Manic Monday

I can’t say it’s a “Manic Monday” because I am neither manic nor is it Monday.  You might be wondering why I chose to go by Manic Monday.  Well, there is a story behind the phrase, but the blog name and my pen name are the same because basically I was rather stumped by the whole setup process in WordPress.  (Go ahead, laugh, it’s OK.)  Having bungled it from the beginning, and after making a few friends in the neighborhood, it didn’t seem like I should put forth the effort to change anything at this stage.  Besides, I’m not sure I can come up with a more creative name anyway.

On to the story behind the name… you may recognize “Manic Monday” because it’s a song by The Bangles.  A song from my teenage years – so you can estimate my age now.  They were never a favorite but I did like The Bangles.  (I was more of a Duran Duran girl at the time.)  However, when my obession with this song started about a year ago I actually was manic.  I didn’t recognize it for a long time – until after my new neurologist point it out.  That’s when I started writing this blog.

Things at work had been pretty rough for about a year.  It’s difficult when your supervisor is a narcissistic bully.  I went through a lot of depression, abuse PTSD and just general instability.  My health was rapidly going downhill with symptoms that still can’t be explained but had me convinced that I would be in a wheelchair within a few years.  The symptoms suddenly subsided sometime in April or May and I hope they stay that way.  But in January 2011, my previous neurologist prescribed me Cymbalta for the neuropathy pain.  A red flag should have gone up but didn’t.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with Cymbalta, it is a strong anti-depressant that is also used to treat neuropathy.  I took the minimum dose for about two weeks.  It didn’t help with the neuropathy so I quit.  I don’t know if this is what started my mania, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it had an impact.  I don’t know when my mania actually started.  I was so worried about losing feeling in my legs that any mental health signs were lost.  For all I know, the mania and Cymbalta might not be related. I was only taking Lamictal for my bipolar so I had nothing to prevent mania. All I know is that by the time I met my psychiatrist in July I was coming down off of a manic high.  Not a euphoric mania either – I think that’s why I didn’t recognize it.

Wow, I really got off topic here.  What I was aiming for was not a bio but rather why I like this song now.  It’s because I hated going to work. And our manager started cracking down on people coming in late – well, except for the narcissist – he’s always the exception to every rule.  So you can imagine these lyrics…

But I can’t be late
‘Cause then I guess I just won’t get paid
These are the days
When you wish your bed was already made

I never make my bed.

Got to be to work by nine
And if I had an air-o-plane
I still couldn’t make it on time
‘Cause it takes me so long
Just to figure out what I’m gonna wear

It takes me forever to get ready in the morning.  I can’t figure out what to wear, and even when I decide the night before, something goes wrong and I have to start over.  It takes me about an hour and a half – longer if I wear makeup or eat.

As time went on and every day seemed like a “Monday” I started thinking of this song every time the alarm clock went off.  Eventually, I made a ringtone for my alarm.  I don’t know if I will still feel like every day is a “Manic Monday” once I go back to work.  We’ll find out in about a month.


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Last week

Last week was very stressful.   I told you about the incident with the nurse on Tuesday.  This continued on Friday when she told me that she wouldn’t fill out my work paperwork unless I scheduled my surgery for next week!  Otherwise she won’t fill out the paperwork until next week when the surgeon decides if he will keep me on the work restrictions the specialist gave me.  Flippin’ bitch.

Fortunately, I was able to work things out with my nurse case manager at work so that I have extra time on my paperwork due date.  She is just the sweetest, most supportive person, and I really like her.  I should probably email her boss and tell him what a great job she is doing.  It’s end of the year performance review time.  So I think I will put this on my todo list.

I am thinking about moving my surgery date.  If I can shuffle things in my schedule, then I can do it on the 3rd instead of the 10th.  It means that will be a stressful week of medical with my pdoc appointment (not bad) and worker’s comp appointment (bad) but it would give me less time to dread and be anxious about the surgery.  It also will mean that I would be in a bit better shape for our anniversary (12 years!) the following week and Thanksgiving.  So it would be more convenient in a lot of ways.

This is all so much stress.  I told my therapist on Tuesday that the Paxil was starting to help but it wasn’t helping me deal with the surgeon’s nurse.  Her response was, “Honey, there’s not enough Paxil in the world to fix mean people.”  She has a point there.  The Paxil side effects are getting better, but it’s still making me jittery during the day.  I can’t take it with Klonopin because then I get sleepy.  Sometimes I take a quarter Klonopin and it’s OK.  I have to talk to my pdoc about all these meds.

