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Friends Only? Well....

This journal is, for the most part, public. That is to say, most of what I have to say is visible to whomever wants to read it.

Certain posts will be locked to friends only, such as posts where I talk about anything work-related, how I'm going to be out of town for 3 days, or the secret location of the stash of gold bars I have buried in my back yard under the tool shed.

Unfortunately, I have had to restrict who can comment thanks to being inundated by spam comments.

If you friend me, chances are I'll friend you back. after I determine you're not a robot or spammer. Or after my gold bars. MWAH Haha! You'll never find them.

If I friend you and you don't want to friend me back, no sweat.

Note that many of the posts here are cross-posted from my WordPress site, but a good number are not. Generally, you can tell because there's text telling you it's cross-posted. :)

Work


Scene: The lobby of my workplace. I press the "up" button for the elevators and wait. I see a woman whose face I know but whose name I'm not sure of struggling to get her rolling bag through the security door. The elevator arrives, I press 'door open' to wait the three or four seconds for her to arrive. We exchange 'Good morning's and I press "4."

"What floor?" I ask.

"Two," she says. "Thank you."

We stop on the second floor and she gets out as she wishes me a good rest of the day, and I return the sentiment. Just as the door is starting to close, another woman steps onto the elevator. She waits until the doors start to close again, then puts her hand in the opening, leans out, and peers to the right. As she does this, she looks vaguely over her shoulder at me and mutters, "Sorry. Don't mean to hold you up."

And yet, you have already done that, I think, but don't say.

Apparently satisfied, she then re-enters the elevator entirely, and a few seconds later, the doors begin to close again. She once more puts her hand in the opening, causing the doors to spring back open again. This time, she straddles the opening placing her back against one of the doors, looking off into the right distance again.

I'm about three seconds before getting off the elevator and taking the stairs when the woman once more moves into the elevator and looks at me and says, "I'm sorry. I don't mean to hold you up."

And yet, you have done so twice, I think, but don't say.

Just as the elevator doors are about to close, a hand flies into the opening from the outside, and they open again. It's another woman, also dragging a rolling bag, who says to the other woman (not me), "Sorry about that. I didn't mean to hold you up."

The doors finally close all the way as the two women babble at each other. Since neither of them pressed a button, I assume they're both going to the fourth floor with me.

We arrive at the fourth floor and I get off. Just as I am, I hear a "ding!" and the arrow button on the outside of the elevator flashes to "down."

"Oh, crap!" I hear the first woman — the one who repeatedly kept opening the doors and making me wait — say. "I forgot to press five!"

As I walk away, I think, "I'm sure it doesn't mean to hold you up!" But I don't say it.

Schadenfreude. It's great on a cold, winter morning.


Atheists Are People, Too  Antispam  

The Small Pleasures

Music
I'm about to show my age. Not that I don't freely admit I'm <blur>ty-<blur> years old. I mean — What? You couldn't read that? How very odd. You should probably have your eyes checked. First sign of old age, you know.

Anyhow, back when I first got interested in music, it was The Eighties. I know! It actually existed! It wasn't just some improbable, magical realm of freaky hair and clothing conjured up by John Hughes as a world in which it actually made sense for Pretty in Pink and The Breakfast Club to exist.

Granted, I was well past my larval stage and headed into pupa at this point. Meaning that my musically formative years happened in late high school and college rather than in childhood, which occurred, for the most part, in The Seventies.

Which didn't actually exist, unlike the Eighties. Well, at least not musically, for me. I lived in a tiny town in rural Alabama, and pretty much the only stations we got that I was aware of were all country stations. So while I was aware of (and had probably heard, briefly) hard, acid rock groups like The Osmonds, The Carpenters, The Jackson Five, and The Three Dog Night, most of what I actually heard on a daily basis was Tammy Wynette, Roy Clark, Loretta (pronounced LOW-RETta, thank you) Lynn, George Jones, and Charlie Pride. Why? Because I wasn't in control of the radio. I wasn't driving.1

The summer of the year after tenth grade (I think; it was a long time ago, and I've slept since then), I registered at Livingston University (now known as The University of West Alabama) for an introductory level college chemistry course.2

What? Yes, this all relates. Jesus, you're impatient. Another sign of age. Hmm? Nothing. Really. Now, where was I?

So I registered for this chemistry course, because my high school chemistry class had been a joke. Not because the teacher wasn't any good, but because she simply wasn't there. She had a sick child, and we had substitutes and such a lot, and . . . well, not everyone in the class was college-bound and our pace . . . reflected that. We (my mother and father) felt that although I had good grades in chemistry, I needed to actually learn the topic.

I know! Crazy talk.

Anyway, I got to drive (in my own car!) from Eutaw to Livingston three times per week (or whatever it was) to take the class. And on that twice-daily hour-long drive to and from school, in my two-door, 1976 Chrysler Cordoba, by myself, I discovered that the radio picked up stations that . . . that weren't country.

I mean, like, totally not country. Do you understand what I'm telling you? They had, like, people who pronounced "well" as one syllable and "thing" didn't rhyme with "slang." These were people who had probably never heard of Ricky Scaggs or Jeannie Riley. Who probably thought a steel guitar was just a really heavy, metal guitar. As opposed to a heavy-metal guitar. Because that's totally different.

