A Little of This, A Little of That

The past several days have been kind of mundane, but I suppose that could be considered a good thing. I did make it out to see Bri on Sunday, and Ariel and the girls were also there when I first got there, so it was nice to get to see all of them in one pop like that. πŸ™‚ Bryson’s growing like a weed, and man is he a happy baby… always giggling and smiling at his mama, and for whatever reason he thought I was particularly funny and worth staring / laughing at for most of the time that I was there too. πŸ™„πŸ˜

Once the week started, everything’s just been kinda meh. Tending to bills, various paperwork, doctor calls, dealing with insurance, dropping off medical release forms at my attorneys’ office, etc. πŸ˜’ I could have just mailed those back to them, but because I let my mail sit for over a week before realizing that their correspondence was in one of those envelopes, I didn’t wanna cause any further delay – so taking the forms directly to them was the quickest option. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ™‚Β (I wanna do whatever I can to help them help me.)

The bills from the hospital didn’t end up being as bad as I was fearing. Six envelopes arrived from them within a day of each other, all having the same appearance as their typical “amount due” mail… 😟 so I just cringed and put them off to the side for a while, not quite ready to start writing checks. But when I opened them the other night, each one was just a form letter that let me know that because I have a fixed income, their financial assistance program covered the difference between what everything cost and what my insurance actually paid. πŸ˜―πŸ˜ƒΒ Nice to have something go my way, particularly right now.

Then today I had to go to pick up some soda, so I decided to go out to Meijer – where I could also grab a bag of dirt, some grass seed, and a couple bags of pebble-type stone. 🀨 The lawn guys kinda “over-whacked” some weed areas, like around my light post and the clothesline poles out back – so the next time we’re gonna have a few days of rain, I’m gonna try to cover those areas. πŸ€” Nobody was working in their garden department to help me get the bags over to my cart, but luckily I was able to just slide them over from the stack and onto the underneath rack of my buggy. πŸ˜₯ Getting them into my trunk, however… that required creative use of my right arm and right leg.Β (And that crap can stay in my trunk until I’m ready to use it, thankyouverymuch.)

Oh, the pebble stones… that’s for out by my mailbox. When it rains a little more than average, that area turns to slop – and not only does it make it slick for the mailman, but their vehicle also then continues to wear away that spot each time they drive through it. πŸ˜• I put sand there a couple of years ago, but it’s just time for me to try something else. I’m gonna wait until it’s wet for that as well, when I’ll drive my car out to the end of the driveway and just spill the new gravel directly out of the trunk instead of effing with the heavy bags.

But that’s been the tone of the first half of the week… just thinking about or working on “meh” stuff and getting it out of the way. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜ Some good, some bad, but most just “whatever.” I’ve been sleeping in the recliner, and that’s actually helped when it comes to getting sleep and waking up in a little better condition, but I’m starting to miss my comfy bed. πŸ˜΄πŸ’­πŸ›οΈΒ  Β (Well, it’s comfy as I’m going to sleep, at least… heh)

One more night in the chair and then my bed gets another shot. This all makes me sound so old… πŸ˜πŸ€•πŸ‘΄πŸ»
Oh… and my friend had her pacemaker installed yesterday, they had her in and out of surgery before noon, and she was back in her room and texting with me like normal by the early afternoon. πŸ˜ŒπŸ™πŸ» We’re fortunate to live in a time where there’s such a thing as “minor” heart surgery like that. I’ve got a short list of things that I wish we had cures or fixes for though, that’s for sure… but overall we’re lucky with what’s available to us when it comes to procedures and treatments for a whole lot of stuff. πŸ₯πŸ‘©πŸ»β€βš•οΈπŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈ

Oops…

Obviously didn’t have the oomph for that “korean name” post that I was planning the other evening. It will still be coming… just whenever it decides to come. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Got the gamma scan the other day, and actually felt a little worse afterwards this time. Everything went as planned, I wasn’t ever scolded for not holding still or anything – but 45 minutes to an hour lying in the machine just isn’t pleasant, especially when half of that was with my arms raised above my head, which is a position that my gimp shoulder obviously isn’t a fan of.

But you know how it goes… scan techs can’t tell you anything, other than knowing that they got the images they needed, and then I didn’t get a “next day” phone call from the thyroid doctor, so I’ll take that as a good sign. That way I have just started taking my meds as normal again, and I can get through this weekend without having to think about any of it too much hopefully.

