kaasirpent: (Work)
Thursday, December 11th, 2014 12:20 pm

Scene: The lobby of my workplace. I press the "up" button for the elevators and wait. I see a woman whose face I know but whose name I'm not sure of struggling to get her rolling bag through the security door. The elevator arrives, I press 'door open' to wait the three or four seconds for her to arrive. We exchange 'Good morning's and I press "4."

"What floor?" I ask.

"Two," she says. "Thank you."

We stop on the second floor and she gets out as she wishes me a good rest of the day, and I return the sentiment. Just as the door is starting to close, another woman steps onto the elevator. She waits until the doors start to close again, then puts her hand in the opening, leans out, and peers to the right. As she does this, she looks vaguely over her shoulder at me and mutters, "Sorry. Don't mean to hold you up."

And yet, you have already done that, I think, but don't say.

Apparently satisfied, she then re-enters the elevator entirely, and a few seconds later, the doors begin to close again. She once more puts her hand in the opening, causing the doors to spring back open again. This time, she straddles the opening placing her back against one of the doors, looking off into the right distance again.

I'm about three seconds before getting off the elevator and taking the stairs when the woman once more moves into the elevator and looks at me and says, "I'm sorry. I don't mean to hold you up."

And yet, you have done so twice, I think, but don't say.

Just as the elevator doors are about to close, a hand flies into the opening from the outside, and they open again. It's another woman, also dragging a rolling bag, who says to the other woman (not me), "Sorry about that. I didn't mean to hold you up."

The doors finally close all the way as the two women babble at each other. Since neither of them pressed a button, I assume they're both going to the fourth floor with me.

We arrive at the fourth floor and I get off. Just as I am, I hear a "ding!" and the arrow button on the outside of the elevator flashes to "down."

"Oh, crap!" I hear the first woman — the one who repeatedly kept opening the doors and making me wait — say. "I forgot to press five!"

As I walk away, I think, "I'm sure it doesn't mean to hold you up!" But I don't say it.

Schadenfreude. It's great on a cold, winter morning.
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: (DIAF)
Saturday, February 1st, 2014 01:48 am

Tonight (1/31/2014) was either Chinese New Year or the start of a week-long Chinese New Year celebration, depending on what source you subscribe to. That being the case, we decided to go to our favorite Chinese restaurant for dinner. For the record, it's called Golden Palace, and it's off Riverside Parkway at the corner where it crosses Duluth Highway / S. R. 120 in Lawrenceville. Mmm, tasty.

I've been going in there regularly for going on 14 years. My housemate and I go in there about once per week. When friends come to town, I often take them there if they're in the mood for Chinese food. They know us, I know them. If we don't come, they ask us where we've been when we do come in.

We have a "usual table."

This is all just to set the scene.

The family that runs it works like dogs. The daughter ("Min") takes calls, does the cash register, and takes orders. Her brother ("Dai") delivers and takes orders. Dai's wife waits tables. The mom and dad work in the kitchen. Cousins, nieces, nephews . . . they're all in there from time to time. And they do this 7 days per week, every week, year-round, minus a day or two.

Tonight we went in, and someone had our usual table, so we sat at our second usual table (Did I mention we're regulars?). We ordered from a kid we've seen around a time or two. We figure he's a cousin or nephew in town for Chinese New Year. We could be entirely wrong.

We get our hot tea, soup, and appetizers. Dai brings his 8-month-old daughter over to our table so we can exclaim over how adorable she is (and she totally is).

While we're slurping soup, I hear Min on the phone with a customer. This is a normal occurrence. They do most of their evening business in take-out and delivery. But when Min said, "I'm sorry, we don't take credit cards over the phone," we perked up. Since when? We order all the time and pay with a credit card.

We heard Min arguing with someone for several minutes. She'd put them on hold, take another order, and then switch back and continue to argue. Finally, it got quiet. She came over to our table. Carrying the wireless phone.

She asked very apologetically if one of us could get on the line with this particular customer and please explain that the restaurant doesn't deliver to their area. Yvonne (my housemate) and I looked at each other, and I reached for the phone.