Was this what music was?

I liked it! I really liked it!

I remember the song that "turned the corner" for me. Every single morning on the way to Livingston, whatever station it was that I tuned into played the song "Time" by The Alan Parsons Project. I would also have heard songs by Blondie, Hall & Oates, Kool & the Gang3, Sprick Ringfield . . . you should picture angelic chords playing here. They would probably sound something like "Time" by The Alan Parsons Project.

Fast forward a couple of years. 1983. Graduation. Going off to college. Buying cassette tapes for the first time. I seldom bought whole albums because I was one of those people who only liked one or two songs, and didn't want to take the chance with all those other ones. Because on a cassette tape (back in the old days before newfangled things like fire and dirt), there's no skipping around. You pretty much had to listen to music in the order it was on the cassette.

So I bought two compilation albums called Hit Explosion4 and Dancing Madness5 from K-tel. They both had some awesome hits from the previous couple of years. Coincidentally, during the time in which I had my own car and could listen to what I wanted to listen to. Go. Figure. :)

I must have listened to those cassettes hundreds of times. Straight through, in order.

Now, let's fast forward through the 80s (Don't we wish that had been possible at the time?) and the 90s. And most of the 2000s. To, in fact, a few months ago.

While declutterizing my home office, I found my old box of cassette tapes (Have I mentioned I pretty much never throw anything media-related away? Books, cassettes, CDs...). I had maybe sixty of them. Most of which I'd already replaced by buying the album on CD and then ripping to MP3 to put in iTunes. But I missed Hit Explosion and Dancing Madness. And I don't even own a cassette deck.

My, how times have changed.

And then it dawned on me that I could make my own damned compilation albums using playlists in iTunes.

Well, duh!

I already owned a good many of the songs. Twenty minutes and maybe $8 later, I had reassembled both albums from 1983 as playlists in iTunes.

Last night, I felt the need to escape writing code for a while and just not be bothered. The call of 1983 was too strong to resist. "If I haaaaad a photograph of YOU-oo-OO-oo-OOOOH, as something to remiiiiind meeeeee..."

Which is what I meant by "The Small Pleasures."


  1. My mother, were she to comment on this, would no doubt interject, here, and mention in passing how there was this one particular trip in the mid-70s up to West Virginia to visit my grandparents for Christmas where "we" (my parents) were "forced" to listen to an 8-Track (look it up) of Dr. Seuss stories, pretty much back to back, all the way from Alabama to West Virginia. My mother still shudders when someone says the word "ooblek." This one, isolated, singular incident (this is my blog) notwithstanding, she and/or my father ("we") controlled the radio and what got played thereupon.
  2. Whereat I saw the single weirdest misspelling of my name, ever. The college admissions people had me down (until I corrected them) as "GARX HEMBERSON." Really? Garx? Really? Oy. In an unrelated note, my handwriting really sucked back then.
  3. I would later come to loathe Kool & the Gang because of my next-door-neighbors in the dorm during my sophomore year at the University of Alabama. These boys would listen to Kool & the Gang at a volume that made my bed frame vibrate in the next room. Until 3 AM. On nights before tests. And we (I) wanted to kill them. But since murder is wrong, I just learned to hate Kool & the Gang along with my next-door neighbors. That, and I moved into a room across the dorm from them the next semester. Jerks. I assume they're both prematurely deaf, now.
  4. Side 1
    Mickey / Toni Basil
    Vacation / The Go-Gos
    Steppin' Out / Joe Jackson
    Favourite Shirts (Boy Meets Girl) / Haircut 100
    Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah) / Joan Jett
    Young Turks / Rod Stewart
    Abracadabra / Steve Miller Band
    Side 2
    Shadows of the Night / Pat Benatar
    Gloria / Laura Branigan
    Hold On / Santana
    Space Age Love Song / A Flock of Seagulls
    New World Man / Rush
    Keep the Fire Burnin' / REO Speedwagon
    Eye of the Tiger / Survivor
  5. Side 1
    Come Dancing / The Kinks
    Fascination / Human League
    Always Something There to Remind Me / Naked Eyes
    Cool Places / Sparks
    Whirly Girl / Oxo
    Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You) / A Flock of Seagulls
    Side 2
    Electric Avenue / Eddy Grant
    Time (Clock of the Heart) / Culture Club
    Pass the Dutchie / Musical Youth
    Juicy Fruit / Mtume
    Don't You Get So Mad / Jeffrey Osborne


Atheists Are People, Too  Antispam  

The Final Curtain (Really!)

Medical, Caduceus
All done by Kit4na, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License   by  Kit4na 


Finally, at long, long last, I have had THE FINAL CHECKUP with the surgeon who did my shoulder surgery back in April.

After over a year, I'm finally DONE with this nonsense. I'll never have to talk to Some Woman at Some Company again (Hear that, universe? That wasn't a request for a lesson in irony, mm'kay? I've already had enough of that from the likes of Alanis Morissette.)

Anyhoo, it's been an eventful year. I've just recently started to force myself to use my right arm for my typical right-arm type things. It's my dominant hand, yet over the last year, I've all but stopped using it for routine things like opening doors or lifting things (like into my car or the refrigerator).

I asked the surgeon one, last question.

