Where's Zuska?

Perhaps my three remaining readers have been wondering just that.

(BTW, thanks Cara, for yelling at the spambots for me in my absence.  I cleared out a bunch of spam and then moved your comments since the spam was no longer there for you to be yelling at.  If you want me to put them back I will, just leave a comment here.)

The short sad story is that since the end of January, I've been beset with migraines on a daily basis.  I think I've had maybe a week's worth of days scattered here and there when I didn't have headache for at least some portion of the day.  Sometimes when Mr. Z asks me if my head is hurting I have to think about it for a minute because I can hardly remember what it feels like for it not to hurt.

Today I was good until about fifteen minutes ago, and now the headache is starting.  Yesterday I was sick all day and missed Easter with Mr. Z's parents.

Anyhoo, I tell you this not to garner murmurs of sympathy, but to let you know why this blog has been so silent.  I just have not had the energy or enough time without headache to put together a blog post (or even clear out spam).  Expect posting to be highly erratic, if at all, in the near future.

I am hopeful, though, that I may soon get the migraines under some control again.  This all started with a strained rotator cuff.  The docs figured the chronic migraines + poor posture + sleeping on left side added up to strain on the left rotator cuff.  I began physical therapy for it, and suddenly the migraines worsened despite a fresh botox treatment.  So then the docs figured that the work on the muscles, which was good for the rotator cuff, was affecting nerves in some feedback loop and causing migraines.  Get it?  Migraines lead to strained rotator cuff, and fixing strained rotator cuff leads to migraines!  Yippee!  Another factor was the absolutely bizarre winter we had, unnaturally warm and very changeable from day to day.  Rapid weather changes almost never play nice with the head.  It was all a big mess.  By now, though, I've mostly got the rotator cuff under control and am getting PT for the migraines - who knew there was such a thing?  But it does seem to be helping - sometimes a day and a half or even two days relief after a session.  And coming up soon, my next botox treatment.  Maybe by the beginning of May I'll be back to my old regular migraine schedule and can pick up blogging again!  Keep your fingers crossed!

Even though the  PT is working, and even though my insurance says I get to have 60 PT visits in a calendar year, it turns out that after you go 25 times they put you under "review".  This means they stop paying for your PT while they think about whether or not you really deserve to have health care.  One to three months later, when they finally decide whether or not you are worthy, the decision comes forth: either they pay for the PT you've been getting, or you are stuck with the bill.  Of course, you can wait three months for them to decide, but if you can go three months without PT, did you really need it in the first place?  This is known as "having generous PT coverage" in your health insurance and one should be grateful for it.  Pray to be fixed by visit 60, and not to have anything else go wrong the rest of the year. Also pray that the insurance gods consider your rotator cuff and migraine issues separate enough that they will allow PT for the migraine even if the rotator cuff seems to be mostly (though not completely) cleared up. While you are doing all this, brace yourself for the next round of begging said insurance company to cover your botox treatments, because Treatment No. 4 of the alloted four treatments is this month, and you have to convince them again that nothing else works and you really do need botox and you weren't magically cured in the past year.  Good luck!  And try not to be terrified when you see an ad from your insurance provider promising to help companies "manage" the "5% of your employees responsible for 20% of your healthcare costs".

Well, thanks for listening to the whining.  I hope to see you back here soon, with more cheerful sorts of rants and commentary.

13 responses so far

  • Li-Chen says:

    Welcome back. Isn't it amazing how the various parts of our body are inter-connected! Am keeping my fingers crossed that your migrant will be soon under control. Love and miss you. Hugs.

  • (Another) Former Academic says:

    Oy Vey! just reading about the insurance hurdles gave me a headache. Can't imagine what it's like to deal with it while in chronic pain. It's a good thing that the US has The Best Health Care System In The World! (tm) otherwise we might come up with something that works.

  • quixote says:

    Actually, I was wondering where you were. (And I see I'm the third reader :D.)

    Sorry to hear that the absence was not due to having too much fun. Hang in there. Physiotherapy is the most effective branch of medicine.

    "It's a good thing that the US has The Best Health Care System In The World! (tm) otherwise we might come up with something that works." Bwahahaha. In a groaning sort of way.

  • DJMH says:

    Glad to see you, however fitfully, Z. Hope some of the treatment really does work...we miss you!

