kaasirpent: (Caduceus)
Thursday, April 13th, 2017 03:29 pm


On Monday, March 13, I took my orthotic inserts to Hanger Prosthetics and Orthotics near my house to have them refurbished. It's been more than ten years, and they're literally falling apart, in that the rubber is disintegrating in places.



The guy I talk to takes a look and says, "Sure, we can do that for $50. But you'll have to bring them back next week because we're remodeling the office this week."



"So . . . come back Monday?" I ask.



"Better make it Tuesday," he says. "That'll give us time to get everything put away."



On Tuesday, March 21, I took my orthotics back to them along with the long-since-removed factory-installed insoles of my shoes, so they'd have a template. The lady who took them put my name on them with a sticky note.



Later that day, I got a call saying that I needed to pay them. They wanted me to give them my credit card, but since they called me and I was in the middle of something at work, I told them I'd call back. Which I did,
even later that day. I gave them my credit card number . . . but their machine wouldn't take it. She tried several times. Then called me back and tried a time or two more. Then said, "I guess someone didn't set something up right. I'll call you back when the machine works again."



On Friday, March 24, I get a call saying that they were able to process my payment and would now begin working on them. I thought to myself, "Begin? But you've had them for three days! With my card number!" But I didn't say anything. Because I am too damned polite.



It should be noted, at about this point, that the last time I had any work done on these orthotic inserts, it only took a couple of days. I'm sure you can all hear the ominous chord already, so there's no need for me to <ominous chord> . . . oops.



On Friday, March 31, I called them again to see what was up. Because it has now been an entire week since they said they were "starting" on my refurbish. They basically said that they were still working on it and would let me know when they were ready.



Today, April 13, I realized it has now been nearly three weeks since I dropped off my orthotics, and I still have heard nothing from them. So I called them. "I need a date when my orthotics are going to be ready." The lady acted like she had no idea what I was talking about, and had to look me up in the system. She put me on hold when she noticed that I'd dropped my stuff off on the 21st of March. When she came back, she said she'd call me back when she found out where my orthotics were. Take note of that.



An hour or so later, she calls me back. Turns out, my orthotics aren't in Lawrenceville at all. Oh, no. No, they're in Athens. But the guy working on them will be coming back "maybe Wednesday of next week?" and if I want her to, she can call me when they're ready for pickup. The only time they have called me during any of this was to get my credit card number, and then to tell me it finally went through.



I want to digress for a second and explain that (my) orthotics are designed to perfectly fit a particular pair of shoes. That's what the rubber covering is for. It is trimmed to just the right size so it fits snugly and doesn't move around in the shoe. Mine have high arches to support my feet (different for each foot), and my right insert also has an extension that supports my big toe to alleviate the pain of arthritis, which a podiatrist more than ten years ago prescribed. It is (to my knowledge) the only arthritic joint in my body, but it does hurt, at least a bit. So these orthotics 1) fit my Z-Coils perfectly, and 2) are designed to minimize any pain I might experience from day-to-day walking around.



Since March 21, I've been using an older pair of orthotics that the current pair — the ones that are, right now, in Athens, GA, for no reason I can discern — replaced. The older pair perfectly fit a pair of shoes I no longer own, and are therefore too short and slide around a bit. I use them in a pair of New Balance shoes that I wear from time to time when the Z-Coils are too clunky. They also do not have the arthritis extension under my right big toe. This means they are mostly effective, but not completely. It still hurts to walk for extended periods, and when I take the shoes off at night, I can tell that the inserts have slid forward in the shoe. I can also feel the seam between the hard plastic and the rubber as I walk, and once I notice it, it's all I can think about, thanks to my brain.



Have I mentioned that I've increased my daily Fitbit step-goal from 5000 to 6000 and then to 7500 during these same four weeks? So that instead of decreasing my activity, I've increased it?



I have explained all of that to Hanger the last two or three times we've spoken.



So . . . I called Athens. I explained who I am and asked them if my inserts were there. I might as well have asked her "What is the square foot of kumquat?" She said she had no idea what I was talking about, and that the Lawrenceville office must have meant that the person who does the refurbishing spends part of his time also working in Athens, and he took my orthotics "home" with him to finish . . . but she had no idea. And he . . . is not reachable.



I said, "Find out where they are, and I'll come get them. I'm sick of this run-around. I'll gladly drive the two hours to just have my inserts again." (It's a 53-minute drive to the Athens Hanger from my house.)



I can only imagine that, right now, Athens is on the phone with Lawrenceville complaining about what a nuisance I am, and why can't I just wait until Wednesday?



I will note that next Friday evening, I leave Atlanta for a week, during which I will drive to and spend time in San Antonio, TX, then drive back. If they don't have them back to me on Wednesday of next week — and at this point, I have no reason to believe that they will, given how lackadaisical they've been to this point — it will be May 3 before I could hope to have them. Or, alternatively, if there is some issue with them — and again, I have no real faith that there won't be, at this point — I'll have no time to get said issue looked at before I leave and spend a week in San Antonio walking around.



I'm beyond frustrated and crawling rapidly toward hostile at this point. If I don't hear from them before 4 PM, I'm going to call both numbers and get them to talk to each other and resolve this.



I'm sure people who work in medical offices wonder why patients are such asses. And it's because of things like this. No calls. Nothing at all to tell me what's going on. A procedure that should not have taken more than a couple of days is now stretched out to three weeks at least, and who knows whether they'll be ready by next Wednesday? Who knows if they're ready now? Who knows, in fact, where my inserts are physically located? Lawrenceville? Athens? At the unreachable guy's house? In his car, possibly somewhere in the Adirondacks on vacation? (Speculation. I have no idea why he's not reachable.)



This. This right here is why people go from being polite to being That Guy™. I am now That Guy™. I don't like being That Guy™. I would rather not be him. But the only way to get any satisfaction is to become him.



— That Guy™

kaasirpent: (Default)
Tuesday, May 24th, 2016 04:30 pm


Today, I had a root canal.



I know what you're thinking. Your blood pressure spiked, you probably winced, and I'm betting that a good number of people reading this either ran their tongue over their teeth or actually touched their cheek(s).



Because root canal. The mere words conjure up all kinds of horrible images. If you've had one or if you haven't. Because if you haven't, everyone makes sure to tell you just how horrible they are. It seems to be a thing people absolutely must do. Like if you say you like Justin Bieber, Twilight, or Coldplay, people feel the need to tell you just how wrong you are, or question your sanity. Because people. :)



But I had one many years ago. Many, many years ago. Twenty-five of them, to be imprecise, but close. I had a wisdom tooth growing in sideways and eating away at the root of the tooth next to it. So I had the wisdom tooth removed by an oral surgeon, then had a root canal on the tooth next to it. In the same week.



So, yeah. Your root canal stories don't bug me, much. During that first one, I developed the intense need to pee. I mean, like, bladder bursting. Like 'dog walks across you and steps directly on your bladder while you need to go' level. So they let me. With the dental dam in my mouth and the thing that keeps your mouth open wide in place. Walked right through the waiting room and into the bathroom. And then made the mistake of looking at myself in the mirror. And couldn't go. And had to endure another hour of the root canal feeling like an overfilled water balloon.



So, today was fine.



Well, right up until the fire alarm.



So there I am, in the chair, dental dam in place, a rolled-up lab coat wrapped in plastic under my head because they didn't have a pillow, headphones on so I could listen to podcasts instead of the drill, sunglasses on to shield my eyes from the bright lights (Did I mention I tore my cornea this morning? No? Well, I tore my cornea this morning. So that was festive.), and suddenly, Whooooooooop! Whooooooooop! Whooooooooooop!



There was much scrambling around until someone came into the room to inform the doctor and the hygienist that it was a drill. The front desk of the building informed them right before the air raid siren went off that it was just a drill so no one would have to rush patients out into the street with, for instance, mouths propped wide open, a dental dam in place, and all kinds of suction equipment hanging out of their mouths.



Because that would have been too much fun.



As it was, we just had to listen to about fifteen minutes of that constant Whooooooooop! Whooooooooop! Whooooooooooop! The doctor was really annoyed by it. Like, so annoyed that she asked the hygienist to go check to see how long it was going to last. She said, "But they're not going to know that!" And there was a little "discussion" on that topic. And then the doctor asked another person who walked by to do the same thing, and there was another little "discussion" on the same topic. The doctor said it was really getting under her skin and she wasn't going to be able to take it for much longer and was going to have to just walk out on the patient ("haha just kidding") if it didn't — . . . which is when it finally stopped.



After it was all over, the discussion went back to how I have really nice skin, how I have the molar of a nineteen-year-old ("Your dentin was just full of blood! It was gushing everywhere!" I do not even want to know.), lobsters, noise-reduction headphones, and music selection.



On the plus side, I have a prescription for the good pain meds and some antibiotics to make sure we don't have to do this again.



On the minus side, my head is numb from about my left ear over to just to the right side of my chin, from the top of my ear down to about midway down my neck, my entire left cheek, half of my tongue, and most of the roof of my mouth. And I can't swallow, speak very well, or eat. She said the numbness would last "until about bedtime."



I'm fairly sure she isn't aware that 'bedtime' for me is anywhere from midnight to 2 AM, and will assume this means about 10 pm like normal people. But how I'm supposed to down three antibiotic pills without being able to swallow is . . . a mystery I shall have to solve later. For now, I'm at work trying to avoid having to talk to people, because my sibilant, labio-dental, linguo-labial, and fricative consonants are . . . a bit slurred (schflurred).



So . . . how was your day? :)

kaasirpent: (Caduceus)
Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 10:58 am
All done by Kit4na, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License   by  Kit4na 


Finally, at long, long last, I have had THE FINAL CHECKUP with the surgeon who did my shoulder surgery back in April.