"So, I can move my arm pretty much without pain, at this point. I'm doing more with it, and other than an occasional twinge of muscle pain, I'm golden. So . . . is there anything I should basically just avoid doing with the shoulder?"

The doctor said, "Avoid lifting too much weight above your head. Like, if you do free weights, keep the weight below shoulder height."

"Permanently?" I asked.

"Yeah. It's bad for the shoulder to lift weights like that."

Something in his voice cued my next question. "Oh. You're not talking about just me, are you? You're talking about in general."

"Yeah. No one should ever do that."

So I'm going to take that as, "Go thou and do what ye wilt, except lifting weights above shoulder height. Eth."

I'm not even going to bother making this an "official" part 14 of the ongoing saga. Because that would involve editing 13 past entries and including a link to this one. Or maybe I will. It all depends, really, on how busy I get at work. :)


Atheists Are People, Too  Antispam  

Happy Anniversary?

Elated, Joy, Happy


This entry is part 13 in an ongoing series of semi-irregular posts detailing my frustration with Workers Compensation and the wonderful world of rotator cuff surgery. In case you haven't been keeping up: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | Part 12 | Part 13, THE FINAL CHAPTER (probably) (YOU ARE HERE)

Today marks the one-year anniversary of the fall that caused so many problems during the intervening year. Last July 31st, on my way from the parking lot to the building where I work, I slipped on damp pavement littered with small acorns(?) and tore my rotator cuff badly.

It has been three and a half months since the surgery to fix the problem. I have almost my full range of motion back. I can reach straight up, straight out, across my body, and only get a few twinges now and then. I still can't reach behind my back without pain, but perhaps that will come with time. The surgeon told my housemate that, among other things, I would not be throwing anything overhand anymore. And you know what? I can live with that. :)

As far as strength is concerned, I have very little, but it IS getting better. When I first started doing the exercises a couple of months ago, I could barely move the elastic band. This morning, I realized I had to move farther from the door to put more resistance in the band. There are only two of the five exercises he gave me that hurt at all, and that is getting better, as I said.

There are still times when I do something that will cause a sharp pain that reminds me that I hurt myself and that not everything in there is "right" anymore. This usually happens when I'm doing something so habitual that I tend not to think about it, like moving the laundry from the washer into the dryer, or hanging my dry laundry. It's just one of Nature's lovely little ways of reminding me that I need to think about what I'm doing. :)

The scars are still on my shoulder, and I guess they're permanent. I had originally thought they'd fade over time, but they're still quite noticeable. Meh. Looks like I lost an argument with a particularly shoulder-hating staple gun. Again, I can live with that.

I have changed my parking habits at work. I no longer park in the front lot with all the oak trees that tend to shed tiny little acorns. Onto a sloping surface. I now park in the "lower forty" lot where the ground is nice and level and the only trees are pine. The walk is much less treacherous in all weather, so it's a good thing.

I can't prove it had anything to do with me, but I mentioned before that just about the time I was having the worst of my battles with Some Woman at Some Company, my employer resurfaced the entire parking lot, making the surface less slick, and they also keep it almost devoid of any tree-detritus. So even if I were still parking in the front lot, there would be far less to trip over or slip on. Still, I'm going to continue parking in the "lower forty."

I'm tempted to call Some Woman today and let her know that I have one final doctor appointment in September, and then I'm officially done with the whole mess. I will continue to exercise my arm, being careful not to overdo it, of course (Mom). And I'll continue to be extra careful while walking, because it's been shown that I can't be trusted to do that.

In my last entry, I mentioned payment. I have yet to see a single bill for any of it, so I'm fine with that. I was also paid for the time I spent on short-term leave. I think I might have lost a few days because of some policy involving short-term leave, but that's small potatoes, and I'm not going to raise a stink. Thank you for respecting that and not admonishing me in the comments.

As a final note, I was sorely tempted to prank you all and lead with "Today is the one-year anniversary of the fall that caused me such grief, and you'll never guess what I did this morning on the way in to the office! At least now, my arms match again! Just kidding!" But I decided to be nice and not yank anyone's chain. (Just to be plain: I did not injure myself at all. Yet. The day is young. :)


Atheists Are People, Too  Antispam  

Rumbling in the Distance

Meh


This entry is part 12 in an ongoing series of semi-irregular posts detailing my frustration with Workers Compensation and the wonderful world of rotator cuff surgery. In case you haven't been keeping up: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | Part 12 (YOU ARE HERE)

After my last post, I sent a carefully worded email to the hospital regarding the Nurse Drama™.

Dear Sir or Madam:

On the 18th of April, I had outpatient surgery at Meridian Mark for a rotator cuff repair. First of all, everyone I met that day was completely awesome to me. During the time I was being prepped for surgery (information entered into the computer, IV started, forms to sign, etc.), I was in a small 'room' partitioned off by a thin curtain.

Outside of the curtains, two of the nurses got into a tiff over something and had a public argument about it. I heard literally every word that was said, and I'm sure other patients could, as well. Voices weren't raised, either. It was all done at normal conversational level.

Their supervisor did intervene, eventually, and I think everything got smoothed out. But it's just been bothering me. Patients being prepped for surgery are already anxious enough as it is, and to hear two nurses having a public argument doesn't help.

