A Taste Of What’s To Come

We got our first hint of winter today. Well, at least where I was. It may not have been the same here at home, but up on the north side of Columbus it was a couple hours of rain, sleet, and snow.Β Nothing was sticking, but it was sure making the driving unpleasant. πŸ˜• But Cassi recently cracked a toof 😣 and this particular dentist was the only one that could get her in anytime soon. Having experienced that myself, I couldn’t let her miss that appointment and just “deal with it” until whenever the next chance would have been.

My tire pressure light came on during the drive up there, so rather than waiting in the parking lot until she got done, I went to the closest gas station to air up my tires. Then to the next closest one… and the next closest one after that… 😠 I had to go to four different places before I found one with a working air machine. To be honest, it’s probably time to get some new shoes for my car anyway – since two of my tires have predictable, slow leaks, and the tread is getting worn enough where I at least think that I feel a difference when I’m driving on wet or otherwise slick roads. πŸ€¨πŸ€”

It was a couple weeks ago, right after it had rained, but I was taking a circular type exit ramp (at a normal speed) and I could feel her pushing just a little bit as I was taking the turn. It may have just been that another vehicle had put down some fluid that my car was reacting to, but at 60k miles… it’s probably better to be safe than sorry. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Especially since “snow or not” I’m still gonna have regular doctor appointments and workers comp crap that I won’t be able to avoid all through this winter, and I don’t wanna have to make each of those trips with my butt in a constant state of pucker. πŸ˜―πŸ˜…

But yeah, considering that all of this was unplanned, it wasn’t that bad of a day. They’re gonna need to do a root canal and crown on her damaged toof, but at least they were able to provide a temporary fix so she’s not miserable until then. 😟 But I’m gonna take my evening meds and try to sack out early tonight, ‘cuz I can still feel today’s drive in my shoulder – and I really don’t wanna wake up tomorrow morning feeling the same way.

Lazy Sunday

Wasn’t able to fall asleep until about 5am this morning, but my alarms woke me up at 11am to see that Genesee had made it home safely without any further airline incidents. πŸ™‚ I’m glad that it’s sunny out, ‘cuz man did I wake up feeling like crap. In this case, I’ll take the nice view out the front window, even though I’m not gonna be going out to do anything in it. 😏 Same old story… a few days where I was doing more stuff than usual, so today everything gets to hurt more than usual – at least for a while. It’s fine though… nothing important on the agenda today, and I’ll gladly pay the “price of admission” (the pain, for the slow folks) whenever she wants to come for a visit. 😊 I’m really glad I don’t have to do anything today though. πŸ˜…πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Meds should slowly make things better in that regard, then there’s the race in Texas to watch in the afternoon, and while that’s going on I’ll probably dig through some old blankets and sheets in the basement to get the cat house done and put outside. I don’t really want an outside cat, but if he insists on hanging around, I figure that’s the least I can do for him. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜Ί Somewhat unrelated, I had another one of those weird, split-second thoughts about Mom when I was waking up earlier. I’m not sure what triggered it, but it just popped into my head that I needed to e-mail Mom to tell her about Gen’s visit. 😟 A thought so brief that you realize the problem with it, before that thought even has the chance to be completed…

I only mention it today because when I told Genesee about it, she said she had a similar thing happen when she was out with her friend and the horses. The natural thought of her wanting to stop by and tell her dad about the horses and show him the pictures when they were done. πŸ§πŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸŽ It’s strange how that still happens, and makes me wonder if it will always happen… those instinctive thoughts that pop into your brain and stay only long enough to make you sad. πŸ˜• Not sad sad… because I’m confident that Paul had already been watching her mini-adventure, and that Mom has been happy about Genesee coming to visit from the moment I picked her up at the airport… but you know what I mean. πŸ˜‡ It’s a weird feeling.

But I’m gonna hop off here, tidy the living room, and then try to take it easy for the rest of the day – saving the “returning to my normal routine / responsibilities” stuff for tomorrow. 🀘🏻😎

Thursday Mission

Woke up stupid early yesterday so I could help out a friend. She’s been in an ongoing custody “disagreement” with her former SO for quite a while now, where they’ve each been representing themselves in court due to how expensive an attorney can be. 😟 And without having a lawyer on her side, while things have been going in her favor, it’s just happening so slowly. With another hearing coming up in about a month and a half, she knew she had to start doing something differently, so I looked up a few places that claim to offer pro bono representation for people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford it.

