Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Not your typical Friday night

Our plans were put on hold tonight so I listened to music, trying out some new headphones I have, and for whatever reason, I started listening to a lot of older Linkin Park, mainly the albums Metora and Hybrid Theory.  I remembered that Chester Bennington's death had been around this time of the year, and I checked, it was the 20th of July 2017. Hard to believe it's been four years.  It's a shame; he was very talented, and had a beautiful voice (when he was singing, as opposed to the occasional screaming, but you could never say he didn't put emotion into his work).  That's what first appealed to me about them--Mike Shinoda's speaking and Chester Bennington singing, their voices intertwining.  I think it was 'In the End' that I first heard them.  There's a dark aspect to their music, emotional, raw, and full of depression and hurt.  I spent so much of my early life feeling exactly those things--I was clinically depressed from much of my childhood and teens all through my 30s.  I felt trapped in circumstances in my early life, then wound up going from that to an emotionally abusive marriage where I walked on eggshells for a six-year relationship that culminated in my wedding and then finally getting my voice and leaving six months into the fiasco that was.  Then there were years of trying to rebuild my life, or rather build it, because I'd always been a mirror of what people wanted me to be, rather than my own person. And once I stopped doing that, I was much happier.  So you can see why their music appeals.  (It's also why I like Simon & Garfunkel and Ed Sheeran, who often sing songs that are beautiful and light musically, but really quite depressive if you look at the lyrics.  Simon & Garfunkel have suicide through several songs, and Ed Sheeran sings about drugs, prostitution, miscarriages, and all sorts of 'negative' things, but in a way that makes him sound happy.)  Somehow I get all those.  Linkin Park is a rawer kind of music, where the music itself expresses the pain, not just the lyrics.

I don't know why, even though I'm not in that place any more, I still feel comfort in this sort of music.  Most people feel depressed listening to that sort of music.  I feel more alive.  It reminds me of the demons I've conquered.  There are plenty I'm still working on, as it's a daily struggle with my brain to keep on an even keel.  Thankfully I have a good support system, a friend of over 30 years (the same one who helped me get out of that awful marriage) who still asks me hard questions I can't dodge that cuts down on lies I might tell myself, and then I can't tell you how different my life is with the right medicine.  My brain chemistry hates me, and while I sometimes wish that wasn't so, I know I need help, and there's no shame in that.  My roommate is very astute at sensing changes in my mood, and helping with my anxiety, which without medication would be crippling.

I know that's a fairly heavy post.  Sorry about that, I didn't mean to go all dark on you.  It's one reason I try to keep things upbeat here, because of that tendency. I'm feeling actually pretty decent tonight. It was a good week, I got a lot done, I feel good about myself.  But it did make me reflect on how far I've come.  If you told me at age 20 that I'd have connexions to so many people who make my life better, I'd think you were crazy. I was so alone for so long.  Thanks for being there.  You know who you all are.

Friday, July 16, 2021

Taking a bit of a break

I'm the last one at my office. It's been a very productive day, but I'm starting to run out of steam, so I was hoping giving my attention to something other than sheets of paper with codes and encounter numbers would help before going back to it.  I've requested a lot of clinical notes and I'm hoping I'll get those and can put in some more requests.  If not, I've got some paperwork to do involving putting information into two different spreadsheets.

On Monday I have an ophthalmologist visit and field of vision test in the morning, so I have parking at the hospital. Yay!  Parking days bring joy kind of like jeans day (every Friday is jeans day at work, along with certain other days throughout the year).  And then on Tuesday I have two virtual appointments shortly after work, so I'll clock out and stick around for a telehealth visit with my psychiatrist and a phone call from my health insurance care manager, which should be right after one another.  There are lots of appointments this month, and I rescheduled three just to keep it from being more than I could count on one hand.  But not all are during working hours, and I've been pretty lucky to get ones that are early or late.  I was afraid I'd be going back to a doctor with my foot yesterday.  I stretched to get something from atop the refrigerator, and being short, I overstretched, and my Achilles tendong went pop! pop! pop! It's a little sore today, but not bad, so I'm hoping I didn't do anything to it.  The older I get, I really should keep an orthopaedist on speed dial.

Okay, that was a quick 15 minutes.  Now for the final push through the work of the day.

Success!!!


(Well, I did burn my ring finger slightly because I dropped a potholder, but still....) Aren't they lovely? Now, off to bed (and yes, I turned the oven off). 