After over a year, I'm finally DONE with this nonsense. I'll never have to talk to Some Woman at Some Company again (Hear that, universe? That wasn't a request for a lesson in irony, mm'kay? I've already had enough of that from the likes of Alanis Morissette.)

Anyhoo, it's been an eventful year. I've just recently started to force myself to use my right arm for my typical right-arm type things. It's my dominant hand, yet over the last year, I've all but stopped using it for routine things like opening doors or lifting things (like into my car or the refrigerator).

I asked the surgeon one, last question.

"So, I can move my arm pretty much without pain, at this point. I'm doing more with it, and other than an occasional twinge of muscle pain, I'm golden. So . . . is there anything I should basically just avoid doing with the shoulder?"

The doctor said, "Avoid lifting too much weight above your head. Like, if you do free weights, keep the weight below shoulder height."

"Permanently?" I asked.

"Yeah. It's bad for the shoulder to lift weights like that."

Something in his voice cued my next question. "Oh. You're not talking about just me, are you? You're talking about in general."

"Yeah. No one should ever do that."

So I'm going to take that as, "Go thou and do what ye wilt, except lifting weights above shoulder height. Eth."

I'm not even going to bother making this an "official" part 14 of the ongoing saga. Because that would involve editing 13 past entries and including a link to this one. Or maybe I will. It all depends, really, on how busy I get at work. :)
kaasirpent: (Elated)
Thursday, July 31st, 2014 11:33 am


This entry is part 13 in an ongoing series of semi-irregular posts detailing my frustration with Workers Compensation and the wonderful world of rotator cuff surgery. In case you haven't been keeping up: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | Part 12 | Part 13, THE FINAL CHAPTER (probably) (YOU ARE HERE)

Today marks the one-year anniversary of the fall that caused so many problems during the intervening year. Last July 31st, on my way from the parking lot to the building where I work, I slipped on damp pavement littered with small acorns(?) and tore my rotator cuff badly.

It has been three and a half months since the surgery to fix the problem. I have almost my full range of motion back. I can reach straight up, straight out, across my body, and only get a few twinges now and then. I still can't reach behind my back without pain, but perhaps that will come with time. The surgeon told my housemate that, among other things, I would not be throwing anything overhand anymore. And you know what? I can live with that. :)

As far as strength is concerned, I have very little, but it IS getting better. When I first started doing the exercises a couple of months ago, I could barely move the elastic band. This morning, I realized I had to move farther from the door to put more resistance in the band. There are only two of the five exercises he gave me that hurt at all, and that is getting better, as I said.

There are still times when I do something that will cause a sharp pain that reminds me that I hurt myself and that not everything in there is "right" anymore. This usually happens when I'm doing something so habitual that I tend not to think about it, like moving the laundry from the washer into the dryer, or hanging my dry laundry. It's just one of Nature's lovely little ways of reminding me that I need to think about what I'm doing. :)

The scars are still on my shoulder, and I guess they're permanent. I had originally thought they'd fade over time, but they're still quite noticeable. Meh. Looks like I lost an argument with a particularly shoulder-hating staple gun. Again, I can live with that.

I have changed my parking habits at work. I no longer park in the front lot with all the oak trees that tend to shed tiny little acorns. Onto a sloping surface. I now park in the "lower forty" lot where the ground is nice and level and the only trees are pine. The walk is much less treacherous in all weather, so it's a good thing.

I can't prove it had anything to do with me, but I mentioned before that just about the time I was having the worst of my battles with Some Woman at Some Company, my employer resurfaced the entire parking lot, making the surface less slick, and they also keep it almost devoid of any tree-detritus. So even if I were still parking in the front lot, there would be far less to trip over or slip on. Still, I'm going to continue parking in the "lower forty."

I'm tempted to call Some Woman today and let her know that I have one final doctor appointment in September, and then I'm officially done with the whole mess. I will continue to exercise my arm, being careful not to overdo it, of course (Mom). And I'll continue to be extra careful while walking, because it's been shown that I can't be trusted to do that.

In my last entry, I mentioned payment. I have yet to see a single bill for any of it, so I'm fine with that. I was also paid for the time I spent on short-term leave. I think I might have lost a few days because of some policy involving short-term leave, but that's small potatoes, and I'm not going to raise a stink. Thank you for respecting that and not admonishing me in the comments.

As a final note, I was sorely tempted to prank you all and lead with "Today is the one-year anniversary of the fall that caused me such grief, and you'll never guess what I did this morning on the way in to the office! At least now, my arms match again! Just kidding!" But I decided to be nice and not yank anyone's chain. (Just to be plain: I did not injure myself at all. Yet. The day is young. :)
kaasirpent: (Caduceus)
Tuesday, May 13th, 2014 03:10 pm


This entry is part 11 in an ongoing series of semi-irregular posts detailing my frustration with Workers Compensation and the wonderful world of rotator cuff surgery. In case you haven't been keeping up: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 (YOU ARE HERE)

Something I forgot to mention about my little hospital experience is the Nurse Drama™. When I arrived, they had me undress and get into one of those backless gowns, then lie on a bed with booties on my feet while they jabbed repeatedly at my left arm trying to find a vein good enough to administer the amnesia drug to me.

The "room" they had me in consisted of a small desk with a computer monitor bolted on it, the gurney I was on, and a bunch of equipment. And a curtain that separated me from the rest of the room and the patients on either side of me. If you've ever been involved in a surgical procedure or an emergency room, you probably know what I'm talking about.

The first nurse — whom I'll call Sue for the sake of avoiding excessive ambiguous pronouns — started the laborious process of verifying my identity and getting all kinds of stuff entered into the computer system. I had to sign several things as well.

But then Sue was called away from getting me situated to do something else. So she went outside my curtain, closed it, and I heard something to this effect.

Sue: Ann, I have to help with another patient. Can you finish up with Mr. Henderson while I take care of this?

Ann: You don't give me orders. You're not the supervisor.

Sue: It wasn't an order. I was just asking —

Ann: 'Ann, finish up my patient because I don't have time.' <mocking tone>

Sue: That is not what I said. If you don't want to do it, I'll get someone else.

Ann: No, I'll do it. I wouldn't want to inconvenience you.


The curtain slid back and Ann poked her head in, all cheer and goodness and sunlight and fluffy, fluffy baby ducks. "Good afternoon, Mr. Henderson. I'll be finishing up your prep while Sue helps with another patient."

Meanwhile, I'm thinking, "Uh . . . you do know that I could hear every word, right? I mean, it's just a curtain. It's not soundproof." But I said, "OK."

Ann putzes around with the computer system for several minutes, then Sue comes back in. They banter with each other jovially for a few seconds while switching off, and then both leave my "room."

Sue: I'm sorry if what I said came across as an order, I was just —

Ann: I have seniority here, and I don't appreciate being told what to do by someone who's only been here <however long it was>.

Sue: Ann, I wasn't —

At this point, another voice interrupts. I'll call her Jen.

Jen: What seems to be the problem here?


And for the next several minutes, I got to listen to Ann and Sue explain their positions to Jen, whom I took to be their supervisor. At some point, Sue said, "I have to finish up with Mr. Henderson," and she came back inside my curtain and picked up where we left off — cheerfully! — like I could hear nothing that went on literally three feet outside the curtain.

Sue tried twice, unsuccessfully, to get the needle into my arm. She said, "I've failed twice, so I need to get someone else to try." (Must be hospital policy?) So she left for a second, and by this time, Jen and Ann were done, so Sue and Jen had a little discussion, as well.

Sue: I honestly have no idea what I said to upset Ann. All I did was ask if she could help a patient while I finished up with another one.


This went on for several minutes. Jen got both Sue and Ann together and Sue apologized to Ann (although from my perspective, it was Ann that had whatever problem she had), Ann "accepted," and then a minute later, Sue comes back in with Fay, introduces me, and Fay proceeds to poke me in the arm three more times until they get a decent vein.

I guess what surprises me is that they allowed Nurse Drama to go on literally feet from where patients are trying to remain calm about outpatient surgery. And while they're being checked in, two of their nurses are nyah-nyah-ing at each other over some trivial nothing. It does make you wonder, though, what would happen if Sue and Ann were forced to work together on a patient. Would they let any of their animosity spill over into their jobs? I certainly hope not.

I've been toying with whether I should just very quietly make a suggestion to the hospital management that the curtains don't block conversations, and that if the nurses are going to verbally spar with one another, they should take it behind a closed door and do it privately. Patients who are already nervous over literally going under the knife within an hour don't really need the added stress of wondering if their nurse is going to be distracted because she's thinking about l'esprit de l'escalier.

Anyway, at that point the doctor came in, and verified who I was and what procedure was being done. I said something like, "I almost had my housemate write 'No' on my left shoulder, just in case." I chuckled because joke.

Sue laughed when the doctor calmly took a sharpie out of his pocket and wrote "Yes" on my right shoulder. I wasn't sure whether to laugh. "We do that, just in case," he said, very seriously.

Yet another nurse came in and swabbed the entire area of my shoulder and upper arm with Betadine, which stained my skin a sickly ochre for about a week.

Then they injected Versed into my IV, and started to wheel my gurney out of the pre-surgical area to surgery. The last clear memory I have (Versed is called 'the amnesia drug' for a reason) is going through double doors and seeing my housemate with all her stuff following the procession.

Then I woke up and my shoulder hurt and I couldn't think straight. Anesthetics take a few hours to wear off.

I think this is the last little tidbit I have to tell from the actual surgery.
kaasirpent: (Caduceus)
Thursday, May 8th, 2014 11:39 am


This entry is part 9 in an ongoing series of semi-irregular posts detailing my frustration with Workers Compensation and the wonderful world of rotator cuff surgery. In case you haven't been keeping up: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 (YOU ARE HERE) | Part 10 | Part 11


I visited my doctor Tuesday, May 6th, 2014, for my surgical follow-up. The first thing he asked me was how I felt. I told him, "Pretty good." He asked how my arm was doing, and I told him about the range of motion I've been able to achieve on my own. (I can raise it up to my side at about a 30 or 40 degree angle from my body.)

