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Subject: The Latest Update on Teh Slipperboy. rss

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Just another Steve
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It seems like I always wait longer than I plan to before updating. Sorry.

April was a pretty good month. I had perfect attendance at rehab (didn't result in any sort of recognition, just felt good to have done it). I did have one day in April where I had to quit early. Of course if I never had a bad day, I wouldn't have had to apply for disability.

The doctor has scheduled me for a procedure called Enhanced external counterpulsation (EECP). Basically they put compression bands on my ankles, knees and thighs to force blood back into my heart. The idea is that it might stimulate growth of new veins. It is a 7 week procedure requiring an hour in the office each day hooked up to an EKG to time the counterpulse. I'm on a waiting list right now.

I did get some bad news -- I'm among the 65% of people in the US whose first application for Social Security Disability is denied. They believe I could get "substantive employment" somewhere (substantive means they believe I oould get a job earning about $1180 per month). I'm meeting with an attorney to discuss my appeal next week.

It's a strange feeling. I didn't want to become disabled or leave the workforce, but I've realized over the course of the last 8 months that I really can't work anymore. When they've called from the office (thankfully rare), I almost immediately experience chest pain. If I actually talk to them, things get worse to the point I've had to take nitro tablets after "discussions". I also take 11 different prescriptions each day some of which leave me with trouble focusing on tasks.
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Chris Abbott
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I'm keeping my fingers crossed that both your new treatment and appeal go well.
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DMSamuel
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I'm rooting for you, Steve!!!!! I hope it goes well and you can get your disability so that you can keep getting healthier and healthier!
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T'Leynti / Leonie
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Keeping my fingers crossed for you Steve, take care and good luck with the appeal.
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Jonas (he/him)
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Good luck with everything, Steve. Disability is far more common (and, well, normal) than people tend to (or want to) believe. I hope your appeal is successful, and that you're able to pursue a lifestyle that works well for you!
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Bifford "Bring back Ernie" (Sam)
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Good luck with it all, Steve!

You obviously love working with, and are great with, kids. Have you considered whatever the USA's version of a Teaching Assistant is?
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Gen Con is over. :(
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sdonohue wrote:
I did get some bad news

Steve, I'm really sorry and a bit angry to hear this. Hopefully the attorney can help fix this. It's the last thing you need.

Good luck!
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M. B. Downey
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Steve! Steve! Steve! Steve!
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Jeff G
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Get better soon my friend.

Maybe block the office phone number? whistle
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Internet rage goon
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Glad to hear your rehab is making progress! Sorry about the other stress - and the stupid government decision. I hope the lawyer can make progress quickly! Thanks for the update!
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Just another Steve
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Today was an interesting day. Back in April, my cardiologist recommended I undergo EECP therapy. There was a waiting list and so I probably would have to wait until June or July. In June I started calling to see if/when I could be scheduled. I never spoke to anyone and left many messages which weren't returned.

This morning around 11 I received a call that they had a new letter to extend my return to work and wanted to know if I could come in for EECP at 2:00 pm.

I was there. It lasted until about 3:40. They basically put you in a series of blood pressure cuffs, one of which goes around your waist) from the waist down and compress blood out of your legs when your heart is resting. It was a strange feeling. They tell me today was a 2.4 and they can go to 6.

If it's going to improve my angina I'm in.
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Jeff G
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Nice! At least they didn't put one of the cuffs around your neck.
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Alex Nguyen
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Thought about you today. Am reading a business book (my first non-fantasy/sci-fi book in years!) and one of the chapters went into a Boy Scout crew hiking through some woods. I was picturing you on the trail! Are you still involved in camping and stuff?
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Just another Steve
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More stuff and less camping. Hiking is difficult for me. I do a lot of record-keeping, cooking, and planning.
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Internet rage goon
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Glad to hear they moved you onto this! Sounds - well, weird I guess! But I've certainly heard of weirder and hope this helps soon! And at least they won't go to 11.
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ld paulson

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Trust this new treatment protocol works wonders.

Keep up the good exercising work! Who knows? Perhaps you will be able to return to camping when all the pieces are in place.