Tonight

my roommate cooked a lovely meal, we had a good time watching 'Murdoch Mysteries' during dinner (it was the one with William Shatner of all people as Mark Twain), and I've finally gotten all the dishes either washed or a load running in the dishwasher, the linens are put in the laundry, and I've got the bread in the oven. Last week's bread dough was like cake batter when it came out, and I had to put a LOT of flour in it to make it work.  This time, since it's been raining this evening, I put about 2 oz. less water in it than the normal cup.  The dough came out much better, a bit stiff, but it rolled well into the coils and it rose reasonably well.  We'll see how it comes out. I've got another 13-15 minutes left.  I really, really want to go on to bed, an I just have to go that little bit of time before putting the bread in the upper oven to cool and turning off the lower one.  Just 15 minutes.  It seems like an eternity.  So here I am, whiling the time away on the Internet.

It was a good day. I got a lot done, including some things that were on the back burner but needed to be done.

I found a raw amethyst pendant at UK on my way home, set in a silver setting.  There wasn't anyone around and it was outside, so there was no lost and found to turn it in to.  It wasn't anything expensive, just maybe sentimental.  It feels like a jangly mess whenever I hold it in my hand, so if I keep it, I definitely need to cleanse it or something.  But it is nice.  I've had things I've found and lost again like this; I think sometimes things just go through a variety of hands over their existence.

Three more minutes. Actually, I'm going to check now, as the loaves are poufier but shorter than usual.  But if I don't blog any more tonight, have a wonderful evening.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Stupidity in action

My roommate just told me he'd seen people online who contended that 'The Lord of the Rings' was racist in respect to orcs, the slathering, kill-you-dead creatures who, oh, yeah, are completely fictional.  Because there's not enough real racism to fight against, right, we have to worry about racism against imaginary people. [Sarcasm sign firmly displayed, just in case you didn't get that.]

Sigh.  Our world is becoming stupid.

We should do everything we can to fight racism in the real world. The fact that these people have lost sight of the arch of the holdoeck really saddens me.  I mean, who has time to worry about stuff like that when real people are dying?

Makes me angry.

Home

I came home today, fed the animals, and promptly took a 'nap' for about an hour and a half. Everyone else was napping, so it seemed like the thing to do.  I feel better.  Today I worked very hard and while of course what I do isn't physical at all, mental work can be tiring, too.  I got an awfully lot done today; I finished up everything for this week except for one new visit I have for tomorrow where I have to wait to see if they come and get the notes when dictated, sending a form in the meantime if they're not so they know we tried to get the authorization in time. A lot of insurance won't allow for a retroactive authorization.  So tomorrow I'll do that but also work into next week and do some other things that have been on the back burner.  So much of what I do is a blend of tracking packets of paper and submitting them via fax or online, but there's a lot of follow up as well.  So tomorrow I'd like to work on some of the follow up if there aren't too many add-ons surgery-wise or office visits, for that matter.

Life at home has been pretty quiet.  One of our good friends passed away last month and that was sad, although he was so riddled with cancer it was a blessing at the same time.  But he'd lived almost four years with a stage IV diagnosis.  He had colon and prostate cancer both.  We had his memorial Sunday, and it was the largest gathering we'd been around since the pandemic started.  He was a long-time teacher and speech coach, and he touched a lot of lives.  It was good to see people come out to remember him.

Taking a quick break

from work to test out my hotspot on my phone for creating an Internet connexion for my Kindle Fire.  I take it to work because the battery lasts for a very long time, even when playing music, and I play music offline while I'm doing paperwork.  But sometimes I want to blog. Years ago, I signed a paper to the effect that I would not blog using the company's  equipment or networks.  The main network can't reach things like Blogger anyway, as they are blocked along with social media sites, unless you get a special dispensation.  There is a public network for patients, families, and visitors, but again, I promised not to use it for blogging.

With my last phone, the hotspot never worked, but this is working fine.  Yay! It means I am more likely to write, as my Fire has a connected keyboard that works very well and has a 10.1" screen, so it's much easier than using my phone.  My roommate uses my laptop, which is connected to all sorts of things like TV and keyboard for use like a desktop.  So I have to rely on other devices.

