last night was bubble gum. ๐Ÿคจ Not sure why I was chewing gum in the first place, but I had put too many pieces in my mouth when I began to chew… and then on top of that, it began expanding in my mouth and down into my throat like spray-foam insulation. ๐Ÿ˜ณ The kind that comes out of the can as a gooey spray but expands and hardens into a solid mass. I was barely able to dig it out of my mouth with my index finger, allowing myself to get a breath again.

But over the holiday weekend I was browsing the area gun shops online, and I found one place in Newark that said they had a carbon / black SCCY CPX-2 in stock, in store – so I crossed my fingers, placed the order, and waited for the call to let me know I could pick it up. Now, with affordable / popular caliber guns and ammo being sold out almost everywhere right now, I wasn’t gonna hold my breath that the sale would go through until I had it in my hands – but they called Tuesday afternoon to let me know I could grab it whenever. ๐Ÿ˜Š

And yeah, I do already have a .380 acp with one box of ammo, but not only is that caliber even harder to find right now, but it’s always been more expensive. So when I came across a deal on 9mm rounds, I went ahead and grabbed them with the intention of getting rid of the 380 and buying a new 9mm… whether in pistol form or the interesting Hi-Point TS995 carbine. ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ It just so happened the handgun was the first to become available in the area, and the d00d at the shop even said it was the only one they had gotten in that particular shipment. ๐Ÿ˜‹ Guess I checked at just the right time.

Folks are saying that gun owners should have multiples, in varying calibers, so you have a better chance of finding at least some rounds that will fit one of your guns… but for my purposes, as long as I have enough to get in some decent practice with this new one, and then enough left over to where it feels like it’s “enough” for any bad news that might show up at my house, that’s good enough for me. ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ And since the CPX-2 is compact, double action only, internal hammer, with a long, heavy trigger pull – should I ever decide to get my concealed permit, this one is much more suited for it than the other one I’ve got.

I wasn’t even sure I was gonna do anything when I woke up yesterday, but then I decided that I had enough energy to go visit some friends in Columbus. ๐Ÿ™‚๐Ÿคž๐Ÿป But after a short time there I got the call, leading to me driving back home, then up to Newark to grab the gun and some extras, followed by taking “the scenic route” back home. I figured I may as well check out the familiar sights (from back when we lived in that area) since I had to be out anyway. I’m not gonna get into my twitchiness again right now, but for me… going from “home alone” day after day, to dealing with traffic, humans, extra aches and pains from all the driving and moving around – I was pretty whupped by time I got home and settled in. ๐Ÿ˜ My brain was still happy and kinda wired though (from the events of the day) which contributed to my 4a sack-out time. ๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿ˜ž

Another of my friends stopped by in the early evening, having some time to kill before she had to pick up her kid from band practice, so I met her in the driveway to chit chat and show her my new goodies. ๐Ÿ˜ Her hubby has a couple of long guns, but they are both interested in getting a pistol… so in the same day that I got my new one, I also got a solid backup as to where my old one might be going soon. ๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป

I know that guns can tend to make some people nervous, but obviously none of us are looking for trouble just because we own them. (Although we certainly want to be prepared if trouble comes looking for us.) And with my left shoulder being screwy due to my injury / surgery from years ago, it’s not even like target shooting would be fun. If anything, having a physical handicap is even more reason that a person might want to have a gun as extra protection. ๐Ÿ˜ณ But I need to put in some practice time and make sure I’m confident with how everything will go, not only with the gun – but with the way my shoulder will react to firing it. But with it being pretty much even money once I get rid of my old one, I’m happy with how things went yesterday. ๐Ÿ™‚

Just Rambling

It ain’t over ’til it’s over… that should be the motto of my life when it comes to all of the workers comp garbage. ๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿ˜ I think there’s an R&B song from the early 90s with something close to that title. ๐Ÿค” Meh… anyway… it’s been a day full of working on that stuff, reading mail, working on new forms as much as I can – without any of my attorneys being across the table to help me. ๐Ÿ˜ฌ But much like everything else that I’ve had to fight for, there’s still some fighting left to be done before the medical portion is gonna be settled.