And knowing how bad I’ve been feeling, and how I’m supposed to be avoiding people due to the radioactivity, Genesee had one of her friends drop off a bunch of food for me.Β πŸ™‚Β She basically got three or four entrees from Olive Garden, plus a big salad, slice of pie, and a bunch of cheese sticks. πŸ– That’s gonna help a lot, because my appetite is already low, as is my energy to get up and make anything to “make” myself eat, so having all that awesome food just ready to go whenever I want a few bites or more – it’ll last me through the weekend easily.

But yeah, just wanted to check in to report that everything went as planned with the scan, and that I get to treat this weekend like a weekend and not worry about any appointments or cooking or anything… so hopefully I can start to recharge my run-down ass.

Oh, and even though I still haven’t gotten on Facebook, I did see a couple posts through the Google News app, reminding me that the Perseid meteor shower happens over the next couple of nights. πŸ“ΉπŸ˜―Β So I’m gonna put all of the practice I’ve been doing (with planes and cars at night) to use – and hopefully will be awake to capture some of the streaks as they cross the sky. Luckily, my view from the front porch is just about the right direction for viewing. Gonna use ridiculously long exposures, to maintain the light trails despite the video playing at time-lapse speeds. πŸ€“Β First thing I’ve felt a little bit excited about in a while, so hopefully my energy and the weather cooperates.

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.

Once More For Good Measure

The bulk of my current thyroid treatment has been set up. Blood draw, three weeks without any thyroid meds, limiting iodine intake in my diet for that whole time, another blood draw… then the hospital (if the results of the second blood test allows it) will schedule a time for me to go there for the iodine radiation pill again, with the full body scan about a week later. Once everything is said and done (and only if there are zero issues along the way) I’ll be spending a little over a month without my thyroid and without the meds that replace its functions. And no, I’ve got no intention of googling to see how bad it might get.

Same as last time, I’ll have a protocol that I will have to follow for the week after I’ve taken the pill. No contact with anyone for the first few days, no contact with kids or pregnant women after that… washing everything I touch, keeping my distance from the cat when possible, using plastic utensils and paper plates… all that sorta fun stuff. Only this time I have no idea how I’ll physically and mentally feel due to being off of the thyroid medicine for so long. The next month or so will be an adventure.

Meh… there was more doctor stuff today, plus I’m likely gonna be radioactive when I’m supposed to have my next WC doctor appointment, so I’ll have to figure that out… but I just don’t have the mental energy to really keep at it this evening. Found out a couple of sad things with some other friends… I dunno, this day just ended up being pretty crappy. I’m gonna try to get some sleep and try to start fresh tomorrow.

I’m glad that at least this stuff is all on track now and we’re moving forward, I guess…

Pass The Baton / Kick The Can

I didn’t do my bills last night, but I’m doing them now. πŸ˜’ They’re enough of a pain in the ass that I think I deserve an intermission, so I figured I’d jump over here and drop a few paragraphs. I knocked out the easy ones… gas, electric, internet, etc… but all of the fun medical related ones are starting to come in, and I want to pay closer attention as they nickel and dime me. 🀨 Mostly just to make sure that they don’t nickel and dime me over the same test, scan, procedure, or person twice.

My appointment today? Well, I guess it was okay. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ He said that the pathology reports on the tissue removed during my surgery was exactly what the pre-surgery biopsy had suggested, and that it’s the most common and most treatable type of thyroid cancer. 😐 Bleh… I don’t like using that word, so don’t expect to see it get used much here. 😷 So, it was a good follow-up, with the labs at least not coming back with something scarier than already thought. And I really pushed him for his true opinion. I told him not to bullshit me, and asked him if he had any “gasp” moments during the surgery.

Like I told him, before I was able to get workers comp to pay for my C5-C7 fusion surgery, I had to get an MRI done – with several doctors and medical assistant folks looking at the results, which showed some pretty severe damage. 🧐 And each one that didΒ look at it… it gave them a “gasp” moment. 😧

Where even a trained medical professional was like Wow. 😳 or Damn. 😯 or Holy shit. 😱

I explained how that helped me in thatΒ previousΒ situation, as it got everything approved and moving much more quickly… but that a “gasp” moment now isn’t something that I was hoping for, but that I still wanted him to tell me if it happened to him while he was digging around inside my neck. 😐 His reply seemed genuine (as usual) when he said that nothing was any more concerning to him once he was in there than when he was anticipating how it would look and how it would go. πŸ‘πŸ»

