“I couldn't live a week without a private library
- indeed, I'd part with all my furniture and squat and sleep on the floor
before I'd let go of the 1500 or so books I possess.” ― H.P. Lovecraft

Whistling In The Graveyard

Friday, February 23, 2007

Awright, everyone settle in, I'm about to take the blog equivalent of a massive shit.

Hopefully that analogy refers only to the size and relief factors and doesn't comment on the quality...

So a brief while ago my doctor sends me to a specialist about the recurring infections in my legs. I've been getting these for about 13 years now. When I started getting them I was in much better shape than I am now. I've seen pretty much every dostor in town that has anything to do with infections or infectuous diseases and they all said the same thing: "I don't know what it is. It seems to be a circulation problem. It's probably because you're fat. Stop being fat."

Yeah. Scientific right? I'd quit using the doctors around here altogether if they didn't have the best leeches in the state.

But enough about the hospital food.

Every doctor I've seen has been convinced of two things. Number one, that the condition was caused by my weight (Which I'll admit can't be helping things, but why doesn't it happen to anyone else?) and number two, that I must be a diabetic.

They're convinced that I'm a diabetic even though I've never exhibited any symptoms of diabetes and I've never tested positive for it on any test.

Leeches, people.

My current medical forms actually say 'type 2 diabetic' on them, but I have no instructions to test myself, nor have I been issued any testing supplies, nothing. My own doctor can't give me a straight answer. He even asked me once "Have you been checking your blood sugar twice a day?". To which I replied "Should I have been? You didn't tell me to.". so he looks in the parerwork and says "Oh yeah." and he was off on another subject. He didn't tell me to get a test kit and start testing or anything, so what the fuck?

I've had the same conversation with every doctor I've ever spoken to on this subject:

Doctor: "Are you a diabetic?"

Me: "No."

Doctor: "Are you sure?"

Me: "Yes."

Doctor: "Have you been tested?"

Me: "Yes."

Doctor: "Recently?"

Me: "Yes."

Doctor: "Well we have a new test, roll up your sleeve."

ONE WEEK LATER...

Doctor: "Hmm. Says here that you've tested negative in all categories."

Me: "No shit?"


So my current doctor sends me to the new guy. He takes one look at the condition and says:

Doctor: "Oh, you've got a vein problem. I can fix that with outpatient laser surgery."

Me: "Wha?"

Doctor: "Yeah, it's no big deal, I've seen it before. Little zap and you'll never have this problem again."

Me: "Nothing to do with diabetes?"

Doctor: "Why? Are you a diabetic?"

Me: "I really don't know."

Doctor: "Well it wouldn't make any difference anyway. This is a peripheral vein problem."

Me: "So it's nothing to do with my weight?"

Doctor: "Well it can't be helping things, but it's not the cause, no. I don't see how anyone could draw that conclusion."


Yeah. Ain't that a kick in the head? So hey says that my medicaid won't pay for the outpatient surgery till I wear support stockings for two months. Allright, "dance, puppet, dance", I know the drill at this point.

So I go to get the stockings at the medical supply place and it seems that the stockings that medicaid insists that I wear aren't covered my medicaid. I'm only buying them because they insis I get them, but they won't pay for them.

I swear to Christ that when I'm well I'm getting a tattoo of a snake swallowing it's own tail to represent the vicious fucking circles I've been running in.

Well the goddamn stockings are $50. 50 goddamn dollars for what are essentially a pair of fucking panty hose. So I don't buy them. I figure I'll at least try to fight medicaid a little on it. I had just finished the meds for about my fifth straight infection over the last two months (all in my right leg oddly enough), so I've got a little while right?

The next morning I wake up with a big red splotch on my left leg.

SON OF A BITCH!!!

So I get even more Amoxicillin (nothing less will work anyore) and I bite the bullet and go buy the fucking $50 panty hose. They're knee-highs, open toed, and they do seem to be helping.

Plus they make me feel pretty.

Now I know what Rich has been going on about for all these years.

Well this pretty much brings us up to three days ago. Now I've had a February 22 appointment with my surgeon in Morgantown for a long time now, like months. Two days before it my ride, my Mom, decides she doesn't want to go. She wants me to postpone again. One of the reasons is because she has a meeting at 7 PM that night.