He told me that my rotator cuff was badly damaged. He didn't "fix it" so much as "repair some of the damage." I'll never, he says, have 100% usage of the joint, again. He estimated from 66% to 75%, but no more. I was a little crestfallen to hear that, because I really use my right hand a lot. I'm severely right-handed, as I've explained before.

He also said that because I had quite a bit of arthritic damage to the bones of the joint, he ground off quite a bit of bone, so I should actually have less pain than I originally had.

Now . . . I wasn't aware of any arthritis pain. Honestly. Sure, when I would try to put my arms behind my head, there'd be a small twinge in my shoulders and elbows, but . . . I just chalked that down to being vastly out of shape and having zero flexibility. I guess maybe that was the arthritis?

I never thought of myself as having a high threshold of any kind of pain. I'm one of those people who can't walk barefoot through the grass in my yard because there are sharp stalks that poke my tender soles. When I was a kid, mind you, I could run on sun-baked, gravel-paved streets and not even notice the sharp rocks or the searing heat.

Ah, youth.

Maybe I had been having more pain than I realized? Is that possible? To be in pain, but just not notice it? Like you don't notice the smell of onions cooking after a while because you get used to it, and then someone else walks in and it's all they can smell.

The doctor did tell my housemate right after surgery that I would not be throwing anything overhand, anymore. Well, damn. There goes my hope to get into Wimbledon or the Atlanta Braves. Still, it's one thing to hear 'repair the rotator cuff' and quite another to hear 'too much damage to fix entirely.'

At any rate, he then gave me several exercises to work at over the next month, a couple of times per day, each, to extend my flexibility, but not my strength. He said not to work on strength, yet. I showed him an exercise I've been doing that the physical therapists last October gave me, and which seemed to do me some good. He said I could keep that up, so 8 to 10 times per day, I do those. Twice or so per day, I'm to do a pendulum thing, where I bend over and let my arm hang loose from the shoulder, and just swing the arm back and forth, letting gravity do the work for me. I'm also supposed to "climb" my hand up a wall twice or so per day, trying to raise the arm at greater angles. And finally, I'm supposed to get a pulley I can put over a door and use my good arm to raise my bad arm as high as I can, while putting no resistance with the bad arm. I'm not to use it to raise my good arm.

I intend to look for a pulley and rope at Home Depot or Lowe's or something. Maybe one of them will have something that won't cost me an arm and a leg <rimshot>.

Now, I know what you're thinking, because not only was I thinking it, as well, but so has everyone I've told all this to, and so did my Workers Comp representative (Some Woman) when I spoke with her yesterday morning. You're thinking, "Where's the physical therapy?"

This particular doctor doesn't think it's necessary, as long as I follow his instructions and do the exercises. They are, after all, the same ones the PTs will give me, and the only difference is, when I do them myself, I won't have the added cost of visiting a PT, and I won't get the massage, moist heat, or ice pack afterward. Those felt pretty good, actually, even when my joint wasn't going to get better because of the rotator cuff being bunched up behind the joint in a pile instead of spread out like it should be.

If I can't keep up the exercises, he'll send me to PT. It's almost like a threat. Some Woman thought he's nuts, but on the other hand, it means they don't have to approve of and then pay for more "medically unnecessary" physical therapy, right? (Did you hear the scorn in my voice, there? I wasn't trying to hide it.)

As of yesterday (Wednesday, May 7, 2014), I'm back at work. I sit at a computer and type all day, so it's not like it's a big difference from what I was doing at home, which was to sit at a computer and type all day. Now, I just have less air conditioning and a less comfortable chair. The only issue was whether I could drive or not, and he gave me the green flag for that, as well. The only thing that hurts while driving is when I have to reach out to put the car into drive (or park, or reverse, or whatever; it's an automatic), or when I have to reach forward to press the button to open or close the garage door. The rest I can either do with my left hand or it'll just have to not get done.

I don't see the doctor again until June 3rd, so unless there are more infuriating things that happen between now and then, this will probably be the last you'll hear on this topic for a bit. Probably. Unless.
kaasirpent: (Idiots)
Sunday, May 4th, 2014 12:26 pm
Shoulder incisions by scjody, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  by  scjody 


This entry is part 8 in an ongoing series of semi-irregular posts detailing my frustration with Workers Compensation and the wonderful world of rotator cuff surgery. In case you haven't been keeping up: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 (YOU ARE HERE) | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11

Note: I apologize for the length of this entry. I used an <lj-cut> for a good portion of it, for those browsing your friends list.

Disclaimer: That picture is not of my shoulder, but it's the closest one I could find on Flickr with Creative Commons licensing. It's remarkable how little external evidence there is of the amount of disruption below the skin. :)


So, after the last entry, which was posted on March 13, 2014, I was waiting for Some Woman at Some Company to get back to me about the results of the MRI, which my doctor recommended be surgery.

I'm not where I can get at my copious records at the moment, but it was around the 26th of March when I received a letter from Some Company. A nurse practitioner I have never met had reviewed my case and determined that the surgery was, indeed, medically necessary. I'm leaving out all the phone calls it took to get Some Woman and Some Company talking to my doctor.

The letter said I had 60 days to get the surgery. I looked at the dates given as the window, and it was 3/17 to 5/17. Wait. It was the 26th. I checked the letter. It had been sent on the 25th. Which was after the 17th. I don't get why — at all — they back-dated the beginning of the sixty days. And I don't really much care, at this point.

I called the doctor and gave them the date range and we looked for a time within that range that suited not only both me and the doctor, but the hospital. My choices were 4/4 and 4/18. Since my boss and my team lead were both out on spring break vacation during the week of 4/4, I opted for 4/18. The time of the surgery was 1:00 pm.

I called Some Woman at Some Company and actually got her on the phone. I informed her of the date of the surgery and how long I intended to stay away from the office. She said, "Since you refused to give me your salary when we initially spoke" — I have to inject, here, that I didn't refuse so much as not have the information available at the time she asked — "I have no idea what level of compensation we can provide." I gave her my company's HR number and contact, and also asked HR to fax her the information. This was two weeks before the surgery.

I had to also call my company's insurance company — who covers short-term disability, among other things — and they agreed to cover me for FMLA.

I was set! I scheduled the time off, and was kind of amused by the little wrinkles that appeared around my boss's eyes when he realized I was going to be out at the same time as another guy, and we are the only two people who can cover one particular product. But I had a deadline, and I wanted this over with.

I had to go by the hospital a week before the surgery to get a pre-exam by the anesthesia department to determine what level of anesthesia I would need for the surgery. Before I left, they gave me a form to have my HR department fill out and fax to them. It conveniently had the fax number right there on the form. It was all about workers comp, and asked for things like my case number, my case representative, and that sort of thing. So they'd know who to bill.

I got to work the next day and gave that form to my HR rep, and she said she would fax it right away.

You can probably guess what's coming next. I wrote about it on Facebook while it was happening. Below/behind the cut (for those browsing on LJ) is what I wrote. Warning: Very foul language. I was upset. I don't apologize. I do not think I have ever in my life been as angry as I was on this day.

C-word alert! Not 'cancer.' The obscene one. )

HR faxed another copy of the form. But I didn't verify Jack because I was too pissed off and didn't want to have to talk reasonably to anyone. I simply worked out the day and left. I went to the hospital the next day at the appointed time, and no one said anything, so I assume it was all straightened out.

It took the nurses five tries to get an IV into my arm, so that was fun. Once they did, I got a dose of Versed. The amnesia drug. They rolled me out of the pre-surgical exam room into the hallway and through a set of double doors . . . and that's where my memory stops. :)

I woke up some time later with an epic sore throat. I immediately started sucking down liquids. The nurses helped me get dressed with my arm heavily bandaged and in a sling. I got two prescriptions for the good pain medication (oxycodone, in two different doses for different levels of pain).

On day two, around 4:30 pm, while I was trying to keep my arm immobile as much as possible and doing not much other than sitting in my chair listening to podcasts, I got a call from . . . can you guess? Some Woman! "We never received any information about your salary, so we haven't been able to set up compensation."

Un. Be. Liev. A. Ble. I made her wait for fifteen minutes while I got my work laptop out and went through the laborious process of gaining access to the work system from home, all so I could access my pay records to give her my hourly pay rate, so she could calculate my compensation level. I don't know who dropped that particular ball. I sent email to HR explaining the situation, and then I logged out, and that's the last I've talked to anyone from work.

The rest of the story is kind of boring. I removed the outer bandages after two days (as instructed) because of the incessant, insanity-inducing itching. Quit using the sling on day four, because it was rubbing my hand raw. Removed the strips of tape covering the actual incisions after about six days, again because of the itching. There are four, tiny incisions on my shoulder, each about 3/16th of an inch long, and each closed with a single suture. Two of them are still red, but one has almost completely healed. The last one is in between.

And I've been improving daily. I'm finally able to wear real shoes and pants (getting the belt on is the hurdle).

I have my follow-up visit with the doctor who performed the surgery on the 6th, and at that point, he'll give me some direction as far as what I'm allowed to do (drive?) or not, and how much and how far I can push the usage of the joint. So stay tuned for part 9, hopefully without copious cursing and apoplectic rage. I could use a lot less of that in my life. And getting to the point where I never have to deal with Some Woman and Some Company again will go a long way toward making that a reality.
kaasirpent: (Idiots)
Thursday, March 13th, 2014 03:18 pm


This entry is part 7 in an ongoing series of semi-irregular posts detailing my frustration with Workers Compensation and the wonderful world of rotator cuff surgery. In case you haven't been keeping up: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 (YOU ARE HERE) | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11

When last we heard from Our Intrepid Hero™ (me), on January 27th, 2014, I had gone to the orthopedist and had my first appointment, where we . . .