I pressed "Talk." Busy signal. They had hung up. But never fear, it rang again while I was holding it and Min looked at the Caller ID and nodded and then retreated from the table.

"Hello?" I said, then remembered, Oh, right, this is a restaurant. "Golden Palace."

"Oh, thank goodness," said a laughing woman. There was a muffled sound of conversation and laughter, and then a man's voice came on. Without preamble, I said, "I'm sorry, but we don't deliver to your area, anymore."

"What? That's crazy. Where are you located?" asked the man.

"We're at —" and my brain shut down. Luckily, Yvonne's did not. "Riverside Parkway," she whispered. "Riverside Parkway and 120," I finished.

"But, I don't understand," said the man. "Lawrenceville isn't that big. I'm from Miami." (I don't know, either.)

"I'm sorry," I said, and tried to mean it. "We just don't deliver to your area." (I had no idea what area that was, but I was reasonably certain that they do deliver to it.)

He tried to badger me a little and I just kept repeating that we no longer deliver to his area, and he finally hung up. And didn't call back.

After our main courses came, Min came over to the table and explained what was going on.

Seems that this man and his wife are staying at a hotel on the other side of Lawrenceville. They're from Miami (as stated) and don't have a car. So they order in. They called the first time and asked, "Are you guys from China?" When Min said they were, the wife said, "Oh good, because we don't want any American Chinese food. We want the real thing."1 They then ordered, and Dai delivered it. They paid cash. No problem.

Then they ordered again a couple of days later. Paid with either a check or credit card, I didn't get which. Again, Dai delivered to them. But this time, they called the restaurant a while later. "We ordered the chicken fried rice with no vegetables and the <some other dish> with no vegetables, and these have vegetables. We already ate them, but we think you should fix the order."

She complied, because they were really jerky, and she wanted them off the phone. They continued to do this night after night after night. They would call, Min would take their order, and Dai would deliver, and then they'd say something was wrong or that it never arrived, or that it was cold, and demand free replacement food.

The third or fourth time it happened, Min wrote out their exact order, the phone number and address, their names, and had them sign it before Dai left. They still tried to get away with free food. The badgering got so bad, Min told us they were keeping her on the phone for thirty minutes at a time, for up to two hours every night. Arguing about free food. Meanwhile, she's trying to run a business and take orders and seat customers, etc.

She told us that they had made some remarks about how the owners of the restaurant probably drove a bigger car and lived in a bigger house than this Miami douchebag and his douchenozzle wife. Very insulting stuff. And would demand to speak to someone who "spoke English."2

Which is where we came in. They know us well enough that they were comfortable asking us to do this. I wish I'd known the full story when I spoke to Mr. Douchebag and Mrs. Douchenozzle. I might been a little firmer.

Min said they seemed to be playing restaurants off each other, as well. Sometimes, they'd call, and it would be for another Chinese restaurant, like they couldn't remember which one they were trying to scam. When Min finally quit answering Douchebag's phone, he got Mrs. Douchenozzle to call from her phone. Or they'd call using the hotel phone.

After Min told us most of this, and where they were staying, I said, "But there are so many restaurants down there that they could walk to. Mexican, Italian, a burger place, a pub —"

"But if they did that, they'd have to pay. And all of those places speak English." This also explained the 'Are you from China' thing. They wanted to make sure no one there actually spoke English as a native language.

It was at this point that I wanted to punch Mr. Douchebag and Mrs. Douchenozzle in their stuck-up, bigoted, prejudiced, asshole faces. I was so mad, my hands were shaking. I'm not normally a violent person, but I might actually have done so if they'd been there trying to pull this crap in person. The nerve of people to try to get free food by pulling this kind of scam. And to be so obnoxiously racist while doing it was just icing on the asshole cake.

They never called back while we were in there. A good hour and a half. I hope they don't call back. Min said she couldn't block the number because they just kept on calling from different numbers.

May they soon go back to Miami whence they came, and trouble the good, hard-working Chinese restaurateurs of Lawrenceville no more. (And what I mean by this is "die in a fire, scumbags.")

[My guess is that they do this wherever they travel, picking on Asian restaurants. My bet is that they almost never have to pay for more than one or two meals. And I hope they choke on their chow mein.]

