Workers compensation sucks

I’m frustrated, angry, depressed, furious, but mostly just tired of it all. It’s been over a year now, and I have worse pain now than I did a year ago. My request for surgery was turned down, so now I have to get an independent medical review to see if it can be overturned. Until then, I just get to deal with the pain. It’s so bad right now that I’m resorting to crutches, which I hate, because I can’t put any weight on my right knee at all. It sends shooting pains up my leg, in addition to the “normal” pain where the condyles are crumbling and grinding against each other.

It’s really hard to stay positive when one is constantly in extreme pain, to the point where any tiny movement when I’m sleeping causes me to wake up in agony immediately. Needless to say, I haven’t gotten more than about 2-3 hours of sleep a night for the past two or three weeks. I was able to get an emergency appointment on Friday to see what, if anything, can be done. I highly doubt anything can be done at this point, until the independent review is completed. I think the best I can hope for is stronger medication and, unfortunately, being pulled out of work again. I emailed my new WC admin to ask about a stool for underneath my desk so I could rest it on something, and he hasn’t bothered to reply. I’m not sure why I expected any different.

All I can say is that they’re not going to out-stubborn me. If they want me to jump through hoops, I’ll jump through the damn hoops, but I’m fed up with being in pain all the time.

There is one distinct advantage to having chronic insomnia

Over the past few weeks, we’ve had some screwy weather around here. It’s been super hot and muggy more days than not, which means that personal productivity is slightly higher than a tortoise galloping through mud. However, since I’ve been dealing with nearly two weeks of insomnia this time around, I figured I’d put it to good use.

I’ve been spending a good portion of the evening, night, and early morning to clean and organize my house. It’s relatively cool, considering the nice breeze from the fan that’s blowing on me, so I just put on some music and get stuff done. In an ideal world, I’d like to have my room completely organized before my knee surgeries.

I knocked out a big chunk of my to do list today by doing some remodeling in my closet. I hung up a new clothes bar with a shelf over it, so that I have more room to store things, and I plan on adding some additional shelving in there as well. I’ve also dismantled part of the Elfa system that was in my room and reconfigured it to make it more user-friendly for me. By the time I’m done, I should have an actually functional room that will be easy to maintain and look a lot less messy.

I love the satisfaction of writing out lists of things I want to accomplish, and being able to check things off once they’re completed. I guess that’s the super-organized overachiever part of my personality. I don’t like when things are messy and I can’t find what I want. It drives me nuts. I’m also taking the time to do some more crocheting. Again, it is┬áimmensely satisfying to see the progress as I stitch together whatever the hell it is I’m making.

Yesterday (September 7) was the one year anniversary of trashing my knee, and I’m getting to the point where reading is getting boring. While I was out of work on full disability, I was reading an average of 600 pages a day, because I just wasn’t able to do anything more than go to the kitchen or bathroom, or to the doctor’s office or physical therapy. Slowly but surely, things are coming together. I’m still waiting on whether or not my surgeries will be approved; I plan on calling WC tomorrow (today?) and trying to get an answer from them. The new claim rep that has been assigned to me doesn’t have a direct phone number listed, and I can’t find him in the company directory when I try to call. If I can’t track him down, I’ll call my previous WC admin and see if she can get me his phone number. There are things I need to discuss with him in addition to trying to settle the surgery plans.

I’m just so ready to move on with my life now, so I can start the next chapter and see where it leads me. I feel like I’m walking up a down escalator. One step after another, with no forward progress in sight. Fortunately, I seem to be keeping the depression at bay for now, which is making things a lot easier for me. I still have just the edge of anxiety gnawing at my subconscious, but I’m doing my best to ignore it, and mostly succeeding. The not knowing what’s happening next is the hardest part of the whole situation.

Doing good, one cat at a time

I’m having another extended bout with insomnia (I get this way several times a year, where I won’t be able to sleep for more than a couple hours a night for several nights in a row), so I figured I’d update a little of what’s going on in my life. I’ll try to keep this post upbeat, because I’ve been dealing with so many lows right now, that I figure I need to talk about some positives in my life.