Anyway, hi, and it is now time to have a quick bite before returning to my tasks.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

My day started rather rough

 My neck has been hurting quite a bit, and it's making pain and parasthesia going down through my arms, which has been quite annoying. So last night I took my dose of muscle relaxants I keep just for such an occasion. Tizanidine is really mild, and they're only 4 mg pills, but I take three at a time as directed.  Usually when I take them, the next morning I wake up early and refreshed, ready to go.  Not this morning.  I was sluggish, kept falling asleep and hitting snooze. I start my alarms (there are several) at 6 am so I can get up by 7 am at the latest.  It takes 15 minutes for me to shower and 15 minutes to get ready, then a 10 minute drive and 20 minutes between walking to the bus stop, taking the shuttle, and walking from the bus stop at the University of Kentucky emergency department.  So I realised that I was, indeed, going to be late when I finally crawled out of bed just before 7:30 am.

I took a shower, got dressed, grabbed my lunch, got in the car, took my COVID screening on my phone, and texted my supervisor and my manager.  Then I drove carefully to UK's Orange Lot. Right as I was getting ready to go through the second roundabout, I thought about combing my hair (I drive with both windows down), and I realised that I didn't have my comb, or my crossbody purse, just my backpack (and yes, there's a brush in the backpack, but that's beside the point.)  So I told me, that's fine, just don't get pulled over or get into an accident, as you don't have your licence with you.  I'm pretty poor right now, as it's right before payday, so I wasn't planning on spending money at least, and I did bring my lunch.  All good, right?  I had my phone and my receiver for my continuous glucose monitor.

So I parked and was getting my jacket on (it was raining a bit) and then it hit me. My badge was in my purse.

Yesterday I'd put my badge holder on a new lanyard one of my co-workers brought back from the beach. Because, unlike the one I usually use, it has a reel and snap joint for clipping in onto the lanyard, I'd decided to keep it in my purse rather than put in on for the trip, because I didn't want to take a chance of losing it at UK. It's $15 to replace the suckers.  The reason for that is they double as a proximity card, so in addition to clocking in and out, they get us through various locked doors (and my office happens to be one you have to badge into) AND you can't get into the computer and get to all your files unless you have yours.  And of course, then I left the whole purse, which is only big enough for my wallet, keys, lip balm, hand sanitiser, and glucose tabs, really.  I'd left it on a stool near my bed at home.  But if I'd gone to work, I wouldn't have actually been able to work, and I'd have to fork over money I didn't have to get a new one.

I called my boss and basically asked, since I was already going to be late (although it would have been maybe by five, ten minutes tops) if I could go back home and get my badge, and she said that was fine. So I got back in the car, went home (obeying all traffic laws) got my purse, made sure my badge was in it, drove back (which was interesting, as a jogger crossed against our green turn light and some yahoo in a truck in the oncoming lane decided he was supposed to go, too, so he ran a red light, nearly hitting the car in front of me, who had yielded to the jogger, who looked to be in his 60s and was certainly old enough to know how to cross a street and obviously just didn't care).

I got to work 45 minutes late, but got started on my work, and actually got a bit ahead today, so it was a pretty decent day all told.  But it was a little sketchy there for a bit.

Tomorrow I need to really be on my game because I have a meeting at 11 am and I have to prepare a couple of spreadsheets.  The other person who reads the material won't be there tomorrow, so I'll read both weeks of summaries.  I've gotten very good at pronouncing the word 'hemiepiphysiodesis' due to this meeting.  Wednesdays morning are usually me preparing for it, as she does her part the afternoon before.  After the meeting, I plan to get as far as I can on authorisations (I have a couple to do for this week, and then it's on to next week). I'd like to get a minimum of two to three weeks out this week, and preferably a month out, and then fill in the new visits or added ones.  I also need to work on some denials and do some housekeeping in terms of putting data into other spreadsheets so I can file some paperwork.  That doesn't all have to be done tomorrow afternoon, but it would be great if I could get some of it done this week.  I've been working really steadily and my days are certainly full; there's never really boring downtime some people have in their jobs.  There's always a lot to do.  But since we shuffled our duties between a co-worker and myself so she both schedules and authorises offsite imaging and I authorise surgeries and office visits, my anxiety has gone way down.  Scheduling was a juggling job that kept me constantly worrying about details of whether something would work, and it took a whole lot of time.  I hope she's doing okay.  We back each other up, though, so the other day I did both jobs and it wasn't too bad becuase it was a little quieter on the offsite front, at least, and I only had to schedule the urgent ones.