  1. It should be stated for the record that Golden Palace is very much an "American" Chinese restaurant. It is not authentic in any way, shape, or form, other than that the people who own and operate it are, in fact, native Chinese people. The food is very good, or at least we think so.
  2. I should also note, here, that Min has a distinct accent, but we get probably 95% of what she says, and we ask her to repeat if we don't. Dai . . . is less fluent, and we get maybe 60% to 70% of what he says, but we try to clarify, and context helps. Communication happens, and that's all that matters.
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?



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.

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.


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: (Rant)
Monday, August 26th, 2013 02:13 pm

Me, using Kindle DX:
[Scroll down to and click]
Sync & Check for Items

Kindle DX:
Turn wireless on?
Your Kindle wireless is turned off. Do you want to turn wireless on?
[cancel] [ok]

"Well, duh. Didn't I just specifically . . . ?<sigh>
[Clicks [ok]]

Kindle DX:
No new items.

I turn wireless back off and power down Kindle DX. I then grab my smaller Kindle and run through approximately the same steps, except I have to login on my work wifi, which means typing using the five-button interface, which blows, but hey.

Me, using Kindle 4:
[opens book]
[It's on the wrong page, because I read some of it on the DX. I want to sync.]
[scrolls down to and selects]
Sync to Furthest Page Read

Kindle 4:
Syncing to Furthest Page Read

You are currently at location xx. The furthest read location is xxx, from "Gary's DX" at hh:mm PM EDT today. Go to that location?
[cancel] [ok]

[clicks on [ok]]

Kindle 4:
Are you sure you wish to...

No! By golly-gosh, I'm not sure! I just went through several minutes of deliberately navigating to and clicking on menu choices randomly and have no desire to do the goddamned thing I actually asked you to fucking do, and even verified that, yes, that is what I wanted to do!

<pant pant>

Sorry. But I just loathe it when people don't give design decisions much thought. When would I ever NOT want to sync after specifically asking it to sync? I can see not automatically syncing if, say, I were sharing the Kindle account with someone, and by syncing, I overwrote where I am with where they are. Or vice versa. But this?


This is right up there with things like Windows interrupting your typing in one window to bring up another window. Because what I'm actively doing right now can't possibly be as important as whatever stupid thing the OS feels like I have to know, right now. I can't tell you how many times someone in a chat window has gotten something like
return S_OK;

because they made the unpardonable error of IMing me with something like "Hey." and Windows thought, "Oh! He's typing code in his development window, but this IM is so much more important, so I'll just bring it up in the foreground and intercept the typing! Because that's a great idea!"

(Yes, I'm fairly sure Windows is sentient and really stupid. What? You can't prove it's not.)


This has been a rant. We now return you to your regularly scheduled Internet, already in progress. Have a nice day.
kaasirpent: (Atlanta)
Wednesday, August 21st, 2013 12:58 pm

There's a movement underway here in Atlanta to change our designation from The Big Peach to The Seattle of the South.

OK, not really, but there should be.

What really has me irked is Atlanta drivers. I know, I know . . . I've lived here for 14 years, now. You'd think I'd be used to them by this point. And I am. But being used to something doesn't mean you have to like it.

It basically goes like this, here. Maybe other places, too, but definitely here.

Weather: Sunny & hot

Drivers: Woohoo! 85 on I-85! 85 on I-285! 85 on I-20! Wooooooohoooooooooo! I don't actually mind this; I'm the guy in the right lane going the speed limit, leaving a gap to let people in, and making rude gestures where other drivers can't see them. So people can do whatever the hell they want.

Weather: Ice and or snow

Drivers: Woohoo! 85 on I-85! 85 on I-285! 85 on I-20! Wooooooohoooooooooo!

Weather: Wet. Or damp. Or slightly overcast. Or a bird flew over.


It is something I suspect I will never quite grok, no matter how long I live here. I live about 21 miles from work. On most days it takes me 26 to 34 minutes to get to work. On days where WET STUFF FALL FROM SKY, that goes to as much as an hour and a half, as it was today. Why? WET STUFF FALL FROM SKY.