I’m out of stuff to talk about for now.  I still have some comments to put on your blogs, but please be patient with me.  Thanks. 🙂

 

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Overwhelmed by Medicine

Medicine: the art or science of restoring or preserving health or due physical condition, as by means of drugs, surgical operations or appliances, or manipulations: often divided into medicine proper, surgery, and obstetrics. – Dictionary.com

I am overwhelmed.

I am trying to recover from gallbladder surgery.  This should be my main focus.  Except that I still have to go to physical therapy – one is for worker’s comp so you can’t get out of it no matter how badly you feel – and the other to be evaluated for the followup on the tennis elbow problem –  and I see that doctor tomorrow morning.  I have (psych) therapy tomorrow night, and I had to find a friend to take me because I can’t drive on these painkillers (yes, I’m still on them, they even gave me more – I’ll come back to that) because my husband has to go for introduction sort of thing for his new part-time job.  Are you confused yet?  Because I am.  If my phone didn’t have a calendar app, I would never know where I am supposed to be or when I am supposed to be there – and I’m not even working.

Problem #1: Gallbladder surgery.  It’s been 5 days.  I still feel like crap.  I’m not eating meals so much as I am snacking on yogurt, smoothies, crackers and some fruit. (And the occasional fat-free/sugar-free gummy bear just for emotional sake.)  I’ve tried a couple of real meals and I just don’t feel well afterwards.  Now I am at the point where I don’t feel well at all.  Probably because my digestive system hasn’t reset yet.  Going along with this issue is that I am still in pain but I’ve been trying to cut back on the painkillers because they accentuate the digestive reset problem.  Also, I’m running out of them.  So I told the nurse and she conferred with the doctor, and they decided that I need to take the painkillers regularly (“as prescribed”) every 6 hours and faxed in a new prescription for me.  Lucky me.

I realize that some people would happy to have a fresh supply of Lortab but not me.  Why?  A couple of reasons. 1) I am allergic to aspirin, ibuprofen and probably all NSAIDs which means there isn’t much in the way of heavy-duty painkillers that you can give me.  So if I should build up a tolerance – well, then I’m screwed.  2) I am terrified of becoming hooked on anything.  I’ve been reassured by doctors, nurses, therapists and even articles that this is not going to happen to me in 2 or 3 weeks recovering from surgery.  Keep in mind, I never said there was any logic behind this fear.

Problem #2: Physical therapy.  Worker’s comp PT.  They had to make sure I came in 3 times this week.  Monday was definitely out.  I don’t have a driver for tomorrow, so that left Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday.  Rather than to cut a day out (which I am supposed to be down to 2x/week now anyway), they had me come in Day 4 after my surgery.  Seriously.  At least they did go a bit easy on me – I can only do some of the original exercises so they gave me new mild (in their opinion) stretching exercises to do. Worker’s Comp said that they would work with me regarding my surgery in terms of dates and obligations.  So I better not catch any crap for having to cut back on my exercises.  At least I didn’t pass out from the Lortab. Also, I had to have one more session on my elbow because I see that doctor tomorrow.  All this PT is definitely NOT GOOD for the gallbladder surgery recovery.  Just saying.

Problem #3: Elbow issue.  This is what technically put me on short term disability (STD) in the first place.  The PT said today that there isn’t much more they can do for me.  We stopped the ASTYM a couple of weeks ago and went with strengthening and it seems to be working really well.  My regular PT hasn’t been there for the past few times so another girl had to do my evaluation today.  She said that there isn’t much more they can do for me.  I have range of motion and a lot of my strength back, so maybe I do have to let the doctor cut open my arm and scrape out the bad tissue.  I get to discuss this with him tomorrow.

Do I have the emotional strength to handle another surgery?  Will it just get worse instead of better?  And what really are the odds of success? 90% or 60%?  I’ve heard both.  Does it even work at all?  I am nauseated by the thought of another surgery.  Especially on the heels of this one.  This is aside from the costs or the fear of returning (or not returning) to work.  I am at a loss.  I really need my friend Klonipin right now, but I’m not sure how well it would mix with the Lortab.  I think they are OK to use together (thanks interactions checker) but I sure as hell don’t want to die because of some stupid meds mixing.

I don’t know.  I am really overwhelmed.