I guess I should sign off here.  I will try to write more.  I've been listening to Pandora, but I have a book I'm reading (or, as my roommate puts it, a computer file, as it's a Kindle book out of the library) that is fiction (something I've been struggling to read of late), over 300 pages, and I'm over halfway now.  It's called The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick. It's about a widower who finds a charm bracelet of his late wife which turns out to lead him on an adventure learning more about the woman he loved and the life she had before they met.  I'm really enjoying it.  The writing is very pleasant and the story drew me in.  It's taken me a couple of weeks to get this far, as it's hard to make time, but I checked it out again so I have it for another two weeks. Yay! Hopefully I can finish  before it's due.

Oh, I got to do a librarian thing today, finding out some information for a co-worker that involved calling an oral history centre and finding out how to access their materials.  It was fun.  That part of my life seems like it's in the past now, but it's still nice to be able to do things like that occasionally, plus I learned about some resources I didn't know about.

Okay, I really am going to sing off her for now.  Good night.

Monday, July 12, 2021

Today

Was the first time since the pandemic began that I went into a store unmasked. I've been masking at work (I work in healthcare) and everywhere else inside except at home despite being vaccinated in December and January. I have underlying conditions and so does a dear friend, and we've been very careful due to variants. He still has me wipe down anything I bring home to him from the grocery, for example.

Now, at the beginning of June I did go to a family gathering at a restaurant where we didn't wear masks, but we were eating.  But yesterday we went to a friend's memorial service, and while we did bring masks, we didn't wear them. Almost no one was, actually.  About half of Kentuckians have been vaccinated, so many of those people have been (certainly the ones I was hanging around with have been).  But some weren't, of course.  But still, we have to take the plunge sometime, I guess.  So today I went to the grocery and didn't bring a mask. I felt a little naked, but closer to 'normal'. Lately, I've felt like peopel will assume I'm an anti-vaxxer because I am wearing a mask, when the guidelines have said vaccinated people can go without one.

I'll still wear one at work, of course, although there are areas of the hospital we don't have to because our vaccination rate is so high, and of course I can go without in my office.  And I wear them on the shuttle bus, as that's still a guideline due to the close quarters, especially as they've returned to full capacity.

Hopefully we won't get sick. But I have faith in the vaccines in terms of preventing us from becoming seriously sick or hospitalised, at least.

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Wow...

So, I entirely missed May and part of June in terms of writing. I really don't want to let this blog die, here in it's 20th year.  But life does get in the way sometimes. 

I've struggled a little with the glucose monitor in terms of getting the sensors to stay on.  Three have stayed the entire time. One stayed on about 15 minutes, one a day, one three days.  The company did send me a couple of replacements gratis and that was great. I need to call again.  But overall, it's been good though, to get feed back to make decisions with.   I've ordered some things to help, like sponge-on adhesive and over patches, and those do help. 

My friend who was in hospice had died, sadly passing this week. But he's out of pain, and that's what matters.  For four years or so he has lived with stage IV colon cancer and prostate cancer.  it's been a long, hard road.  But at least he's at peace now. 

I got to see my aunt and uncle recently.  They flew up from San Antonio to Nashville and then drove up to Ohio, where they used to live, stopping in Kentucky along the way and we got to visit, along with some cousins.  It was ver nice.  I'd taken off work to go down there, and I took my roommate with me. It was nice to get out of town for a few hours, even if it did kick up my allergies. I hadn't left Lexington or been to my hometown, which is an hour away, since my mother died four years ago. 

That's a little of what's been going on. 

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Another great thing

Everyone in my household is now fully vaccinated, so I finally felt comfortable getting my hair cut.  She took off 7 inches; my hair was the longest it had been in years, and I think I'd gone about 15 months without one. 

Before:

After:
I feel so much better, and with the warm weather, I keep my car windows down when I drive, so it's not in my face any more and I can sleep without getting it trapped under me.  It's amazing what a simple haircut can do for you. :) 

I haven't written in awhile

I've been busy at work and at home, and I guess I just fell out of the habit of going to the app and blogging. (My roommate is usually on my laptop). It's a little harder to use the phone, even with a Bluetooth keyboard. 

