Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Next days, next steps... to healing, we hope!

1 October: It's already October? Wow. Did 2021 fly by for everyone else, or was 2020 just so fucking long that 2021 seems to be shorter?

Ennyhoo. It's Friday the first, and I've managed to somehow sleep, and I have some pain, and I can't do anything. So, I hand my shuffle of papers to Stephen to see if there's anything in there to learn, and also to see if the orthopedist Dr. Drew referred a) accepts Emergency Medi-Cal and b) can see me in the next 10 days. Also, where's that scrip? I'ma need to fill that thing.

I call the ortho. They don't accept EM - I'll need a group number and all that other shit. I'm welcome to call Medi-Cal/Covered California to get a "real" insurance policy. Or I can be a self-pay. But the earliest appointment they have available for me is Wednesday the 13th (oh, hey! TODAY! {the day I'm actually posting this}), which is not within the 10 days Dr. Drew has prescribed I follow-up. Hmm... 

So while I make calls to Medi-Cal and Covered California to try to get a "real" policy, Stephen goes looking for orthopedists who'll see me sooner.

Covered California is the "Marketplace" where California residents can shop for health insurance policies, under the ObamaCare provisions that everyone should be able to afford insurance. According to CC, we won't have earned enough income in 2021 to afford even the most basic of plans, meaning, we should automatically qualify for "regular" Medi-Cal. But Medi-Cal qualifies you based on monthly income, not annual, and even though Stephen's schedule with the Dodgers is very irregular, and he had, in fact, earned $0.00 in the previous workweek, he'd earned enough over the course of September (as had I), that we did not qualify for regular Medi-Cal. So, as far as insurance is concerned, we'll try again once the Dodgers are finished. Which may very well be us trying again next week, if they lose the game tomorrow night. Hmm... I'll need more facts.

Meanwhile (and I mean that in the sense that I was on the phone with both "insurance" entities for practically the full day), Stephen found an ortho with a very user-friendly website, where I could also make an appointment in days rather than weeks, and the office charges would be reasonable enough to put them on a credit card, no matter what my insurance outcome was. Unfortunately, they were full up on Friday, or Friday was already over by the time I even knew to try to get in. However, I was able to get a very early appointment on Monday, confirmed with a phone call from them after I had "placed the order" online. In that phone call, I was given a pre-estimate of charges, for the consult, any x-rays, and a cast, if that was the direction the doc took. Great!

So I grabbed the Rx and walked to my local CVS pharmacy, wearing the ER sling to support the splint, which was, for all intents and purposes, "hidden" by the sling. It was roughly 4 p.m. when I saw the pharmacist, a rude woman who declared that they were "out" of my meds, and no, she couldn't tell me who "might" have them on hand. I think she saw my sling and judged me to be a drug-seeker, even though I had a legitimate Rx! Found another pharmacy nearby, where they also didn't have my Rx, but not because they were out. They didn't have it because they're not a big chain, and they just don't carry narcotics. But that pharmacist was very nice about it all, and suggested CVS, Rite Aid, and Walgreens. She was actually enthusiastic about Walgreens, so that's where I went to get my meds. And they gave me zero resistance. #YayWalgreens

In the upcoming week, I'd been scheduled for some background (acting) work, with Covid tests on Monday and Tuesday, and 3 potential BG days Wednesday through Friday. Somewhere around the incident, they changed the test days to Sunday and Monday. So now it's weekend, and I'm calling the after-hours line, leaving messages, asking to change the tests back to M/T. I have an injury, and an appointment to see a specialist. If you test me and I don't end up working, you won't pay me for the test, and everyone's time will have been wasted. If I see the specialist and he clears me for work, I'll give you two clean tests and then I'll work! ... "Production would like for you to test on S/M and we'll still pay you whether you work or not"... hmm

So on Sunday 3 October, I drive myself to the testing site, by way of an auto-parts store, where I buy a knob for my steering wheel and attach it so I can use my left hand as little as possible and manage to drive myself!

#AchievementUnlocked! And of course, my negative test results come in that night, so...