I've been waffling back and forth on whether to even say anything. I remember no one's name (I was anesthetized right after that), and can only tell you that it was on April 18, 2014 between 12:00 to 1:00 pm in the surgical prep(/recovery?) area. One nurse asked the other to help out with a patient while she finished up with another, and the second nurse apparently didn't like the first one's tone.

Disputes of that sort should be settled in private, behind closed doors, and not in front of patients. I don't want to get anyone in trouble or disciplined for a momentary lapse in judgment. Ideally, the message would go out to all medical personnel to settle their disputes out of earshot of patients and visitors.


I got the following reply today:

Dear Mr. Henderson,

Thank you for your correspondence, we truly appreciate your feedback.

I sincerely apologize for the unfortunate incident you witnessed. We strive to provide excellent care in a professional and comfortable environment; it's very disappointing to hear we did not meet our goal. I have shared your concerns with the Surgery manager for review. We regret that you had this experience. It is our commitment to do everything possible to ensure this situation does not occur in the future.

Again, thank you for allowing us the opportunity to improve our services. I would be more than happy to have a manager follow up with you after the review. Let me know if you would like to have a follow up call.

Kind Regards,

[NAME REDACTED]
Patient Affairs Specialist


I replied back and said that there was no need for anyone to follow up and that I just wanted them to have the information. I also explained that at no point was I given bad service by anyone involved; I was merely concerned that something like that could increase patient anxiety. She thanked me and wished me a speedy recovery.

Thus concludes part 12. I have a really bad feeling that part 13 is going to involve compensation for the two weeks I was out on leave. I have only received payment for 1.6 weeks of the 2.6 weeks I was out. I have a stack of paper an inch high of all kinds of stuff from my insurance carrier. Forms to be filled out, complete with doctor's signature, before my return to work . . . which arrived in the mail after I was already back at work, etc. This isn't over by a long shot.

Only, now . . . the big guns are involved. If Some Woman and Some Company are the anthill of frustration, I have a sneaky feeling dealing with Big Insurance Company is going to the Olympus Mons.

<sigh>


Atheists Are People, Too  Antispam  

Nurse Drama

Medical, Caduceus


This entry is part 11 in an ongoing series of semi-irregular posts detailing my frustration with Workers Compensation and the wonderful world of rotator cuff surgery. In case you haven't been keeping up: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 (YOU ARE HERE)

Something I forgot to mention about my little hospital experience is the Nurse Drama™. When I arrived, they had me undress and get into one of those backless gowns, then lie on a bed with booties on my feet while they jabbed repeatedly at my left arm trying to find a vein good enough to administer the amnesia drug to me.

The "room" they had me in consisted of a small desk with a computer monitor bolted on it, the gurney I was on, and a bunch of equipment. And a curtain that separated me from the rest of the room and the patients on either side of me. If you've ever been involved in a surgical procedure or an emergency room, you probably know what I'm talking about.

The first nurse — whom I'll call Sue for the sake of avoiding excessive ambiguous pronouns — started the laborious process of verifying my identity and getting all kinds of stuff entered into the computer system. I had to sign several things as well.

But then Sue was called away from getting me situated to do something else. So she went outside my curtain, closed it, and I heard something to this effect.

Sue: Ann, I have to help with another patient. Can you finish up with Mr. Henderson while I take care of this?

Ann: You don't give me orders. You're not the supervisor.

Sue: It wasn't an order. I was just asking —

Ann: 'Ann, finish up my patient because I don't have time.' <mocking tone>

Sue: That is not what I said. If you don't want to do it, I'll get someone else.

Ann: No, I'll do it. I wouldn't want to inconvenience you.


The curtain slid back and Ann poked her head in, all cheer and goodness and sunlight and fluffy, fluffy baby ducks. "Good afternoon, Mr. Henderson. I'll be finishing up your prep while Sue helps with another patient."

Meanwhile, I'm thinking, "Uh . . . you do know that I could hear every word, right? I mean, it's just a curtain. It's not soundproof." But I said, "OK."

Ann putzes around with the computer system for several minutes, then Sue comes back in. They banter with each other jovially for a few seconds while switching off, and then both leave my "room."

Sue: I'm sorry if what I said came across as an order, I was just —

Ann: I have seniority here, and I don't appreciate being told what to do by someone who's only been here <however long it was>.

Sue: Ann, I wasn't —

At this point, another voice interrupts. I'll call her Jen.

Jen: What seems to be the problem here?


And for the next several minutes, I got to listen to Ann and Sue explain their positions to Jen, whom I took to be their supervisor. At some point, Sue said, "I have to finish up with Mr. Henderson," and she came back inside my curtain and picked up where we left off — cheerfully! — like I could hear nothing that went on literally three feet outside the curtain.

Sue tried twice, unsuccessfully, to get the needle into my arm. She said, "I've failed twice, so I need to get someone else to try." (Must be hospital policy?) So she left for a second, and by this time, Jen and Ann were done, so Sue and Jen had a little discussion, as well.

Sue: I honestly have no idea what I said to upset Ann. All I did was ask if she could help a patient while I finished up with another one.


This went on for several minutes. Jen got both Sue and Ann together and Sue apologized to Ann (although from my perspective, it was Ann that had whatever problem she had), Ann "accepted," and then a minute later, Sue comes back in with Fay, introduces me, and Fay proceeds to poke me in the arm three more times until they get a decent vein.