Wait. Let's review a couple of tiny things. From Part 1:
About 45 minutes later, I made it to my doctor. He had me put the arm through some moves that hurt, and he manipulated it.

No broken bones. No torn muscles. No broken, torn, or detached tendons. No rotator cuff injury (which is what I truly feared).
Emphasis added for irony purposes.

And from Part 2:
The doctor at the time told me that it was not broken, nor did I have any sort of rotator cuff injury, which were the two things I was most concerned about.
Emphasis once again added for irony purposes.

Why am I mentioning how my original doctor told me there were no tendon or rotator cuff injuries? [This right here is called "suspense," dear reader. Watch how it works.]

The day after my first visit to the orthopedist, we had what we here in the south like to call Icemageddon. It snowed about 2 inches, but because it was juuuuuust warm enough, that snow melted and instantly formed an inch or more of ice on our roads. And because Reasons, Atlanta shut down for two days. Most businesses in affected areas were shut down for three days.

Because of that, I decided to give Some Woman at Some Company the benefit of the doubt, and I didn't disturb either her or the doctor. I assumed that since my doctor's office had spoken directly with her, that Gears Were Set In Motion and that Things Would Be Happening.

I heard that. You laughed. No, don't bother to deny it, I heard you distinctly.

Then, about two weeks later, we had Icemageddon II: The Return of Solid Precipitation. This time, rather than snowing in a nice, pretty, picturesque way, ol' Mother Nature decided to just get it out of the way and sleet1 for two straight days. Atlanta was shut down once more for three days.

The following week when I returned to work, I called the doctor's office, and found out that — can you guess? — they had never heard from Some Woman. In fact, they had been — can you guess? — unable to get through to her.

I called Some Woman, expecting to get her voice mail, as per usual. Imagine my shock when she answered the phone. I asked her — politely — if she had called the doctor's office. Keep in mind that this was the third week after my visit, and the doctor's office calling, because all they needed was an approval for an MRI, and information on where to send me for said MRI. She was very polite. Bright and sunny. And she said, "I tried to call them last week, but their office was closed because of the snow. And I haven't contacted them yet this week because I'm giving them time to get caught up."

I'm pretty sure I must have had a small stroke at this point, because I cannot trust the fact that Some Woman actually spoke these words to me. Honestly. Has anyone in history ever been less aware of how stupid they sound? So, maybe we had this conversation, and maybe I hallucinated the entire thing. I'd almost rather believe the latter.

In my most chipper, friendly tone, I thanked her(!) and hung up. I then penned a very carefully worded email to my HR department explaining the problem. Unlike every other time I had done this, I got no response. None. Nada. Zilch. Crickets chirping.

I spoke to Some Woman again that Wednesday, and she said she had faxed them the information. I called my doctor and they had no record of any fax. I asked them to get in touch with her and handle it.

Then, finally, on Friday, the 28th of February, I got a call from my doctor's office, saying that they had finally managed to get the information from Some Woman.

I will stress, here, that the only thing my doctor's office needed, at this point, was a "Yes, send the patient to Facility X for an MRI." That's it. But it took Some Woman thirty-three days to do that.

Thirty. Fucking. Three.

From that point, I got rapid-fire calls from Facility X's HQ in New Jersey, and we set up the MRI for the next week, at one of their facilities near me, on Wednesday. It was so unbelievably refreshing to deal with someone who not only proactively dealt with getting me what I needed, but seemed to actually care.

I had the MRI. I then scheduled a visit with the doctor to tell me what the images meant.

The astute reader will recall the element of suspense that I (subtly) created earlier by highlighting excerpts from prior posts in this series in which I specifically stated that my original doctor said there was nothing broken, no tendon damage, and no rotator cuff damage.

You already know that the x-ray showed a healed compression fracture, i.e., a broken bone.

When I stood behind the doctor as he looked at the MRI results, he pointed at a bright blob and said, "See this tendon? The insertion is supposed to be —" he pointed several centimeters to the left "— over here. And see this?" He pointed at another bright blob. "That's your rotator cuff, which is pretty badly torn." The blob, which should be in the shape of a cup around the ball of the humerus bone was . . . a blob, crumpled in the back of the socket joint.

No wonder my shoulder hurts. No wonder the PT didn't help. So as much as I hate to admit it . . . the PT was, indeed, medically unnecessary. Just not for the bullshit reason I was given ("returned to full duty at work").

He recommended surgery. He then said, "Sometimes, I go in and it turns out there's too much damage, and there's nothing I can do. About once out of every 50 surgeries, that happens."

That's pretty good odds, from my point of view.

So, where are we, now? We're waiting on Some Woman at Some Company to 'approve' my surgery, so we can go ahead and schedule it. I lobbed the ball of Your Responsibility for doing that over the net to my doctor's office yesterday (March 12, 2014).

Anyone have any bets how long I'll have to wait?


  1. I made a really cool, short video of it and posted it to my YouTube channel, if you're interested in seeing what it looked and sounded like. It was quite pretty, actually. It's about 15 seconds.
kaasirpent: (Caduceus)
Tuesday, January 28th, 2014 01:09 pm
Evil emoticon by wstera2, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  by  wstera2 


This entry is part 6 in an ongoing series of semi-irregular posts detailing my frustration with Workers Compensation and the wonderful world of rotator cuff surgery. In case you haven't been keeping up: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 (YOU ARE HERE) | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11

You knew there was going to be another part, didn't you? I certainly did. Because why should anything be over when it's over?

So, first things first: Story time!

This is long, but it does at least tangentially relate to the rest of the post. So you should probably click it. )

Why did I tell that story? It will soon become obvious.

So. Back in October, we left our intrepid hero (me) with physical therapy appointments, finally. After a long, drawn out battle. I had my first six PT appointments. They seemed to help. I had a lot of exercises to do, and they all hurt like heck. But I did them.

And after six visits, it still hurt like heck, but there was a bit more mobility. But Some Company had approved "eight to ten," so we still had a little wiggle room. So we scheduled six more, and I went back to my doctor to get another order for PT, which he gladly gave me.

Fast forward to the tenth PT visit. Melissa told me that Some Company had told them they weren't paying for any more visits after the sixth one, because they had only approved eight to ten. (Don't think about this too long. I did, and I lost 7 IQ points, permanently. But I still remember Gilligan's Island episodes. Can't ever get rid of something that doesn't matter. But I digress.)

I pointed out that they had said "eight to ten," and that six is not equal to either eight or ten, based on my many years of mathematics. I mean, I'm not a nuclear physicist, but this is fairly easy math. But apparently not for Some Company.

We cancelled my last two appointments until they could straighten everything out, and Melissa said they had also sent in my doctor's request for six more.

I spoke to Jane in HR about the whole thing, and she once again got everyone involved, and Some Company said that they would, indeed, pay for ten full visits. Once we explained the math to them. And I don't even mean that facetiously. Jane had to actually say, "You said 'eight to ten,' and he had six, after which you refused to pay for any more. Six is not 'eight to ten.' He's had four more, and by your own agreement, you should pay for them."

But still nothing about the approval for the remaining ones my doctor felt were needed.

Then I got The Letter. <ominous chord>

In The Letter <ominous chord>, I was informed that a doctor I have never met in my life reviewed my case and decided that since I "had returned to work at full duty" (which I never left, I might add), further therapy was "not medically necessary," and that they would not be covering the last two visits, nor would they be covering any subsequent visits. Further, my case was closed, and that was the end of it, as far as Some Company was concerned.

I . . . might have exploded. All over anyone in audible distance. I . . . might have used some of those words I didn't use in 8th grade. I might, indeed, have invented a few new ones. And I might have marched, letter in hand, to HR.

The next email from HR — after Jane talked with Some Company and others — was that Some Company would be paying for the final two visits. They I would request my PT for a referral to an orthopedist. And we would go from there.

So, I asked the PT for a referral.

Crickets. When I finally got hold of them again (another week went by because I thought maybe they were mailing it), they said they didn't do that, and that Melissa was no longer employed there, and who was I again? I would have to talk with my regular doctor.

I went a few rounds on the phone with his office staff, as well, and basically found out that I can't trust his office staff to give him messages.

Finally, in frustration, I contacted HR again and got them to send me a list of 'approved' orthopedists. I picked one and made my own damned appointment.

Which was yesterday at 3 pm.

The first question he asked me was, "Has your elbow been x-rayed?" I said it had not. He made some remark under his breath that I didn't quite catch, and then sent me to get an x-ray.

They x-rayed my elbow. And developed the film. And put it up on the light box.

And from all the way across the goddamned room, I could see . . . something.

He called me closer. "Do you see this little dark line right here?" He pointed. I said I did. "That is the sign of a healed compression fracture. That's why your elbow has been hurting."

He said that fractures like this "always heal" and that the treatment is basically to keep using it as normal so you get full movement once it heals. But it would continue to hurt for 3 to 12 months. I assured him that I had been using the arm as normally as I could given the pain. He said that was good.

Well, that's nice to know.

He then wanted to schedule me for an MRI of my shoulder. Which meant I had to call Some Woman at Some Company and get that approved. I called, and it went directly to her voice mail.

Much amaze. So expect. Wow. I didn't even bother leaving a message.

A few minutes later, as I was checking out and the receptionist was getting ready to call Some Woman themselves, my cell phone rang. It was Some Woman! OMG! First call I've ever gotten back! Alas, I was so shocked that she had called me that I didn't manage to answer. But we knew she was at her desk. So the receptionist ("Martha") called her and got on the phone with her!