There are days when 35 miles per hour would make me nearly wet my pants in glee. But I wouldn't. Because that would be WET STUFF FALL FROM . . . PANTS.
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.

  • 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: (Pets)
Thursday, May 23rd, 2013 11:20 am
2012-11-28 22.09.23 - Cuddly Lucy

Lucy was one of two cats I inherited from Nanny and Granddaddy (my maternal grandparents) in 2008 when they both passed away. I promised them I would look after their cats, and I am so glad I did.

I brought home Lucy and her brother Matt in July of 2009, fully 7 months after Granddaddy died, because I kept putting it off. Neither cat had ever particularly expressed much interest in me other than scuttling away quickly when I got too close. They were half-feral, spending very little time inside my grandparents' home, preferring the great outdoors to four walls and carpet.

I had petted them, but it was usually a quick rub on the back as they ran for the nearest door. Or in Lucy's case, hopped.

Lucy lost her right rear leg at some point in her early years. None of us remembers exactly when or for what reason, but either a dog or being hit by a car sound the most reasonable. She must have limped home. They took Lucy to the vet. He asked Granddaddy, "Now, I can either put her to sleep or I can amputate the leg."

Granddaddy was effectively deaf. All he heard was "put her to sleep," so he answered, "Yes, go on and do that."

Imagine his surprise a few days later when the vet called to come get the now three-legged cat and presented him with a bill.

Lucy learned very quickly to ignore the fact that she had a leg missing. She could hop as fast as most cats can run. I've seen her climb over a chain-link fence. She was an excellent hunter, and both she and Matt were the scourge of the area around my grandparents' home. Nothing feathered or small and furry could relax with her around. We once saw her hop up to the back fence, scale it, and leap over into the back yard with a sizable fish in her mouth. The nearest stream was a half-mile into the woods. Quite a feat for a "handicapped" cat.

I wasn't sure how "taking care of" two cats who at best were indifferent to me and at worst hated me outright was going to work. But my grandparents' house sold and the cats were effectively evicted. When Lucy came to live with me, it was pretty stressful. I let her out of her carrier, and she pretty much ran and hid under a chair, her eyes wide. I kept after her and eventually cornered her in the hall outside my laundry room. She hissed at me, growled, and spat, lashing out at me with her claws. I grabbed her against her will and held her tight, talking soothingly, and gave her neck a good, solid scritching.

Because she was missing her back right leg, she couldn't scratch on that side. Her neck would itch and there was nothing she could do about it. She'd lean over the right way, and her stub would twitch and it was obvious that she was trying to scratch.

I felt her melt into a puddle, purring loudly, as I used my fingers to scratch the spot she couldn't reach. It only took a few minutes, and maybe a couple more sessions of that to completely convert her from hating me to following me around wanting to be petted. Well, more like demanding.

From that point on, she was my cat. She stayed close, napping on me if she could, or on the couch if I had the computer in my lap. She would beg for food in the morning and at night, and we quickly got into the habit of having a whole can for dinner and a half can for breakfast.

The cats were 17 when I got them. I expected them to live another year at the outside. Matt surprised me by living another two years, and Lucy three.

That picture above was taken after she spent her first extended period away from home at the vet's office with all the barky dogs and the odd smells. She hated it. She was velcro-kitty for days afterwards, and she never before or after got that clingy. She is literally lying on my arm in that picture with her paws around my wrist, pressing her chin into the back of my hand. Purring loudly.

Unfortunately, some time earlier this year, she began to develop problems. She quit using her litterbox as fastidiously as she had been, and I found traces of blood.

I took her to the vet and we discovered that she had kidney failure, and was anemic, and was very constipated. We took care of all that (special food and medication for the kidneys), but she still wasn't doing well. I took her back in and the vet took a deeper look.

She had tumors. Two big ones. Pressing on her bladder and her colon. She felt like she had to go to the bathroom all the time, which explained the going on the floor thing. The vet told me the tumors were one of two things, and both were fast-growing and bad. It would only be a matter of time.

Lucy made it another week and a half. She never lost her appetite and demanded that I feed her at the appropriate times. Except for the past two days, she met me at the door when I got home. She loved her bedtime treats. She wanted very much to sit with me and be petted, which I've done a lot of in the last week or two.

