World Mental Health Day

(Just got done writing this one. Heh… sorry, it turned out way longer than I anticipated, but here we go…)

Any time you get on Twitter and scroll through your feed, you see any number of people posting something because it’s a “National (whatever) Day” of some sort. Usually it’s not… but it gives folks a good excuse to post cute pictures of their cat, dog, kid, or whatever – but after seeing several posts and doing a quick google, it turns out today really is World Mental Health Day.

It’s meant to raise awareness, show support for folks getting or needing mental health care, and to also reduce the stigma that’s sometimes involved. Often involved, actually. ๐Ÿ˜’ For example, a while back at one of my primary care doctor appointments I was discussing some of the things in my life that were causing me anxiety. My disability, pain, the (then) newly discovered cancer, Mom being sick and now having passed, other close friends dying from cancer, dealing with workers comp, etc… ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ like I told her – stuff that would probably cause anyone to feel stressed. I was just telling her so she’d have the full story, but she said she could refer me to a counselor if I wanted to talk to someone about it. ๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿปโ€โš•๏ธ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ

Seemed like a good idea to me. Sometimes just being able to let out your stress or anxiety to someone that’s not involved in your life in any way… it can just take a little bit of the weight off. I saw her like once a month for a few months, and she said she could refer me to their in-house doctor to see if there was any medication that might be able to help. I wasn’t really interested, since I was feeling an appropriate amount of “bleh” in regards to the stuff that was causing it… but I went ahead and took her suggestion.

I now see that doctor about once every six or eight weeks, and I’ve actually got an appointment with him tomorrow where I’ll need to make a decision. ๐Ÿค” Because, despite this feeling like a normal series of doctor visits – just as if I was dealing with a physical health condition – the fact that this doctor gives me medication to help with my anxiety is now being used against me. ๐Ÿ˜  And being used against me by the last person that I would expect to further the stigma surrounding mental health care… another doctor. โ˜น๏ธ

And when I say “mental health care” … I don’t even take any type of super serious medication, and I haven’t been diagnosed with any extreme disorders. Until this hiccup happened, I looked at this doctor and my treatment there as “Yeah, I guess it makes me feel a little better maybe… or at least I know it’s not making me feel worse… so I guess I’ll continue going.” Like, in my mind, it was barely a thing, but I continued going since it was now part of my current medical routine.

But when I had to go to the independent medical evaluation for the workers comp system (a week or so before getting that second radioactive iodine dose and scan for my cancer followup) one of the things discussed with that doctor was what medical treatment I was currently getting, and from who. (Regardless if it was related to my WC injury or not, to get a complete picture…) So of course I talked about the cancer doctor and treatment, my WC doctor and treatment, and then my PCP doctor and referral regarding the mental health care.

Now, these exams, they’re initiated by my former employer’s insurer, so of course they’re rarely going to be helpful to my cause. So I expected him to say certain things, but I never expected that being treated by a doctor for occasional anxiety would essentially be “weaponized” and used against me the way that it is. ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ๐Ÿ˜ž Because this doctor took the names of the two meds I’m prescribed, and picked some of the absolute worst possible reasons that I may be taking them. You know how almost every medication has one “thing” it is known for treating, but then it can also be used for treating a half dozen or more other things?

You could even do this test on yourself. Just grab whatever meds you take, get on WebMD, pick out the most extreme, “worst case scenario” possible uses for each medication, and see how close that sounds – compared to what you’re actually taking them for. ๐Ÿง That’s what this doctor did to me. Taking what is run-of-the-mill, minor anxiety treatment to me, and twisting it into all sorts of implied, speculative, “concerning” mental conditions that could be so severe that they even affect how I interpret / talk about my pain and disability. ๐Ÿ˜ง๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ˜  Reading those things in his report was honestly shocking. ๐Ÿฅบ

The funny thing is, for most people… just the pain that I deal with each day, and the sheer amount of things that I can no longer do due to the disability in my left shoulder and arm… just those things alone are enough reason that a person might want to include anxiety treatment in their normal medical routine. And I was doing it mostly because another doctor suggested it, and it sounded like a “might as well” thing, rather than me desperately needingย it or seeking it out. And now it has bitten me in the ass. ๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿ˜’