The conversation, edited to remove the back-and-forth between me and the receptionist, went something like this:

Receptionist: Hi, this is Martha at Orthopedists R Us. I have one of your clients in my office, and we need to schedule an MRI for him. . . . [Kaa] . . . his right shoulder. . . . He made the appointment himself; there was no referral. . . . He says he got our name from a list of approved medical professionals from his workers comp representative at work. . . . Martha . . . Orthopedists R Us. . . . [Kaa] . . . his right shoulder . . .

And it went on. Then, Some Woman apparently said she'd have to call back and let them know where to send me for the MRI.

Martha said she would let me know if and when Some Woman called her back. [I should note here, for the record, that the doctor and the nurse and the receptionist were all scandalized when I told them about the sixty days Some Company made me wait before getting PT. Apparently, that is not normal. My mishandling of the initial doctor visit is probably what it all stems from. Had I gone to an orthopedist from the get-go . . . but hindsight is 20/20.]

That was yesterday at 4 pm.

Another part of Jane's email from work says this: "Katie (the My Company workers comp program manager) will oversee / ensure that Some Woman is facilitating the approval in a timely manner."

What that said to me was that someone is now watching over Some Company and Some Woman in particular, and that I may finally get some reaction from them on a timely enough basis to do something about.

What? Why are you laughing? That's not very polite.
kaasirpent: (Idiots)
Monday, October 28th, 2013 02:27 pm


This entry is part 5 in an ongoing series of semi-irregular posts detailing my frustration with Workers Compensation and the wonderful world of rotator cuff surgery. In case you haven't been keeping up: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 (YOU ARE HERE) | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11

You knew there was going to be another part, didn't you? I certainly did. Because why should anything be over when it's over?

Shortly after the last installment in this mini-memoir of incompetence compounded with stupid, I got very involved in some projects at work, and thus did not do my due diligence by calling the physical therapist. I mean, Jane had told me they approved it, and said they would be contacting me. So . . . Some Woman at Some Company would surely call me at some point, right?

Right?

Wrong.

A week went by (for those keeping track, it was now October 10). I finally got tired of waiting and sent Jane another email. It was during Jane's week of vacation, and her 'out of office' automatic reply said that she would be unable to access email, and would be back on the following Monday (October 14th). Meh. So I'd have to wait another few days. At this point, what was another few days?

About an hour later, I got an email from Jane. She had checked her email, seen my (rather despairing) email and replied. She said she would look into it.

A couple of hours later, I got a phone call from Some Company (I could tell by the caller ID it was the same company), but a different number than Some Woman's. It turned out to be "Nancy" (not her real name) who was two levels above Some Woman. She was calling to let me know that everything had been taken care of. I was approved.

I paused, and then said, "But . . . how do I access it? I mean, what do I need to tell my physical therapist so they'll know whom to charge?" (I did not say 'whom' but it's grammatically correct and this is my blog. :) I was looking for . . . I don't know, some sort of paperwork? A number to call? Something physical that didn't exist entirely in electrons and the faulty memories of several people.

"Oh, they have the information. You just make an appointment and you're covered for 8 to 10 treatments."

I thought, "Yay!" and let myself believe it was actually over. And then those projects I mentioned above got hot again, and I got distracted.

On the morning of the 21st (a Monday), I had an item in the USMail from . . . the physical therapist. I opened it. It was a bill for $300. Um.

So I called, having intended to do so anyway to set up my remaining appointments. Only to find out that the reason they billed me is that my insurance rejected the claim because they still had no information from anyone about worker's comp. I asked if they had heard from Some Company, because they had told me . . .

Nope. Never heard of them. They only billed me because they hoped I might know who to actually contact.

I . . . might have blown my top. Just a small amount. Either that, or my outburst of expletives had nothing at all do with how very, very quiet it got in the surrounding cubes. I'm fairly certain it was just a coincidence.

I sent a very carefully worded email to Jane. It started, "I have officially lost whatever amount of patience I might have had left with these people. Can you arrange a conference call with you, me, someone from Some Company, and whomever here has been dealing with this issue? I don't trust them unless I have someone else listening." I also said, "I'm not interested in fault. I'll accept whatever blame there is to accept. What I want is an appointment with the physical therapist and to not have to pay $300."

So about 3 hours later, this call happened. And Nancy threw me to the wolves. As expected. I don't think she quite understood that I was in the room listening to the conversation. Because she had a pretty snotty tone until I did speak up and say something.

"On the 10th when I spoke to Mr. [Kaa], I indicated that he should ask to speak directly with Melissa [NHRN] at [the Physical Therapy office]. It was her that I spoke to on the 10th when I called. And, in fact, it was to her that Some Woman spoke this morning when she called to check on the disposition of this case."

Now, when I talk to these people, I take notes. Copious ones. And at no point did I write down 'speak directly to Melissa.' And my call to the physical therapist must have occurred before Some Woman called. It's nice to know that she does, apparently, call some people back.

But. What. The. Fuck. Ever.

Nancy agreed that Some Company would take care of the $300 bill if I faxed it to them. I called Melissa and made an appointment for the next morning.

I now have six more appointments scheduled. One today (Monday the 28th) at 4:30 pm, one Wednesday the 30th at 4:15 pm, one Thursday the 31st at 4:30, and three the following week on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday, all at 4:30 pm. Since we couldn't do mornings, I opted for 'very late.'

So. That's why I'm arriving at work at 6:30ish am this week. so I can leave the office around 2:30 pm in plenty of time to battle Atlanta traffic to make the 45-minute drive in two hours. Or so I hope. We'll see, I suppose.

The only issue remaining open (Did you hear that? It sounded like . . . like an ominous chord. Surely just a mistake, right? Right?) is the $300 bill that I received and faxed to Some Company shortly after our conference call. To which I never received an acknowledgement.

But I'm sure that's just an oversight. I'm sure they got it. I'm sure they're, even now, as I type this, moving forward on that lickety-split.

Surely.
kaasirpent: (Caduceus)
Thursday, October 3rd, 2013 11:57 am
Hurdles by .oskar, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License  by  .oskar 


This entry is part 4 in an ongoing series of semi-irregular posts detailing my frustration with Workers Compensation and the wonderful world of rotator cuff surgery. In case you haven't been keeping up: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 (YOU ARE HERE) | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11

After DEFCON 1, I realized that I was very close to saying something that would get me in hot water with either my own HR people or the people at Some Company. Certainly, calling Some Woman a lying, incompetent waste of human DNA would not have endeared me to her, that was all I had left. So . . . I punted up to HR and I backed the hell off.

I communicated with "Jane" (not her real name; the HR director) a few times, checking on progress. Which was slow.

Unfortunately, I had a slight incident with some data and lost several days of notes on this and other topics. So I'm working solely from memory, here.

On the 17th, pretty much out of the blue, I got a call from Some Woman at Some Company. She had, she said, just called the physical therapy place and was waiting on a call back from them. She said she would call me back and let me know the outcome of that call.

That was the last contact I had with anyone over this until yesterday. Not trusting my temper, I didn't write about it, nor did I do more than note to Jane in HR (and my boss) that I had had the contact and was very pointedly not expecting a call back, given our history.

Flash forward to this week. I finally finished the project I was working on and before I could get wholly sucked in on the next one, I decided to give Some Woman a call. Of course, I got her voice mail, complete with "I will return your call promptly."

I left a message for her to call me back, and you'd have to be either deaf or completely unable to judge tone of voice not to know that I've reached the end of my patience. I think my last sentence was something like, "Look, all I really need from you is just a call saying 'yes' or 'no.' Really. That's it."

I called the physical therapist's office. I asked if they'd had any contact with either Some Woman or Some Company. Can you guess their answer? Can you? Because I could. I already knew before I dialed.

They said they had heard nothing at all. I may have . . . voiced a tiny bit of frustration. She explained to me that because I checked the "work injury" box on my form, the insurance company would reject it instantly, and that the only other recourse I had was to pay for it out of my own pocket. I thanked her for the information and said I would try to light some fires on my end of things.

I sent another email to HR.

The last time I heard from [Some Woman] was on the 17th of September. She was going to call [PT Place] (the rehab place). She said she had left a voice mail and would let me know something after they called her back.

Well, you can guess the rest. I have heard NOTHING. Nada. Zilch.

I called [PT Place] today and they said they had no record of any such contact.

What is the progress from our end?


For about an hour after that, I typed and deleted several tweets to @SomeCompany. And another email to HR. And one to the corporate office at Some Company. All of them were, frankly, hostile and bordering on insubordination (hence the 'deleted' part). Finally, I just left the office.

This morning, in my email box, was the following from Jane.

[Kaa] –

I received a response back from our Account Manager and one of the team leads at [Some Company].

They have given authorization for 8-10 PT visit per the doctor recommendations.

You should be hearing from someone with [Some Company] – but I wanted to go ahead and update you on this information as soon as I had it. I'm so sorry for the issues that arose. Hopefully it will get smoother.


Victory? Maybe? I have a missed call on my work phone, but the phone system didn't record who it was from or when it was missed. Maybe it was Some Woman. More likely, it was left over from last night when the contractor who did my window replacement a couple of weeks ago called me about something. (My phone number rings both my cell phone and my office.)

Who knows how long it will take for all the pieces to align at this point, but after two solid months of trying, I finally got the one-word answer I've been asking for all along. I didn't honestly care if it was 'yes' or 'no.' I still don't. I just wanted it over and done with.

The moral of my story is this: Unless you want to go through all nine circles of the Inferno, all nine rings of Mount Purgatory, a detour through Mordor (which one does not simply walk into), and emerge doubleplus goodfully, loving Big Brother, you'll not report anything as an on-the-job injury. Take it from me: it's not worth the hassle. If I could go back in time to the 31st of July, I'd tell people at work I got hit by a car a block from work. I'd be done with PT by this point. And I would never have encountered Some Woman at Some Company, and my frustration would not now be co-orbiting with the ISS.


