Where to next?

22nd January, 2022

You know it must be cold when ice has formed in the heated water bowl. We keep two of these bowls for wildlife. As well as the two that I bash ice out of every morning lately.

Sometimes, Grant gets there first and I tell him he’s depriving me of an outlet for my frustration.

Imagining it’s someone’s head I’m pounding on gives me vicarious satisfaction.

Who could I possibly want to treat so savagely?

More or less any politician for starters.

Insurance tycoons for sure.

Executives of medical “groups”.

Bankers….one bank in particular…..

While I have to admit that seriously cold weather has a negative effect on my old joints and bones, it is not this which has caused the glums to set in recently.

Short Winter days of long shadows are wondrous.

The ever-resourceful Tim of my acquaintance once negotiated passage for us on a cruise ship bound for Antarctica. People thought we were mad.

It was one of my most memorable experiences.

As much as I love Winter weather, it does have its downside, doesn’t everything?

While I am delighted to bundle up and spend time outdoors, I am not so happy to sit shivering inside. I do not care to revisit my early English winters.

So we maintain a reasonable temperature and close off rooms that are seldom used. Still, one expects a larger than normal energy bill.

A few days ago I received a bill that made my eyes water. Literally.

People in Turkmenistan rioted over the increase in fuel prices. I feel like staging a riot myself.

How are people supposed to survive? Especially those of us who are on fixed income?

With fuel prices increased, everything else becomes more expensive, but do our taxes get reduced? Ha!

The really depressing aspect of this is that I will have to cut off all charitable donations.

Then I had a New Year’s re-think of my intentions vis-a-vis medical matters.

Eighteen or so months ago my new Primary Care Physician requested that I wean myself off the oxycodone I had been prescribed 15 years ago for chronic pain.

Fine. Because of the national neurosis over the “crisis”, getting monthly renewals had become a battle of wits and my nerves didn’t need the stress.

So, while the withdrawal was very unpleasant, I complied. I am a reasonable person.

Perhaps my PCP got a good mark on his record for his success. He had had to put up with a couple of rather tearful appointments. Overall, he got off light.

It was Grant who bore the brunt of the withdrawal.

What was absent in this whole period was the suggestion of alternatives for pain management.

Which seems a little unfair.

It was suggested that I consult the Pain Management clinic that is part of the same group.

That encounter did not go well. The expression “oil and water” comes to mind. Maybe it was my fault.

Instead I found a different group and there at least I was welcomed with understanding and kindness.

When one suffers with chronic pain in multiple body parts, one has to prioritize. My right shoulder was giving me a lot of grief and making it hard to use my computer.

After several treatments, some nerves were ablated and that took care of that.

It was encouraging.

Then we moved on to back-related problems.

Steroid injections. I am not sure how many nerve-roots and muscles can be injected, but we went through a whole list, in cycles:

Injection, waiting period, re-evaluation, start again.

This went on right up till September…

..when emergency surgery balls the whole thing up and added anemia to the complications.

At this point, I got the distinct feeling that my PCP had lost interest in me. “No”, I said to myself, “he’s just having a bad day.”

But before I managed to get back on track with pain management, I was in hospital again with tick fever.

And my PCP seemed totally out of patience.

Admittedly, I am sensitive, but I am not stupid.

Throughout this time I had been examining statements from Medicare and my insurance company, with an amount of indignation verging on RAGE.

Did I mention that, a time or two?

So, maybe my PCP has no time for Medicare patients. He got a good mark for getting me off oxy. Maybe now I am just not worth his time. Medicare, after all, pays a pittance. It’s insulting to doctors and patients alike.

In December, after 3 months of total exhaustion from severe anemia, I was able to get topped up with an iron infusion and overall I felt better.

…Christmas and New Year…

The shoulder fix was expected to be good for 6-9 months and it’s now been so long, I am back to square one, with additional problems needing treatment.

But I feel that it’s all become farcical.

It’s embarrassing to keep showing up for injections. I’ve come to view the treatment centre as a factory. I have no complaint about the treatment, but the process of being accepted and moved through the system…. it’s mind-numbing. I feel like packaged meat. Complete with an X to brand me.

Do I really want to spend another year clutching at straws? How long is too long?

Often I am in a lot of pain, but I rarely scream. I can live with it. That is as long as I give up any thoughts of working in the garden or participating in any activity requiring walking or standing for more than a few minutes. I can read and write, so I count myself lucky.

But oxycodone gave me the ability to do more.

Because of mis-management and greedy advantage-taking bastards, it is not an option.

And I’m not sure, but I’m beginning to feel anemic again.

To cheer myself up, I have started watching the 1970’s BBC program “I Claudius”. It’s dated, for sure, but it’s still awfully good.

10 thoughts on “Where to next?

  1. Your photos of frost are beautiful, like your spirit. The last one has what looks like shattered nerves, which must be how you are feeling with the cold and inept medical help…. I wish you the very best this new year and the help you need with pain management.

  2. It is astonishing that you are able to take such stunning photographs with all you must contend with physically. I wish you luck and a miraculous turnaround, but thank you for finding and sharing beauty even in pain and cold.

  3. Season 1 is on Prime video although I think you have to pay extra. It’s on Acorn TV, wherever you can access it. However I purchased a 5 DVD set for about $30. You need to be sure you get discs that can be played in the US.

  4. I wish I had answers for you (but I’m no PCP – thank goodness for that, because then you wouldn’t accepted me as your WP friend). But I really hope for good fortune and that your pains may turn away from you … or at the very least, that someone in the medical industry who really cares for their patients, will turn up at your doorstep.
    But the fact that you take such amazing photo’s of the frost (wow, those different patterns are beautiful), reminds me that your mind is still healthy and active – that’s great!

  5. Lovely photos of the ice and frost.
    You shouldn’t disrespect those English winters. It is winter here in Beetley, and today it was only 2C.
    But there was no ice.
    No frost.
    No snow.
    And we are warm in the house, at a comfortable 22C. The heating oil has increased in price, but the £300 I spent should see us through the winter until March. That works out to just less than £75 a month, not bad for heating all day every day, and as much hot water as we need.
    And don’t forget that I get the Pensioner’s Winter Fuel Payment bonus on my state pension. That was £200, paid in December. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

  6. That’s good to know. I don’t even want to work out what it costs per month. I just want to be able to stay in my own home with my cats! I may have to put them on short rations…:)

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