Well, maybe it has bitten me in the ass. (Maybe the commission will see right through it, as they should.) I won’t know how his report will affect my worker comp case until the hearing is scheduled and all of the doctors’ information (from both sides) is reviewed. But now I’m stuck, wondering if tomorrow I should let this doctor know that I no longer need his services. ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ He probably helps me a little bit, but it’s certainly something that I could do away with if it’s going to damage the treatment that I get for my work injury. It’s obviously more important (and logical) for me to want to keep the treatment that keeps my pain to a minimum, which also helps keep my stress and anxiety to a minimum.

Yeah, so anyway, it’s a bit of a clusterfuck… and, unfortunately, anyone that reads my story here… anyone that may have been considering seeing a counselor or psychiatrist for the first time… they’ve now got something to add to their mental “nope” list when it comes to the pros and cons of seeking any type of mental health treatment. ๐Ÿ˜’ I don’t take it personally, what the “independent” doctor wrote. I understand that his job is to come up with all of the “worst case scenario” stuff that he can, since my doctors will obviously be talking positively about all of the ways that my current treatment is as effective as the WC situation will allow.

I guess I look at those types of doctors the same way that you might look at public attorneys who are appointed to defend obvious criminals in court. They still have to give that defense their maximum effort, even if it goes against what many people would consider to be “right.” That doctor has chosen that job for reasons only he would know… so I can only hope that sometimes he stops to think about the effect that his actions have on us folks who rely on our WC treatment to keep our pain and lives at least tolerable. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ

Happy World Mental Health Day 2019. ๐Ÿ˜’๐ŸŽ‰

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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. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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. ๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿ˜

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. ๐Ÿ˜’ 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. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ™‚ย (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… ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ 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. ๐Ÿ˜ฏ๐Ÿ˜ƒย 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. ๐Ÿคจ 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. ๐Ÿค” 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. ๐Ÿ˜ฅ Getting them into my trunk, however… that required creative use of my right arm and right leg.ย (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. ๐Ÿ˜• 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. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ˜ 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. ๐Ÿ˜ด๐Ÿ’ญ๐Ÿ›๏ธย  ย (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… ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿค•๐Ÿ‘ด๐Ÿป
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. ๐Ÿ˜Œ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป 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. ๐Ÿฅ๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿปโ€โš•๏ธ๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿปโ€โš•๏ธ

Medically Deferred Deportation?

I’m gonna try to do a mental reset tomorrow, and get all this workers comp stuff out of my head until a hearing is scheduled and things are closer to being in motion in that regard. I did what I needed to do in so far as writing a response to claims in the report, so I can’t let the frustration and annoyance linger when there’s nothing else that I can do.

Plus I’m watching Rachel Maddow right now, and she’s covering the topic of people who are in the United States who have been receiving some sort of deferred deportation due to medical conditions that they have, for which they are receiving treatment within the United States. Apparently there are still plans in place which will remove that protection from at least some of the people who are getting life-saving treatment here. Treatment that they wouldn’t be able to get if they were sent out of the country… so that helps to put my problems into context.

Yeah, all of the stuff I’m going through is a giant pain in the ass, and there are significant implications to my future medical care that will be decided based on these current reports I’ve been talking about… and yeah, it’s really working my anxiety. But it’s nothing like what those people are facing. I can’t even imagine being previously allowed to stay in the country because you’re getting life-saving treatment, only to be told that nope – you have to leave the country within the next 30 days, which essentially sentences some of those people to death. It must be nearly impossible to process that news.

So yeah, what I’m dealing with feels unfair, unjust, and uncalled for… and I know how awful just that makes me feel – but man, how does your mind react when you find out that the country is kicking you out, and sorry about your luck when it comes to your medical treatment. Ugh…

And this isn’t even meant to be a political post. I don’t know how these “medically deferred deportation” people got here… whether they have visas, whether they were brought illegally as kids, whether they were originally granted entrance because they were seeking medical care and the administration changed its mind… because it kind of doesn’t matter. What matters is one moment they’re legally allowed to be here and get their treatment, and the next moment someone has decided that that particular program is no longer going to be allowed, at least in some circumstances, and they just have to go.