On Monday 4 October, I drive myself to my ortho appointment. Only one person on the staff grates on me, expecting me to run my credit card for the charges as they accrue, rather than hitting it once for the day's total bill. At some point, he relents to allow me to run the office visit and x-rays together, and I relent to adding the cast afterwards, if that's what it takes to be seen. #ThatsWhatItTakesToBeSeen

Dr. Nevarez and Dr. Gendelman are top-notch. They both inspire sufficient confidence, so that when I discover that the ER has possibly mis-diagnosed and therefore mis-treated me, I'm less upset with the ER than I am sure of this particular ortho practice. My fracture was never hairline; I should have been able to see an ortho within 24-48 hours, or the ER should have put me in a real cast versus the splint. The time spent in the splint has made the fracture worse, not better, and now the only thing for it is surgery.

SURGERY. Cut me open and install a plate and pins. FIX the injury. Okay. #JustDoIt. How soon? What will it cost? How long will I be "down"?

There was an opening in his schedule for Tuesday 5 October! I'd have to be at the hospital by 5 a.m. for pre-op, so I'd be under the knife by 7 a.m. #GREAT #JustDoIt. Went home with my "do's and don'ts" list, informed Central Casting ON MONDAY that I would not be working this week, and waited. (I did not cancel the Covid test on Sunday!)

5 October: Stephen drove me to the hospital in the 4 a.m. hour, or as I like to call it, #DawnsTrampStamp. Got checked in early in the lobby, and waited to be sent upstairs. Got to the first round of paperwork, which I had him fill out so all I'd have to do was sign, and when they took me in for pre-op, they sent him back downstairs. He found some nice coffee somewhere and did whatever he does (reading or writing or playing games or posting on Fakebork).

Post-op, so bruised & swollen, but feeling 10k times better. I'm now bionic! I will set off every airport security gate going forward... can't wait to get to fly ANYWHERE!

The rest of Tuesday was spent in rest, in a much more reasonable splint, with only two medical "rules" to be followed: 1. Pick up nothing heavy 2. Follow up with the office on the 18th.

And now you're caught up on the injury & immediate treatments. Now to cover just LIFE and unlocked achievements! Please, comment away! I'll respond pretty quickly, this week, I think...

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

A Timeline, to be updated? Or just continued?

16 - 29 September: work, walk, shop, live... do the things. Do All the Things #ActorLife #SetLife #Blessed
30 September: work on set, then later shop, walk, shoot video/photos of the neighbors' yards that are already decorated for Halloween. Some pretty good stuff, y'all. Trip on a sidewalk crack, fly like Superman, land on both of my hands, exchanging my keys for a biggish chunk of gravel in my left palm, and scraping my phone case (in my right hand) across the offending sidewalk. #10kSteps #ThePhoneIsUnharmedThankfullyBecauseThatsWhatsImportantRightNow #ButOwFuckOwFuckOwFUCKOwFuckOwFuckOwFUCKOwFuckOwFuckOwFUCK

Hobble home, gingerly "holding" my bubbled left wrist with my just-beginning-to-bleed right hand. Greeted by the cats upon entry, burst into the ugliest ugly cry you've never witnessed. You remember the wives in Biblical and/or ancient Greek literature, wailing over their husbands slain in battle? That was me, for a solid 30 minutes, trying to rinse the dirt outta my wounds and figure out (not logically, no) why my fucking wrist hurts so fucking bad! Managed, somehow, in my pain and tears and snot, to call Rachel, the niece, the nurse. She's east coast and it's late. I get voicemail. I'm still crying and snotting and now apologizing for the hour, leaving a message that I have no hope of being understood in**. No idea what to do next.*

* Back before Covid, I had health insurance. GOOD insurance, through my union, SAG-AFTRA. Because of the loss of work, I also lost my insurance. No biggie, since I'm a pretty healthy person with a strong immune system, right? Well...
** Rachel's Google translate is hysterical! I hope she'll allow me to post the screenshot