My appointment is at 1:15 PM. Morgantown is about an hour and a half from here.

Yeah.

So I start plotting a way to get my ass up there with just TONS of fucking time to pull it off. The plan got as far as getting new tires on my car with my Sears card (which Mom has been bugging me to do but I've been putting off because I'm spending an assload on bills and can't see going to the added expense) and pulling together a whopping $20 in gas money. Gas is about $2.35 a gallon, my car gets about 17 miles per gallon... yeah, that ain't gonna work.

So I talk to Mom about it. she's wanting me to just call the doctor and talk to him on the phone about it. If I could do that we wouldn't be going up there in the first place would we? She continues trying to talk me out of it till it's plain that I'm going weather she is or not and she agrees to go.

Now, I don't want you guys to think bad of Mom, she's been there for a lot of shit before and after my medical crap started up. I'm thinking her reluctance to go was based mostly on not wanting to deal with more bad news and setbacks and I can understand that perfectly. Nonetheless, I have to keep pushing on.

Morgantown, as previously stated, is about an hour and a half from here. I have a 1:15 appointment so I can leave here at 10 AM and have plenty of time right? Mom calls at 6 PM the night before. She went to Space Camp with the kids in the school program she works for and she wants me to contact this guy she met there so we can stop by her office in Fairmont on the way there to pick up some educational materials.

Goddammit.

So I email this guy that I've never met on my Mom's behalf, because my Mom's afraid to use the internet, to ask for, as she put it, "stuff". The guy actually does write back and says it would be fins if we wanted to stop in, but he'll only be there in the morning. Naturally. I write him back to get the address of his office and directions to it and I notice something odd. His office is in Huntsville Alabama.

To all of you that have noticed that my brain isn't exactly wired in to reality, I ask you to take the above into consideration.

Anyhow, I convey all this information to Mom, who would have known it all anyway if she wan't afraid that one errant button push would empty her bank account, and she tells me that's the wrong guy and gives me a new name to contact. It's 8 PM Thursday night at this point and I'm contacting a NASA scientist about dropping by tomorrow to pick up some "stuff".

Again, I ask you, what purpose can reality possibly serve for me?

I send the message and the guy actually responds and the meeting is set up. So now in order to get to my 1:15 appointment we have to leave at 8 AM. For those of you on normal sleeping patterns that's the equivalent of about 3 AM. I suck it up and deal with it because I really have no choice.

After all that crap I get a phone call from Brian. See, the day before, while I was talking to him in World Of Warcraft, I mentioned that I probably wouldn't be making the appointment. Well it seems there was a bit of miscommunication and he thought It was my check in day for surgery, not another in a long line of meetings about scheduling the surgery and in a way cool (if borderline psychotic) gesture he offered to drive five hours to get here to take me another hour and a half to Morgantown.

Now I appreciate the offer beyond words, but even if it was surgery day I couldn't ask anyone to do that. If it was surgery day Mom wouldn't have had any hesitation about it and if she couldn't do it for some reason someone would have. Still though, I really do appreciate the though.

Thing is, I kept this blog going primarily as a way of releasing my inner rage so as to keep my blood from boiling and shooting out me ears, but it's secondary function has been to keep everyone informed about things like this. When I have a surgery date it will be posted here approximately three months beforehand. I'm even looking into putting an automated countdown at the top of the page when the day is set.

So please, don't panic unless you read it here first.

Getting back to the story, I manage to make myself tired enough to sleep at about 4 AM, but I still just toss and turn till the alarm goes off.

We leave here at 8 AM. We get to Fairmont. I point out the building with the big NASA logo on it, which Mom misses. So we go a mile up the road, turn around, go back, I point out the turnoff, which Mom misses. We then have to go back eight miles to find a place to turn around because Mom won't use the little State Police turn around things across the median. She maintains that it's illegal, which it is, and that there are signs saying not to do it, which there are. I however, maintain that they don't ALL have signs, and they don't, and that it's only illegal if you get caught.

My efforts to turn Mom to the Dark Side are ultimately futile I think.