It’s a bit before midnight now, so I’ve lost most of the emotional energy that was powering me through it all, so I don’t even have the oomph to really rant about any of it tonight. ๐Ÿ˜ I mean, things should be fine eventually… it’s just the typical “Surprise, this isn’t gonna go how you thought it was gonna go.” stuff that plagues every person in the system and keeps things progressing at a snail’s pace. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐ŸŒ But my attorney says we should remain optimistic, and he’s good at selling me on that idea… ๐Ÿ˜ so, that’s what I shall do.

But man, even today I’m feeling the effects of how the whole thing has changed me. It simply sucks the energy out of me when I have to work on stressful stuff and make phone calls regarding it all. ๐Ÿ˜’๐Ÿ˜ฃ I mean, that’s what started my “phone anxiety” back in the beginning of the process. All calls seemed to be doctors, lawyers, social security, etc… and all of them were stressful. ๐Ÿ˜  I hate using the word “trigger” but that’s what a ringing phone became to me, and then the same for picking up and trying to make a call. It’s embarrassing.

But just like back then, today I felt that effect… not in a super bad way, and I wasn’t even feeling overly stressed or upset or anything… but that still didn’t stop it from sucking away my energy and sending me into a couple unplanned naps. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜ด Heh… they’re hard to describe. They usually start with, “Ugh, this sucks… I need to take 10 minutes to rest my eyes and brain.” and then I wake up a couple hours later. ๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ Granted, my sleep has already been screwed up because of my neck and an awful 24 hour headache, but working on this shit didn’t help. ๐Ÿ˜› (And I doubt that I’d be anything like this if I hadn’t gotten hurt and stopped working… but meh, who knows, I could have ended up worse. Que sera, sera. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ™‚ )

But it was kind of nice to do this mid-week rather than waiting until the weekend like I usually do with most of the mail. I mean, there’s no getting around their business hours when it comes to needing to actually get in touch with folks at the office. But yeah… a big chunk of “bleh” was at least handled and pushed off to the side until probably the start of next week. ๐Ÿ˜Š A little bit of uncertainty is still gonna be creeping around in my thoughts until this is truly settled, but there’s nothin’ new about that.

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. ๐Ÿ˜ณย 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? ๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ˜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. ๐Ÿ˜ Way to prove a point. ๐Ÿ˜ Job well done. ๐Ÿ˜

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. ๐Ÿ˜ž 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? โ˜น๏ธ 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. ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ 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. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ 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. ๐Ÿ˜ง 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. ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ๐Ÿค” 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. ๐Ÿฅบ 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. ๐Ÿคž๐Ÿป 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. ๐Ÿ™‚

Sunny Sunday

It sure was a beautiful day today. Almost unfair, considering that we’re not really supposed to be out in it… at least not around other folks. 72 degrees, sunny, big poofy clouds, and lots of gusty wind to blow through the house. I ran out of pop last night, so I knew I was gonna have to go somewhere today, and that somewhere ended up being the gas station / quicky mart up the road.

They had the front double doors and the side door propped open, so the wind was blowing through the store just like it was outside. They also had signs that let people know that they only wanted five people at a time in the store, and asked folks to wait outside until someone left if the store was already “full.”

There was only one other customer inside the store when I went in, and she was over in the Subway part of the store. (I can guarantee you that I’m not buying a sub with fresh, cold, been-sitting-out-in-a-bin-all-day toppings on it.) So I grabbed some pop, some pretzels, some smokes, and then hit the road. The fella behind the counter didn’t seem too stressed, even though we both stood back from the counter except for the few moments when it was unavoidable.

