Much Doctoring

It’s only half way through the week but I’ve taken care of the blood draw, the appointment for my off-and-on lower back issues, and then another appointment to go over the lab results and schedule some additional things that need to be checked off of the “Post ’18 Surgery / Keep an Eye on Stuff” list at some point during the next six months. 😯😊 That was a pleasant surprise to hear that last part… that my lab numbers didn’t trigger any sense of urgency from the doctor, and that I can just do those next things at my leisure. πŸ™‚πŸ‘πŸ»

Tomorrow is gonna be a partial day off… probably gonna make a couple more phone calls (yay?) that need to be made, but other than that I’ll probably just potato in the AC here at home. It’s been effing hot so far this week, and looks like it’ll be just as bad (if not worse) as Independence Day approaches. πŸ˜“ Some of us are meeting up on Friday for my friend Jim’s birthday, and that’s gonna be outside, so I’m gonna cross my fingers and hope that we can find a place around here with both a low human count and lots of shade. 😎

Had a nice surprise towards the end of the day. πŸ™‚ Well, nice for me, but slightly less nice for Dad. He wasn’t feeling great so he had someone take him over to the ER to get things checked out, and once they were done I went and picked him up and gave him a lift back home. πŸ’πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸš– He seemed like he was feeling pretty good, relative to the reason for his trip out. I’m glad my car was cleaned out since a couple weeks ago though… heh… ‘cuz not only would I have been embarrassed for him to see it, but he also would have been sitting with his knees pinned to his chest due to all of the trash clutter in my passenger-side footwell. πŸ™„πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜…

My sleep is still pretty screwy, so I’m almost positive that I’m gonna be up half the night tonight – but I’m not even gonna sweat it one way or the other. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Half the time, when I can’t sleep, it’s ‘cuz I’m stressing that I can’t sleep. But with nothing major on the agenda tomorrow, it doesn’t matter when I crap out or wake up. 😴 My nap today was solid though. 😊 I didn’t even hear when the lawn guys came and mowed… only noticing it once I was backing my car out of the driveway later in the day.

New Trick

I learned something new at my most recent doctor appointment for my neck, shoulder, nerves, spine, etc… I learned that there’s a way to completely deactivate my left arm. 😳😧 Seriously. It switches to rag-doll mode and isn’t good for a GD thing. πŸ₯Ί My neck was close to frozen and the muscles were all jammed up in my left shoulder and neck, so I asked him to show me some stretches that might be able to break me out of that.

What he showed me definitely worked… it relaxed the constantly-tense muscles and reduced some of the pain, but man… for about 10 minutes it also made me think that I wasn’t gonna have use of my arm again. ☹️ I ended up finding a place to park in the far end of the parking lot so I could lie on the hard ground, brace my scapula, and do some range-of-motion type stretches to get it working again. πŸ˜£πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

What a weird feeling though, to get in the car and mentally place both of my hands on the steering wheel… for only my right arm to actually do it as the left one just hung there. πŸ₯Ί It didn’t feel “asleep” or tingly or anything, it just didn’t respond. Scary shit. So, it’s not a great feeling to know that the painful / annoying tension has to be there (at least in some part) in order for my left arm to be even slightly useful. 😠 Because when you totally relax those bad muscles, there aren’t enough muscles left that are attached to good nerves that make it do what it’s supposed to do. 😟 And yeah, I know this is a weird blog entry, but trust me… when an entire arm suddenly just doesn’t work, it’s pretty jarring.

As I was laying on the ground, moving my arm up, down, and around… I thought for sure that someone would either send a medic out to check on me or, more likely, someone would call the cops on the weirdo lying on the ground, flailing around. πŸ˜πŸ˜―πŸš” So I don’t know how I feel about all this. Learned some specific stretches and motions that help relieve the pain and pulled muscles, but at a pretty big cost. At least the option is there, I guess, and everything is temporary… both good and bad. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

No more news on the other stuff yet, but I’m taking a break… I need to lie down.

Prepare to Launch

Surprisingly, all of that mail that I was dreading… it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. πŸ€¨πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I can’t say yet if any of it is actually good, but the information that came in over the past week or so was of a type that at least keeps me optimistic and motivated, and that’s something that I really need in order to keep fighting the never-ending WC game. 😟 Like I told Dad, even if a lot of it ends up falling through, at least it’s helping to keep me going right now.

