What Do You Call It When You Stump The "Pros From Dover"? (long Post)

Topic 31905 | Page 1

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Mr. Curmudgeon's Comment
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I've not been very active here, trying to stop in time to time to see what (if anything) is new in this psycho-girlfriend / guyfriend / Sigot of a career choice we have gotten into (and out of for some, albeit not always willingly). Over the past three months (starting in February) my physical condition began to worsen, figuring the broken screws from the spinal fusion were coming back to bite me. Finally got an MRI of the full spine (to the tune of well over $2k out of pocket). Turns out there is only minor narrowing anywhere in my spine from top to bottom, which considering my age and the jobs (and damage) done over the past 40 some years is not unusual, but there is NO impingement of any nerves. Good news, some would say. Myself included.

However, from March 3 through May 6, I became basically non-functional. Hands couldn't fist, no feeling in tips of fingers or in feet, massive pain in the fronts of the hips and the knees, and both shoulders and arms were unusable. It was so bad I needed assistance to get out of a chair, and sitting down was basically line my butt up and flop down. I lost almost 40# of body weight, and there was little to no muscle tone in my arms or legs - atrophy in a big way. On May 6, I went to Mayo here in Phoenix, and was given the most thorough med exam I've had in my life - even more thorough than at Chicago MEPS when I enlisted in 1982.

Turns out the whole thing is (apparently) rheumatological - either Rheumatoid Arthrits, Psoriatic Arthritis, or something Mayo calls Monoclonal Gammopathy of Undetermined Significance or MGUS (which is NOT to be confused with ROUS, which are massive ugly furry things only found in the Fire Swamp between Florin and Guilder). MGUS is apparently of undetermined significance to them, but I can tell you how significant it is to those that have it. Anyway - I am the new poster child for BLTMC or #BetterLIvingThroughModernChemistry. Steroids take care of all but a small amount of the pain and inflammation, but taking prednisone for the rest of my natural days is not a viable option due to the side effects on blood pressure, water retention, bone mass and brittleness, and (of course) any effect it may have on my otherwise charming personality.

My rheumatologist is responsive - I keep a daily journal of the effects of the meds, the progress of pain levels, photos of my hands (had to take my wedding ring off for the first time in almost 32 years because the pain from the pressure was becoming too intense) and body weight to stave off any surprises. They still don't know what the definitive diagnosis is - apparently one can have RA for a couple of years before the markers show in blood work. And PA is even more insidious, there isn't really any specific blood marker for it, it is diagnosed symptomatically apparently. Sausage fingers is one of the big ones, as is any amount of psoriasis on the body. I have a small (.5 x .75 inch) psoriatic patch on my right knee. Nowhere else, and I mean NOWHERE - full on MEPS examination for that as well.

So, since some have asked in the past, I share this. I wish I knew what to say brought this on, but my symptom onset occurred over two weeks. Late February stiffness in my arms shoulders and hands, and by March 3 I needed my wife's assistance to get out of bed, stand, walk, etc. If there is a take-away for drivers in this, I would say "If you don't feel right, especially in the joints, don't just wait for Dr. Ibu to take care of it. If you have ANY family history of this stuff, at least call your primary and ask what to look for." I didn't. I should have.

My prognosis at this point is uncertain, but I'm pretty certainly not getting back into a CMV. I started working at Fry's behind the service meat counter and loved it. What better job for retired cop that missed human interaction and a former CMV driver who loves to cook and talk? I chose to resign because I could not, in good conscience, hold a job open for an undetermined length of time while the guys and gals I worked with had to pick up my slack. I will go back there (hopefully) once the MD's can give me a (even moderately) definitive diagnosis, a long term plan that isn't steroidal, and enough physical therapy to be able to lift and hold 50# (a double wide tray of chicken breasts in the meat case weighs about 48#).

If you made it this far without passing out from sheer boredom, know that my thoughts are with all of the Professional Drivers out there. Keep doing those things which elevate the Profession, and please accept no excuses for not being a safe component of the Profession. There are some of us in 4-wheelers that appreciate and respect what you're doing, and count on y'all! "When the trucks don't run, the bread won't come, have a hard time finding petrol."

CMV:

Commercial Motor Vehicle

A CMV is a vehicle that is used as part of a business, is involved in interstate commerce, and may fit any of these descriptions:

  • Weighs 10,001 pounds or more
  • Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more
  • Is designed or used to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver) not for compensation
  • Is designed or used to transport 9 or more passengers (including the driver) for compensation
  • Is transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placards

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

George B.'s Comment
member avatar

Very informative and upsetting post. However it sheds some light on some things going on w my health. May the good lord shine a light on you!

Wile E.'s Comment
member avatar

Sorry to hear of your health issues...