When you’re upset about your own shit, sometimes you forget how bad other people’s shit can be. ๐Ÿ˜•

You Never Get Used To It

(Oh yeah… this is quite a rambling one.ย  Strap in…)

While I was off of my thyroid meds, losing energy with each day that passed, preparing to have my second cancer scan done, as you may remember – I still had to drive over an hour up to NW Columbus, to go to the “Independent Medical Evaluation” initiated at the request of my former employer’s WC insurer. ๐Ÿ˜’๐Ÿค’ For those who haven’t been through it, it’s essentially one of the methods that can be used to try to get medication or treatments disallowed from a claim, based off of a report from a doctor (like in this instance) who has seen you as little as one single time. ๐Ÿคจ That almost always sets up an Industrial Commission hearing, where (in my case) that report will be compared against the records of my own doctor, who has been treating me consistently for this work injury and disability for well over a decade. ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

Of course my thoughts were more focused on the upcoming cancer scan at that point, so I went up, had my exam, went back home, and then mostly forgot about it while I dealt with my other medical concerns. But upon collecting my mail from the box a couple of days ago – I saw that enough time had passed for that doctor to have generated his report, which is easily 30-40 pages (if not more), and have copies sent to me, my attorneys, and my own doctor. I waited a few days to open it, because I knew there would be nothing good about it, nor would there be anything that I could do about that fact. ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ It might as well have been labeled “Envelope Full of Frustration” but I finally made myself open and read it all yesterday.

I’m going to sugar-coat the shit out of this as I continue. ๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿ˜ For my second pass through this thick report, I grabbed a yellow highlighter and began to mark and number the areas where more info was needed. ๐Ÿง Whether it was adding context, pointing out inconsistencies, noting conflicting statements within the same report, or bringing attention to things that were implied, inferred, or assumption… I ended up with 48 different sections that required a response. And, unfortunately, there were several things that were simply false. Absolutely false. But still written in this report as if it were fact. ๐Ÿ˜  I’m not saying that this doctor just pulled some things straight out of his ass, but it’s a shame how many “inaccuracies” were made by someone that shouldย have the presumption of being knowledgeable and accurate, especially given the duty that he’s performing and the way it could affect the future of anyone that he evaluates.

So now my copy of that doctor’s report has 48 highlighted areas, to go along with a numbered “rebuttal report” that I created to address each of those problem areas. So when I give it to my attorneys, they’ll be able to read my comments right along with the numbered and highlighted areas on the original report. ๐Ÿค“ And despite having another doctor appointment at 11am this morning, I was up until after 2am last night… because correcting or clarifying (what I believe to be) inaccurate things in that report is really the only thing that I can do right now when it comes to “defending myself” or possibly helping my attorneys with their argument points. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ˜ž But yeah, once I started, the areas that needed my attention just kept coming, and I wasn’t going to stop and go to sleep until I had addressed everything that I felt needed it.

Of course my doctor will write a rebuttal report… something that he’s done many times before, to the point where he’s often repeating himself – because the facts are the facts, and they don’t change over time. But when there’s a hearing, it’s just expected that the doctor of record will submit a report, so he’s unfortunately stuck in this situation just like I am. ๐Ÿ˜• Thankfully, my doctor is awesome. And like me, he’s not a fan of having his words twisted, his knowledge and methods belittled… and he’s definitely not a fan of any claims, implications, or “facts” that seem to be based on little-to-no actual evidence. So not only will he write a truthful and accurate rebuttal based on all of the medical evidence, but it also serves as a way for him to “defend” himself – which is the same feeling that I have, and why I wrote my index of rebuttal points. ๐Ÿคจ

I have a ton of other things that I would like to say about the doctor’s report, but it’s in my best interest to just stop at this point. I’ve covered the basics, and you’re more than welcome to imagine the non-sugar-coated version… but even if you did that, there’d still be some things that would legitimately shock you. So now I can only hope that my rebuttal points will be helpful and useful to whichever attorney ends up representing me at the actual hearing. ๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿปโ€๐Ÿ’ผ๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿปโ€๐Ÿ’ผ๐Ÿ—’๏ธ๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿปโ€โš–๏ธย (And I’ve always felt the “commission” folks do seem to care as well.)