This morning . . . she peed all over the carpet and it was nothing but blood, and still she was on the litterbox trying and trying, yet eagerly eating her half can of food in between.

I just couldn't watch it slowly consume her any more. So I took her in, and it was mercifully quick. She went to sleep with me petting her in her favorite spot, on the neck where she couldn't reach.

I'm gonna miss that little girl. A lot. It'll be hard going through my morning routine without her at my feet "reminding" me that it's time to feed the cat. She was twenty years old and some change, we figure. A very long, full life for a cat. And I hope I did well by her for her final three years, and especially these final few weeks. I tried to make her as comfortable and as loved as I could. I think Nanny would approve.
kaasirpent: (Annoyed)
Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012 03:35 pm
Thanks to a sudden, drastic uptick in the number of spam comments, I've temporarily(?) set my journal so that only people who are registered users of LiveJournal may comment, and anyone who is NOT a friend must fill out one of those annoying Captcha things. And anyone who is NOT a friend will have their comment automatically screened pending approval.

Sorry if that inconveniences anyone.
kaasirpent: (Pets)
Wednesday, May 30th, 2012 10:11 am
Matt with binkie

Matt was one of my "estate cats." I inherited him from my grandparents when they both died six months apart in 2008. I told them I'd take care of their cats after they were gone. Matt and his littermate Lucy didn't come to live with me until July 5, 2009. We arbitrarily set their birthday at 1/1/1993, so he was 16ish when he came to live with me.

It was a rough haul getting them both used to me and to being inside all the time. With Nanny and Granddaddy, they had been indoor/outdoor cats, staying out most of the day to hunt and lie in the sun and do whatever it is that cats do. Matt was the scourge of everything small and furry or feathered for a long distance around my grandparents' house. His prowess as a hunter of small things was undisputed. At night, they'd come into the (barely) air conditioned house and sleep the untroubled sleep of the feline.

They were both very wary of all people, including me. I wasn't sure the whole 'watching after Nanny and Granddaddy's cats' thing was going to work. I envisioned myself feeding two cats I never saw and wondering where they were hiding.

As it turned out, Lucy was easy to tame. She was missing her rear right leg and therefore couldn't scratch her right ear. So I managed to trap her where she couldn't get away, and picked her up, hissing and spitting and clawing, and forcefully scratched her ear. She melted into cat goo, started purring, and that was that. Took 20 minutes.

Matt was a little harder. He didn't hear so well or see all that great, either. So everything was a muddle with him, but eventually, slowly, he got where he'd let me pet him, and then come up to me and beg me to pet him.

He loved his yellow handled brush more than anything else. Well, more than anything else other than treats and food. Those were his absolute favorites. And sleeping in a sunbeam.

Everything went great until a few months ago sometime between October and December of 2011. He developed a growth on his right rear leg. It quickly grew and grew until it was hard not to notice it jutting out from his hip.

The vet said it needed to come off, so we scheduled that surgery. Even though he turned or would turn 19 at some point during 2012, he was healthy as an ox otherwise, and handled the anesthetic well. The tumor was removed and he began to recover.

And it came right back, with renewed vigor. So the vet suggested that if she removed his leg, it might get the tumor. So we tried that. She warned me that she had to use skin from where the tumor had been to cover up the amputation, and that if she hadn't been able to get all the tumor cells, it would come back.

Nevertheless, it looked like it had worked. For a few days, Matt hung out in my bathroom, hiding from everyone, learning to hop on three legs, until his wounds healed. Then he moved downstairs, and resumed his former routine, minus the whole 'getting up on the couch' part. Brushings, treats, petting...it all returned to normal.

It wasn't until about two weeks ago that I realized the tumor had come back again, and this time with a real vengeance. It grew so rapidly that it was visibly stretching his skin, and it...split open where the sutures had been after his surgery.

He began sleeping all the time, in a dark, small bathroom, curled up in a ball. He only came out to eat, drink, and use the litter box. He'd still come if I called him, and let me brush him with the yellow-handled brush or nibble a treat, but his heart wasn't really in it. He began to lose weight.