My attorneys are still working from home for the most part, so I don’t think all of this information has trickled out to the ones that need it yet. πŸ€”πŸ˜’ So tomorrow I’ll be calling in again to see if I can find someone to talk to before my doctor appointment and possible stop by the Social Security office. 😞 With all of this stuff going on, of course SS is gonna perk its ears up and wanna know what’s going on (Like a cat that hears the cat food bag crinkle, or a dog that hears when his squeak toy get stepped on… 😏) so I just wanna make sure they’ve got all of the information they need as well.

And ironically, my neck has been extra janky today, so I’m hoping that my condition doesn’t improve before my appointment tomorrow. 🀨 It doesn’t usually work out where my “worst moments” coincide with the time and date of my appointments, but it’s nice when the doctor can actually see the true extent of the suck. I think it’s because I was folding so much laundry over the past couple days, along with several other small chores that I forced myself to do while the energy was there. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Meh.

Oh, and regarding my attorneys… there’s a good chance that I am gonna have to go to the main office to either give them copies of what I’ve gotten, or perhaps start signing some different things if they did get these same papers and have already begun working on them. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€πŸ’ΌπŸ‘©πŸ»β€πŸ’ΌπŸ€“ But their office is located downtown, and that hasn’t been the most car-friendly area over the past couple of weeks. 😯 I’ll have to check the different news sites tonight and see what they say about protests / areas, and maybe start looking for a “back way” into the nearby parking garage so I can sneak in and out if needed.

I’m not looking forward to tomorrow though. πŸ˜• Basically all of the things that are great at stealing my energy… that’s the stuff I’ll be doing all day. Visit with my doctor, impromptu SocSec office stop, phone calls with my attorneys (w/possible trip up to Columbus), stopping by my insurance agent’s office for some things, etc. 😐 But it’s my choice to glom all of this shit together this time, because I’d rather do it, have it hurt and/or drain me, but then have it all (hopefully) out of the way for a little while.

Calling it a day early though. 😴 Gonna go dark, find a movie to watch, and hopefully sack out soon. πŸ‘πŸ»

Too Late, Too Early

I stayed up until around 2am last night. Mostly just because I couldn’t fall asleep, but also because I wanted to step outside and see how many meteors I could see from the Lyrids meteor shower. πŸ€“ I stood outside for a little over ten minutes, freezing, and saw a grand total of none. πŸ˜… I know that I was looking where I was supposed to, so they were either lighter than expected or I was just blinking at the wrong time. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

No big deal, since if I had seen several of them I probably would have been wishing I had figured out the needed settings for my cameras so that I could have captured them. πŸ˜’ But earlier in the evening I did mess with the phone and camcorder a bit, to see if I could quickly figure out how to get a noise-free, well exposed photo of the stars in the sky, while also being able to capture any shooting stars… and it’s not as easy as you’d think, at least not with an iPhone.

It’s funny, I’ve got it down where I can get a decent exposure of the night sky, but I know from trying to also capture a few passing planes in the frame – that the way I was exposing the image requires the stars to “stay put” for about 30 seconds, and any moving source of light just wouldn’t be captured. πŸ€”πŸ˜ Meh… I’m fairly confident with my regular star exposures, so if the sky is clear tonight I might plug up the phone to power and leave it out back to possibly get a decent time-lapse. On a full charge, using just the internal battery, I was only able to get one hundred 30 second exposures, forming this bitty 10 sec time-lapse… πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ™‚

(As usual, best viewed in HD, full screen… and this time, in a dark, dark room. I’m gettin’ there…)

So it was after 2a before I went to sleep, and then I woke up around 7a because my brain knew I had a doctor appointment at 9:30a – so it was sleeping lightly, waiting for any excuse to make sure that I’d wake up and not sleep through it. πŸ™„πŸ˜ Obviously I’ve had early doctor appointments before, but this one was different, so I’m certainly not complaining that I had to wake up early for it today.

This was my first experience with “telemedicine” as I guess it’s called. πŸ˜ƒ Staci called a little early, at 9a, to see if I was awake and able to go ahead and start… and she then sent a link via text, I clicked on it, it opened a page that started the AV connection as fast as a regular Facetime call would start, and from that point on it was like a regular doctor appointment. πŸ€“πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈ

She did her normal “pre-doc” stuff of all the typical information that they gather before the doctor actually comes in, she then put me on hold for about 30 seconds, and then my doctor clicked back in and we wrapped up my appointment in less than ten minutes. 😊 Still covered everything that we would have covered in person, and in fact – because I didn’t have to experience the anxiety of the in-person visit, I probably felt better than at a “normal” appointment. That also meant that I didn’t ramble on about any minor “this or that” which often happens when I’m actually there and able to bitch. πŸ˜…

So yeah, I could definitely get spoiled by something like that. πŸ€— I realize though that a doctor does have to be able to physically interact with a damaged person at least every couple of appointments (to confirm the level of their damage) but it would be nice if I could do two of these, then a regular appointment, two more of these, then a regular, etc. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜• Unfortunately they probably aren’t able to bill insurance at the same rate when they do “virtual” vs “real” appointments, so once they feel that the COVID risk isn’t as high anymore, everyone will be going back to the regular routine. πŸ˜’

Heh… this is probably my longest, most coherent pre-10a entry I’ve ever written. πŸ˜‹

Tnx, Easter Bunny (Bok Bok!)