I did want to blog about this, though. I've started using a continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) system called Dexcom G6.  It takes my blood sugar every 5 minutes throughout the day without fingers ticks, and should help me lower my hA1C some.  It wasn't bad last time (it was 7.6%), but it could be better. And I was checking my blood sugar four times a day in my fingers.  I'm not free of finger sticks--if I need to calibrate the system or if it gives a reading that is inconclusive, I should still have my meter on me.  But generally I won't have to stick. 

It works by applying a sensor on a patch to the abdomen, then inserting a transmitter.  There is a receiver as well, although it can also broadcast to a smartphone. The sensors last 10 days; the transmitters three months. There is an app that keeps track of when you should change it.  There are certain things you need to be aware of--you can't wear them in an MRI or CT scan.  You shouldn't go through the whole body scanner at the airport, but rather ask to be wanded, patted down, or go through an actual metal detector.  They shouldn't be x-rayed. But you can shower and all the other parts of normal life.  Here are some pictures to give you some idea:


Anyway, I'm hoping this helps me manage my diabetes better.  I'm lucky in that my insurance covers it as durable medical equipment once it's pre-approved and with a couple of in-network providers (mine is Byram Healthcare). I've met my out-of-pocket expenses (my plan has a low deductible and out-of-pocket max, for which I'm grateful).  So I don't have to pay anything for the rest of the year, and at the beginning of next it will be 20%, so not bad.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Grrr....

So one benefit of Zoom is allowing one to check up on people you care about who otherwise have no voice. Discovered today that a friend in hospice has been without his morphine due to someone's incompetence, whether it be in the nursing home, the prescribing office, or elsewhere. Not acceptable. 

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Whew!

So I came home last night all wound up after two or three days of working multiple freaking miracles in terms of scheduling same-day or within the next couple of days imaging exams, and my roommate pointed out that I was acting a bit manic, talking a mile a minute with push of speech. Which is true. And I will probably crash this weekend from the results of too much adrenaline this week. But while mania and hypomania are never really desirable, and have a host of problems if prolonged, a little extra zing in my step really helped this week. This proves that even challenges can be helpful if channelled correctly. I spent a lot of time this week using the Pomodoro technique to focus (you use a timer--such as an app I use called Focus To Do--for 25 minutes of focused work, followed by 5 minutes' rest, repeat, until a few cycles and then you get a 15 minute break--it's called Pomodoro from the Italian for tomato, because a lot of early kitchen timers were in that shape). Anyway, it really helped this week, along with taking some of my boss' suggestions for organising, and it really cut down on my scheduling time. I guess all those time management books I've been checking out from the library are starting to help, too. 🙂 Now if I can just get comfortable asking for help rather than trying to please everyone when I'm drowning. I'm still trying to figure out this thing we call life. I think we all are.

Friday, February 12, 2021

Feeling relieved

So back in November, I called to make a mammogram appointment because I'd last had one a couple of years before and I'd put it off, mainly due to COVID. I needed a late appointment, which pushed it out to January 18th, but that was okay, I figured. I went and got it, didn't think much about it, and had decided that all must be fine or they'd have called me, and I'd probably get something in the mail in 2-4 weeks (or more, given the challenges of getting anything through the Postal Service these days).

Then they called.

It was all matter-of-a-fact. There was need for a diagnostic mammogram because of something on the images. I was in enough shock I didn't ask what it was. At the urging of a co-worker who has been through cancer and was talking me down from a panic attack, I called back and was told it had to do with assymetry, something showing up inside one breast but not the other, something not noticed on my previous imaging. I was to come today for that mammogram and prepare to stay one to three hours in case there was need for an ultrasound or biopsy.

Fortunately we've been dealing with ice in our area, so I haven't had much chance to overly worry. But I went today and had just the left breast scanned, and then sat in the waiting room in my little half-gown wondering how it would come out. Then someone called my name, told me I was free to go, and took me to the changing room and showed me the results were normal, that it was just normal tissue. I was very much relieved, dressed, went back to the car, and texted my friends at work--two of whom were not so lucky to get good news--my results. All in all I was in there about 37 minutes, only about 25 past my appointment time. It was over very quickly, and that was great. But there were other women who were there, and I remember one pacing in the hallway, others quietly introspective. One of them might not be getting good news.

So that was the sum of my little scare, but it all came out happy in the end. Thank you so much to Jessica, who talked me through the panic and got me to seek as much information from them so I could empower a sense of calm.