But the law firm that represents me is great, and we’ve (knock on wood) got a great track record from the beginning through today… so I know that they’ll have already picked apart many of the same things that I’m bringing attention to, but there still might be something that I say here or there that will contribute to the arguments that they use on the day of the hearing. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ And at the very least, having more information “straight from the horse’s mouth” will be beneficial in general, since we usually only have about a half hour to sit and quickly discuss the case before the hearing starts.

It would be hard for anyone to find the words to accurately express the feeling and level of frustration that comes along with this situation. ๐Ÿ™‡๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ To have decisions being made by other people, about things that will dramatically affect your future, knowing that “the truth” is the only weapon that you have… it’s such a helpless feeling, especially when you’re already feeling pretty damn helpless most of the time, due to the disability and pain that this whole thing is about in the first place. ๐Ÿ˜ข So other than the info I’ll be giving my attorneys, it comes down to sitting, waiting, and hoping… and there’s nothing relaxing or reassuring about that. ๐Ÿ˜ž

Any good luck or positive juju that you want to mentally send my way is greatly appreciated. ๐Ÿคž๐Ÿป๐Ÿ™‚๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป

It Shouldn’t Be This Challenging

Today’s been kind of a flop. I didn’t have anything on the schedule really, but even after not getting much sleep – I still woke up with some motivation to work on one or two of my extra projects around the house. Also, between the lack of sleep and the shitty weather, I knew today wasn’t a car or glasses day either… so I’ve spent most of the day waiting for my upset stomach to go away so I could do a little of the work that I wanted to do without feeling like I was gonna yack. ๐Ÿคข

It did make for a nice lazy day though, something that I sometimes struggle with allowing. Texted with Dad quite a bit, along with a few other friends, and then finally decided to go in the kitchen to chop up some green peppers to make some tuna salad for sammiches – to hopefully settle my belly, which it did. ๐Ÿ™‚ And to be honest, I was glad to just wake up today without my back being screwed up… something that it was showing signs of before I ended up falling asleep early this morning. ๐Ÿ˜ฏ๐Ÿ˜ฌ

So it wasn’t really that today was a flop… it was just unremarkable for the most part, so I wasn’t looking at it in the right way. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ˜ And now that I’m feeling better since this afternoon, I know it’ll help my mood to get some more of my “unessential” stuff done before whenever I fall asleep tonight. Normally my lack of productivity would have made me a little twitchy, but I think I’m still riding along on the thyroid med train – still seeming to get back a little more energy with each day that passes. ๐Ÿค’๐Ÿคž๐Ÿป I wish I could explain how bad the bad days really were just a few weeks ago, to emphasize how these little improvements are still a big deal.

I think I might go ahead and pull out the 360 cam and charge it up, in case I feel up to shooting any video at the SCF here in a few days. If not that, I plan on taking a lot more regular pictures this year. It’s been a few years since I’ve bothered, especially since last year’s trip was kind of a shit show from the start. ๐Ÿ˜’ And with my mood being decent lately (for the most part anyway…) I’m hoping that it’ll also nudge me towards getting interested in my hobbies like video and photography again. ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ

Every now and then Jim will post one of goofy our old videos on Twitter and I’ll come across it, where we were just goofing off and having fun for random Squirtman themed videos, and it makes me realize how long it’s been since I could truly say that I was having fun at anything, or that I was in a good mood for more than a couple hours out of one day. ๐Ÿ˜ž I’ve gotta start trying to figure out how to get a little more of that back, despite all of the other non-fun stuff I’ll obviously have to be working on (or facing) as well. ๐Ÿคจ It wasn’t that many years ago that I was a totally different person, and it’d be nice if I could find my way back toward that at least a little bit. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ If my body will just stay physically un-fucked for a while, I might have a shot at it.