I guess what surprises me is that they allowed Nurse Drama to go on literally feet from where patients are trying to remain calm about outpatient surgery. And while they're being checked in, two of their nurses are nyah-nyah-ing at each other over some trivial nothing. It does make you wonder, though, what would happen if Sue and Ann were forced to work together on a patient. Would they let any of their animosity spill over into their jobs? I certainly hope not.

I've been toying with whether I should just very quietly make a suggestion to the hospital management that the curtains don't block conversations, and that if the nurses are going to verbally spar with one another, they should take it behind a closed door and do it privately. Patients who are already nervous over literally going under the knife within an hour don't really need the added stress of wondering if their nurse is going to be distracted because she's thinking about l'esprit de l'escalier.

Anyway, at that point the doctor came in, and verified who I was and what procedure was being done. I said something like, "I almost had my housemate write 'No' on my left shoulder, just in case." I chuckled because joke.

Sue laughed when the doctor calmly took a sharpie out of his pocket and wrote "Yes" on my right shoulder. I wasn't sure whether to laugh. "We do that, just in case," he said, very seriously.

Yet another nurse came in and swabbed the entire area of my shoulder and upper arm with Betadine, which stained my skin a sickly ochre for about a week.

Then they injected Versed into my IV, and started to wheel my gurney out of the pre-surgical area to surgery. The last clear memory I have (Versed is called 'the amnesia drug' for a reason) is going through double doors and seeing my housemate with all her stuff following the procession.

Then I woke up and my shoulder hurt and I couldn't think straight. Anesthetics take a few hours to wear off.

I think this is the last little tidbit I have to tell from the actual surgery.


Atheists Are People, Too  Antispam  

Once More into the Breach

Work


This entry is part 10 in an ongoing series of sem-irregular posts detailing my frustration with Workers Compensation and the wonderful world of rotator cuff surgery. In case you haven't been keeping up: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 (YOU ARE HERE) | Part 11

This isn't even a surprise to me at this point. It's like a character in a sitcom saying, "What else could possibly go wrong?" and the studio audience all going, "Oooooooooh."

As I said in part 9, I returned to work last week. Not on Monday, but on Wednesday. This was because I couldn't get an appointment with the doctor the prior week, and didn't have the okay to drive until I saw him. He gave me the OK on Tuesday and I left the next morning to head back to the office.

Flash forward to Friday. I'm paid hourly because of some kerfuffle that happened a few years back with IT workers suing for overtime pay in California(?), and most of the rest of the nation followed suit to avoid the same lawsuit (as I understand it). Anyhoo, I was salaried up to a point, then became hourly, and so I can, if the need is great, get paid overtime for anything > 40 hours that I work. What this has to do with anything is that I have to put my hours into our PeopleSoft system, which they use to calculate my weekly pay. Friday is the day we fill that out and submit it, because the payroll is run on Monday before noon, Pacific. (But we still have to have our time submitted before noon Eastern on Monday. Whatever.)

Before I left for surgery and recovery, I pre-submitted two weeks of time sheets with 40 hours each of leave time. There was apparently some question about that (I was apparently not supposed to fill out a time sheet at all for leave time, even though LEAVE is one of the sub-categories under EXCEPTION TIME, but no one tells me anything), and an email discussion between my boss and our payroll department ensued, on which I was CC'd. It was cleared up before I ever even saw the email exchange. Problem: Solved!

Or so I thought.

Friday, I opened PeopleSoft and clickity-clicked through to where I put my hours in . . . and it didn't recognize me. As in, the place on the form for "Employee ID," which heretofore had always been populated automatically, wasn't.

Thinking that maybe I had done something wrong, I looked up the number on my paycheck stub and put that in. Invalid ID. Hm. I tried searching on the ID. Invalid ID. Name, last first. Invalid ID. Name, first first? Invalid ID. Grrrr. Advanced Search. Same results.

I looked for my boss, but he was in a meeting, so I walked around until I found another manager (who was my manager before my current manager). I told him what was going on, and he did some button-pushing and mouse-clicking. He informed me that the Employee ID number on the paycheck stub and the Employee ID in PeopleSoft are two separate things. But I should try the other one and see if that worked.

I managed to get the other number off of an approved timesheet from earlier in the year. Invalid ID. Hm.

I tried searching on that number. Invalid ID. Advanced Search? Invalid ID.

Worried, I approached my boss once he was out of his meeting, and said, "PeopleSoft says I don't exist."

He got this look on his face I interpreted as, "I knew this was going to happen. I just knew it." Plus some fun expletives. He didn't say them, but I could see them in his eyes.

Seems that part of that little problem with my 'leave' time ended up with me being taken completely out of the whole time reporting system. I mean, I could log in, and I could see my previous time sheets and approvals. I just couldn't put in anything new. Because that's logical, right?

He was on his way out and said he would deal with it over the weekend.

Flash forward to today.

He didn't have time to deal with it over the weekend because Mothers Day.

So I looked up the number for Payroll on our company Intranet, and got ready to beard the dragon in his lair. Before I dialed, I thought, "I'd probably better try the time sheet one more time so I can read off the exact error to them."

And I was fine. The Employee ID (the correct one) was in place. It knew who I was. I was able to report my time and submit it to my boss, comfortably before noon. Eastern.