She’s got an aversion to talking on the phone, just like me, but on Wednesday I encouraged her to start making some calls… and by that afternoon she had spoken with someone at SEOLSΒ who seemed open to the idea of taking her case, or at least hearing her out and looking at all of the information to figure out the best way for her to proceed. πŸ™‚ So that evening I printed out all of her case information to date, a ton of things meant to show that she’s the “more ideal” parent, and got it all sorted and organized in a way that would make it easy for an attorney to look through. πŸ€“πŸ“’

So then yesterday morning I picked her up to take her to the closest SEOLS office serving Fairfield County, which is unfortunately way down in Chillicothe. πŸ˜’ I left the house around 9:30a, and by time I got back home it was after 3p. That’s a long friggin’ time (for me) to be out and about, working on a stressful project… even though, obviously, she’s the one bearing the most amount of that stress. I just really want things to go well for her, and being familiar with the frustration of facing hearings with unknown outcomes, the empath in me kicked in and I couldn’t help but feel many of the things she was feeling. πŸ˜•

I didn’t go in with her when she actually met with the attorney, but she said things seemed to go well and that it felt more positive than negative. He made copies of all of the information that he needed and said that he wanted to talk to some folks who specialize more in custody cases on Monday… so while things sounds good, she’s still gotta wait a few more days before she’ll know for sure if they will provide someone to represent her. It was worth the trip regardless, because at the very least they’ll be able to hold her hand through what she should do next, even if they end up not being able to actually be with her on the day of her hearing. I’m gonna stay hopeful though, because having an attorney could make all the difference.

But I was wiped out by time I got home. πŸ˜₯ I’ve done very little “out of the house all day” stuff lately, and especially for something that’s as “high stakes” as this. And of course helping her with her legal stuff kept my legal stuff in the back of my mind… the upcoming WC stuff, that is… and starting off the day so early, with my shoulder already bugging me, all of the time in the car didn’t help. 😣 But it was a small sacrifice to help her with something that could end up being a game-changer in the long run, and I knew that I’d have all day today to recover if I needed to.

Well, my body didn’t wanna wait until today. 😏 Shortly after getting home I knew I wanted to take a short nap, but also not screw up my sleep schedule. But my nap lasted until the evening, and when I did wake up I went ahead and took my evening meds and thankfully ended up falling back to sleep – not waking again until a little after 6a today. πŸ˜―πŸ˜ƒ So I’m just now starting to catch up from messages from all day yesterday, but I’m gonna wait a while to reply so I’m not waking people up as early as it is.

I’ve still got a friend or two that gets concerned if I don’t reply in an undefined amount of time. That’s thoughtful of them, but boy I wish that folks in general would consider that even the most nerdy of humans don’t necessarily get online every day, or multiple times a day… and that sometimes whatever is going on during a particular day might cause messages to be ignored until the next. πŸ˜•πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Yesterday’s situation was based on necessity, but I still do wanna try to take “days off” from the digital world every now and then… a luxury that younger people these days probably don’t really have. Imagine taking a teenager from today and transplanting them to 1985, during summer break from school, living out in the country, with only a landline telephone as means of keeping in touch with friends. πŸ˜…

Heh… another “old fart” thing to add to the growing library of “old fart things” in my head. πŸ™„πŸ‘΄πŸ»

Learn To Relax

I know it’s only Thursday, but I think I’m gonna mentally start my weekend now. Had all kinds of horrible nightmares last night, even though I can’t tell you a damn thing regarding what they were about. 😟 I just know that multiple times throughout the night I’d wake up in a sweat from whatever I was dreaming about… I dunno, maybe bits will come back to me throughout the day as dreams sometimes do. Just takes hearing the right word or seeing the right image on TV and stuff can start coming back into view.

So, not much sleep, headache when I finally woke up for good… although at least it’s a normal headache and doesn’t seem related to my neck, so hopefully some Aleve will be able to help with that. I think it’s just the stuff that has been occupying my thoughts for the first part of the week kinda building up… worrying about my friend’s surgery, thinking about and helping out another friend who has a custody hearing today… and then despite doing pretty good at keeping my WC stuff out of my thoughts, struggling while shopping yesterday agitated my frustration – by barely being able to handle a few relatively small bags of dirt and gravel – I think my brain just got a little full, and last night’s dreams may have been a product of that. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Regardless, I’m gonna take it easy today, stay relatively disconnected from the digital world, and probably do a little work around the house. Lawn guys were here yesterday, bills and paperwork have been handled, no appointments to worry about, no calls to make or people to see… so I can just chill here in my bubble and not worry about any of the stuff that might stress me out. 😌 I mean, I’m definitely interested in politics and all of the “goings on” when it comes to all that, but I’m even gonna try to avoid that today… and today sounds like it could be pretty “big” when it comes to potential news. (I’m sure I’ll catch Maddow later, though… I just like the long-form way that she sums up the day’s biggest stories.)