Meh… just thinking out loud again I guess…

Sweet Corn Festival

A few months ago, when I was still looking at the then-upcoming schedule of medical stuff, it looked like everything would be wrapped up well before this year’s SCF in Millersport. It’s tradition that me, Jim, Adam, and sometimes Brad will meet up for at least one of the days there to walk around, catch up, and see how many former classmates or teachers we can spot. But Jim messaged me yesterday to let me know where and when he’d be there… and it wasn’t until then that I realized that this week was already festival week. ๐Ÿ˜ฏโŒš

The surprise is from bouncing back a little more slowly than I originally anticipated, so as my mind has been on all that stuff, I guess it just snuck up on me. I’ve got every intention of going… and in fact, I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to handle it much better than last year. ๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿคž๐Ÿป Last year, I hadn’t had my surgery yet, so my energy levels were all over the place, and I was also stuck using my cane at the time. ๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿปโ€๐Ÿฆฏ I can’t remember if it was for my back or for my knee, but I do remember that I only had enough oomph to make a single meandering “pass” with them from the ride area through to the food booths a bit past the covered bridge area. ๐Ÿ˜•

I was trying to “mind over matter” myself through the evening, but it just wasn’t happening. I feel kinda bad about how I was, because I know that my friends were concerned about me – and seeing me struggle to just walk around probably ended up being somewhat of a buzzkill for the rest of their evening. ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ I think I was there for an hour at most before I realized that I was gonna have to call it a night, so it was nice that they walked me all the way back to where I parked so we could get in as much time as possible. There were a lot more unknowns at that point in time.

Since then I’ve had my thyroid removed, been dosed with radioactive iodine twice, been to doctors and a chiropractor for my back, learned of some new damage in my neck… but when it comes to the thyroid stuff, most of that ended up going about as well as it could, and the new “neck stuff” isn’t something that’s an urgent or immediate issue – so this year’s Sweet Corn Festival meet-up should be a heck of a lot better for all of us than the last one. ๐Ÿ™‚๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ I suppose anyone with visible health problems feel the same way… for certain moments in time you wanna act like nothing’s wrong, you don’t wanna let your friends or family see how bad it can get, ‘cuz you don’t want them worrying about you – whether the worry is justified or not. You want your “normal thing” to be that normal thing.

Meh… I’m just thinking out loud here. ๐Ÿ˜’ I’m obviously still not 100%, so I think I’m talking about it to keep myself motivated and optimistic. ๐Ÿค” I did fix my sleep last night, something that actually surprised me, so I (hopefully) know what I need to do to not screw up my sleep or energy the day before we’re supposed to meet up. (Man, am I trying to jinx myself lately or what? ๐Ÿ˜)ย I’m just really looking forward to the possibility of having a normal day with my friends at our old stomping grounds, with the thoughts of all my current “other stuff” being pushed from my brain as we have a good time being reminiscing old farts, eating overpriced crappy-but-awesome fair food, and maybe seeing some other old fart friends in the process. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ™‚

Makes Sense

I’m gonna make a non-bleh post today… I just have to work up to having the energy to do it. After getting dosed yesterday and coming back home, I honestly didn’t feel any worse… but my gosh, from yesterday evening on… man, am I feeling physically awful. ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿคฎ I didn’t notice many side effects the first time I had this done, but I also hadn’t gone a month without thyroid meds, already having me weak and feeling like shit. So I should have been a little more prepared that things could feel worse than last time. ๐Ÿ˜ž

That’s not why I posted though. Next post is gonna be about me choosing my Korean name. ๐Ÿคจ๐Ÿ˜ And I know that sounds bizarre and random and “What are you talking about?” but when I do have the energy to explain it all, how it’s done, why I’m doing it… basically I just wanted to do something to distract my brain for a while yesterday, and later I’ll be able to make a post about it that will help me distract myself again. Hopefully. It’s actually a really interesting process. It’s a shame I don’t know any Korean people personally though, for them to tell me how goofy or old or weird my chosen name sounds. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ

But I’m gonna lie back down and hopefully get a short nap to get rid of this headache, but hopefully I’ll be able to get back on here later tonight for all that stuff.