This morning, I took him to the vet for the last time. He was in pain. The tumor had spread to the other leg. There was just nothing anyone could do. The vet took one look at him and her eyes misted up. She has been so wonderful during these last couple of months.

Nanny called Matt her "Golden Boy." He turned from a suspicious cat who didn't want to be touched by anyone into a sweet, loving cat who would curl up in my lap and purr while I petted him. He loved my housemate, and would demand that she brush him whenever she sat down. He even got to the point where he'd approach other friends of mine without hesitation and let them pet him or brush him.

He would occasionally sleep with me. And by "with," I mean that he took up 99% of the bed and I could have whatever was left.

He was a good boy. And he was my golden boy, too. And I'll miss him horribly.
kaasirpent: (Work)
Monday, August 1st, 2011 11:24 am
An email from corporate.
Dear [Company] Employees:

Your feedback via recent employee surveys and your representation on the [Company's] Employee Opinion Survey Committee (EOSC) recognized that Work-Life balance is a critical area that is of concern for many employees. In response to this feedback we launched Core Hours1 late last year. We are now prepared to launch the [Company] Telecommuting Trial. We will move forward to expand the availability of telecommuting as an option for more employees utilizing a maximum of 2 days a week through the program trial period, which will be the remainder of FY12 (through March 2012). As we head into FY13 we will assess the success of the program and determine how we move forward as an organization.

[Our] leadership understands the need to continue to leverage the power of technology to enable a more flexible work environment that includes workspace outside of the traditional office setting and thus provides an increased opportunity for employees to manage issues pertaining to work-life balance, as well as work productivity. It is critical throughout this trial that the focus on data security and data integrity is maintained at the highest level whether working in the office or outside of the workplace.

The [Corporate] telecommuting policy will be trialed [sic] across the [entire company] organization. Employees that are approved, based [on] role eligibility and performance, will have the opportunity to work from home one to two days a week on an individual 90-day trial basis, with continued ongoing renewal opportunity based on manager approval.

Eligibilty [sic] for participating in the telecommuting trial includes :
  • Working in a role eligible for telecommuting [Check!]

  • Currently maintain a 3 or higher performance rating [Checkaroonie!]

  • Having an appropriate workspace and work environment outside of the office to conduct your work. [ . . . well, crap.]

  • Gaining management approval for participating in the trial [Not that it matters at this point, but check, I suppose.]

  • Having proper company-provided hardware and software to ensure data security [Sure. Whatever. Check. Like it matters.]
I was golden right up to the 'Having an appropriate workspace and work environment' part. Damn you, HVAC! DAMN YOU TO HELL!

Ah, well. Maybe when the ambient outdoor temperature falls enough that it's not 85°F in my home office during the day. <sigh>2

  1. Core Hours means that the majority of employees should schedule their work day to be onsite during the hours between 9:30 and 4:30 so that groups who work together on projects and such are guaranteed 7 hours of overlapping time. It's supposed to keep people from coming in at 6 and leaving at 2:00 (unless the whole group does, mind you) or coming in at 10 and leaving at 6:00 (again, unless the whole group does it).
  2. I have a window-unit. During the day, it struggles to keep it at 80 running full blast. My HVAC has been running 24/7 since June, and at night, it's quite comfortable in the house. During the day? Not so much.3
  3. Note: In my office, where I am now sitting, it is a comfortable 72 to 74 degrees, depending on the time of day and the ambient outside temperature. Unfortunately, they turn off the AC at 7:00 PM and on weekends, and . . . it's no longer a comfortable 72 to 74 degrees. Which isn't normally an issue, except I've been working long hours lately.
kaasirpent: (Religion)
Wednesday, December 29th, 2010 11:50 am
Over on Facebook, one of my friends encountered a friend-of-a-friend who is proud of her ignorance. She proclaims that there is only One Book that people need ever read.

My friend Katherine made these remarks in several comments to her own post, not in response to the ignorant woman, whom it would do no good to hear it.
She told our mutual Facebook friend that people only need to read one book, and if they don't know what it is they're "slow" and "ignorant."