All's well that ends well, as Shakespeare said.

I'm sure this will be the last problem I'll have stemming from this whole thing. Sure. Absolutely. I mean . . .

What else could possibly go wrong?


Atheists Are People, Too  Antispam  

On the Mend: Return to Work

Medical, Caduceus


This entry is part 9 in an ongoing series of semi-irregular posts detailing my frustration with Workers Compensation and the wonderful world of rotator cuff surgery. In case you haven't been keeping up: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 (YOU ARE HERE) | Part 10 | Part 11


I visited my doctor Tuesday, May 6th, 2014, for my surgical follow-up. The first thing he asked me was how I felt. I told him, "Pretty good." He asked how my arm was doing, and I told him about the range of motion I've been able to achieve on my own. (I can raise it up to my side at about a 30 or 40 degree angle from my body.)

He told me that my rotator cuff was badly damaged. He didn't "fix it" so much as "repair some of the damage." I'll never, he says, have 100% usage of the joint, again. He estimated from 66% to 75%, but no more. I was a little crestfallen to hear that, because I really use my right hand a lot. I'm severely right-handed, as I've explained before.

He also said that because I had quite a bit of arthritic damage to the bones of the joint, he ground off quite a bit of bone, so I should actually have less pain than I originally had.

Now . . . I wasn't aware of any arthritis pain. Honestly. Sure, when I would try to put my arms behind my head, there'd be a small twinge in my shoulders and elbows, but . . . I just chalked that down to being vastly out of shape and having zero flexibility. I guess maybe that was the arthritis?

I never thought of myself as having a high threshold of any kind of pain. I'm one of those people who can't walk barefoot through the grass in my yard because there are sharp stalks that poke my tender soles. When I was a kid, mind you, I could run on sun-baked, gravel-paved streets and not even notice the sharp rocks or the searing heat.

Ah, youth.

Maybe I had been having more pain than I realized? Is that possible? To be in pain, but just not notice it? Like you don't notice the smell of onions cooking after a while because you get used to it, and then someone else walks in and it's all they can smell.

The doctor did tell my housemate right after surgery that I would not be throwing anything overhand, anymore. Well, damn. There goes my hope to get into Wimbledon or the Atlanta Braves. Still, it's one thing to hear 'repair the rotator cuff' and quite another to hear 'too much damage to fix entirely.'

At any rate, he then gave me several exercises to work at over the next month, a couple of times per day, each, to extend my flexibility, but not my strength. He said not to work on strength, yet. I showed him an exercise I've been doing that the physical therapists last October gave me, and which seemed to do me some good. He said I could keep that up, so 8 to 10 times per day, I do those. Twice or so per day, I'm to do a pendulum thing, where I bend over and let my arm hang loose from the shoulder, and just swing the arm back and forth, letting gravity do the work for me. I'm also supposed to "climb" my hand up a wall twice or so per day, trying to raise the arm at greater angles. And finally, I'm supposed to get a pulley I can put over a door and use my good arm to raise my bad arm as high as I can, while putting no resistance with the bad arm. I'm not to use it to raise my good arm.

I intend to look for a pulley and rope at Home Depot or Lowe's or something. Maybe one of them will have something that won't cost me an arm and a leg <rimshot>.

Now, I know what you're thinking, because not only was I thinking it, as well, but so has everyone I've told all this to, and so did my Workers Comp representative (Some Woman) when I spoke with her yesterday morning. You're thinking, "Where's the physical therapy?"

This particular doctor doesn't think it's necessary, as long as I follow his instructions and do the exercises. They are, after all, the same ones the PTs will give me, and the only difference is, when I do them myself, I won't have the added cost of visiting a PT, and I won't get the massage, moist heat, or ice pack afterward. Those felt pretty good, actually, even when my joint wasn't going to get better because of the rotator cuff being bunched up behind the joint in a pile instead of spread out like it should be.

If I can't keep up the exercises, he'll send me to PT. It's almost like a threat. Some Woman thought he's nuts, but on the other hand, it means they don't have to approve of and then pay for more "medically unnecessary" physical therapy, right? (Did you hear the scorn in my voice, there? I wasn't trying to hide it.)

As of yesterday (Wednesday, May 7, 2014), I'm back at work. I sit at a computer and type all day, so it's not like it's a big difference from what I was doing at home, which was to sit at a computer and type all day. Now, I just have less air conditioning and a less comfortable chair. The only issue was whether I could drive or not, and he gave me the green flag for that, as well. The only thing that hurts while driving is when I have to reach out to put the car into drive (or park, or reverse, or whatever; it's an automatic), or when I have to reach forward to press the button to open or close the garage door. The rest I can either do with my left hand or it'll just have to not get done.

I don't see the doctor again until June 3rd, so unless there are more infuriating things that happen between now and then, this will probably be the last you'll hear on this topic for a bit. Probably. Unless.


Atheists Are People, Too  Antispam  

Four Tiny Incisions

Idiots
Shoulder incisions by scjody, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  by  scjody 


This entry is part 8 in an ongoing series of semi-irregular posts detailing my frustration with Workers Compensation and the wonderful world of rotator cuff surgery. In case you haven't been keeping up: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 (YOU ARE HERE) | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11

Note: I apologize for the length of this entry. I used an <lj-cut> for a good portion of it, for those browsing your friends list.