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Over-reacted

OK, so I over-reacted to the situation.  Fear will do that to you.  Found out some things though – there was a strong implication that it was my group manager who was responsible for putting me out on STD.  Good News: He’s no longer my group manager. Unfortunately, I’ve still got the same direct supervisor.  Someone who is a (mostly) nice guy but so horribly incompetent as a supervisor that I’m sure they will promote him.

One topic of discussion on the table is whether to operate on the arm.  Pros: It may fix the problem.  Cons: I would probably lose full range of motion on my arm.  Bad news: Surgery only has a 60% success rate.

Next order of business: when will I return?  Not until the 22nd (at least).  I need to have my gallbladder out in the meantime.

I feel relief that I have another 3 weeks of reprieve.  Isn’t that the wrong way to think of work?  Pretty soon they will realize that they really don’t need me back.  It’s playing into the hands of the crazy people on my “team” (loose definition there) – the older ones want to retire and they don’t want anyone trained up enough to take over.  They figure they can screw the company that way; these individuals have an overly inflated view of themselves.  I was the one they were training to take over.  But I suddenly became incompetent because I couldn’t work in the lab due to this tendinitis. Of course, each time they bullied me into working in the lab I ended up injuring myself.  But remember: “Safety First!”  (So long as it’s not terribly inconvenient or time consuming.)

On the other hand, perhaps this separation will make them realize just how valuable I am.  Lord, I hope so.

 

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Worker’s Incompetent

Just had to share this…  I received a call yesterday from the company that (supposedly) coordinates my physical therapy.  They called to schedule my PT.  I called them back and said, “I really don’t understand this call, I have been attending PT for a week.”  So they check my file.  I go over with them where I am going to PT, how they got it approved (neglected to mention that they never told me about the approval but perhaps this is the first time they figured it out), and when I started.  I even told them that my nurse case manger knew all about it and it should be in my file.  Then they say, “OK, I guess your adjuster didn’t know.”

I relay this story to my PT today.  And she says, “They had to know, they are ones who approved it.”  I had already figured this out, but hearing it from someone else just makes it all that much more amusing.  There are too many people with their fingers in this pie, I am amazed that anything gets done.  Think of all the money the company would save (and how much faster the process would be)  if all this could be taken care of with just a doctor and one company handling the paperwork?

Now I have to go into work to see the company doctor because my personal doctor doesn’t want me working because of my right arm (well, both arms, but the right is the only one he’s allowed to treat), and the worker’s comp doctor says I don’t need any work restrictions, so I guess the company doctor will be the arbitrator of truth.  I give up.

Ah well, there is good news.  My blood pressure is lower.  A bit too low now, but we will work that out.  At least I’m not about to have a stroke.

 

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PT Bruises

My arm is covered in bruises from physical therapy. And I have PT again tomorrow. It’s from a procedure called ASTYM. (http://astym.com/) It is supposed to be very good for tendon issues, and it has helped my right arm considerably over the past year, even if the first person who did it was doing it wrong. But I dread going back to PT, because, well, this $#@^% hurts!

ASTYM involves taking hard plastic tools and scraping them along the length of the tendon and muscle. (If you’d like to witness this torture, then you can watch the video: http://astym.com/video/)  Fortunately, they slather your arm in cocoa butter first so it glides along the surface. Can you imagine how painful it would be if they didn’t? And they don’t HAVE to bruise you in order for it to work, they just do.  And they keep torturing the same specific area.  My left forearm has more than 10 different bruises, many that run into each other, the largest of which is nearly 2″ in diameter.  I think physical therapists are secretly sadists.

The way it works is that it stimulates blood flow to the area which instigates healing.  This is especially important for tendons because they don’t get a lot of blood flow in the first place.  It’s also supposed to break up any fibrous tissue (aka scar tissue) so that when you stretch, the muscles & tendons lay down proper tissue in the correct direction.  Does it work? yes.  Has it worked for me? partially.  My right elbow should be completely healed by now, but it’s not.  But then I’m a bit of a medical mystery anyway.

I go to PT. I do my stretches every day.  My right elbow improves incrementally, but my wrist hurts more since I started PT than it did before. I’m scared.  I’ve started developing nerve pain in my left wrist too.  Keep in mind, the left wrist is the one that is “only a sprain” and doesn’t require any job restrictions, thanks to worker’s comp.

So what do I do now?  I don’t know. Keep going to PT I guess.  I have PT every day this week – either for the left wrist or the right elbow.  I realize that it’s my “job” to get better right now, but looking at that 2″ bruise and knowing it’s going to get pounded on tomorrow, makes me really not want to go into “work”.

 

© Manic Monday (manicmonday123). Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.