Thursday, March 24, 2016

A Lovely Day Despite Chronic Pain

Today is a lovely day. Spring is definitely in the air (my nasal allergies tell me so). The male cardinal is trilling his mating song in the large oak tree just off the deck. Blue jays are mock fighting in the woods. The cat (Revere) is driving me crazy because he wants to go outside desperately to roll on the back cement sidewalk to scratch himself, but I can't let him out because Jon's spread some ant poison down because the little ants are already in the house in swarms (happens every year- we live in the woods). Riley is fine with all the excitement of springtime around him. He's sleeping...he's most active in the evening, wanting to play and cuddle.

I try to enjoy every day of my life despite having to live with chronic pain. Sometime it just gets too overwhelming and I have to take a downtime day and just stay in bed and do nothing. That is what is happening today. I have a lot of stress in my life right now due to my husband's loss of job which has been our major source of income for 32 years. He has not yet found a new job although he has been trying, looking since his job was eliminated. Today he has been unemployed for one month. He's depressed and discouraged. It worries me because I have health issues that flare up and are debilitating at times (stress is a trigger) so I don't know how much longer I can actually keep working. I try to maintain a low stress lifestyle. I've cut out a lot of things I used to enjoy doing and focused more on things I can do that don't overtax me physically and emotionally.

I like what I do but my job is stressful because the health care field is constantly shifting due to new rules and regulations and constant changes initiated by health insurance companies. Some days it is like working in a pool of quicksand because you just don't know where the firm ground is anymore. And as you are struggling in the quicksand you have people shouting at you because they cannot get the medicines their doctors prescribe for them because insurances only cover generics first and foremost so if a patient doesn't have a pharmacy claim for a covered generic they cannot get the name brand medicine. Doctors don't comprehend this because drug reps sell them a line of goods- "Oh, this is covered by such and such an insurance now as a tier 2...". Well, tier 1 is that generic the patient needs to try before his insurance will consider paying for the tier 2. And that is just one of the hurdles to jump. With all the Medicare fraud that's been perpetuated through the years Medicare is now so difficult and rigid to deal with it can take over a month to get someone a hospital bed or a wheelchair because the doctor's office has to document medical necessity in clinical records-which means chart notes during a face to face visit, which means the sick or disabled patient has to actually come into the office to meet with the doctor so all seven required elements can be documented in a chart note. Then that chart note gets faxed to the supplier who must submit it to the insurance for approval. If anything is missing it gets kicked back to the supplier who turns around and wants the missing information immediately- and we might not have it, so the patient has to come in again which makes everyone angry and frustrated.

I love my job and I can perform it most days, but when I am having a major flare-up I have to take a crash day. Yesterday I was miserable with burning pain in the back of my neck, across my shoulders and down my spine. There is also a hot spot on my lower right back that started as slight muscle spasms but is now a constant dull ache. This health issue also aggravates GI issues and I didn't feel good yesterday and it has continued into today. My joints and muscles ache, I have random cramps and muscle spasms. And fatigue plagues me constantly. It's all spilled over into today. I didn't sleep much last night so am even more tired. I need a down day just to rest.

So today- a beautiful, lovely day- I am lying in bed with the sunshine striping the bedclothes trying to rest and stay quiet and let my body recover- and not think about Kelly going away to Boston for the next four days and John's interview for a job tomorrow and the work piling up on my desk because I could not get out of bed this morning and function due to chronic will be a lovely quiet day...I hope.

One last thought- I manage chronic pain with meditation, rest and Tylenol. I would never consider opiods because I've never liked how pain medication makes me feel and have always refused to take it even after two major surgeries. I'm NSAID intolerant so all the anti-inflammatory meds are out. I'm allergic to codeine and prednisone. My options are very limited so I have to manage with mind over pain and Tylenol extra-strength once or twice a day.

Today I will lie in bed and let my imagination roam- and maybe some story ideas will develop so when I can get up and function again I'll have enough to do to keep my mind on work and writing and not on chronic pain and how it can suck you down into a dark pool at times. I prefer to live my life in the light of optimism and hope.

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