I still think she'd benefit from other books. Strunk and White, perhaps. Elementary Logic. Religious history. But I read other books, so I'm clearly ignorant. ;)

I'm pretty sure that there's no passage in that particular book that reads, "And thou shalt be unread and unlettered, and proud of thy unlearned state. Yea, and thou shalt be so proud of thy unlearned state that thou shalt be nasty to people on the Intarwebs, and sneer at them, and generally be a jerk, for I the Lord thy God love it when thou are an asshat in my name."

In fact, I'm pretty sure that Jesus wouldn't tell anyone whether or not to read a book, but he would tell people not to be self-righteous assholes, and did so on more than one occasion.
I repost her comments here (with permission) because...well, I think it bears repeating. :)

Alas, the people who most need to hear it 1) will never see it, and 2) won't understand it if they do.
kaasirpent: (Stupid)
Tuesday, December 21st, 2010 02:25 am
Logic actually died this morning. It was a tragic occurrence, but hardly remarkable at this point.

I bought a new stove a few weeks ago. Foolishly, I gave my yahoo.com email address to the person at the Sears Appliance store. I knew I shouldn't have done it. I knew the minute it was out of my mouth that I'd had a severe lapse of judgment.

The very next day I started getting spam on the Yahoo account from Sears. And K-Mart. And a plethora of other places.

One of the more persistent ones has been from something called Family Circle magazine.

I finally got sick of it and decided to call them to see if I could get the damned things stopped. I did a little research and discovered that the magazine is published by a publisher that does a lot of other magazines. I brilliantly thought to call the publisher directly to see if I could get myself removed from all of the mailing lists at once instead of having to do each publication separately.

I called their 800 number. I spoke to a woman named Kathy. Or Cathy. Either way. I explained my problem and the first thing she wanted to know was my name and address.

To get taken off an email list.

Let me say that again. To get taken off an email spam list, because as I have already explained, I'm trying to reduce the amount of shit I get in both the mail and in email, she needs to know my name and my mailing address.

I don't think I've said it enough times to highlight the sheer depth of stupid, or how stupid they must think I am, to fall for that.

They want me. To give them. My name. And mailing address. To get. My email address. Removed from. Their spam list.

My name. And my mailing address.


So I said, "No. I'm not giving you that information. You have my email, and that's all you need to do what I'm asking."

She replied, "Well, I'm not sure they're going to be able to process the request without your name and address."

"But, if I give you that, I'll start getting a bunch of catalogs or other mail, and since I don't want it in my email inbox, I certainly don't want it in my mailbox. No. Just send the email."

"Well...I'll send it up, but I don't think they'll process it."

Ladies and gentlemen, at approximately 10:43 AM on December 20, 2010, that which we know as logic died an ignominious, silent, lonely death at the hands of Meredith Corporation.

Call them, why don't you, and thank them for finally killing it off. It had been in declining health for many years, and it was a blessing when it finally succumbed. Sadly, it will not be missed by most people, many of whom were unaware it had been sick.

 The Geologic Podcast: Episode #121 by George Hrab from Geologic Podcast (Rating: 0)
kaasirpent: (Superpowers)
Wednesday, November 24th, 2010 01:14 am
About a month ago, I purchased a new range because [livejournal.com profile] veldah was able to demonstrate that it wasn't working correctly.

While we were at the Sears appliance store looking at ranges (I bought one very like the one I had located online), I was looking at washing machines and dryers.

"Not because I need new ones," I said to the salesdude. "I bought the ones I have now with the first paycheck from my first job back in 1990. Twenty years and they're still going strong. They won't die, but if they did, I'd probably replace them with something like this."

When characters in movies say things like that, there are usually musical cues to let the viewer know that it was a bad idea. Minor chords, dissonance, unresolved chords, repeated notes...that kind of thing. You know the schtick:
"Oh, it's been 100 years since there were any murders here in Cabot Cove." <dun Dun DUNNNNNNNNNNNNNN!>
"Well, no, we just moved the gravestones, not the bodies. I mean, what can possibly go wrong?" <orchestral burst followed by creepy dissonance>
You know nothing good is ever going to come of whatever has just been said when you hear that music.

If I had a life-track (soundtrack for my life), there would have been an honest-to-goodness <ominous chord> at that utterance.