By the way, I'm so, so very sorry for putting that song in your head. I really am. Really.
kaasirpent: (Enraged)
Thursday, September 12th, 2013 05:02 pm
DEFCON 1 by bovinity, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  by  bovinity 


This entry is part 3 in an ongoing series of semi-irregular posts detailing my frustration with Workers Compensation and the wonderful world of rotator cuff surgery. In case you haven't been keeping up: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 (YOU ARE HERE) | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11

I left messages with Some Woman at Some Company asking a simple question: Did you get the information my doctor's office faxed over to you on 9/11? It's a simple question. It only requires a simple, one-syllable answer: Yes (yay!) or no (rats!).

So, today, I got tired of it. Rather than wasting more time with Some Company, I decided to escalate things from my own side of things.

"Jane" [not her real name; manager of HR for my division of my company], I need your advice.

I know [My boss] has kept you up to date with the situation regarding my workers comp claim resulting from my fall on July 31st in our parking lot. The doctor sent me to physical therapy on the 19th of August, and there I found out that they can’t bill anyone until they know who[m] to bill, so I can’t schedule another visit unless I pay for the entire thing out of my own pocket.

That’s where [Some Company] comes in. They are, basically, holding my healthcare hostage while calls are not returned and while they ask for one more thing from my doctor, but they never contact me until late in the day or only after I’ve wasted days leaving voice mails trying to get hold of them. For instance, before I left for vacation, I asked the doctor to fax them what they said they wanted, and when I returned a week later, I called for two solid days before I finally got hold of [Some Woman], only to have her say, “Oh, your doctor hasn’t faxed the information I asked for yet.” I mean, at what point were they going to tell me this? I’ve had to make two personal visits to the doctor to get them to fax yet another document, and at each stage, I find out that [Some Company] needs just one more thing.

My frustration level is at DEFCON 1. How firm am I allowed to get with them? How far up the ladder am I allowed to push this, or will ‘let me speak to your manager’ even work with them? I’ve had it with them. At this point, I just want an answer from them, whether it’s yes or no, because by the time someone finally gets around to it at the rate they’re going, the PT will take longer because my muscles and tendons have gotten weaker.

This has been ongoing since the 20th of August.


"Jane" replied within twenty minutes:

[Kaa] –

I have submitted a ticket to our HR Support Center – the folks who are the HR benefits/workers comp experts. I have asked them to escalate this issue – and for someone to help intervene with [Some Company]. Stay tuned.

Thanks,
"Jane"

PS By the way ---- I am so sorry that you have been experiencing such frustration and difficulty with [Some Company]. Hopefully we can get this escalated to someone who can help.


So now the ball is in someone else's court. I'm basically done being the least bit civil. If Some Woman ever does call me back — which is not a foregone conclusion at this point — I'm tempted to say, "Please hold," and conference in our HR people. Let her explain to them what the hold up is in telling me whether a goddamned FAX made it or not.
kaasirpent: (Caduceus)
Wednesday, September 11th, 2013 12:55 pm


This entry is part 2 in an ongoing series of semi-irregular posts detailing my frustration with Workers Compensation and the wonderful world of rotator cuff surgery: Part 1 | Part 2 (YOU ARE HERE) | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11

You may remember a post I made last month about how I injured myself in a fall at work. The doctor at the time told me that it was not broken, nor did I have any sort of rotator cuff injury, which were the two things I was most concerned about. I took Ibuprofen and basically went about my normal business, expecting my arm to get better.

Only it didn't.

I mean, it did, but not fully. By the 19th of August, nearly three weeks past the date I had fallen, I went back to my doctor and told him that it still hurt like hell to move my arm in certain ways <insert old joke "Doctor, it hurts when I do this." "Well, don't do that!" <laughter> here>, and that I was getting tired of not being able to use my dominant arm.

I must interject a "rest of the story" point or two, here. The first time I went to the doctor, I did not mention the term "worker's comp" or "on the job injury" or anything of that sort. I fell in the parking lot, it was no one's fault, and, hey, he said it would get better, right? I told my boss about the fall, and he duly reported it to HR. Who reported it to someone else, and they told two friends, and they told two friends, and eventually it made it up to the Office of Homeland Security. Or something. I am fairly sure the NSA was involved. I don't really understand how the whole system works (clearly), but the upshot is I got a call from Some Woman at Some Company who asked me a bunch of questions, expressed skepticism about workers comp paying if the incident took place in the parking lot (unless my company owns the parking lot . . .). She would call me back, she said, if she needed any more information. That was on, like, the same day I posted that earlier post.

So anyhoo, on my second visit on the 19th, my doctor referred me to a physical therapist down the road from his office. I called the number and made an appointment for the next day.

I went early on the morning of the 20th of August and within 5 minutes of having me perform various motions with my joints, the doctor took me over to a large anatomical chart showing the bones, muscles, and tendons of the arm and shoulder, and showed me exactly what I had done to myself. The gist is: tendons. I did bad things to the tendons that hold my upper arm in place so that it doesn't scrape painfully against my shoulder blade when I move it. The whole 'jamming' thing, probably.

He gave me some exercises to do every two hours, some to do twice per day, and sent me on my way.

On my way out, I paused at the desk to schedule my next appointment.

And that is when my tape turned crimson.Click to read the rest. )
kaasirpent: (Caduceus)
Friday, August 2nd, 2013 03:42 pm


Note: The purpose of this post is to explain to people why I was completely offline for more than 24 hours. See note at bottom.

This entry is part 1 in an ongoing series of semi-irregular posts detailing my frustration with Workers Compensation and the wonderful world of rotator cuff surgery. Part 1 (YOU ARE HERE) | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11

Wednesday, I came to work a little late because Tuesday is my late night because of my writers group that meets, and I have dinner afterward. So I have to stay up later to avoid reflux, and blah blah blah.

I got to work, and it had rained lightly. Just barely enough to tell that the ground was even wet.

Exited my car and got my rolling computer case out of the back of the car. Since it was rainy, I grabbed my umbrella, as well.

Because I got there late, I had to park at the far end of the parking lot. Not a huge trek, but annoying nevertheless, considering how much I was carrying.

I had my lunchbox, umbrella, and water bottle in my left hand (my off hand) and behind me, I was pulling my wheeled thing with my right hand.

As I approached the ramp from the parking lot down to the entrance door to my building, something happened.

You know how when it rains juuuuuust a little, there's not enough water to actually wash the oil away? It just floats it up out of the asphalt and leaves it lying on the surface.

It was either that or some tiny little acorn-looking things about the size of sesame seeds that were strewn on the ground. Or maybe a combination of both.

My right leg shot out from under me and before I could even react, the ground was rushing up at me.

Because my right leg was forward, my left leg was bent, and I went down partially on my left knee, with my right leg out in front of me. Lunchbox, water bottle, and umbrella went flying. I must have taken pretty much all of my weight on my right hand when I hit the ground.

There was a huge pain. I sat flat on my ass on that oily parking lot cradling my right arm, wondering if it was broken. I could feel all my fingers, although there was some tingling. It felt like it was my upper arm that had taken the brunt of the force.

After a couple of minutes, someone came along and helped me to get up. I'm severely right-handed. To the point where I cannot eat with my left hand. It's like . . . if my right hand is Albert Einstein, my left hand is that strange kid who eats bugs and has conversations with hammers.

I managed to pick up everything one-handed and, still cradling my right arm against my chest, made my way down the ramp, wrestled open the doors, and made it to my desk. Where I sat for maybe 45 minutes before I realized that there was no way this was going to work. The more time went by, the worse the pain was getting, and the less I could move my arm. From the shoulder down to the elbow, solid pain.

So I packed up everything again (left-handed) and left work to visit my doctor.

I put my arm through some tests. I could extend the arm down, which was a damned good thing because I keep my keys in my right pocket. Lifting them up to put them into the ignition? No. Basically, the only move that didn't hurt like eight kinds of hell was bending my elbow about 30 degrees. If I moved my shoulder up or back, rotated my wrist or elbow, or tried to raise my arm at all, the pain was exquisite.

Driving was . . . a challenge. I had to do everything — including turn the key and shift gears — with my left hand. It's an automatic, but I still had to lean over and, with my left hand, take the car out of park and into reverse, and then into drive. I had to turn on my windshield wipers and lights with my left hand (wipers are on the right). Steer with my left hand. Retrieve, put on, and take off my sunglasses with my left hand.

I could hold the wheel with my right hand at the very bottom of the wheel, but that's about it. So rather than risk getting on the Interstate where the speeds were 60 and up and the roads slick — because, of course, by now it was fully raining — I took a longer way with speeds limits in the 35 to 45 range, with lots of stop lights, and generally fewer instances where people actively try to kill me by doing stupid things.

About 45 minutes later, I made it to my doctor. He had me put the arm through some moves that hurt, and he manipulated it.

No broken bones. No torn muscles. No broken, torn, or detached tendons. No rotator cuff injury (which is what I truly feared).

In short, I twisted the hell out of my arm and applied pressure straight up the ulna/radius, through the elbow joint, up the humerus, and jammed the ball joint at the shoulder. At roughly the same time.

I'm probably lucky I didn't fall over backwards and land that way.

He prescribed an anti-inflammatory because he said the arm was swelling up because of the terrible things I'd done to it, and it was likely going to get worse before it got better.

Went to CVS and got some Ibuprofen. Took three of them. Left-handed.

I went home and ate dinner. Left-handed. Had to undress. Left-handed. Put on more comfortable clothes. Left-handed.

We won't mention anything about bathrooms. Left-handed.

As the evening wore on, I tried to use the computer, but typing became more and more painful as the arm, as predicted, got more painful.

Finally, I had to sleep sitting upright in my recliner because any pressure on the arm made it impossible for me to get comfortable in bed. So, fun evening. Gravity hurt, if that tells you anything.

The next day, Thursday, I could barely move my arm. Now the palm, where it landed on the handle of the rolling computer case (which I broke, by the way, and will have to get replaced) hurt. The fingers hurt. The wrist hurt. The elbow joint, which the previous day I could move, hurt.

