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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Clearer

Tried to get some video and photos of the eclipse last night, but I just couldn’t get the settings right on either the camcorder or my dSLR. Tonight, however, with the moon straight out my front yard and just over the horizon… definitely better results. You can even look at the edge and see the various contours, peaks, valleys. It’s not perfect, but it’s still pretty neat.

 

Depth Perception

I’m not feeling too great, so I’m gonna keep this post short. Today was the day that Jim and his brother were going to the county fair, and he also wanted to drop off the Phil Collins concert ticket that he got me – so I just saved him the extra driving and time and met them at the fair. I wasn’t much fun for the Sweet Corn Festival, and I’m not sure I was a whole lot more fun today, but I did make an appearance. Plus I wanted to get some longer “real-world” footage with the 360 camera and take some “portrait mode” iPhone shots to see what Facebook’s new “3D” algorithm could do with them.

(Wow… vertical video shows up bigger than I expected. Click to make it “screen sized” at bottom of vid.)

It’s a neat little trick that they’ve come up with… something that I wish the phone could do natively… but it’s also something that once everyone and their brother learns how to do it, the motion sickness that it may cause will probably be enough that the peanut gallery starts demanding a button to disable this nerdy new trick entirely. But I’m feeling a little too “off” to fuss with that 360 video right now… not sure when I’ll get around to it, but don’t be surprised if it sits on the back burner for a while.

Overbooked / Understaffed

Not thrilled with how my dentist appointment went yesterday. The root canal, to prepare for a crown, was first – and I ended up spending two hours in the chair. Some of that was waiting for the numbing agent to work, but a lot of that time was because she had her office overbooked – and she kept working on me a bit, leaving for a bit to work on other patients, then back to me again. She had to have done this about a half-dozen times… enough that by the end of it all the numbness was wearing off.

Now, I know that what she was doing with my tooth was difficult, and she had to use different tools and try this and that… but in my opinion, once she started working on me that should have been it. And the “rooms” are actually somewhat in the same common area, so it’s not like I can’t hear her working with someone else during the moments she was taking a break with me. And when I said “by the end” it didn’t actually mean that she completed the task. It means I had enough of the pain and the pauses and I told her to either get it wrapped up or put a temporary filling in it and I’d return at a later date when she could actually finish uninterrupted.

I honestly wouldn’t go back to her if the impression hadn’t already been taken of that tooth, and the process of shaping the tooth for the crowd having already been started. But the second dentist working there, after they numbed me up a second time, she came in and got my wisdom tooth out in about five minutes. Granted, her job was just down and dirty with much less finesse required, but I was thankful to get it done and get out of there. It was an awful sounding process… lots of cracking, breaking, digging… *shudder* I’d hate to have actually seen it from a 3rd person point of view.

My entire day after that appointment was fucked… think about two hours of having my mouth pulled this way or that way, opening as wide as I can, and then of course all of the actual trauma to my mouth. Couldn’t even close my mouth during the times where she wasn’t in the room, due to the bite guard. Felt like someone hit me with a 2×4… it kept me from falling asleep and woke me up a few times during the night once I did. So yeah, one of my worst dentist experiences by far. As soon as the crown is in and I know that I can’t be messed with, I’m gonna make sure someone hears my complaint. Take two hours on my mouth, fine, but don’t go running away so often that half of the time in that chair was spent either watching TV or micro-napping.

Pass The Baton / Kick The Can

I didn’t do my bills last night, but I’m doing them now. 😒 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. 🤷🏻‍♂️ 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 did 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 that previous 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. 👍🏻

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 deal  – 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 guessing that’s gonna be the doctor that would be doing the marker/radiation pill deal that I just mentioned, now that I think about it. 🤔 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. 🙂 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…

Behind The Mask

So it’s been a week since the surgery, and while the incision site seems to be healing well, I can’t say that I’m too impressed with how my body is acting. I’m anxious to talk to the doctor again about this, so I can find out exactly what’s going to be done to get me back closer to “right” again.

Each day I’ve tried to do this or that, to see how I feel… and I feel stuck at about ten minutes of activity before it starts to affect me. The energy just isn’t there, and I get overheated when trying to do pretty much anything. Again, like I’ve said before, I know that there will be adjustments to my medication that should hopefully help with this – but it’s just frustrating how I’ve kinda been “waiting out” this first week to see if things would just gradually get better, when it seems like they’re not going to.

I’m gonna take a shower today though, while keeping my neck out of the water, because these cat baths aren’t cutting it – and I haven’t washed my hair since last Wednesday, so I’m far overdue. I haven’t shaved either, since I’m nervous about getting the area around my stitches, so I’m looking rather homeless right now… and that doesn’t help to make me feel any better when I look in the mirror.

Meh… it’s just been a long week and I’m feeling pretty miserable.

Oh… Yeah

Today was a good day. I have some papers that I needed to sign which also required two witnesses, so this afternoon I went over to my friend Amy’s house so she and Rick could provide some initials and signatures to help me out with that. I ended up staying there about a half hour, and we stood outside talking and looking at various projects that Rick either had been working on or planned to start working on soon… and lemme tell ya, that guy can do almost anything. 💪🏻😎 And like I told him, sometimes it’s nice to live through someone else’s inspiration and motivation about their passion projects. 😏

After that I made a quick trip to the gas station in Rockbridge so I could a) fill my car with gas, b) pick up enough necessities to make it to next week, and c) grab some Burger King so I didn’t have to do any cooking tonight… all in one shot. Basically just a mini-run to keep me “good” here at the house until next week, when I intend to do a much bigger “stocking up” shopping trip before my surgery… just in case I don’t feel like leaving the house and mixing with the unwashed public for a while afterwards.

But what I actually did while I was out today isn’t the point. The point is that I did all of that stuff today without thinking about the problem with my leg at all. 😃 I may have had some pain as I was getting in and out of the car, but I don’t remember it. 🤷🏻‍♂️ And as I was walking around to get ready, or over at Amy’s house, or while I was filling the car and doing my shopping… once I got home I realized that I hadn’t been limping, at least as far as I know, through any of it. 😯

I’m not going to start cheering just yet, since I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs as I’ve been going through this… but yeah, it feels good to have not been nagged by pain for at least that small part of my day. I’m hoping that sitting on this giant silly yoga ball is actually making a positive impact, because I’m going to keep doing it. I’m also going to change the sheets on my bed and add that fluffy mattress topper thing that I bought a few weeks back.

I really needed something like this today. 🙂 I mean, I’ve got much less on my mental agenda today than yesterday, but it really was an uplifting surprise to have (for the first time in a couple of months) such a span of painless walking. And the older and more broken that I get, the more that I’m learning to appreciate these small victories.