Whew – I think I finally “got my voice back”…haha

For most this will probably be “tl;dr” (don’t worry, it’s defined later), but hey…I’m a writer so I’m just going to start writing.

When I left my job in early May, my bp was around 215/145 or so. Some days it was a little higher.  I was really lucky that it was a few points under “you’re going to the ER and getting admitted NOW” territory when I finally linked up with my PCP.  It’s something I’ve dealt with my entire life I guess, and at 46 I’m just starting to understand why.  More on that in the coming days, weeks and months I’m sure as I write more and more.  I was completely non-functional, unable to think clearly, and basically wrecked.  A lot of it was due to some ethical and moral challenges that I faced in my career – and really in the entire industry I had worked in since the late 1990s.

For those that don’t know, my core competency is (whew…was) implementing electronic commerce solutions – specifically within healthcare, and generally within the payor/issuer community.  I am a reasonably well-known (within our niche) subject matter expert in a tool known as “electronic data interchange” (EDI).  These are the formats that all of the data is sent securely between the providers (doctors and hospitals) and the payors (insurance companies) and the regulators (CMS and their State-level equivalents).

My real specialization was in getting data back and forth between payors and regulators.  Naturally, this means I played a role within some of the various PP/ACA clusterfucks, generally after the fact as some of these programs were triaged and attempts were made to salvage data.  It was a lot of hard work, a lot of late hours, a lot of stress (we actually joked and called Xanax a “performance enhancing drug”, no shit).  Without relief from anxiety, it was impossible to function in such a pressure cooker.  Thankfully for me at least at this point in my life, that nightmare is just over.  It does occasionally prevent me from sleeping still, but all in all it’s in the rear-view mirror.  I no longer panic at 8:37 every day (only my other fellow Healthcare EDI SMEs will probably get that joke).

My name is Star.  I'm a Chihweenie.
My name is Star. I’m a Chiweenie.

Back to my story…lol  My PCP put me on some big time stuff to get my BP knocked down quick, plus I just generally had some severe anxiety issues that are at the root of it all, so I am also popping some SSRIs now too. That was all a month or three ago (it’s been a blur, folks…what a roller coaster as these medicines equalized and levels hit the places where they needed to be – I am sorry for that to those I temporarily lost contact with here and there).  It seems to have resolved itself now that I’m out of that job and doing my own thing fulltime. I’m certainly still on some meds, but my blood pressure is 117/83 (for the win).

My trajectory was certainly heading in the right direction…whew

I was really feeling better and then I started coughing a few weeks ago.  I just love allergy season now that they’ve pulled Actifed off the market…sigh.  I thought I had pulled a muscle in my rib cage. It was sore but not really painful. I took it easy a few days and it went away but kept coming back…and one Tuesday it happened again and definitely felt like something very, very bad happened. This time it was excruciating and did not go away.

Star, Nacho and Chloe
Star, Nacho and Chloe

I woke up Thursday morning after an awful Wednesday and nearly blacked out trying to get out of bed. My wife and soulmate may contradict me and say that I actually did black out.  It was as bad or worse than the first time I tried to stand up after my appendectomy (at 17). I couldn’t sleep, breathe, anything without dull pain and if I moved the wrong way, sharp pain… Thankfully the day it was the worst was also a day I had an appointment scheduled for a BP follow-up that afternoon.

So, I spent the morning terrifying myself by searching out all of the possible causes of sharp pain under ribcage (pancreatitis, all kinds of cancer, yadda yadda, ruptured spleen, gall stones, etc.) and time came for my appointment. My wonderful doctor ordered a STAT CT Scan (which our insurer bitched about and did not want to authorize but relented in the end so we wasted an hour – after all my coverage was expiring within 3-4 days or so from the time of the test). I drank the radioactive trace and settled in for the hour and a half before I would be able to poke the big magnetic donut.

At approximately the same time as I sat down to let the stuff go filter through my abdomen, a Tornado Warning was issued and the sirens lit off. There was one reported on the ground, just West of here near Parkville, and of course heading due East. The imaging folks evacuated to the shelters as per their SOP but we ran home to let the dogs out since we were 15m away and had 25m before the storm got to Liberty. We live across the street from a school and the tornado siren freaks our puppies out since it’s somewhere near 32498 decibels when it goes off.

We all headed to the basement and the storm jogged South and the tornado in our area dissipated…there may have been another one SE of here but I didn’t check.  Whew.  Now what to do with the dye flowing through my veins.  I raced back to the imaging facility.

Nacho!  (Full Name:  Nacho F'ing Dog)
Nacho! (Full Name: Nacho F’ing Dog)

I rode into the donut a few times, and understandably due to the chaos, the techs forgot to mark the imaging studies STAT so the radiologists of course went home. I couldn’t take any medications to deal with the pain at that point because we all still didn’t know what it was (could have been all sorts of stomach stuff) so I kinda sat around and moaned until Friday afternoon – when they got around to reading the damned thing.

Meanwhile, of course…it all starts actually getting better. I get the call from my Doctor’s nurse finally – CT Scan comes back completely normal. I think I may have detached a muscle down there or something. I’m going to go check in with my Doctor at some point but I think it’s going to be just let it heal and be careful, etc. It was pretty scary for a few days or so there but now at this point all seems well.  I’m uninsured at this point due to the job transition so working on fixing that very soon.  I just cut the front yard so I’m getting healthy again and am certainly more “able” now.

Another early Summer day in the Midwest…lol

So, why am I blabbering off into “tl;dr” land?  (For those of you uninitiated in “blog-speak” or “forum-speak”, that means “too long; didn’t read” – if you made it this far, you must not have known…hahaha).

I took a lot of time off of conservative politics and decided to focus on vaping – a year or two ago, I was actually convinced that it was the politics that caused the anxiety and problems I’d always had.  That was just a symptom of course.

Hey FDA. Epic Overreach.
My thoughts about the regulations thus promulgated by the FDA.

I’m going to have some very serious thoughts on vaping, vapers, and especially vape businesses in a future post that is coming very soon.   Naturally, it’s all tied together like practically everything in my life.  If you’re just here for vape reviews there are other sites you may want to check out.  If you’re just here to talk about e-juice and 18650s and staged Claptons…hit me up on Facebook or the Twitter in my free time, I’m always here to share my experience, strength and hope…I’ll probably announce that I no longer vape very soon (basically to remove myriad distractions from my life and so hopefully all of the invites to vape groups and other entities will die down) but I’m not flushing my head of everything I learned and I’m addicted to Nicotine like most of my other friends that vape.  Don’t read too much into it.

ROBbusinessCardI’m not going anywhere, but my focus is certainly changing back to where it should be.  And hey, if you know of anyone who needs a graphic and web design resource – facebook.com/kazatidesign – that’s the portfolio for today, but it’s certainly growing every day…and sometime we’ll find time to finish our own site in between customer projects…:)  Take advantage of cheap MidWest labor rates…all of this kind of stuff can be done remotely of course…we have customers from sea to shining sea, and not just in America.

For the most part, expect to see things about the things that are most important to me here.  There are other sites for some of the other stuff.  And if I need to launch a new website, I’ve consistently proven I can do that in a matter of hours and have it showing up in Google and other places in a matter of a day…lol

God Bless everyone who reads this, America, and our entire world.


There's Chloe again, watching me type as usual
There’s Chloe again, keeping an eye on me while I type (as usual)