But I was so distracted by the amazing weather that I found myself just sitting out on the porch, messing around with the phone to make a crude 3D scan of the houseย (works best w/touch interface), taking the cat out to smell the trees and the grass, and generally not doing anything productive the whole day. It really felt like a weekend day.

Oh, I did watch the iRacing NASCAR 125 race from “virtual” Texas in the afternoon, and it was pretty darn good like last weekend’s was. The race even had a sponsor, although I can’t remember who it was, and it looked like drivers and teams had some sponsorship deals going on as well. Looks like it might be sticking around for a while.

So yeah, it was nice to “waste” a day when it was as nice as it was, and when there was good stuff on the TV to distract. Getting ready to watch “Bad Boys for Life” here in a few, and then I’ll gather up all my mail and bills and shit so it’ll be ready for me sometime tomorrow after the grumpy from waking up wears off. I hope y’all were able to have a decent day as well.

Predictably Unpredictable

Had one of those fortunate times where my workers comp doctor appointment coincided with my neck acting up. Obviously “fortunate” is a relative term… but I think it’s important that the doctor sometimes see me at the worst of my worst times, since at many of my appointments I’m “okay.”

The spasms started yesterday, after carrying a big bag of cat food in from the garage. It used to be that I could still use my right arm to carry about any amount of “dead weight” … where I don’t really do any lifting but just let whatever-it-is hang there at the end of my arm. I guess I’ve got to be more careful about even that now.

It makes sense that something heavy, carried with my right arm, could still pull across the muscles and tendons of my neck and therefore irritate the damaged area… I’m just not stoked about the potential of losing even more ability than I already have. ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ I’m also not stoked that sometimes just the act of sitting down a little too hard triggers a nerve spike that radiates out over both of my shoulders. ๐Ÿ˜ฃ I know I’ve got a big head, but just that little bit of “extra” downward force on my neck… it’s scary that that’s enough to sometimes cause an unpleasant jolt.

But my visit with the doctor was productive. It’s great that after more than a decade (with a basically stable, yet slowly deteriorating condition) he’s still more than happy to give me as much time as I need at an appointment, and this was one that took a little longer as we discussed everything. And while I’m not a fan of the process, we both agreed that it’s probably time for another MRI to see what’s going on in there. ๐Ÿ˜ณ Now, whether workers comp will approve it, that’s another matter.

This was one of those “C’mon, there has to be a way to make it where I don’t hurt like this.” visits, which are probably as frustrating for him as they are for me. ๐Ÿ˜ It’s just that there’s only a limited amount of reasonable things we can try, and I’ve already done treatments like cervical spine injections – which only provided limited relief, both in the amount the pain was reduced and for how long. ๐Ÿ˜’ And with the risks involved in that method, I’m not sure that it’s worth it when adjusting my meds could prove to work better.

Meh… I’m so tired of medical stuff. ๐Ÿ˜ž But I’ll wait to see if the MRI is approved, I’m also waiting for a call back about some other things, and then we’ll just go from there. Like I told him today, I’m still too young to just accept that this is how I have to feel, and I haven’t battled with workers comp for this long just to feel “bad, but not really bad” most of the time. ๐Ÿ˜’ If there are still things that could help me, they need to remain open as options – otherwise what’s the point? Thankfully, he still seems to agree.

Nuclear Medicine

Had the same lady as last time give me the radioactive iodine dose today. I’m not sure if they all act this way, but she’s fun… not intentionally, but in the way that she makes it feel so dramatic. ๐Ÿ˜ And I get it, she works in that department every day, so a person’s gonna want to keep as far away from all the radioactive stuff as possible, so I don’t blame her. ๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿปโ€โš•๏ธย …ย ๐Ÿฅข๐Ÿ’Šโ˜ข๏ธย ย ๐Ÿคขย It also has the side effect of making it seem like this pill is reallyย going to be doing something, whatever that something may be.