Sending good thinks,

ldp
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Just another Steve
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Fourth session of EECP today. It is a very strange experience. There's basically inflatable cuffs, one is on my lower abdomen, two on each leg for upper and lower leg, so 5 in all.

You lay down, they hook you up to the EKG and then away things go. The whole hour is filled with a loud chunking sound as the compressor fills and deflates the cuffs. An hour later, you are released.

Today she got me up to about 3.5. She said she figured she could move me up since I keep sleeping through the treatment. She was surprised by that as she thinks I should be having too much pain to sleep.

Also today I saw an Orthopedist about my knees. There was no new information -- they are both bone-on-bone and the right one is considerably worse. I'm not a knee replacement candidate because of my BMI. He gave me a cortisone shot. We discussed gel shots which may be better, but are more expensive. He suggested we see if they are covered first. I asked what more expensive meant and he said "thousands".

I kind of wrote that off as too expensive until my brother pointed out that we had spent thousands on our dogs in the past and ought to take it seriously. My wife shared the opinion that my knees being pain free would be better than money in the bank.

Having less pain when moving my knees would definitely help in my attempts to lower my BMI so I'll have to think about it.
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ld paulson

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Thank you for sharing your news.

Trust the treatment is having its intended result or better.

sdonohue wrote:

Having less pain when moving my knees would definitely help in my attempts to lower my BMI so I'll have to think about it.

Any chance that talking to a PT about water-based exercise would be helpful? That's supposed to put less strain on joints and would seem to be useful, especially if you can get to the point that you can have the knee replacement surgeries.

Sending good thinks!
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Gen Con is over. :(
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Steve, does EECP look anything like this?



If there's a six-fingered man and/or an albino involved, be wary!
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Alan - Son of Hett
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Just discovered this thread. Sorry, I had no idea. I hope improvements continue and everything gets better.

sdonohue wrote:
Fourth session of EECP today. It is a very strange experience. There's basically inflatable cuffs, one is on my lower abdomen, two on each leg for upper and lower leg, so 5 in all.
Well hey! now you know what it feels like for fighter pilots in their compression suits. I don't recommend pulling any high g's, though.
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DMSamuel
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Glad to hear the EECP is going well - I’m not sure if “well” is the correct word to use here, but oh well. How many times can I use well in this paragraph? I’m not sure, well, I guess we’ll find out laugh

Seriously though - glad things are looking a tad bit better. I hope this new treatment improves your quality of life.
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Just another Steve
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Day 15 of EECP today. They changed my time about a week ago at my request. On Friday I asked about a new time, they couldn't figure it out so we agreed I'd come in at 2:00pm Monday and decide. At 10:06 am Monday, I got a call asking if I could be there at 10:30 am. I made it for 10:40 as I had groceries in the car. It's much better because it let me get back to my cardiac workout 4 days a week which I've done.

The new time means I have a new tech and I'm much happier with her. She makes me feel comfortable which helps when they crank up the pressure. We're now hitting 4.8 out of 6.

Today I had to have an EKG after the procedure. They're thinking about possibly changing some meds to lower my heart rate. My resting rate right now hovers between 90 and 100. That's at the top end of normal and they're thinking lower might be better for me.
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Bifford "Bring back Ernie" (Sam)
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Good progress! And eye candy for a nurse never hurts...
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Just another Steve
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Bifford wrote:
Good progress! And eye candy for a nurse never hurts...

Not that kind of comfortable. She's very friendly and seems concerned about the patients. Her previous experience was at a nursing home. The previous attendant was very clinical and a bit strange, like I never saw her without sunglasses even though we were indoors, typically in a darkened room.
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Bifford "Bring back Ernie" (Sam)
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sdonohue wrote:
Bifford wrote:
Good progress! And eye candy for a nurse never hurts...

Not that kind of comfortable. She's very friendly and seems concerned about the patients. Her previous experience was at a nursing home. The previous attendant was very clinical and a bit strange, like I never saw her without sunglasses even though we were indoors, typically in a darkened room.

She puts me in mind of Matron from the Carry On films. And the daffodil scene!
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