I volunteer for a fantastic cat rescue group called The Rescue House here in San Diego. We are responsible for rescuing cats and kittens who would otherwise be banished to the streets, put down, or get stuck in overcrowded shelters. I’ve been volunteering with them since January of 2013. I started out as a “center volunteer” which means that I would go into the adoption center (one of eight within PetCo and PetSmart stores in San Diego) and take care of the kitties that were waiting for adoption at that center. I had originally submitted a request to volunteer because I had just had to put my beloved Milo to sleep due to advanced kidney failure, and I wasn’t sure I wanted the commitment of another cat. I ended up getting another cat randomly, but also decided to volunteer as well.

Working in the adoption centers is very rewarding because you get to spend time with a lot of different kitties that have wonderful personalities, despite many of them having some serious hard-luck stories. It’s wonderful and bittersweet when they get adopted, because they all take a little piece of your heart with them when they go.

After I had volunteered at the center for a while, I started doing transportation duty; taking cats to vet visits or rotating them from center to center so they’d get more exposure. That’s fun, if you don’t mind upset cats crying while you’re driving. I also ended up on the fundraising committee and tried my hand at new volunteer intake, where we interview prospective volunteers to see if they would be a good match to volunteer with us, as it is a time commitment and training takes a while, so we want people who are dedicated, not just looking for some easy volunteer work to pad their high school transcript or fulfill legal requirements.

Eventually, I started training to become an adoption counselor, and that is what I’m primarily doing now. I interview prospective adopters to find out if they would be a good home for our kitties, and specifically if they would be a good home for the kitty that they have chosen. Sometimes a great home selects a cat that for some reason or another just wouldn’t be a good fit for that household. Sometimes there are crazy people out there who should not be allowed to have pets. So far, it’s been very rewarding to me. I’ve just approved my sixth cat for adoption, to a wonderful couple who want to adopt a very special cat with specific dietary needs. They’re excited to have her, even though she’s going to be a little higher maintenance, and we’re happy that they love her, because not everyone can see past the “special needs” to see what a wonderful cat they could be bringing into their lives.

I’m still in training so that I have a senior counselor who can help me with phrasing and how to dig deeper into certain questions to make sure that the home is going to be a good fit, but I’m starting to be cut loose a bit, so that I’m able to do most of the decision making. I think I’m doing a good job, and I’ve gotten good feedback, so it makes me proud that I’m able to help in this small way to enable these cats to find forever homes where they can live out the rest of their lives in a loving environment with people who truly love them.

For every high, there is a low

It seems that my life is a constant struggle to balance out my highs and lows to maintain some sort of “even” that I’m not actually sure exists. I have good days and bad days, and sometimes the bad days outnumber the good days, but sometimes the good days outnumber the bad days. I’ve found that when I’m at my lowest point, staying busy and cleaning or organizing helps my mood. There’s something very satisfying about fixing something that is broken AND fixable or organizing a space and seeing the improvement afterwards.

I took a huge emotional hit two weeks ago when I found out that I’m going to need at least two more surgeries on my right knee, which means that I’m stuck here in San Diego for a minimum of one, but more likely two, more years. Worst case scenario, it might be as long as four more years. I know it doesn’t make much sense to San Diegans as to why someone would want to leave this “perfect” place, but it has no emotional ties to me, aside from a few very good friends who live here. There are planes. I’m trying not to dwell on the fact that I’m stuck in a city I don’t like, that has emotionally been nothing but despair for me, and instead making long-term plans for how I am going to escape once it gets to that point. I’m also working on building up my credit while I have the opportunity to do so, so that when I do move, things will be easier. There is no way I’m leaving my beloved Morgan behind, which means renting a U-Haul with a car hauler, which means expensive.

I’m also starting the process of weaning away at stuff I don’t need. There are things in my storage unit that I haven’t even looked at since putting them in there. Aside from my books, that tells me that they’re not necessary to my life. In all honesty, if it weren’t for my books, I doubt I’d need anything except my clothes. Everything else can be replaced. It’s time for me to really start getting rid of the detritus in my life, so that I can concentrate on healing my knee and my life.

At least I’ve pulled myself out of the deep, dark hole I was in for three weeks, when every day was a struggle to just make it through to the end of the day. I’ll get through this. ┬áI have before and I will again, and I’ll keep on getting through this every day, even if getting through just means pulling myself out of bed and hugging my cat.