After circling for about half an hour we find the place, Mom runs in and tells the guy we'll be back later and we head to the appointment.

Last time I went up there was back in May or June when I was given the task of losing 50 lbs. Last time I checked before this appointment I'd lost 40. That was about a month ago. Yesterday I go in hoping to have lost another 4 or 5. I actually lost 8. 48 lbs is close enough to get the ball rolling.

I get to talk to the weight reduction surgery guy who REALLY wants to do a gastric bypass. They all REALLY want to do a gastric bypass even though all sorts of problems and complications with it are coming to light. I explained that I will NOT get a gastric bypass under any circumstances and I would consider the Lap-Bandsurgery only if getting weight loss surgery was the only way to get the hernia surgery.

The thing about the Lap-Band is that they put the band around the stomach and they attatch the band to the inside of the abdominal wall. Since my entire abdominal wall is shredded at the moment this is a problem. It seems they would have to fix the hernia first and then put the band in afterward. This means they would have to put the laproscopic instruments in through the hernia mesh and attatch the band to the muscles they had only just stitched together. Then if the hernia tears open again, which there is about a 20% chance of, and the muscles should move 6 or 8 inches in any random direction like they are now they'll take my stomach with them.

We all agreed that this would not be pleasant. In fact, it's potentially fatal.

So that's out.

Here's the kicker though. At the weight I was at when I first went to see them they wouldn't fix the hernia without weight loss surgery, but now that I've lost weight they'll do it without.

But...

I have to be infection free first. This means losing the leg infection, getting the surgery to make sure it'll never come back, and healing up from it. If I can do that AND manage to not get fucked up in any other major way they'll schedule my surgery at my appointment in May.

So we leave the appointment feeling good and go to pick up Mom's educational materials.

Now, I have seen a lot of weird shit in my life, but I will wonder till the day I die (again) why the fuck NASA has an office in Fairmont fucking West Virginia. And it's a federal building too. This means armed guards at the entrance and metal detectors and shit. I didn't think about that before walking in, but fortunately I wasn't carrying anything weapon-like.

So between talking to the NASA guy and stopping at Eat & Park we didn't get back here till after 8 PM. Yes, a trip that should have taken 4 hours took 12.

That was yesterday.

Today, while writing this in fact, I get a call from the Social Security people.

Remember them?

Yeah, it's been a while hasn't it? Well the young lady I spoke to had to ask me a few questions, most of which I could answer, and she said if she got everything taken care of today I could have a check by March 1st. Next Thursday, March 1st. That's kinda fitting since it was in March THREE YEARS AGO that I applied.

And of course they have a lot of questions to ask because three years of back payments is going to be a lot of goddamn money. Money that I didn't even ask for and don't really care about. All I wanted was a little help with the bills, but the system is so fucked up that if it weren't for my family having an empty house I could occupy and a few roommates that weren't too picky about where they lived I'd have had to move back in with my Mom long ago.

I'm actually pissed off that I'm getting this money. I just wanted a little help. That's all. Well thery dragged thier feet for three years and forced me to get a lawyer just to get my little help and now I'm going to be under a fucking microscope while I spend this big ass check that I never even asked for.

That's how messed up the system is. All my problems could have been taken care of years ago if the system functioned at all. I was 27 when this started. I'm fucking 32 now. That's not a minor defect. That's not even a simple collection of errors. That's a system that is so mired in incompetence that one has to reach the conclusion that it's been designed that way. I think that the problems with my former insurance company and the government feeding one another wasn't a fucking coincidence either, but that's a rant for another day.

In review:

They ARE fixing the hernia.
I will know when in MAY.
My Medicaid money is almost here.
It may be here as soon as next Thursday.

I think that's everything for now. Oh, Mike D. called while I was typing this and offered to pay for the leg surgery if it meant I'd get it fixed quicker and therefore get the other surgery done quicker. That's another offer that I greatly appreciate, but as things stand I think I'm good. Sure I'm still looking at a few months, but that means more weight lost and that increases the chances of the hernia staying closed. I'm just happy to finally have an end in sight.

By the way, everyone keep the first weekend in March free in your callendar. If I have a few thousand dollars dumped on me that Thursday then I'm going to the strip clubs on Friday.

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