FCE

Since my last post was a little negative…(ahem), I’ll try not to dissolve into a pity puddle today. 

Due to my insurance change, none of my doctors (primary care, orthopedic & pain management) are in network now. Pain management is on hold for now. My new Ortho doctor didn’t thrill me with his initiative. He did inject cortisone into my shoulder that didn’t really help anything. His one suggestion was that I have an FCE. Functional Capacity Evaluation. A five hour test done by a physical therapist that is supposed to determine what I can & cant do, employment wise. Of course, it can’t be done by a therapist who knows me. 

After reading horror stories online, I was pleasantly surprised. Yes it was 5 hours of doing things that hurt, but it wasn’t unbearable & I feel hopeful that it will get me out of this limbo. I also feel kind of like I’ve been through another surgery. Ouch!  I should have the report in a couple of days. Cross your fingers for me!

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Clear As Mud

January has been interesting so far. And when I say interesting, I mean absolute chaos as far as my health situation goes. The pain, muscle spasms, ROM & strength problems continue unchanged. After my Ortho appointment on 12/12, after we talked about my shoulder situation, he put PT on the back burner due to lack of progress, and spoke to me about chronic pain management, I felt I had a pretty clear picture of his prognosis for my shoulder. He sounded very resigned to limited use & was moving on to dealing with this pain. While, this was upsetting, it wasn’t surprising at all. I live with this every day. 

So, when I started getting letters from my LTD company regarding unreturned update paperwork, I assumed something had just slipped through the cracks. But after numerous phone calls to Medicopy, the problem was that the Drs last note concerning my work status was “Return to work as able.” Obviously, that’s a bit too vague. Who decides when I’m able if he doesn’t. So, right before Christmas I started trying to reach his office to be more specific. About 2 weeks later his tech lets me know that a note was put in on 1/9 stating “Return to work no restrictions.” My first response was, maybe he had me confused with someone else? I mean, it was almost a month after my appointment when he put that note in. I explained to her my continuing problems & my inability to use my right arm on a consistent basis. She called back the next day. The note was changed to say “Return to deskwork, one armed. No pushing, pulling or lifting.”

And, that is clear as mud, right? One armed desk work? In what world is that feasible? Certainly not in insurance where every task is Hurry Up! Unfortunately, the LTD company will probably use that as a reason to stop benefits. I’m still waiting for that letter. 

Of course, my health insurance for 2017 is changing as well. Low premium, deductibles & copays are back. 

Then there’s the disability insurance that’s been taking care of my car payment…I’d say his note is also going to put a stop to that.

Basically, I’m looking at losing my pay & increasing my monthly bills. It’s infuriating when every single bit of this is out of my control. 

I drove to Lexington yesterday for my Pain Management appointment & was told I’d have to reschedule due to a computer mixup. I don’t even want pain management, but it seems to be something I have to consider. 

Honestly, I had a mini breakdown yesterday. It’s just all too much. It’s been months of being treated like a nonperson. Being categorized by people who have no idea what my days & nights are like. I must be faking, exaggerating, working the system. 

Before this accident, I was a hard working, reliable, independent person. It has never been a goal of mine to depend on government assistance. For over 20 years I’ve worked & climbed corporate ladders. Took the tests & made something of myself. I was a single mother with a good job, a good house & a good life. Now….well now I feel a bit like a sucker stick, after the sucker has been eaten. All the good parts are gone & what’s left is chewed up & isn’t much use to anyone. 

I’m tired. I want my life back. 

And Now This

It’s almost Christmas!!  We are pretty excited about girls night candy making & all the family gift exchange plans.  It’s been a rough year, but also a good one. 

I’ve come to rely more & more on my faith in God. Knowing he has a plan for my life & is taking care of me even when I can’t see it, is a huge relief. I’m ok & will continue to be ok. God is good all the time & he works all things for the good of those who love him. All things. 

I had an appointment with my ortho surgeon on 12/12. We agreed that I’ve come as far as I can in physical therapy, so that’s on hold for now. He is referring me to a chronic pain doctor who specializes in Neuromodulation. I had to look that one up. From what I’ve read, this practice involves implanting a device to either dispense pain medication (non-opoid) or to send electrical currents that control pain. 

I’m going to meet with the doctor & discuss because Google doesn’t know everything. If, in fact, those are my options, I’m inclined to pass for now. While I do have almost constant pain & am prevented from doing a lot of things, my pain level doesn’t stay at the unbearable level as long as I’m careful. I don’t feel I need constant pain control at this point. 

3 month Post Op

I had my 3 month-ish post op appointment this morning. The doctor took some ROM measurements & feels I’ve made some good progress. He wants me to continue aquatic therapy for strengthening. 

We discussed my continued hand spasms & how I’ve been dropping things. He feels this isn’t related to my shoulder injury & could be early signs of carpal tunnel. I have my next appointment set for the end of October & he suggested we revisit that issue then & possibly follow up with some nerve testing. As for my shoulder, he is hopeful I’ll keep improving enough to be “cut loose” at that point. 

I’m almost afraid to hope that this ordeal will soon be completely behind me. Two days ago marked a year since my original injury. In the grand scheme of things, I suppose a year isn’t a lot of time. It’s felt like forever to me that I haven’t had full use of my dominant arm. I’ve found alternate ways to do almost everything & it seems like I automatically protect my right arm no matter what I’m doing.  I guess once I find a job, the normalcy will come back.  I’m excited that I could be working again before the holidays. I can Christmas shop!! 

Yay! New Symptoms ðŸ˜‘

I’ve started back with PT & will have my first aquatic PT tomorrow. The popping/grinding/cracking is due to scar tissue, so it’s full speed ahead to get some motion back. 

I’ve had some weird pain on my incision scars for a couple of days. They almost feel like fresh incisions, with a sharp stabbing type of pain. I literally thought I had a new cut at first. It’s bothersome, along with the muscle spasms in my hand. 

I did some online research & am hoping this is just my nerves trying to heal. 

A Little Good With My Pain

The pain, cracking, popping & sleeplessness continue. I went back to PT only to be taken back off again. I have a followup Dr. Appt Monday, so we’ll see if he thinks this is normal, scar tissue related pain or something else. 

As for the good, I got approved for LTD & so will be able to stay afloat financially until I can work again. Yay. 

Short & sweet, that’s it for today. 

Snap, Crackle, Pop

I’ve been out of the sling for a little over a week & it’s pretty much been constant pain. Sleeping is almost impossible because I can’t get comfortable. I’ve tried stacked pillows, a small pillow supporting my arm, practically sitting up…none of it made a huge difference. So I deal with it until I can’t & then I take a sleeping pill to get caught up. 

There’s a lot of grinding under my arm along with popping & cracking during the PT exercises. Just walking across the floor last week, with a little natural swinging of my arm caused a massive pop that caused my shoulder to go hot & then ache for hours.  My doctor has taken me off PT for a week to see if that helps. So far, it hasn’t. 

I spent a few hours at the end of last week trying to get health insurance in place since mine will terminate 6/1, right along with my job.  The LTD paperwork has been completed & mailed in. Now I’m just waiting to see if it’s approved. I won’t have any more income until it is. If it isn’t…well, I have no idea what I’ll do. I know I’ll need to pull my 401k money out after my termination date. That will keep me afloat for a month or so. I also plan to find out if Unemployment benefits are available if I can’t apply for jobs.

My fingers started twitching yesterday for no apparent reason. Nerves reconnecting? Nerve damage? I’m hoping it stops on its own. I don’t need hand problems too. 

So that’s where I’m at this last week of my current employment. Pain, anxiety & more questions than money.