Before they even bring the pill in, she had me go through a practice run – having me put my hands exactly where they need to be, telling me how to get the pill out of the container without touching it or anything else, and then how to gtfo while having to pass near as few people as possible. Of course once the lead container is opened and the pill is out, she stays as far away from it and me as possible – but, probably just from habit, that’s mostly how she acts even through all of the tedious paperwork and talking beforehand.

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Don’t mind how dusty my entertainment screen is (or the custom commands ๐Ÿ˜), but I’ve decided to take this as a sign… this was the first song that played (at random)ย in the car as I left the hospital parking lot. (Video Link: Back to Life – Hailee Steinfeld)ย I’ll even give credit to Mom, since I was talking to her on the way in, asking that if she was able to give any help guiding the medicine during the process this morning, that I’d be happy to take it. ๐Ÿ˜Œย Oh, and they remarked how shit my thyroid levels are (in a good way, for the dose/scan anyway) and it’s no wonder I feel like utter shit and fall asleep all the time. So, there’s that. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ

Still can’t start up my meds until after the scan, and until after the doctor has reviewed the results to make sure that they “came out okay” for lack of a better term. It’s a typical long test where you have to lie still in a tube for about 45 minutes, so there’s always a chance there could be some sort of blur or error or something, to where they’d wanna do it again in a few days or whatever. ๐Ÿคจ But with any luck, by this weekend I’ll be on my way “back to life” at least in as far as my thyroid and energy levels are concerned. ๐Ÿ€๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป๐Ÿ™‚

Unfortunately, I’ll have to avoid stuff likeย this until I’m less radioactive. ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ Wish she could understand.

Inescapable

My brain and body have definitely been on pause today. Thursday night into Friday afternoon was a rough chunk of time… going over to say goodbye to my friend Christina with a ton of family around, then a couple hours sleep before heading to the hospital at 6.5a for the radioactive iodine treatment, and shortly after I got backย home I learned that Christina was gone. ๐Ÿ˜”

We knew it was coming, and we were all there the night before because we honestly thought it would happen that evening – but she held on for one more day. It was so nice to be around all the family, many of whom I hadn’t seen in a good while, and I even met her biological dad… who was a really kewl old d00d. We all tried to keep the vibe as positive as possible for each other, but of course it was still really sad. I wasn’t even going to go over, feeling like it wasn’t my place, but Bri reminded me that I’m just as good as family – and that of course I was welcome and wanted there.

Meh… I don’t really wanna talk about that anymore. My thing at the hospital took over two hours, although most of that was pre-treatment lab work, having three pages of precautions read to me, and of course the signing of all sorts of documents. Once they opened the lead-lined container and used tongs to get the pill out to hand it to me, it was literally a minute until they were shuffling me to the door. They really want you to just gtfo once you’ve got the radioactive vibe.

The lady that did it all, you could tell that she was used to it… because even before the pill was in the area, she would still do things like asking me to place my ID on the tray table so she could grab it, rather than me handing it directly to her and risking actually touching her. And boy, once that pill was out and in my hand, she backed across the room until I took it – and as she guided me to the quickest way out of the building she reminded me to stay at least six feet away from her. Good stuff, eh?

I didn’t have any nausea or sickness as side effects, but it did make me have a funny taste in my mouth… and I unintentionally fell asleep that afternoon from about 4p until midnight – but that was as much from the lack of sleep the night before as it was the medication. I have to stay on this low iodine diet for a few more days, I’m supposed to not be around kids or pregnant people at all for a week, and six feet away from anyone else… and poor Maven, when she wants to sit on me or lay next to me, I have to put her down on the floor at the base of the recliner – but I make her a little nest in the blanket and share the space heater with her, so she’s okay as long as she’s close to me. She hasn’t left my side since I got home… pretty sure she senses the “bleh” I’m giving off.

Just hoping I don’t irradiate her too much until it’s out of my system.