  • Pharm Sci Grad says:

    Okay, my migraines suck, but thankfully no where near as bad as yours. Not that it makes you feel any better, but I am going to do my best to keep that in mind the next time I want to grumble about medication side effects or other more mild issues from my pain problems. At least they are approaching a level of control, again, finally. I hope you get there too - and soon!

    And yes, health insurance, hiss, boo, rant... no one wants to read all the words I could write, so I'll leave it at: hiss! boo!

    I'll keep my fingers crossed for you and look for more good news coming soon! *hugs*

  • A. Marina Fournier says:

    Are you sure you didn't mean your last three *pairs* of readers?

    You have my utter sympathy. My husband has near daily headaches and migraines--yesterday at this house all four of us had weather front headaches--and I have to find a neuro for him, because he won't do it himself (but if presented with a fait accompli...). Mine are less frequent, and my MiL seldom has them anymore since she went on verapamil for tachycardia.

    We're a family of migraineurs--his side, my side, and our son started in about 3 having them. At first, the correct dose of liquid tylenol short-circuited them, if you dosed him when he first said his head hurt. Those caretakers who dismissed it got to clean up afterwards...and giving new ones the choice of listening to him, and medicating him vs cleaning up the vomitus--that got their attention and compliance quickly. Tylenol stopped working, but ibuprofen was effective until about 3-4years ago, when neither pediatrician nor pdoc would prescribe him something for the migraines, and sent us to a ped. neuro.

    I really hope the best for you--to come out of this with fewer headaches a week than before, at the very least.

  • JustaTech says:

    And I'm the 7th, so ha! there are lots of us here for you, Zuska. I saw something just last night that made me hope you'd have greater success in your battles with insurance: An ad for Botox for migranes. Not just any ad, but a 3-pager in the May Real Simple. (Maybe 4 pages now that I think about it.)

    So, maybe if the stars align, your insurance will see that it is advertised for migrane treatment, and since you've been doing it for a while they'll finally go "oh, OK".

    May your weather patterns be stable and your weeds few.

  • greg says:

    When I check the main page on scientopia I usually look for the Zuska spakeage, but must have missed this one.

    All I can say is Jesus Christ holy dopey pope on a rope I wish I could get treatment half that good! I live in Ontario, which has a middle of the line Canadian public health care system, and I went to the doctor 4 MONTHS ago and have gotten no treatment whatsoever for my conditions, including the quite straightforward to treat primary hypogonadism. I already knew 95% what I was going to need when I walked into the doctor 4 months ago!

    And yet NOTHING. I have been to the endocrinologist a total of 3 times. First time he ordered some blood tests. Then I had to wait another month. Then he ordered a fertility test to cover his own ass, even though I already knew the answer and he COULD have ordered it the first time around to save time. Then I had to wait 5 months, and then when I got there he goes "oops, looks like the lab didn't send the results. Nothing we can do until next time." Plus he was GOING to leave me for 2 months, when I asked when "next time" is! Good thing I asked!

    I kicked and screamed and threatened to sue them for psychological pain(not that that is a credible threat but it helps them "get it"). They gave me an appointment within a week.

    Then I went to the appointment, and they switch me to some other fucking dumshit that thinks hypogonadism is a "sexual problem" the effects of which are confined to lack of hard-ons, and therefore beneath them. They refused to spend the time to talk about the options for fertility correction (there was zero sperm), and insisted on just going straight to testosterone, with no HCG, which is dangerous as (and they agreed with this too) any remaining hope will be lost because the testicles often irreversibly atrophy when the endogenous testosterone is introduced (and therefore the pituitary reduces it's FSH output).

    When I tried to ask about the possibility of using HCG to preserve the hope of fertility in a case of primary hypogonadism, they kept deliberately misinterpreting me and trying to explain that HCG will not get my testes functioning again. I KNOW. It TO PREVENT FURTHER DAMAGE.

    They did that several times even though I was perfectly clear and very patient and polite in explaining to them that I am not willing to give up on the fertility. I need timely treatment for it, and NOTHING ELSE WILL DO. I WILL NOT do anything dangerous which may destroy any remaining hope of having a natural family!

    I know the Z and many others have chosen not to have children, but it is something VERY different to be coerced into not having children because some fucking assholes are refusing to let you have access to the health care system.