The Easter Bunny totally spoiled me again this year. πŸ°πŸ˜ƒ It was probably the combination of a bunch of candy, lots of little neat / weird / random goodies, some scrunchy / puffy catnip dolls for Maven, and then all of it coming during this time when we’re all bored of seeing and doing the same thing day after day, meaning that whenever anything new and unexpected gets thrown into the mix it’s gonna be a nice treat. 😌 I won’t even get into the details of the “goodies” in the basket, since they’d probably seem rather strange to someone that didn’t know me and Genesee… er… me and the Easter Bunny, rather… πŸ€“πŸ˜ but it’s a perfect little collection of weird stuff for the sake of mental distraction.

I think the EB also caught word that I don’t exactly keep my shelves and fridge stocked with “real” food, so along with the regular basket of goodies I also got two huge bags of food from The Olive Garden. 😯🀀 I ate the cheese sticks as soon as I unpacked stuff, but then there are five more entrees waiting for me, a couple more salads, a ton of bread sticks, and a big piece of cheesecake. 😁 I had no idea that any of it was coming, other than being told to expect a delivery, so it was a great addition to the other stuff from the bunny.

I can’t think of anything I’ve done lately that should merit me getting spoiled like this, and I do feel bad that I haven’t been able to include Dad in the surprise company and surprise food, but it’s sure gonna be nice to have that “real” food for most of the days coming up this week. 😌 Like I told Gen, I really am stocked up on foodstuffs. πŸ€” Frozen stuff, canned stuff, boxed stuff, etc… and I would have been okay with only that… but this was just really good timing and I really appreciate it.

In other news, a few days ago Wendi had me download Facebook Messenger, that way she could video-chat me and I could see one-month-old Matthew Jr live and in person. 🀀 And after telling Wendi that I’d “try to get back on Facebook” soon… I’d swear that my words got picked up by the wind and were subliminally scattered to my friends. πŸ™„πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜ Because not long after, I had two different friends “find me” on YouTube and Twitter, and then a couple different friends texted me directly… all wanting to know if I was okay, if I was gonna get back on FB, etc – since I really have neglected folks for a long time. 😟

(Honestly, I think that re-installing Messenger after so long may have caused notifications like “Robert Batina logged on for the first time in six months. Say hello!” or some similar shit like that. πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ)

On average my anxiety is still high, but I’m trying to handle the bits of each day in little chunks – rather than worrying about all of them from the moment I wake up. 😳 Cousin Jimmy was another one that hit me up after a couple of months off, and he helped ease my concerns regarding getting back into the social swing of things. πŸ€”πŸ€¨ He reminded me that everyone on Facebook is now dealing withΒ at least one shitty, significant “life” thing –Β so I might be able to sneak back in without any fuss or questions about why I vanished. 😬 I may get into that here sometime, but I’m hoping to keep my eventual return to FB quick and painless.

Okeydoke, enough rambling… heh… I was (good) wired after the surprise company from my cousins yesterday, and now I’m feeling (good) wired from the Easter Bunny totally hooking me up with goodies and a ridiculous amount of food food this year. πŸ˜… But it is starting to get late, so I should go ahead and shift my brain into neutral and start getting ready for bed sometime here in the next one to eight hours. πŸ˜πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

I know everything kinda sucks right now, and it feels nearly unavoidable… but I hope y’all had at least a little unexpected good stuff pop into one of your recent days like it did mine today. 😊 Take care, stay safe. ✊🏻

Just Like New

I think I can break self-isolation for this, and people (if they knew) wouldn’t scold me too much. πŸ€”

I’ve had an iPhone 7 Plus for several years now, and she’s finally starting to show her age, battery-wise. And with the new iPhone 9s or SE2s coming out soon, I don’t really want to be tempted by a brand new (albeit “budget”) iPhone when I’ve got one that works just fine for almost everything that I might need it for. 🀨 So getting a new battery for my current phone is the best way to squash all of that.