The computer was out of the question. I sat all day and read my Kindle. I took a shower as hot as I could stand it, and stayed in there as long as I could take it. And had to soap and dry myself left-handed. And ate left-handed. And took the maximum dosage of Ibuprofen. Left-handed.

Today, I'm still unable to "flap" my arm or to push anything with it, but at least it felt good enough to type. So you're getting this update. I'm at work because I can at least type, and that's pretty much what I do.

I can sort of feed myself, but luckily we ate Ethiopian for lunch, so I was able to eschew the fork and eat using the injera, which of course I could do left-handed. Driving is easier because I can shift gears today and steer partially with my right hand.

And I'm still eating ibuprofen like it's the other red meat.

In other news, it's really amazing to me just how many muscles in your arm and shoulder you use doing everyday things.

Note:
  • I'm neither soliciting nor expecting medical advice.
  • I know it was very likely foolish / irresponsible / dangerous / <fill in your adjective of choice, here> to drive, but I had no real choice and took the safest route for me given the circumstances. If you feel like you have to berate me further, please don't.
  • I trust my doctor, so I once more am not looking for alternative medical advice.
  • Really. I'm not. If you are poised over your keyboard right now, just itching to tell me about how <thing> will fix me right up, hold it in. I know it's a struggle, but we'll both be happier in the long run if you just accept the fact that I am taking ibuprofen.
  • I know I am being a dick, here, but OMG, you have no idea. Trust me, medical "experts" crawl out of every corner when I say anything about a medical issue.
  • If your question begins with "Have you considered...?" the answer is "Yes, I have. Thank you."
  • If you actually are a medical expert, feel free to comment, but be aware that I already saw my doctor and he was satisfied that there was nothing wrong with me that time and some ibuprofen wouldn't fix.
kaasirpent: (Medical)
Monday, October 10th, 2011 10:28 am
I got to work this morning and realized I forgot my cough syrup.

I'm not sure who is going to be more annoyed: me for coughing all day or my cow-orkers for having to listen to it. :)

(Of course, I'll drop by the drug store at lunch and buy some more. By then, my cow-orkers may offer to buy it for me. :)
kaasirpent: (Food)
Thursday, October 6th, 2011 04:47 pm
I have a cold. When I get a bad cold, I typically cough a lot. And by "coughing," I don't mean coughcoughcough and then I clear my throat. No. I mean I hack up both lungs, gag, nearly vomit, and then have to struggle to catch my breath before the next bout of coughing disables me. You don't want to be around me during this particularly lovely phase of a bad cold.

This goes on for several days. This one hasn't been as bad as prior Martian Death Plagues have been. The OMG-this-is-the-worst-cold-ever-I'm-going-to-die phase lasted only one day, and the fever-dreams-while-napping-in-my-recliner & I-wish-I-had-died phases took up only one day together. A light sentence for me, really.

One thing that always happens is that I get cramps when I cough. Powerful ones. Ones in my side, arms, legs, back, chest, and abdomen. They're painful and they suck. They cannot be ignored.

(You're asking yourself right now, "What the hell does this have to do with 'vegetarian'?" Patience.)

Last night, I would cough and then gasp in pain and try desperately to stretch in such a way as to relieve whatever cramp assaulted me that particular time. After about the fourth round of this, my housemate offered to go to the store and get me whatever it was I needed, and suggested potassium.

Potassium is an electrolyte, and is needed by the body to, among other things, regulate muscle movement.

I figure I'm probably grossing her out at this point, so I agree to "let" her get me some potassium from the store.

When she came back with potassium—and zinc, some apples, bananas, and cheese—I dutifully opened the bottle of potassium and took one tablet as recommended with a lot of water.

I didn't get any more cramps. More on that in a paragraph or two, though. :)

Today, when I was over the fever dreams (see next post), I took a closer look at the bottle of potassium tablets. It says, "Vegetarian Formula" on the bottle.

o.O

Really? Are there people out there who are so against eating anything that might once have had a face that someone actually goes to the trouble of making a special supplement that is made only from vegetarian sources of potassium?

Well, clearly, there are. Wow. Just when I thought it was safe to read labels.

If "vegetarian" wasn't clear enough, it also says this:
No Artificial Color, Flavor or Sweetener, No Preservatives, No Sugar, No Starch, No Milk, No Lactose, No Soy, No Gluten, No Wheat, No Yeast, No Fish. Sodium Free.
All righty then. I rather thought the milk and fish were implied by the "vegetarian" part. No? Silly me.



So. Potassium tablets. I look today and it says on the bottle that each pill is 99mg of potassium, which is 3% of the USRDA of potassium.

I looked up potassium when I started to type this post to make sure I actually was correct when I said that it helped to regulate muscle function. I was. But I also found a list of foods high in potassium. Each of the following contain more than 300mg (this is 3 times the amount in one of those tablets) of potassium:
  • 1 cup milk

  • 1 cup yogurt

  • 1/4 cup raisins

  • 1 medium banana

  • 3 oz chicken

  • 3 oz turkey

  • 1 large carrot

  • 1 stalk celery

  • 1/2 cup dry beans, cooked

  • 1 medium potato, baked

  • 1/2 cup winter squash
In addition:
  • 3 oz ham has 200-300 mg

  • 1 oz of cheese has < 100 mg

  • 10 olives has < 100mg
In the last two days, I have eaten every food listed above. Some in greater quantities than are listed, others less. I'm guessing for the veggies to 'count,' they must be eaten raw, so I have that covered (yes, I ate squash raw). In fact, by my estimation, if 99mg is 3% of the RDA for potassium, I probably got somewhere on the order of about 75% of the RDA on both days, just from eating the food I was already eating anyway. If I were to add a cup or two of milk or an apple, I'd probably get there with no problems.

I didn't need the supplement. In fact, on the site where I got these food sources, it says, "[T]aking potassium supplements is generally not recommended for people with high blood pressure. Instead, a variety of potassium-rich foods should be eaten daily."

I think that's fairly clear. Since I have mildly high blood pressure (and am taking medication for it), I think I'll be quietly not taking the supplement.
kaasirpent: (Skeptic)
Thursday, July 21st, 2011 10:14 pm
Last week, I packed my bags and went to Las Vegas for five days. I don't gamble. I don't drink. I don't smoke. And I had no intention of partaking of the other thing that's legal in Nevada that some people look forward to when they go to Las Vegas.

So why the hell did I go to Las Vegas? To attend The Amazing Meeting 9, also known as TAM 9 From Outer Space.

The Amazing Meeting or TAM is the annual conference of the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF), a group of educators, magicians/entertainers, scientists, etc. whose mission is to promote rational thought in our irrational world. This was my first one.

The first TAM was in 2003 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, where the JREF was based at that time. It quickly outgrew the modest space and has since been held in Las Vegas, most recently at the Southpoint Hotel Casino and Spa a few miles south of The Strip in Las Vegas, NV. There have also been TAMs held in London and Australia. There have been cruises to the Bermuda Triangle, Alaska, Mexico, and the Galapagos Islands. All of them have been very successful.

Basically, it's a place where a lot of skeptics and freethinkers from all over the world and from all walks of life can come together for four days and make friends, learn, and just hang out. <irony alert>In one of the world capitals of irrational thought. :)</irony alert>

This year, there were 1652 of us in attendance.

One of the many things that skeptics take seriously is public outreach. We do it in many different ways. Some use blogs, others use podcasts, some create websites . . . it just depends on your personality. Still others are very public about their skeptical, rational outlook. These include people like James Randi, Banachek, Jamy Ian Swiss, Penn Jillette (all magicians); Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Dr. Phil Plait, Dr. Lawrence Krauss, Dr. Pamela Gay (all astronomers and/or (astro)physicists); Adam Savage, Bill Nye (The Science Guy), Julia Sweeney, George Hrab (entertainers/muscians); Derek & Swoopy, DJ Grothe, Richard Saunders, Chris Mooney, Dr. Steve Novella, Bob Novella, Jay Novella, Evan Bernstein, Rebecca Watson, Blake Smith, Ben Radford, Dr. Karen Stollznow, Brian Dunning, Robert Price, Joe Nickell (all podcasters); Sean Faircloth, Daniel Loxton, Dr. Richard Dawkins, Jennifer Michael Hecht, PZ Myers, Dr. Richard Wiseman, Dr. Ginger Campbell, Dr. Rachael Dunlop, Ben Radford, Greta Christina, Michael Shermer, Dr. Eugenie Scott, Jennifer Ouellette . . . I could go on and on and on for a good, long time naming people whose names are household words to me, but most of whom the average person has never heard of. Which is tragic.

One of the big issues right now with the skeptical movement is vaccination. When children are vaccinated, it helps protect them (vaccinations are not 100% effective, and there is a small chance of adverse reactions: absolutely no one in the skeptical community has ever claimed that this is not true, regardless of what you might have heard) from a host of terrible diseases that used to kill thousands of vulnerable people annually.

I'm going to get serious )

Fun fact: Did you know that adults need to get boosters for some of these childhood diseases? For TDAP, it's about 10 years. Why? Because it's not about you. It's about other people, especially children too young to get the vaccination.

So when I went to TAM 9 and they announced that for one day, they had free TDAP vaccines, I jumped out of my chair and went to stand in line, missing the rest of the panel that was very interesting.

The line was out the door and about 30 feet down the hall. I waited.

Eventually, I got the shot in the arm, got a sticker (A STICKER! YAAAAAY!), my picture made with a toy bear, and a certificate saying I got the vaccination. I believe the final count was 305 people who got the TDAP vaccine.

I mentioned this on Facebook.

And got, "Why?" a lot. "Why did you get TDAP?"