    When I refused to commit to taking testosterone in such a dangerous way, and that I require either a way to prevent additional damage while getting on with the TRT, OR timely treatement of the fertility so I can bank some sperm (just need to get some, any healthy sperm produced) they got up, said they would refer me to a urologist that can "explain the anatomy". When I asked when that appointment would be, they said it depended on how long the waiting lists are. That means MONTHS, literally!

    Am severely depressed. I went into the walk in clinic the same day to talk to a nurse about what happened, and said I might commit suicide if I did not get the treatment I need in a timely way. They didn't get it at all. She prescribed me some Citalopram instead.

    Oh, and by the way, OHIP (ontario health insurance plan, the universal plan for people in ontario) DOES NOT COVER DRUGS! Any drugs, at all. Or dental care. Or physiotherapy, by the way. I have crappy insurance through the welfare system, which I am on because my mental health problems, produced mainly by child abuse, prevent me from working. The endocrinologist said that they would only pay for the bolus form of testosterone, which has dangerous side effects for me as it can exacerbate depression badly due to the unnatural peak-trough variations in testosterone levels. I do not know if the doctor says it is medically necessary to use the patches or another method, if they will cover it then, or if they just have a list of what they do and do not cover. If not then it will cost me $140 a month - I checked, and they refuse to pay the cost of the bolus, with me filling in the difference, which would only by $40.

    This is with an income of less than $1000 per months on most months. That's it.

    Welcome to Canada, land of free and adequate healthcare for all. Holy fucking popey dope on a rope, I wish I could just get the treatement I need, even if it put me in debt. But you can't in Ontario. It is in fact a criminal offense to charge, and also to pay, for medically necessary services unless the provider has opted out of the OHIP covered system altogether (which means they must accept it and not charge the patient, or they can not accept ohip at all, and engage in private practice). The net result is that there is literally no private system in Ontario.

    My only options at this stage are to try to travel to the US or quebec or Manitoba to try to get the treatment I need, starting with fertility. Obviously with $1000 income, and no savings I cannot afford to do this. Would anyone even lend me the money? Would they send me a bill or just refuse to give me what I need when they noticed I haven't paid the other bills previously accrued? Because that is not customary here, as it is in the states.

    My understanding is that in the states you can at least get what you need, and go as deeply as you need to into debt to get it. Here, you can't even get it! This is worse by FAR, I can tell you RIGHT NOW.

  • greg says:

    I mean 5 weeks , not "5 months".

  • greg says:

    This is a global problem. We the people are being denied the funding we need, whether through government scrimping or insurance company scrimping, to get the treatment we need.

    And it is not because the costs are anywhere close to natural resource limits. Obviously of course you cannot spend an unlimited amount on everyone. We are far, far away from natural limits imposed by economic realities.

    There is more than enough to make sure that people get what they need. FAR more. Canada only spends 10$ of it's GDP on healthcare (that is total, including private insurance, drugs etc). The US spends 14%.

    Even if it was 15, 16% WHAT BETTER THING TO SPEND IT ON??? And we all know this. It's what we all want. It is the 1% that is screwing everything up with their fucking little schemes to take money away from us, people who actually need it to pay for essential things like healthcare, and into their own pockets so they can spend it on fucking yatchs and swimming pools.

    (BTW the failure of the public health care system in ontario and the rest of canada is also due to the 1%'s hanky panky though I don't have time to get into the details, it is clear that the people want the system funded better, but the government refuses because their masters don't want that. The masters can use the tax dollars for wars etc. instead, also they want to drive us into the arms of private system profiteers by totaling the pubic care system to make this approach look bad.)

  • thebewilderness says:

    Criminy!
    I'm sure the stress helps immensely.
    When you are ready we will be here to commiserate.

  • There is more than enough to make sure that people get what they need. FAR more. Canada only spends 10$ of it's GDP on healthcare (that is total, including private insurance, drugs etc). The US spends 14%.

  • Cara says:

    Glad to see you (though now I'm nearly a month late in seeing you). I'm sorry you've been so miserable. I hope things look up soon. Damned insurance racketeers anyway.

    Oh. Don't worry about the comments. 😉 I don't mind playing whack-a-mole with the spambots. I just don't like seeing them be the last comments on your posts, especially the classic ones.