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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. :)

On Root Canals . . .

Today, I had a root canal.

I know what you're thinking. Your blood pressure spiked, you probably winced, and I'm betting that a good number of people reading this either ran their tongue over their teeth or actually touched their cheek(s).

Because root canal. The mere words conjure up all kinds of horrible images. If you've had one or if you haven't. Because if you haven't, everyone makes sure to tell you just how horrible they are. It seems to be a thing people absolutely must do. Like if you say you like Justin Bieber, Twilight, or Coldplay, people feel the need to tell you just how wrong you are, or question your sanity. Because people. :)

But I had one many years ago. Many, many years ago. Twenty-five of them, to be imprecise, but close. I had a wisdom tooth growing in sideways and eating away at the root of the tooth next to it. So I had the wisdom tooth removed by an oral surgeon, then had a root canal on the tooth next to it. In the same week.

So, yeah. Your root canal stories don't bug me, much. During that first one, I developed the intense need to pee. I mean, like, bladder bursting. Like 'dog walks across you and steps directly on your bladder while you need to go' level. So they let me. With the dental dam in my mouth and the thing that keeps your mouth open wide in place. Walked right through the waiting room and into the bathroom. And then made the mistake of looking at myself in the mirror. And couldn't go. And had to endure another hour of the root canal feeling like an overfilled water balloon.

So, today was fine.

Well, right up until the fire alarm.

So there I am, in the chair, dental dam in place, a rolled-up lab coat wrapped in plastic under my head because they didn't have a pillow, headphones on so I could listen to podcasts instead of the drill, sunglasses on to shield my eyes from the bright lights (Did I mention I tore my cornea this morning? No? Well, I tore my cornea this morning. So that was festive.), and suddenly, Whooooooooop! Whooooooooop! Whooooooooooop!

There was much scrambling around until someone came into the room to inform the doctor and the hygienist that it was a drill. The front desk of the building informed them right before the air raid siren went off that it was just a drill so no one would have to rush patients out into the street with, for instance, mouths propped wide open, a dental dam in place, and all kinds of suction equipment hanging out of their mouths.

Because that would have been too much fun.

As it was, we just had to listen to about fifteen minutes of that constant Whooooooooop! Whooooooooop! Whooooooooooop! The doctor was really annoyed by it. Like, so annoyed that she asked the hygienist to go check to see how long it was going to last. She said, "But they're not going to know that!" And there was a little "discussion" on that topic. And then the doctor asked another person who walked by to do the same thing, and there was another little "discussion" on the same topic. The doctor said it was really getting under her skin and she wasn't going to be able to take it for much longer and was going to have to just walk out on the patient ("haha just kidding") if it didn't — . . . which is when it finally stopped.

After it was all over, the discussion went back to how I have really nice skin, how I have the molar of a nineteen-year-old ("Your dentin was just full of blood! It was gushing everywhere!" I do not even want to know.), lobsters, noise-reduction headphones, and music selection.

On the plus side, I have a prescription for the good pain meds and some antibiotics to make sure we don't have to do this again.

On the minus side, my head is numb from about my left ear over to just to the right side of my chin, from the top of my ear down to about midway down my neck, my entire left cheek, half of my tongue, and most of the roof of my mouth. And I can't swallow, speak very well, or eat. She said the numbness would last "until about bedtime."

I'm fairly sure she isn't aware that 'bedtime' for me is anywhere from midnight to 2 AM, and will assume this means about 10 pm like normal people. But how I'm supposed to down three antibiotic pills without being able to swallow is . . . a mystery I shall have to solve later. For now, I'm at work trying to avoid having to talk to people, because my sibilant, labio-dental, linguo-labial, and fricative consonants are . . . a bit slurred (schflurred).

So . . . how was your day? :)

Atheists Are People, Too  Antispam  

It's Time Once Again for Spam Poetry™

Oh, god, not this crap ag—I mean Hey look! It's more Spam Poetry™!

So, what happens is, periodically, I receive enough spam on one or more of my email accounts that some of the subject lines leap out at me as a kind of poetry in and of themselves. I arrange them, but don't change them (other than to remove the occasional long string of nonsense). To create Art™*

* For some values of 'art.'

So, without further ado . . .

I call this one Gibberish for what will become obvious reasons. At least my Spammers offer a respite and encouragement. Warning: If you read any of these languages, I apologize for any offense that might occur. I have no idea what most of them say.