Brennan. Seth. Jonah. Nathan. Suzi. Penelope. Nicholas. Caleb. Elias. Kathryn. Julian. Luna. Liliana. Annabelle. Fisher. David. The as-yet-unborn children of two of my coworkers. Those are who I got the booster shot for. I may never lay eyes on many of these children of my far-flung friends (and I know I left out a lot of my friends' young children, and I apologize profusely, but a lot of you don't post their names and . . . I just didn't have the time to research), but on the chance that I do, how terrible would it be to pass on a terrible disease because I didn't do something that took literally 20 minutes and a few days of pain in my arm?

So does that answer the question in a way that everyone can understand? If you don't like "because I wanted to," or "to counteract the stupidity of the anti-vaxers," or any of a number of other very good reasons, does this make it abundantly clear?
kaasirpent: (Meh)
Thursday, December 16th, 2010 11:22 am
Boy, howdy, I really know how to milk a vacation for all it's worth. Lemme 'splain.

I mentioned yesterday that I had been to the doctor and gotten a prescription for diverticulitis. That was Monday. The pain was worse Tuesday, and even worse yesterday. So...you guessed it, as soon as I got up, I pulled on my sweats and without even taking a shower, I went back to the doctor. I saw a different doctor, had to go through all the symptoms again, assuring her that it really, really, truly, for sure, 100% is very much not a kidney stone. I've had those and I've had diverticulitis. I can tell the difference. They drew blood. Not sure why.

After about an hour, there, I finally got a prescription for three more days of the Cipro the first doctor gave me (she gave me 7 days, not 10 as is normal), and Metronidazole, which is a generic for Flagyll. Both are super-powerful antibiotics used when the infection is in the abdominal/intestinal area. I told the guy at CVS I'd pick up the drugs at 1 PM.

Why am I telling you this? Because it actually is important. Bear with me.

I had a tasty lunch of stir-fried ham with celery, onions, and spinach. Seriously tasty. Then I went back to pick up my prescriptions. When I drove up, I knew there was a problem. The guy said, "You had three prescriptions, right?"

"Uh, no. Two."

"Hmm. I show one for Glimepiride, one for Metronidazole, and one for One-Touch testing strips." Just to be clear, I had given them two prescriptions, neither of them for Glimepiride (a medicine I used to take but no longer do) or testing strips (I have an adequate supply).

"I'm coming inside."

So I hobbled in bent at a jaunty 30° angle, and carefully, due to the abdominal pain. Still dressed in my ratty sweats and with no shower, because I hadn't intended to go out in public. But whatever.

We finally got the prescription SNAFU straightened out. What happened was that because I had just gotten another prescription for Cipro filled two days before, they assumed (remember that 'ass u me' thing?) that it was the same prescription and didn't bother filling it. I corrected them, explained the situation...and then found out that the insurance company wouldn't pay for it because...that's right! Two prescriptions for the same drug in as many days flags something and they simply won't cover it unless blah de blah de blah. I didn't have the time for all that, so I just paid and left. I'll deal with Caremark later. The pharmacist started explaining the process of resubmission of a claim, and I interrupted with, "I work for a company that handles that kind of stuff. I wrote a good bit of the code, so I know how it works." I smiled to let her know I wasn't just being a jerk. I also used the actual name of my company, which she recognized instantly. I left. Carefully, due to the abdominal pain.

Also on the agenda for yesterday was the delivery of my new Droidx phone. I knew this because I got email from TrackThis saying "Out for delivery." So I knew that at some point during the day, the UPS guy would come to the house.

In the past, UPS and I have had...disagreements. Over little things. Like not bothering to knock and just putting a post-it on the door saying no one was home when someone (i.e., me) very much was. Or tossing boxes into the squelchy mud to the right of my door. (This was done ostensibly to prevent the package from being visible from the road, but I digress.) Or refusing to leave packages even when I demanded to do so because they were deemed "expensive" and the driver wanted to cover his ass. I wasn't sure if I had to sign for the (expensive?) phone or not, so I decided to make damned good and sure that he knew someone was home and that he would not get the chance to make me drive down to the UPS depot to pick up my merchandise. (This happens to me a lot.)

I parked my car in the driveway facing out. I left my garage door up. I unlocked and left the keys hanging (on the inside) in the knob of the front door for easy access (it requires keys to open it from either side). I left lights on. I made sure loud music was playing. I even opened the blinds to the right of my door so I could see from The Chair *evil chord* if someone approached the door. I listened carefully for telltale sounds of trucks approaching. It didn't help that school buses sound a lot like UPS trucks. It also didn't help that yesterday was trash-pickup day in the neighborhood, and that garbage trucks also sound a lot like UPS trucks. I popped up (carefully, due to the abdominal pain) every few minutes only to be disappointed.

At last, I heard a truck and lo! it was brown. And it stopped in front of my house. And a man got out! And he was carrying a large box! And I scared the crap out of him when I yanked open the door as he approached and reached out for the box like a starving man reaching for a Big Mac. (Incidentally, he was not going to knock. He was already bending to put the box into the squelchy mud when I yanked the door open.)

In retrospect, it probably was very...different...for him. :)

I tore into the box and quickly got my new phone working.

Flash forward about four hours...and a lot of phone-play. :)

It was dark, I had just had dinner (tuna salad with celery, pickles, and radishes, and field peas on the side). I thought, "Oh, right. I left my car parked in the driveway. I should go move that into the garage."

So I hobbled outside (carefully, due to the abdominal pain) and saw that, at some point over the last four hours, it had rained.

I remarked, out loud, "Oh, it must have rai—"

Why did I not finish the thought?

Because I took one...maybe two steps at most out onto what I thought was the wet cement of my driveway only to find out the hard (get it? hard? cement? I SLAY ME!) way that it was not wet but icy.

My right foot shot out from under me like a greased piglet. I tried to catch myself...with my left foot. Which also shot out from under me like...another greased piglet.

In short, I hit the ground. Hard. And then, because of the aforementioned ice, slid a few feet down the gentle slope of my driveway toward my car. I managed to stop the slide and then, because I couldn't get my feet or hands under me (ice is surprisingly slick), rolled and crawled on my belly (remember that abdominal pain I mentioned a time or two?) back up the icy driveway to my garage. I rolled over on my back and lay on the nice, rough (very cold) surface of my garage floor for a few minutes trying to decide if the pain in my left knee and right hand and wrist were anything permanent or just temporary. Unfortunately, I was so cold that it was hard to tell.

Amusingly, as I lay there in the garage, moaning, the first thing that occurred to me was, "I'm so glad I didn't have my new phone with me. I might have broken it."

I slowly got to my feet and hobbled (carefully, due to the knee pain) back inside, where I flumped myself down in The Chair *evil chord* and assessed my damage.

By the time I went to bed about three hours later (after an aspirin or two and a hot shower), I had started to stiffen up. And the abdominal pain, which had mysteriously subsided while I was struggling to crawl up an icy driveway, was back in force.

Today, when I woke up, it was supremely hard to get out of bed. I'm not at all bruised, which is a shock. But every joint from my knees to my neck hurts. You know that old man character that Tim Conway used to do on The Carol Burnett Show? Yeah. That's me, today. Minus the hair.

Going up and down stairs is especially fun. Even sitting in The Chair *evil chord* as I am, now, my left knee is throbbing. My wrists are both a little painful, as is my lower back and my neck.

My abdominal pain is better, though. Must be the Metronidazole and Cipro.

Today, dammit, I'm staying in the house. You don't have to hit me over the head but four or five times with a brick before I learn to be careful.

In retrospect, I think I should have worked this week. I would have been safer.

 Mr. Deity and the Barbecue by mrdeity.com from Mr. Deity (Rating: 0)
kaasirpent: (Medical)
Sunday, August 8th, 2010 11:46 pm
Since this post does involve medical issues, if you'd rather not see it, you can stop reading now.

Otherwise, click here. )

 Betty Got Jacked by Loo & Placido from Best of Bootie 2009 v.2 (Rating: 0)
kaasirpent: (Pets)
Tuesday, April 13th, 2010 01:07 pm
About a month ago, I took Lucy and Matt to the vet for their 20,000 mile checkups annual vaccinations and checkups. The vet told me at the time that Lucy's teeth were bad, and needed cleaning, but because of her age (17), she recommended a non-anesthetic procedure.

I scheduled it for April 13. Which is today.

So in spite of the fact that I missed all of yesterday due to the Oxfordification of my car, I called this morning and told them I'd be late again, this time because of a veterinary periodontal appointment.

If my boss found that at all weird, she didn't say anything. :)

I had said on FaceBook1 that I expected the tooth-cleaning to be a traumatic experience for everyone involved. Meaning me, Lucy, and the veterinary dentist.

Actually, nothing could be further from the truth. Lucy calmed down once we arrived at the vet's office. Frank the Vet Cat™ came out to greet us and forced me to pet him for about an hour. The girl took Lucy back and said she'd know almost immediately if she was going to be able to do anything with her. Since they were gone longer than that, I presumed it was going well.

Lucy let the woman clean her teeth without any blood loss on either side. She even wrote "Good kitty!" on her report. :)

Alas, not all the news was good. Lucy has an impacted molar that has to come out, soon, and I have to severely curtail her consumption of wet food because that's causing her problem.

And I have some special dental-diet food for them. And some stuff to add to their water to help cut back on plaque and gingivitis.

My own dentist visits have never cost that much, even when I had the deep, under-the-gums cleaning. Zowie.

But hey. It's all for a good cause. I want these cats to have long, healthy lives. And if changing their dietary habits will help, then we'll adjust. I promised Nanny and Granddaddy that I would look after them. And I intend to do just that.
  1. I don't always cross-post. If it's something short and quick that I can just jot down without thinking about it too much, I do it on Facebook or Twitter. Longer, more thoughtful pieces end up here. Essay-like stuff that requires a lot of time end up on my Blogger blog.
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