Waiting for This to Happen

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Regular readers of this blog know that I’ve been making some pretty significant strides over the past several weeks regarding my anxiety and general mental health. Today, however, was the setback that I’d been anticipating for some time.

I got in a shouting match with my wife about two issues, and during the fracas I started to get irrational. I suppose that I just let it go, just as much as my wife did. Things eventually settled down as they always do, and we made up.

Given the stress that I’ve been under recently, I’m actually surprised this didn’t happen sooner. The death of my father-in-law was followed almost immediately by a great deal of soul searching regarding my future career choices, which was instantaneously followed with the prospect of having to do all the things new students get months to do before classes start in only four weeks. I think that was the tipping point, because I’ve been stressing out about the time frame all day.

The first step on this journey is going to be taking the TSI assessment, which determines what classes I’ll be placed in. That involves taking the email and certificate that I received upon successful completion of the pre-assessment module to the advising office, then stopping by the cashier to pay for the test, and finally back home to schedule the test online. All in all, not that much to do, and it should be easy for me to knock out on Monday.

The problem that I ran into this afternoon is that when I stopped by the local campus to check in with the advising office, I found out that it closes at noon on Fridays. So I’ve had the stress of knowing that I can’t do anything to move forward until the beginning of the week, and all this time other students will be registering for – and filling up – classes that I’ll need.

There are a lot of things that have to go right in order for this endeavor to work, and I’m nervous that it won’t happen the way it needs to in order for me to graduate. But it’s only the first full day of knowing for sure that this is the path I’m going to follow, so I need to remember to be easy on myself. I can only control myself, I can’t control anyone else.

I guess now that the decision’s been made, I want to get started as soon as possible, a sentiment that’s shared by the folks at Texas Workforce Commission. They sent emails over to Austin Community College expediting my financial aid yesterday after my meeting. That’s one less thing that I have to worry about, but it also shows the urgency that TWC has in getting me started.

Patience, grasshopper. All in good time.

Long-Term Lethargy

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My wife mentioned something to me the other day that I’ve been mulling over ever since. I mentioned that I was lethargic again and she pointed out that I’ve more or less been that way for about six months.

I honestly had no idea that it’s been going on that long, but I’ve pretty much established a pattern of waking with (or before) my alarm, doing at least part of my morning routine, and then becoming just too tired to keep my head up anymore, and so I go back to sleep for a nap. I usually repeat that process at least once or twice during the day – get up, get little things done, and then go back to bed. Yesterday I didn’t get out of bed for good until the early evening, although to be fair, I spent a couple of hours in bed watching a movie on my phone, and wasn’t sleeping. Today I managed to stay awake long enough to get my entire morning routine done, but I was back in bed within an hour.

So the question is: what to do about this? It’s not a pressing matter yet, but sometime next year I’m going to be re-evaluated for my disability and if they deem me prepared to go back to work, then I’m not going to have a choice. I also don’t want this to be that long-term of a problem.

I’m starting to stress about the excess sleepiness.

Often I will consciously think to myself “I have nothing else to do, I should just probably go back to bed” and then do so. I’m skipping out on things that I would normally be doing with my day. Even though they aren’t much, they still keep me going and keep me entertained, and when I can’t even be bothered to goof off and watch a movie or play a game, then there’s likely something else at work here besides “I’m just tired all the time.”

And the extra sleep is affecting my mood. At the end of the day I have a mood tracking app that I use and looking back through that, the days where I write something reflecting staying in bed for portions of the day tend to coincide with days that my mood isn’t as good as it could be, usually falling on a 2 or 3 on a scale of 1 to 5. Days that I feel productive and don’t spend as much time in bed and I actually find time to fill my hours, without otherwise having an emotional incident, are usually a 4. (In the five weeks or so that I’ve been doing this log, I’ve never had a 5 day. Nor, for that matter, have I had a 1 yet either. I’ve been kinda down or kinda up or just meh but not fantastically so in either case.)

Even now, as I begin to wrap this up, my brain is thinking that I don’t have anything else on my daily checklist to do until lunch, and that’s not until 3, so what am I going to do with that three-plus hours between me publishing this post and me eating lunch? My brain is already starting in: “Might as well sleep it off.”

Well, since I don’t have anything better to do …

Didja Miss Me?

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Well, that was fast.

A few days ago I said I was taking a break for an offline writing exercise. I finished that up last night, about four days before I anticipated being done, so here I am.

Today’s been somewhat rough. We had the car serviced this morning and in addition to the regular service being done and the right rear tire needing a plug to patch a hole from a nail, turns out the reason that the “check emissions” warning was coming up was that the thermostat was sticking, preventing our engine from running hot enough for optimal performance and as a result throwing the gas/oil ratio out of whack. We got the regular service and the patch done, but we’re shopping around for a place to replace the thermostat.

Somehow all this information got inside my head and made me very nervous and submissive – as we say here often, I felt very small. I don’t know what triggered it, and it came and went for a couple hours, but it’s better now. (There might have been an emergency viewing of the Avengers to distract me. It’s paused right now at the point just before Thor makes his entrance.)