Another thing that’s getting close to needing a new battery is the car. Even though it hasn’t been cold this winter, it’s still turning over with a little more struggle than I’d like. Not struggle struggle, but basically you can tell it’s not new anymore. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ It’s about four years old now, original factory battery, so I don’t know if this is an “expected” time-frame where it would be due or not… but I’ll have the battery d00d test it first and see what he says as well. (Although common and business sense may guide his opinion in an obvious direction. 😏)

The battery store where I picked up a couple of scooter batteries a few months back… really nice guy running the shop, and he was working on a phone as I was checking out and didn’t seem nervous about it. πŸ€”πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ So I could get the phone taken care of, the car taken care of, and believe it or not – they even offer windshield wiper blades… which is another thing that I haven’t changed since getting this car years ago. 😏

Everything looks competitively priced, and all of it has free installation… cuz lord knows I can’t even come close to chucking car batteries around on my own, and wiper blades can be a surprising pain in the ass if you don’t pay attention how you take the old ones off… heh… at least for me. πŸ€“ So anyway, I might end up stopping by that store whenever I have to go out anyway to pick up my meds, so hopefully I’ll also be able to get some of these little concerns taken care of while I’m at it. 😎 Total human contact = 1 person. 😷

Slightly Uneasy

Wasn’t really excited to go to my monthly doctor appointment for my neck and shoulder today, but despite knowing that I was going to get some funny looks – I did wear one of the extra little paper masks (that Cassi gave me several weeks ago) while I was inside the building, since it also houses several other doctors and emergency room services where people might be hacking and coughing. 😳😷

Luckily the place was the least crowded that I had ever seen it. I waited until right before my appointment time to walk in, so I didn’t have to mill around in the waiting area with the humans for long. πŸ˜’ (Plus it’s super big, and wide open… lots of room to stay away from people.) Not many clients in my own doctor’s office either, so it ended up being in-and-out without too much interaction with anyone.

And I know, people under 50 have a relatively low chance of having a severe or fatal reaction if they are infected by SARS-CoV-2, so not only was I being careful in order to hopefully avoid an annoying illness for myself – but also because I don’t wanna end up being someone who barely has a reaction to it yet unintentionally spreads it to someone else. 😟 (Mostly thinking about whenever I might go to visit Dad in the foreseeable future.)

Appointment went well, and my doctor took plenty of time talking with me about the topics that I’d bring up, just like usual. πŸ™‚ Things are still up in the air, but I gave him the basics about what’s going on with my WC claim and what changes might be coming in the next visit or two. It’s nice to be able to spitball some ideas with him and know that it’ll actually lead to something.

Meh… anyway… here’s some HD clouds from yesterday. πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Pretty Good Evening

Forced myself out of the house for the second half of the day. Had a bit of normal running (grocery/bank/etc) to do, but for a change I also hit some thrift stores while I was out. πŸ™‚ Helped to calm my nerves as I was out among the humans, as well as keep my thoughts free of any of the “bleh” I’ve been dealing with lately.

Found an OSU shirt for me, along with a couple of big bowls for salads or cereal or whatever, and then saw a white poofy coat with a fur-lined hood and “sparkle” along the seams / pockets – so I grabbed that for Cassi, since I knew she’d have liked it if she was there. 😊 I also found something for Genesee. With her being a Snoopy fan / collector, I went ahead and grabbed this giant Pez dispenser with a Snoopy head. 😳😯 Figured it would make good decoration for a shelf somewhere if nothin’ else. 😁

Stopped by and saw Dad on the way home, and ended up staying there longer than I thought I would. He had the Roku fired up so I was able to introduce him to Daily Dose of Internet and the benefits of the YouTube app. πŸ€“πŸ‘πŸ» I only recently discovered that channel myself, but we ended up watching an hour-long compilation followed by the better part of an hour-and-a-half one that followed. πŸ˜… It was nice though… and like I said to him, there’s all kinds of awful stuff we could have been watching or talking about, but these little videos just kinda “take you away” from everything in the real world while you’re watching. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜Œ

It’s funny… as I was getting up to leave, Dad mentioned something about the WC stuff, and I had actually totally forgotten about it at the time. πŸ™„πŸ˜„ But I did wanna update him on everything that was going on, so I’m glad he reminded me. It’s a lot to take in all at one, but I think I got him up to speed, and he’s on the same page as me when it comes to what seems fair and what doesn’t. 🀨😏 It worked out good though, being able to get all the info across without accidentally having spent the entire visit talking about it.