Disclaimer: That picture is not of my shoulder, but it's the closest one I could find on Flickr with Creative Commons licensing. It's remarkable how little external evidence there is of the amount of disruption below the skin. :)


So, after the last entry, which was posted on March 13, 2014, I was waiting for Some Woman at Some Company to get back to me about the results of the MRI, which my doctor recommended be surgery.

I'm not where I can get at my copious records at the moment, but it was around the 26th of March when I received a letter from Some Company. A nurse practitioner I have never met had reviewed my case and determined that the surgery was, indeed, medically necessary. I'm leaving out all the phone calls it took to get Some Woman and Some Company talking to my doctor.

The letter said I had 60 days to get the surgery. I looked at the dates given as the window, and it was 3/17 to 5/17. Wait. It was the 26th. I checked the letter. It had been sent on the 25th. Which was after the 17th. I don't get why — at all — they back-dated the beginning of the sixty days. And I don't really much care, at this point.

I called the doctor and gave them the date range and we looked for a time within that range that suited not only both me and the doctor, but the hospital. My choices were 4/4 and 4/18. Since my boss and my team lead were both out on spring break vacation during the week of 4/4, I opted for 4/18. The time of the surgery was 1:00 pm.

I called Some Woman at Some Company and actually got her on the phone. I informed her of the date of the surgery and how long I intended to stay away from the office. She said, "Since you refused to give me your salary when we initially spoke" — I have to inject, here, that I didn't refuse so much as not have the information available at the time she asked — "I have no idea what level of compensation we can provide." I gave her my company's HR number and contact, and also asked HR to fax her the information. This was two weeks before the surgery.

I had to also call my company's insurance company — who covers short-term disability, among other things — and they agreed to cover me for FMLA.

I was set! I scheduled the time off, and was kind of amused by the little wrinkles that appeared around my boss's eyes when he realized I was going to be out at the same time as another guy, and we are the only two people who can cover one particular product. But I had a deadline, and I wanted this over with.

I had to go by the hospital a week before the surgery to get a pre-exam by the anesthesia department to determine what level of anesthesia I would need for the surgery. Before I left, they gave me a form to have my HR department fill out and fax to them. It conveniently had the fax number right there on the form. It was all about workers comp, and asked for things like my case number, my case representative, and that sort of thing. So they'd know who to bill.

I got to work the next day and gave that form to my HR rep, and she said she would fax it right away.

You can probably guess what's coming next. I wrote about it on Facebook while it was happening. Below/behind the cut (for those browsing on LJ) is what I wrote. Warning: Very foul language. I was upset. I don't apologize. I do not think I have ever in my life been as angry as I was on this day.

C-word alert! Not 'cancer.' The obscene one.Collapse )

HR faxed another copy of the form. But I didn't verify Jack because I was too pissed off and didn't want to have to talk reasonably to anyone. I simply worked out the day and left. I went to the hospital the next day at the appointed time, and no one said anything, so I assume it was all straightened out.

It took the nurses five tries to get an IV into my arm, so that was fun. Once they did, I got a dose of Versed. The amnesia drug. They rolled me out of the pre-surgical exam room into the hallway and through a set of double doors . . . and that's where my memory stops. :)

I woke up some time later with an epic sore throat. I immediately started sucking down liquids. The nurses helped me get dressed with my arm heavily bandaged and in a sling. I got two prescriptions for the good pain medication (oxycodone, in two different doses for different levels of pain).

On day two, around 4:30 pm, while I was trying to keep my arm immobile as much as possible and doing not much other than sitting in my chair listening to podcasts, I got a call from . . . can you guess? Some Woman! "We never received any information about your salary, so we haven't been able to set up compensation."

Un. Be. Liev. A. Ble. I made her wait for fifteen minutes while I got my work laptop out and went through the laborious process of gaining access to the work system from home, all so I could access my pay records to give her my hourly pay rate, so she could calculate my compensation level. I don't know who dropped that particular ball. I sent email to HR explaining the situation, and then I logged out, and that's the last I've talked to anyone from work.

The rest of the story is kind of boring. I removed the outer bandages after two days (as instructed) because of the incessant, insanity-inducing itching. Quit using the sling on day four, because it was rubbing my hand raw. Removed the strips of tape covering the actual incisions after about six days, again because of the itching. There are four, tiny incisions on my shoulder, each about 3/16th of an inch long, and each closed with a single suture. Two of them are still red, but one has almost completely healed. The last one is in between.

And I've been improving daily. I'm finally able to wear real shoes and pants (getting the belt on is the hurdle).

I have my follow-up visit with the doctor who performed the surgery on the 6th, and at that point, he'll give me some direction as far as what I'm allowed to do (drive?) or not, and how much and how far I can push the usage of the joint. So stay tuned for part 9, hopefully without copious cursing and apoplectic rage. I could use a lot less of that in my life. And getting to the point where I never have to deal with Some Woman and Some Company again will go a long way toward making that a reality.


Atheists Are People, Too  Antispam  

Idiots


This entry is part 7 in an ongoing series of semi-irregular posts detailing my frustration with Workers Compensation and the wonderful world of rotator cuff surgery. In case you haven't been keeping up: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 (YOU ARE HERE) | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11

When last we heard from Our Intrepid Hero™ (me), on January 27th, 2014, I had gone to the orthopedist and had my first appointment, where we . . .

