Phone Calls & Scary Mail

Oh golly!  Some folks get instant nerves just thinking about talking about medical or insurance issues on the phone and opening “scary” mail.  Today, I’ll share some insights on what it’s like to be chronically ill and dealing with the “paperwork” side of things. Then, I’ll share some tips that help me handle the stress of it.

I generally enjoy getting phone calls and don’t fear them.  But, when it comes to medical calls, they are certainly not at the top of my “favorites list” and having to deal with them can cause my anxiety to ratchet up.  It can be extremely frustrating to be unable to talk directly to my doctor about something scary my body is doing or trying to orchestrate a procedure that the scheduler is having a difficult time understanding.  On top of my list of ‘faves’ (sarcasm intended) is insurance calls!  They each have their different levels of stress and they are all on the opposite of fun spectrum.

“Scary” mail is something that gets me all jumpy!  What do I mean by “scary” mail?    You know the letters I’m talking about – the ones with the logo and return address that instantly make you anxious and wonder what terms the insurance company is changing or how much you owe a doctor’s office.  That’s the “scary” mail I’m talking about and it usually creates a list of phone calls that have to be made!

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My Hospital Bag!

My hospital visits are usually quite lengthly and full of waiting on my guts to work.  I’m sure some of these ideas won’t work for all circumstances, but perhaps a couple will make you think, “Man! That’s definitely going along for my next trip!”  My hope is that some of these things will help make your hospital stays lots comfier and feel a little bit more like home.  Some of them might even seem ridiculous, but when you’re feeling crummy and unable to even be in your own home, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do!

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  • Good bath towel — Because those hospital towels don’t cover a fly, and they’re rough as heck.  Showering isn’t something that I get to do all that often when I’m in the hospital.  But when the day rolls around that I get to, I want a GOOD shower.  That also involves feeling great after the shower!  A soft plushy towel is vital to making your showers at the hospital feel a little more like home!
  • Hairdryer — Because you’re going to be cold when you get out of said shower, and wet hair doesn’t help when you’re cold!  Burr!  Some hospitals have a hairdryer or two on each floor, so it’s always worth asking for one if you forget.  But I never count on that being the case!

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My Story Part Sixteen: The one where the J-tube doesn’t work as planned

Welcome back!  Alright, so the J-tube is placed!  What else could ever go wrong?

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I’d made it home in time from Mayo Clinic to stand by Tiffany’s side in her beautiful wedding! Photo by Cassie Loree

While getting used to my new normal with my J-tube, I had a lot of trouble.  It was great in the sense that it helped my tummy stay a little flatter than it had been and it made it to where I was able to eat a pretty full liquid and soft food diet without too much trouble.  But it was so hard to learn how to tape it just right so it didn’t hurt and to find cute clothes that were comfortable and didn’t make it obvious that it was there.

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I spent a lot of my free time crafting! I made this birdie cake topper for Tiffany’s wedding! Photo by Cassie Loree

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My Story Part Fifteen: The one where we went to Mayo Clinic

Hey everyone! Welcome back to the story right after I got back home from over two months in California!

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Getting to see my sweet friends back home was the best!

Getting home was going pretty great!  I had developed a new method to help myself feel more human – I called it “chewing and spitting.”  As gross and weird as this may sound, eating is such a huge part of the human experience (just try watching television for a short time without watching commercials related to food or drink).  My doctors have always agreed and cheered me on when I have found unconventional ways to feel as human as possible.

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Got to go to my sweet friend, Tiffany’s bridal shower as her Maid of Honor!

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My Story Part Fourteen: The one where I ended up back at UCSD

Welcome back!  Anthony and I only had a 21 hour day yesterday!  With flight delays and all kinds of stuff, we didn’t end up getting home to Fayetteville until about 1:00 AM!  Is this time change messing with anyone else?  Also, as I’m starting to realize how long this story is (how in the world are we already up to Part 14!?)  I’m thinking I might start sprinkling in some other posts, just for fun!  What do you guys think?

As for today, we’ll continue with this story!

Four days of being home, eating, doing life and feeling pretty decent went by.  Then, I had my first bad night.  It might have been a combination of me “over-doing it,” and eating too much – I couldn’t tell you exactly what triggered it.  But I had my first bad night outside of the hospital. Four days was a pretty good run at it though!

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Cute little succulents I’d gotten from the nursery.

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