There’ll be a radio show later tonight and that always manages to distract me. At this point I don’t think I need the distraction, but it’s definitely not going to hurt.

Anyway, that’s about all that I have that isn’t somehow political and I try really hard to keep my politics off this blog, so I’m shutting up now.

A Break from the Stress

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After yesterday’s adventures with our credit union, we decided two things. First, neither of us had any business trying to put together a show or talk on the radio. Since we discovered the two bogus transactions about the time we had to start putting together a show, there just wouldn’t be enough time for us to settle down and focus on music long enough to generate a playlist. Second, we desperately needed a break from the stress of having our checking account compromised again. So we settled on going to the late show of Captain America: Civil War.

Here is my assessment of the film.

It started out kind of tense in the beginning when the thing happened to the people and the beginning of the conflict in the movie started to germinate. The conflict got worse as the movie went on and there were several fights between the various characters in increasingly intense action sequences and some funny bits too and then the movie came to its climax and all the characters dealt with the events of the movie in their own way. It was a nice touch when they took the ghost mask off Mr. Jenkins in the end and he said “And I would have gotten away with it too if it hadn’t been for you meddling Avengers.” Aw crap, so much for spoilers. Sorry.

(Seriously, though, one minor spoilerish detail if you haven’t seen the movie: Keep an eye out for the motorcycle stunt. That’s all I’m going to say. And in a warning that shouldn’t have to be given for a Marvel movie, stick around through the end of the credits. You’ll thank me.)

The movie was just what we needed: a hard jolt of distraction at the end of a very stressful day. Now to get through today with plenty of rest to deal with talking to the credit union tomorrow morning.

Medical Yo-Yos

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WARNING: brief language

I feel like I’m on a medical yo-yo because I keep having to deal with them.

Regular readers of this blog who warned me, this is your signal to prepare your “I told you so.” Let me catch you up.

On June 11, I had an appointment with my new psychiatrist, who consults at CommUnity Care through telepsychiatry. (It’s essentially a Skype call, and he calls in prescriptions to my pharmacy from his office in Houston.) Things went swimmingly.

On June 15, I had my first appointment with my new primary care physician, who I see through the Seton network of doctors. This is important to note only because it’s not CommUnity Care.

Later that week, I called to cancel existing appointments that I had with Austin-Travis County Integral Care (because I had a psychiatrist and because ATCIC does not take my Medicare coverage) and with a primary care physician through CommUnity Care (because I now had a doctor that wouldn’t force me to wait over a month for an intake appointment while the vast majority of my blood pressure and diabetes medications ran out). I also called my case manager at CommUnity Care to let her know that while I had canceled my appointment with their PCP, it was because I had another doctor that could see me sooner. She was on vacation last week, and so I left her the message and told her to call me to confirm this.

This morning she called and informed me that because my primary care physician was not through CommUnity Care I couldn’t take advantage of their network of specialists, meaning I was being once more shuffled back to ATCIC for my psychiatric care.

To say I was livid is a mild understatement. The call came in this morning at 10:00 am and it’s taken me to this point in the evening, almost twelve hours later, to calm down enough to write this.

I am sick and tired of being dicked around by doctors who see “Medicare” and decided that I’m a second class citizen. I’m only on Medicare because my wife has started a new job and the benefits haven’t kicked in yet. The SECOND that we are eligible for her healthcare coverage we are taking advantage of it and I’m putting Medicare back to secondary and MAYBE, just maybe, all the SNAFUs that I’ve been dealing with over the past six weeks will go away. I have never in my life experienced such shabby care at the hands of a medical professional, nor have I ever been treated so carelessly, and it seems that it’s consistent with all the providers I’ve tried to work with save for one: my current PCP, who has listened to what I have to say, has gone out of her way to make sure that their office jumps through the hoops that Medicare makes you go through rather than leaving me to do it.

The uptick that I’m being assured of is that I will be treated as an uninsured patient by ATCIC and so receive pro bono care. I’ve been a patient in their system previously, before I was on Medicare and during a period when my wife wasn’t working, and I know they treat their patients with some manner of respect, so I’m not worried about how I’ll be treated by their professionals. What I AM worried about is whether I’m being told accurate information about payment arrangements with ATCIC, since it seems that nothing that I’ve experienced with CommUnity Care is remotely trustworthy (the same case manager that told me that I couldn’t be seen by their doctors unless my PCP was through them earlier told me that all they cared about was that I HAD a PCP).

The day has been uneventful since, and I’ve tried to take it easy to let my blood pressure calm down after that call this morning. My day has been filled with kitchen-y chores and reading and computer gaming to try and take my mind off the stress of earlier. It seems to have worked, since in recounting this I’m looking at the events matter-of-factly instead of seething with empassioned rage like I was during the phone call. When I finish with this blog post, I’m likely going back to the gaming for the rest of the night. It’s an escape that mentally I desperately need right now.

In closing, if you’re in the Austin area, let me recommend against CommUnity Care for your medical needs. Their medical professionals have been competent enough, but their administration is one big giant clusterfuck that I’m done with.