He explained that there was inflammation, but no more than he was expecting. He said that nothing gave him any kind of pause, that the surgery went as well as he could have hoped for, and that I don’t need to worry so much at this point. (Easier said than done, pal… 😏) I’m getting more blood drawn tomorrow, and he’s referring me to an endocrinologist in the same building that will hopefully help get my screwed up levels straightened out, as well as likely doing (or scheduling) this marker/radiation pill dealΒ  – which will hopefully be a one time thing followed by close monitoring. 🀞🏻

I figure I’ll save the questions about if/when I’ll have to see an oncologist, although I’m guessingΒ that’sΒ gonna be the doctor that would be doing the marker/radiation pill deal that I just mentioned, now that I think about it. πŸ€” It’s a little frustrating to be handed off from specialist to specialist, but better to have a whole bunch of different eyes on the situation than just one d00d who might not know what he’s doing, right?

So today’s follow-up… I’ll take it as a positive outcome. πŸ™‚ Didn’t really learn anything new, but learning that the labs confirmed what the initial tests suggested, and nothing worse… that’s sure better than the alternative. Also, having the whole “Don’t BS me, doc.” conversation, with the way he replied… it did actually make me feel a little more comfortable with the whole thing in my head. And so it goes…

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.

Faith In Medicine

Got up early yesterday and went and got that steroid injection taken care of. Since I was having it done at a local “surgery pavilion” (yeah πŸ™„ I know) it ended up feeling like the real deal. 😯πŸ₯ I had to strip and change into a gown in the staging type room, got all wired up with sensors and an IV, was rolledΒ way down to a procedure room full of huge lab machines, and when I was done they wheeled me all the way back up to a different area (recovery) where, after having my vitals taken a couple more times, I got dressed again and then had some bloke guide me to the exit. 😳

The doctor that did the procedure is the same one that I’ve been seeing every month for the past decade, so after seeing him for years in “diagnostic mode” – it was kewl to see him in that environment, runnin’ the theater, calling out to either of the nurses for this and that, and then of course jabbing me with needles. πŸ’‰πŸ˜¬ And I’ll admit, some of the stuff hurt a little more than I expected. Kind of like when you get a tattoo on your bicep, the underneath part is super sensitive… well, in order to get me numbed up, the area(s) that he had to hit repeatedly with the lidocaine injections had that same “YOWZA!” effect.

So, the site was numb, and he went in… needle, then saline, then dye, then… oops, a bit of blood. 😯 I’m not sure exactly how bad that could be, but none of them seemed worried and he decided to try one level lower instead. (Which means I had to go through the anesthetic process all over again. ☹ Yay.) This time it went without issue… but let me tell you, it’s quite an unusual sensation having extra fluid (as limited as it probably was) pumped into your spine. It’s like it’s used to a certain “normal” pressure, and that bit of extra… at least for me, it was like someone plopped down on my back for a few minutes. So strange.

My doctor is awesome though… and I’ve probably said that to various people in various places over 100 times by now. 😏 But he talked to me through the whole thing, told me everything that was happening, everything that was getting ready to happen, and then when I was in the recovery room he came out and showed me the pictures, described it all over again to make me feel at ease, and that was about it. πŸ€— There was a lot more “fuss” than I was expecting, but if I notice that it’s making a difference over the next few weeks I certainly won’t object to doing it again when needed. 🀨 ‘Cuz something’s gotta give… something has to eventually work better on me again, right?

The day before all of this, I stopped in again to see Mom and Dad. πŸ‘ͺ As I was telling him about what I was getting ready for, he mentioned the procedure that he was getting ready to have… but he said it in such a “matter of fact / no big deal” type of way that I didn’t really pause to consider the seriousness. πŸ€” More serious than mine, anyway. A heart cath is one of those common-ish surgeries where you just expect that cardiac surgeons can basically do them in their sleep… but each patient can obviously be very, very different – so you can’t really say for sure how safe it is or isn’t. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈπŸ‘πŸ»

But, and I think it started way back when Mom had a brain tumor removed, for whatever reason I just have a strong faith in medicine, the people that practice it, along with the technology and science behind it. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Yeah, I’m all fucked up now, but not because of the fusion surgery… it was because of the delay of the surgery. So that’s why I wasn’t sweating my injection yesterday, and why I’m only slightly sweating Dad’s upcoming procedure. Oh, and you may have noticed that I didn’t mention God in all those things I said have faith in… but yeah, he’s absolutely watching over all of it, for all of us, so while it’s not a guarantee – it does add a subconscious sense of “unconcern” when thinking about it all.