Still the 30th, even on the east coast, Rachel calls me back. {She's an incredibly patient nurse, and also my very loving niece. I've been so #Blessed to be her auntie.} She talks me off my ledge, instructs me to take 1000mg each of ibuprofen and acetaminaphen, and also locates for me THREE nearish emergency rooms that I should get to immediately, if not sooner, because in her opinion, that left wrist is probably broken. At that point, I don't have the strength in either hand to be able to open the childproof OTC pill bottles, much less drive, and Stephen is at work without wheels of his own. So I knock on the neighbor's door, and they both open my drugs for me and give me a lift to St. Joe's ER. Rachel hangs up when she knows I'm moving in the right direction, and she expects updates, knowing I'll be on someone else's schedule for the next long while. Arriving at the ER, I send the neighbors home - no way I'm asking you to stay, since it'll likely be tomorrow before I'm outta here. Thank you kindly.

I get processed relatively quickly. I don't see a lot of what look like COVID cases (although I'm waiting in the "injured" half of the room and don't have the instinct to "diagnose" anyone in the other side of the room). X-rays are taken, and I'm so chilled to my bones, I'm afraid I've messed up the pics with my shaking. The tech assures me he got what was needed, finds me a toasty warm blanket to wrap up in, and parks me in a chair in the hall - no more lobby waiting for me!

I'm sent to a room where I'm greeted by my PA, "Dr. Drew". He tells me I have a hairline fracture; tries to show it to me in the printouts of the x-rays, but I don't really know what I'm looking at. He tells me they're going to put me in a "soft cast" (splint), give me an Rx for pain meds, and refer me to an orthopedist I'll need to see in ten days. Then he hands me (or really, tucks into my bag for me) a bunch of papers, including the x-ray prints, and leaves the room to fetch the splinter-tech. 

I'm joined by 3 young people, possibly nurses, possibly some other job label. I learn their names immediately, because that's what I do. I have, of course, since forgotten their names. It's been twelve days - gimme a break! The woman in charge is training the man, and the other young lady is also observing as training (she had been observing when I was first admitted). We four are getting along splendidly, and I'm trying to absorb all the same info at the same time. There was probably a pain-med injection early on, though, so I may have been a bit loopy. I don't recall.

The splint goes from my second knuckles around my elbow and back again to the second knuckles. I ask why so long, and the lead tech has me twist my right wrist, which I'm able to do (because it is not restricted to the elbow). I ask about the 10 days, and she says most patients are out of it sooner. Um, what? Of their own volition, or what? How does that work? They finish the dressing, ask if I have my discharge papers, and tell me they'll be back with Dr. Drew. Um, okay. #IDontKnowWhatQuestionsToAsk #IDontKnowHowToAnswerTheirQuestions #DoIHaveDischargePapers?

I'm left alone for a little bit, so I post pics on Fakebork and tag Stephen, because it feels like I need to go home soon, if they're asking if I have discharge papers... he calls immediately, in panic mode, because that's his SOP (which is why I hadn't reached out earlier), and while I can't give him concrete answers to his questions yet, I do assure him that I just need for him to come get me, and all of the details will be sorted in due time. He signs off, saying he needs to get permission to leave early (but sure it won't be a problem).

Dr. Drew et al return to see if everything's been done "correctly". I ask whether I need to pay a bill at registration or if I'll be billed, and Dr. Drew remembers this lovely California thing called "Emergency Medi-Cal", which is essentially Medicare for low-income under-65's (US). He sends the financial wizard in, and wouldn't you know? We qualified. Of course we did. So now, rather than waiting for Stephen to get all the way home on a bus, to collect my keys from the hook, and drive to get me, he catches a rather expensive Lyft to bring him to me and then us to home.

In the meantime, I still don't know that all of the papers that Dr. Drew had shoved into my bag So. Much. Earlier this night were, in fact, my discharge papers. I've been free to go! For a coupla hours, apparently! I meet the car in the drive, still wrapped in my no-longer-toasty blanket, and we get home, where I replay the events, and the cats finally get fed.

And then Cocoa stress-pees on the bed, and Stephen has to strip it for immediate laundering, and we've gotta figure out how to sleep before the next adventure! This was an awful lot to type, so I'm going to say... next post, a continuation of this epic saga! Feel free to chime in with questions or your own similar experiences!