"They won't die," I said. <ominous chord>

Tonight I came home to find [livejournal.com profile] veldah sopping water out of the laundry room. Seems the washing machine sprung a leak.

Good thing I have plenty of clean laundry for the next few days.

Maybe this is a new superpower. I can break appliances with the power of my statements that invite the ironic application of karma.

Let's test it! You, there, reading this. What appliance would you like me to break for you?

 The Skeptics Guide #279 - Nov 15 2010 by NESS from The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe (Rating: 0)
kaasirpent: (Car)
Monday, September 13th, 2010 11:41 pm
You may have already guessed from the userpic of this entry that something else has happened to my car. You'd be right. I'm okay and the car is driveable. :)

As I was leaving work tonight to get to the Fiction Workshop, someone rear-ended me. Her Subaru Outback was barely damaged. The rear bumper and lower half of the hatch-back (rear door?) of my Honda Element are going to have to be replaced. The car is drivable, I'm fine, she was fine, but the floor of my car was littered with the contents of my dashboard and the trays connected to it. I remember feeling an odd "pattering" sensation on my legs and I thought glass had broken, but it was the coins in my change tray flying off and scattering all over the place. An odd feeling.

She was super nice about it, as was I. Nothing we could do but deal with it, after all. Shit happens. She gave me her information (name, email, phone numbers, license plate), I gave her mine. We drove off.

She works at the CDC, a few buildings over from the building I work, in the same "industrial park."

It took me...20 minutes, tops, to get to the book store where my workshop meets. By the time I got there, cranked up my Macbook, connected to the Internet, and checked email and Geico, she had already called her insurance company (Geico, just like me), given them her information and mine, and I got calls from Geico and from her, neither of which I could answer because I was learning about Sex and Violence in Fiction. :) The claim was already open and waiting for my perusal.

So if I have to get rear-ended, I guess she's the ideal person to have hit me. I wasn't the least bit angry because I've done the same thing she did, although I didn't damage the car of the guy I hit nearly as much as she damaged mine. If I had to guess what happened (she said she just plain didn't see me, and asked if I'd pulled in off the interstate), she was right behind me and saw me pull ahead, and immediately started looking for her own opening to merge into traffic, and didn't notice that I had stopped because the opening I saw was taken by someone else. So she saw an opening and punched the gas...and hit me because I was about 30 feet farther ahead than she was.

So, really, nothing I don't understand from her POV.

So...soon, I'll be taking my car back to the shop to be worked on. Again. And driving a rental car for a day or two. Again. Whee.

 Mortality by Jad Abumrad & Robert Krulwich from WNYC's Radiolab (Rating: 0)
kaasirpent: (House)
Monday, August 30th, 2010 12:28 pm
Just got off the phone with ALFA's home office in Montgomery, Alabama. I spoke with a very nice young man I'll call "Fred" to whom I had to explain the entire, sordid saga, starting in May of this year, because he wouldn't let me speak directly to the underwriters. After my last post, I did speak to ALFA and was told that the underwriters would "look into it" and "get back to me" within a day or two. I waited more than a week (I've dealt with them before, you'll recall), then contacted them today.

Fred waited until I got to the end, which went something like this:
...So, there is a discrepancy of $9 which they were claiming I owed, but which came from an error somewhere inside ALFA, and I will not be paying that $9. They were supposed to 'research' the situation and get back to me, but no one ever did, so I'm calling to see if it was resolved.
He then said that my account showed a $9 credit from the 26th. (See why I waited? "A couple of days" was more like a week.)

So. It looks like maybe the whole thing is now cleared up. And it only took four months. Plus many hours of my time, my local agent's time, ALFA's customer service people's time, and their underwriters' time.

Because some idiot typed a wrong number (I'm guessing) in 2007.

Joy, O Rupture.

Letter to ALFA president and other key officers beginning...probably tomorrow. Will post for review (for you to help me de-whine it), then mail.

Meanwhile, I'll be researching other insurance solutions.

So, like the end of the movie "The Blob" (the good 1950s one with Steve McQueen, not whatever remakes you may be thinking of), I'll end with:

The End <slowly fades in>?</slowly fades in>