Sunday, July 25, 2021
Saturday, July 17, 2021
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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 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
Saturday, June 12, 2021
Sunday, April 18, 2021
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
Saturday, February 27, 2021
Friday, February 12, 2021
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.
Thursday, February 11, 2021
Friday, February 05, 2021
Sunday, January 31, 2021
So I got a bit of a scare the other day. On the 18th, I went to get a screening mammogram. It's been about 2 1/2 years since my last one, due to COVID, as I'd planned to get one last spring, and then when I made the appointment a couple of months ago it took a bit to get a late evening appointment.
I hadn't heard anything for a week, so I figured they'd just send me a letter saying everything was okay. Then I got a phone call a few days ago asking me to come in for another mammogram, which would be diagnostic, as the radiologist had seen something and wanted more data, and to be prepared to spend 1-3 hours there.
No one wants that call.
Now as you know, I live with a lot of anxiety, and I was really trying to not go into panic mode. I talked to a co-worker who's been through breast cancer and she suggested I call back for more information as to the indications for the new test. After playing phone tag, I got a call from a nurse saying there was no visible mass, but that there was an asymmetry in the left breast they wanted to investigate further. I just assumed that meant there was something different in the left breast vs. the right, and that's true, but it's a specific term in mammography, unrelated to say, differences in size for the breasts. From the summary of an abstract for an article relating a case-study of missed malignancy diagnosis in breast asymmetry:
Summary. The developing asymmetry has a 12–15% risk of malignancy but poses challenges of detection and interpretation due to the lack of typical features of cancer and the frequent absence of an ultrasound correlate. Failure to biopsy these lesions may lead to delayed diagnosis of breast cancer.Also from the article itself:
Asymmetry and developing asymmetry are seen on 3.3% and 0.16% of screening mammograms respectively. An asymmetry is highly likely to be benign, with the likelihood of malignancy reported at 1.8%. However, 12.8% of the developing asymmetries identified on screening are malignant and therefore these findings require biopsy.So, it's highly unlikely that it's malignant. They just want to verify that it's not of concern. The radiologist will read it while I'm there. If there is concern, they'll do a biopsy while I'm there, which is why I have to plan on being there so long.
Anyway, I'm glad my co-worker was there to talk to and she really helped. Hopefully it will be nothing. I'll write more when I know more.
So I didn't mention this before, but one good thing about working in health care is that I had the opportunity to get the COVID-19 vaccine as part of the first group, 1a. We weren't able to get it at work, but the Lexington Fayette Health Department has been running clinics to help those who work in smaller facilities such as us, or doctor's offices, etc., get it. So I went and got the first dose on December 30th of the Moderna vaccine over lunch (we found out about it just in time to sign up, the day before, and my boss let me take a longer lunch than normal and I had to miss my one regular meeting a week, but I got the other person to back me up, so it all worked out). I had almost no side effects--the shot itself barely hurt, I had the slightest of headaches that afternoon (but rain was coming in the next day, so it could be sinus-related), and then the next day the site itched for all of five minutes. I tracked everything through the CDC's V-safe program, where they text you for a week after the vaccination, then weekly, with a short questionnaire to track side effects. Then I got the notification to come back this past Wednesday, January 27th, and did the whole thing over again.
This time I got it in my left arm, which may have been an issue. Like the flu shot, which can make your arm sore, I'd suggest getting it in your dominant arm because you use the muscles more and it would work out the soreness easier. I got it in my right arm last time. Anyway, I did have more symptoms afterwards, and they warn you that it's more common with the second shot, as your immune system is ramping up. I had a little headache that afternoon, my arm got very sore, I had muscle aches, both meaning I had trouble sleeping that night, and there was redness and a bit of swelling at the site, and it itched--a lot. I put that all in the program, too. :) Anyway, the soreness is gone. A few people who went on Wednesday actually had to call in to work as they had a fever, etc. But it was so worth it. Considering the symptoms of COVID and my underlying conditions, it was a walk in the park. Now if we can just get my roommate, who is in 1c, vaccinated, I'll feel a lot better. I've signed him up through the University of Kentucky site, but they're not vaccinating that group yet. But they're supposed to contact him when it's time.
Saturday, January 16, 2021
Wednesday, January 06, 2021
Sunday, January 03, 2021
Saturday, January 02, 2021
Friday, January 01, 2021
What are your New Year's resolutions (if any)? Mine is to read and write more. I don't make time to read anymore, and that's a shame, given that I've been a voracious reader for most of my life. Additionally, I have this blog that has sadly languished of late which is almost 20 years old--I started it in October 2001 and it's been a very good companion all these years). So I'd like to revive it. So my resolutions are to read at least one book a month (yeah, I'm going to start out reasonably and small) and post on my blog at least three times a week.