Wait. Let's review a couple of tiny things. From Part 1:
About 45 minutes later, I made it to my doctor. He had me put the arm through some moves that hurt, and he manipulated it.

No broken bones. No torn muscles. No broken, torn, or detached tendons. No rotator cuff injury (which is what I truly feared).
Emphasis added for irony purposes.

And from Part 2:
The doctor at the time told me that it was not broken, nor did I have any sort of rotator cuff injury, which were the two things I was most concerned about.
Emphasis once again added for irony purposes.

Why am I mentioning how my original doctor told me there were no tendon or rotator cuff injuries? [This right here is called "suspense," dear reader. Watch how it works.]

The day after my first visit to the orthopedist, we had what we here in the south like to call Icemageddon. It snowed about 2 inches, but because it was juuuuuust warm enough, that snow melted and instantly formed an inch or more of ice on our roads. And because Reasons, Atlanta shut down for two days. Most businesses in affected areas were shut down for three days.

Because of that, I decided to give Some Woman at Some Company the benefit of the doubt, and I didn't disturb either her or the doctor. I assumed that since my doctor's office had spoken directly with her, that Gears Were Set In Motion and that Things Would Be Happening.

I heard that. You laughed. No, don't bother to deny it, I heard you distinctly.

Then, about two weeks later, we had Icemageddon II: The Return of Solid Precipitation. This time, rather than snowing in a nice, pretty, picturesque way, ol' Mother Nature decided to just get it out of the way and sleet1 for two straight days. Atlanta was shut down once more for three days.

The following week when I returned to work, I called the doctor's office, and found out that — can you guess? — they had never heard from Some Woman. In fact, they had been — can you guess? — unable to get through to her.

I called Some Woman, expecting to get her voice mail, as per usual. Imagine my shock when she answered the phone. I asked her — politely — if she had called the doctor's office. Keep in mind that this was the third week after my visit, and the doctor's office calling, because all they needed was an approval for an MRI, and information on where to send me for said MRI. She was very polite. Bright and sunny. And she said, "I tried to call them last week, but their office was closed because of the snow. And I haven't contacted them yet this week because I'm giving them time to get caught up."

I'm pretty sure I must have had a small stroke at this point, because I cannot trust the fact that Some Woman actually spoke these words to me. Honestly. Has anyone in history ever been less aware of how stupid they sound? So, maybe we had this conversation, and maybe I hallucinated the entire thing. I'd almost rather believe the latter.

In my most chipper, friendly tone, I thanked her(!) and hung up. I then penned a very carefully worded email to my HR department explaining the problem. Unlike every other time I had done this, I got no response. None. Nada. Zilch. Crickets chirping.

I spoke to Some Woman again that Wednesday, and she said she had faxed them the information. I called my doctor and they had no record of any fax. I asked them to get in touch with her and handle it.

Then, finally, on Friday, the 28th of February, I got a call from my doctor's office, saying that they had finally managed to get the information from Some Woman.

I will stress, here, that the only thing my doctor's office needed, at this point, was a "Yes, send the patient to Facility X for an MRI." That's it. But it took Some Woman thirty-three days to do that.

Thirty. Fucking. Three.

From that point, I got rapid-fire calls from Facility X's HQ in New Jersey, and we set up the MRI for the next week, at one of their facilities near me, on Wednesday. It was so unbelievably refreshing to deal with someone who not only proactively dealt with getting me what I needed, but seemed to actually care.

I had the MRI. I then scheduled a visit with the doctor to tell me what the images meant.

The astute reader will recall the element of suspense that I (subtly) created earlier by highlighting excerpts from prior posts in this series in which I specifically stated that my original doctor said there was nothing broken, no tendon damage, and no rotator cuff damage.

You already know that the x-ray showed a healed compression fracture, i.e., a broken bone.

When I stood behind the doctor as he looked at the MRI results, he pointed at a bright blob and said, "See this tendon? The insertion is supposed to be —" he pointed several centimeters to the left "— over here. And see this?" He pointed at another bright blob. "That's your rotator cuff, which is pretty badly torn." The blob, which should be in the shape of a cup around the ball of the humerus bone was . . . a blob, crumpled in the back of the socket joint.

No wonder my shoulder hurts. No wonder the PT didn't help. So as much as I hate to admit it . . . the PT was, indeed, medically unnecessary. Just not for the bullshit reason I was given ("returned to full duty at work").

He recommended surgery. He then said, "Sometimes, I go in and it turns out there's too much damage, and there's nothing I can do. About once out of every 50 surgeries, that happens."

That's pretty good odds, from my point of view.

So, where are we, now? We're waiting on Some Woman at Some Company to 'approve' my surgery, so we can go ahead and schedule it. I lobbed the ball of Your Responsibility for doing that over the net to my doctor's office yesterday (March 12, 2014).

Anyone have any bets how long I'll have to wait?


  1. I made a really cool, short video of it and posted it to my YouTube channel, if you're interested in seeing what it looked and sounded like. It was quite pretty, actually. It's about 15 seconds.


Atheists Are People, Too  Antispam  

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