But yeah, just figured I’d go ahead and get some “me time” before the weekend gets here. It’s funny, even though I don’t have a traditional Monday-thru-Friday type schedule since I don’t work anymore, I still feel like I have to justify it to myself if I wanna take a “day off” during the week. πŸ™„πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Hell, even at that, I’m still gonna do some laundry, put away the groceries from yesterday, other light misc chores… and I’ve gotta learn to give myself credit, even for small crap like that, when I’m not feeling great. So, yeah, I’ll probably be a little slower at reading and responding to any messages today… it’s not you, it’s me. 😏

You Never Get Used To It

(Oh yeah… this is quite a rambling one.Β  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. πŸ˜’πŸ€’ 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. 🀨 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. 😯

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. 😟 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. πŸ™„πŸ˜ 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. 🧐 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. 😠 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 shouldΒ 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. πŸ€“ 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. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜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. πŸ˜• 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. 🀨

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. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€πŸ’ΌπŸ‘©πŸ»β€πŸ’ΌπŸ—’οΈπŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš–οΈΒ (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. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ 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. πŸ™‡πŸ»β€β™€οΈ 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. 😒 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. 😞

Any good luck or positive juju that you want to mentally send my way is greatly appreciated. πŸ€žπŸ»πŸ™‚πŸ™πŸ»

Weekend Ramble

Went over to Bri’s for a while the other day. Got to see all the work she has done on the apartment since moving in several months ago. She’s really got the place looking good, with the boys’ room having an Avengers theme – plus she’s getting ready to put up a bunch of glow in the dark stars to go with the blacklight. πŸ˜―πŸ˜ƒ I definitely see her mom’s decorating style in what she’s done… most people’s first apartments don’t start off as nice as she’s got hers so far. It’s nice to see her happy and proud of what she’s been able to accomplish.

Brantley was with his grandma, but he did make a FaceTime call to Bri while I was there. Now, when he was a newborn, baby, then toddler I was around him a lot. But when he went to live with his dad… I’m not sure how long it has been, but he’s in kindergarten now – and last time I had seen him, other than his birthday a few months ago, he still wasn’t even talking yet. But her phone was almost dead at that point, so I went to grab the charger so she didn’t have to get up, and Brantley caught what couldn’t have been more than a second or two of me in the background of the image, but he smiled and said “Hey, what’s Bobby doing there?” 😊

So that was pretty neat, especially since I’m not even used to him carrying on conversations quite yet – and since it’s been so long since I’ve been around him. So whether he remembered me mostly from the birthday party, or from his younger years of being around the house, it’s nice to know that I’ve got a somewhat-permanent spot in his little brain somehow. πŸ™‚ It’ll be nice once they get their custody stuff ironed out a little better, where we can all actually do stuff more regularly again, hopefully.

Like I’ve mentioned plenty of times, my energy is coming back – but I’ve still got a surplus of twitchy when it comes to my social energy. πŸ˜’ That’s not related to my thyroid, but more just how I’ve always been… or at least how I’ve become over the past several years. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ So even if she gets him a lot more often, and even though I love spending time with them, it still uses up my batteries a heck of a lot faster than if I was just at home by myself. 😏 Hey, what can I say, I’m just an old fart that’s getting more set in his ways… it happens.

So this weekend I’m gonna take it easy for the most part. I’ve got plenty of NASCAR stuff to watch, gonna do a little of this and that like usual, and then Monday I think Cassi and her new possible-boyfriend are gonna come down for a bit. He’s already gotta be in town for something, so I figured between the two of them they can get the heavy-ass old mirror out of my bathroom closet and up to her place to hang in the hallway. It’s the one that was in my living room forever, but I took it down months ago when I thought I was getting close to being ready to have the place painted. Heh… that didn’t happen, but that’s okay – it doesn’t bother me, really, and I’ll get to it at some point – and meanwhile that mirror can live on and be appreciated and actually used.

I like when I can gift something (that has meaning / history) to someone that actually knows the history, understands the relative importance, etc… whether it’s Bri’s bed, which was actually Grandpa’s bed… or like with Genesee, her and Sarah have a nicely decorated home, including a nice curio cabinet where they stick “special” or particularly “pretty” stuff. So about a month ago, before my scan, I actually sent her “The Candy Dish” to be added to the cabinet. It’s funny… to anyone else it’s just a regular glass candy dish with a lid.