Learn a language with only 5 minutes per day
J'adore m'amuser avec des garçons
Ia parte la proiecte de succes alaturi de antreprenori romani!
Quà Tặng Chúc Mừng Năm Mới 2016
Поздравляем Вас с Новым годом!
(광고)초대박~ 무료 영화다운로드 쿠폰이 이곳에~! 나만의 쿠폰 선물&홍보 이벤트!
بمقدم 20% امتلك شقتك باب
《2015 GF雙誕嘉年華》精選遊戲送好康!一同迎向2016
Cizme imblanite U. G. G. cu Livrare 24H in Romania
สุขสันต์วันปีใหม่ แด่สมาชิกMG
جشنواره فروش به مدت 4 روز
Bem-vindo ao Ludijogos
Serviço de tradução
vouloir baiser ce soir?

Good Job!!!!!

This next piece I call Stalker. SarAnnabElla is the kind that'll boil your rabbit. (Is that a thing people say? The last time I said it, I got odd looks . . .)

Hello there
i found you :)

1 InstaSextMsg Waiting
1 HotH00kup Waiting
1 Sl*tty Friend Alert
1 InstaSextMsg Waiting
You Have 1 SexiSnap Notification
Check out your friend Annabelle
1 New InstaCheat Alert
1 New InstaAffair Alert
1 New LocalSlutAlert
You Have 1 InstaDateRequest
You Have 1 InstaH00kup Request
1 BangBuddy Alert is Waiting for You
You Have 1 New Christmas InstaQuickie Alert
1 Pending Hookup Alert
1 Pending Hookup Alert
1 New F*ckbuddy Waiting for You
1 New SnapBangMsg
You Have 1 InstaH00kup Request
You Have 7 F*ckFriends Waiting
1 New SnapHookup Alert
1 New InstaAffair Alert
You Have 7 InstaH00kup Requests
You Have 1 New InstaB00tyCall
1 New Christmas InstaSexMatch
1 InstaSextMsg Waiting
1 New SnapHookup Alert
1 Unread F*ckbuddy Message
5 Pending F*ckBuddyNow Alerts
Check out your friend Ella
1 New Christmas InstaHookup Alert
1 New Christmas InstaAffair Alert
1 New Christmas InstaSexMatch
You Have 1 Christmas SexiSnap Notification
1 New Christmas SnapHookupMsg
You Have 1 Christmas InstaH00kup Request
1 New Christmas InstaHookup Alert
1 Christmas Pending Hookup Alert
1 New Christmas SnapHookup Alert
1 Christmas Pending Hookup Alert
New Christmas F#ckBuddy Alert Pending
1 New Christmas InstaHookup Alert
1 Sl*tty Friend Alert
Unread Flirt Message From Sarah
You Have 1 New Christmas InstaQuickie Alert
1 New Christmas SnapF#ck Alert
1 New SnapHookup Alert
1 New Christmas InstaCheat Alert
1 New Christmas SexiSnap Alert
New Find F#ckFriends Alert
Are You Down for Right Now?
Are You Down for Right Now?
Are You Down for Right Now?

i found you

Creeeeeepy! I think "Annabelle" or "Ella" or "Sarah" or whatever she's calling herself during this 10-minute period needs to get a hobby. Or perhaps a prescription for . . . something. Other than Spanish fly. (Is that even still a thing? Does this date me?)

Finally, I'll call this one Success! I'm glad to know my Spammers are looking out for my overall well-being. It makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.

Or that might be heartburn. Anyhoo . . .

This is what to do in 2016 to make it BIG

  • 6th Annual Dream One World New Years Eve

  • A world away with Qatar Airways from 26,288,000 IRR. Book now!

  • True Love Right This Way...
    Very good method to ensure your love life
    Hookup Opportunity For You: Dating access pass granted
    Sleep with sex-addicts tonight

  • Donation

  • Fulfill your immediate fun requirement in 1 minute
    Dominos Online Super Value Offer: Buy 1 Pizza Get 1 Pizza Free Only TODAY
    Delightful Chicken Shawarmas! Order Now!

This has been Spam Poetry™. I hope you enjoyed it as much as my Spammers enjoyed bringing it to you. Stay tuned here for more "fine" "art" from spam domains in Brazil, Japan, Korea, Russia, and Thailand! (Among many, many others.)

Atheists Are People, Too  Antispam  

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

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!)

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?

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

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,

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.


Atheists Are People, Too  Antispam  

Nurse Drama

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

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

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  

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