the tao of jaklumen

the path of the sage must become the path of the hero

Deeper into the Forge (hotter embers)


There’s nothing like a good game of UNO to start a better day. (Image credit:

Princess is off to church camp today, and will return on Saturday.  She played a round of UNO with Cimmorene and I before she left.

My stress level just keeps increasing… if only I could make diamonds out of the lumps of coal in my life.

Princess is our delivery girl for the post (or snail mail, if you will).  I did get some bad news.  There was a letter from OrthoNet– a notice of denial of medical coverage.  So I dialed the number listed for management (Utilization?  Medical?  I guess it’s customer service) and was grumping to two staffers before I realized maybe my surgeon’s nurses goofed, and that I should gripe to them.

You see, one of them (the surgeon’s nurses) had called earlier saying they were waiting for Humana to respond.  After waiting a week or more, I called back (to play the Phone Tag Voicemail game) and my call was returned with the nurse now saying they were new, i.e., green as grass.  Now, the letter said “Epidural Steroid Injection with J.S., M.D.”  under the Your request was denied section.



That’s not what the surgeon told me he was doing.  He wasn’t recommending more cortisone– I found out between two doctors, one nurse, and 6 courses of cortisone (5 of them epidural injections) that cortisone does NOT work for me.   He wants to use Novocaine, not cortisone, as a diagnostic tool to determine where my pain is.  Right now, he can’t tell if surgery screws, a bone spur, or another failing disc is causing my pain.

“It would not be a covered benefit to repeat the same interventional pain medicine (IPM) procedure that was already proven to be ineffective.”

Well no sheeeet, bean counters.  (Yes, I pointed out to OrthoNet staffers the request was wrong… then I realized that the surgeon’s nurses must have incorrectly filed the request.)

“OrthoNet values its relationship with Humana members, and our goal is provide exceptional customer service.”

Bob’s Big Boy Be Trippin’ Balls

A canned response deserves canned laughter, but I must point out that they were very patient with me even though I was complaining like a irritable curmudgeon.  Although this wouldn’t have been terribly professional, I would have laughed if one of them had said, “I got one of them Bob’s Big Boys on the line and dayum, is he trippin’.”  (A fair number of customer service reps I talk to on the phone sound like BBBWs from the South.  They either sound incredibly bored, or I get the nice sweet talk.)

Then I realized I was going to be late to my meeting with a new dietician.  My last lab reports were mostly very good, except for my A1C.  My physician specializes in internal medicine… I said I sounded like a grumpy irritable curmudgeon, right?  Well, I have a physician that admitted to me he normally sees seniors.  But that’s totally cool because, well, he’s my father’s physician as well.  He’s a really good fit for us as a GP, and I have the benefit of being able to reference my father for family history.

Thankfully I didn’t have too many problems even though I came in late.  I wasn’t administered a questionnaire because this was my third visit to Diabetes Education, but, the dietician still wanted one because this time, I had a pre-diabetes diagnosis–  well, for all intents and purposes, a diabetes diagnosis.

English: Blonde girl Русский: Блондинка

Not quite this blonde, but, you get the idea. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was suitably impressed with the dietician.  Yes, granted, I noticed her brilliantly blond hair and light freckles.  (Laura A. Lord will remember I find freckles a charming feature, and as to the blond hair, well, I haven’t seen many women with naturally light blond hair in a while.)  But seriously, I was very impressed that she got down to business right away and was able to keep the conversation on track despite my tendency to ramble and slide off onto tangents.

What I really liked was that she explained the carbohydrate counting system to me in very plain, simple terms.  One of my sisters is type I diabetic, so I remember very well when this system was first being publicized as an alternative to the exchanges system.  Believe me, dear readers, I think counting carbs will be MUCH easier than counting calories based on an exchange system.  She also asked me to keep things easy and simple– I remarked that I had difficulty with keeping a food journal.  I was also impressed that she wanted to keep hydration simple– because I take lithium, she didn’t want me to make any drastic changes.  I said that I was going to consult a psychiatrist again and discuss that more in detail.  She was also right when she said many mental health care providers don’t really discuss hydration with patients that take lithium.  I agreed that they should– I know full well that lithium is a salt.  Why does it work the way it does?  My father-in-law explained it VERY well… lithium has a smaller molecular structure than sodium, and is therefore absorbed by the brain cells more easily.  Of course, salts help regulate electron flow in those brain cells and neurons.  My uncle got very dehydrated once, and experienced toxic levels of lithium as a result.  So, yes, I understand that water and salts need to be in proper balance– doubly so because a particular salt is part of my medicine regimen.

Good times, baybee.

I also got a meter system for testing blood sugar levels.  This morning, I realized that I can’t effectively test first thing in the morning… if I’m not hydrated well enough, I have a devil of a time getting any blood.  The lab vampires can corroborate my claim.

A Zynex representative called Sunday to clarify a few things, as well.  She said I could keep the electrodes if I wanted to.  In Home Medical didn’t have reusable electrodes– only one package of disposables was available, so it was nice to know that I could keep the electrodes I’d gotten with Zynex’s machine.  (My physiotherapist said that electrodes were pretty universal to most stim machines.)  She also said a return envelope to send their machine back was on its way.  I was also relieved when she said that I hadn’t made them wait longer than normal.  I was well within the normal amount of time for a machine to be returned.

I was supposed to have an intake for counseling at CFCS today, but, I’d had enough, and blew them off when they made the reminder call.  They’d eliminated their office that was close to me, and I didn’t want to drive out a half hour or more to their main office right when we usually take the kids to school lunch.  Setting up the appointment was also a distressing experience– I felt like the woman had lectured me like I was a child.  Yes, I know I’d missed (no-show) a few appointments.  Yes, I know about so many no-shows mean that I’d have to go to another agency or otherwise wait for a year.  I’d been to ALL of the agencies that the bi-county agency appointed to serve Medicare/Medicaid recipients– INCLUDING the mental health agency that lost their approval!

And that’s about all for now, dear readers.  I really don’t want to go into cPTSD or how badly I’ve been triggered lately.  Tonight, we will set up my old dome Scout tent for Boy to sleep in, so he can “camp” like Big Sister.

An old picture, but here to show you he already likes it.  Just one repair to make (it was damaged in a windstorm) and then we'll be set.

An old picture, but here to show you he already likes it. Just one repair to make (it was damaged in a windstorm) and then we’ll be set.

Author: jaklumen

Wherever you see "jaklumen", that's me- the username is still unique as of the current year. Be aware that the facet you see, is only a small part of the me that is me.

3 thoughts on “Deeper into the Forge (hotter embers)

  1. Wow man, that is _a lot_ going on all at once. I am glad you were able to get some things sorted on the clerical side. Medical billing and insurance can give a person a heart attack from the stress it causes (I hate it so much).
    I have been super horrible with my carb counting lately. It is easier but it starts to become so monotonous, it sucks. My dietician was awesome too, he explained things simply and clearly. It was pretty much keep the carbs low, take the metformin to stop liver from pumping yet more carbs into the blood and exercise a minimum of an hour (and by exercise he mentioned it didn’t need to be super carido or anything, just a simple walk for an hour would do).


  2. That’s why we’d all be better off with a single-payer insurance system. Let the hospital and insurance companies sort it all out!


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