But it’s definitely a “Batina thing” because it’s been around since I was little, and the whole “thing” was that you weren’t allowed to take a piece of candy from it unless you could lift and replace the glass lid without it making any clinking noise whatsoever. 😁 Now, once her nieces and nephews are old enough, she’s going to carry on that tradition / game with them… and that makes me happy, versus it just sitting here and not living its full purpose anymore.

So yeah, gonna try to keep my weekend light… a few doctor appointments coming up next week, along with whatever other stuff that I didn’t accomplish this past week, so it actually makes sense to treat the weekend like an actual weekend in this case. Might try to do something fun / hobby related… like, I still have fireworks from a couple of years ago that I’ve wanted to shoot in slow motion – might try to do something like that. Or I might do nothin’…Β  who knows. πŸ˜‹πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Method To My Madness

You may or may not have noticed, but over the past many weeks – especially in the time right before and after my scan – I’ve been posting a lot more entries to the blog than usual. Even if not in quantity, I’ve definitely been ramblingΒ more than I typically do. Now that I’m most of the way past that phase, I’m probably gonna end up slowing a little with my postings – not necessarily on purpose, but because as things start to feel like they’re returning to normal I have a feeling I just won’t feel like I need to post quite as much.

There’s no way to explain to someone who hasn’t gone through it, how it feels to sit with an unspecified amount of cancer in your body, jumping through all of the hoops for the tests, which includes gradually wearing down your energy levels to nothing, and then just sitting there, not knowing, waiting, worrying, hoping, etc. 😟 There isn’t an emotion that you don’t experience, ranging from hoping that it’s completely gone – to hoping that if it isn’t gone, that you at least get an expiration date… just to finally get rid of the uncertaintyΒ more than anything else. 😞 I suppose I can only speak for myself, but I don’t see how anyone wouldn’t feel most of the things / ways that I’ve felt. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

But my way of dealing with all of that (or distracting myself from all of that) was by posting here. Didn’t necessarily want to talk to anyone about it in person, or in any detail or whatever… but also couldn’t just sit here and stay all bottled up about it. So whether my posts had something to do with my medical stuff or not, it’s been a big reason why I’ve been so active lately. Now, I’m not saying that I’m gonna stop blogging… I mean, rambling is sort of my thing, it’s more that I just wanted to come here and finally explain.

Of course it doesn’t help when in the middle of all that, I get new “neck stuff” (unrelated to cancer) to eventually be concerned about. πŸ˜’ It’s hard to stay positive and try to get back to normal when just as you’re finishing up with one thing, something else fairly big comes along right on the tail of the last thing. And that’s what a lot of my postings have been, whether they seem like it or not… trying to find the silver linings, trying to reassure or even convince myself that I have the ability to take the good for what it is, and work around whatever negatives are left after that. (Bleh… that sounds cheezy.)

I’m still not back to normal, but I’m definitely getting there. I found out, thanks to the festival, that even though my energy levels are a whole lot better – there’s still a wall there to be hit, and I still don’t get a sign when I’m approaching it. I’m assuming that’ll just continue to get better though, because it has so far. I’ve barely been doing anything with friends yet, and still haven’t been on Facebook for over a month now… so I’ve still got a few of those types of hurdles to get over, but it’ll all come in time. πŸ™‚ I’m not setting goals or time-frames or anything like that… just trying to always make sure that I keep moving forward with all of it. And as for the stuff that I’ll have to face in the future, whether it is spine related or cancer related (or something as of yet unforeseen), I can’t let it chew up all my thoughts and actions between now and whenever that will be.

So whether it helps me because I’m just getting stuff out, or because it also helps to reinforce the positive thoughts… whatever it is, it’s just what I’ve needed to do during this more-uncertain time in my life. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ But as I continue to get better, it should require less energy (or rambling about it) in order to keep the progress going. I made it up and over the most recent hill, so now I can hopefully start to coast a little more if that’s what I decide to do.

Meh… I could obviously continue with more on this topic, but this basically explains what I wanted to be explained. We’re all works in progress, and I’m no different. And if it’s not one of the issues that I’m currently focused on, there’s always gonna be something else that tries to damage my calm and toss some grenades in my life’s direction. 😟 I’m just hoping that I can take the things that I’ve learned from dealing with the current situations and apply them to those other things when needed. πŸ™‚ Maybe get a little better with the “ups and downs” since we all seem to come with an endless supply.