One of my best friends has RA. At first, he thought it was just the fact that he was getting older, but it kept getting worse. At the worst point, it would take him an hour each morning to fight through the pain and be able to stand up straight, take a normal looking step, get his fingers to bend and move. He said if he even touched one of the fingers that wouldn't move, it was like someone shoved a red hot needle into it. After the docs figured out the problem, they put him on steroids for a while, I don't remember how long, but it was a few months at least, until the inflammation calmed down, and they slowly reduced the dosage. It was not a fast process. He's been on a few different medications since then, currently on Enbrel (sp?) self injected. That stuff is super expensive, but the drug company has an assistance program, coupled with his work insurance, I think he pays around $50/mo for what would otherwise cost about 3k a month.

He told me later, after the docs had gotten it under control, that he finally understood why some people with chronic severe pain choose to end their life. He said at the worst of it, it was that bad, and he's a pretty tough guy.

But the good thing for him is that now he moves easily, continues to work a full schedule at his job, plays golf, in short he's active and doing well. He said there is still some pain some days, but it's low level and he can live with it. Hope your outcome is the same or even better!

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

BK's Comment
member avatar

Getting old is not for wimps, I’m sure you would agree. I’m dealing with knee problems, but after reading your post I consider myself lucky. Yet I’m able to emphasize with you and I hope you can get better.

I’m curious, are you on Medicare? That 2k out of pocket MRI was not covered by Medicare? Everything I’m having done is covered by my Medicare and AARP supplemental insurance. Why wasn’t that MRI covered?

Mr. Curmudgeon's Comment
member avatar

George, if this helped one driver by possibly giving something to consider for themselves, then my task is completed. Thanks for your kind wishes. Every day that im above ground and breathing is half the battle, rest is up to me. Good fortune to you as you navigate the issues you have.

Wile E: ya, my experience is pretty similar what you described... sneaky Because we don't want to even think about the possibility of an auto immune disorder. Funny thing is, I knew my mom had RA for a long time, but didn't realize that her onset was at 61 years old. Guess how old I am dancing-dog.gif

BK, not on the G plan yet, and thinking life was all rainbows, unicorns and glittery poop, I signed up for the High Deductible plan last year when we moved out of state. I get my hc through my former employer, paid from my pension. Leaving the state of Taxinois triggered plan changes, and the high deductible was the least costly. (Now I know why). The good thing is that all of this stuff is now remarkably affordable, but getting the MRI approved was a 5 week process.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Wow Mr. C… sorry to hear of this. I’m 63… physically not what I was just 5 years ago, and thank God every day for my relatively good health.

Harvey C.'s Comment
member avatar

Very sorry to hear of your problems, I can only imagine.

I mention the following in case you want to shop for other coverage as well as for others who are considering Medicare coverage. I start Medicare on July 1. Like many that approach this age, I got bombarded with mail and spam phone calls on Medicare plans. Advantage plans are heavily marketed. I started to do some research but was pretty busy with farm work so I asked my wife to help since she will be at the same stage 9 months after me. A retired women's group she belongs to on Facebook had numerous recommendations of an insurance brokerage out of Texas, Boomer Benefits. Very high ratings with Google reviews, etc. They made it easy, they shop 20-25 companies for you and provide you with the recommendations. It costs no more to purchase the plan through them than directly through the company. If there are any billing problems from either Medicare or my Part G carrier, they say to call them and they will deal with all of it and they will do an annual review of carriers to see if I should change. My G plan gives me the freedom to go wherever I want, no co-pays, monthly premium of $111.05 (on top of part B costing $170.10). My parents both had catastrophic type issues (dad - heart, mom - cancer) and I believe it is better to pay a higher premium and be protected from those big expenses and have the freedom to go wherever I can get the best care.

Best wishes for getting your problems taken care of.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Anne A. (Momma Anne) & To's Comment
member avatar

George, if this helped one driver by possibly giving something to consider for themselves, then my task is completed. Thanks for your kind wishes. Every day that im above ground and breathing is half the battle, rest is up to me. Good fortune to you as you navigate the issues you have.

Wile E: ya, my experience is pretty similar what you described... sneaky Because we don't want to even think about the possibility of an auto immune disorder. Funny thing is, I knew my mom had RA for a long time, but didn't realize that her onset was at 61 years old. Guess how old I am dancing-dog.gif

BK, not on the G plan yet, and thinking life was all rainbows, unicorns and glittery poop, I signed up for the High Deductible plan last year when we moved out of state. I get my hc through my former employer, paid from my pension. Leaving the state of Taxinois triggered plan changes, and the high deductible was the least costly. (Now I know why). The good thing is that all of this stuff is now remarkably affordable, but getting the MRI approved was a 5 week process.

I think the WORLD of you, Sir Mudge. . .

I'm dealing with an 8 month torn rotator cuff... keeping me from EVER getting into the industry (thus far, but for a flake of a Doc!) and really, struggling to even get into Tom's truck!!

Anything and EVERYTHING you have to share, thus forward, will be drank up, like a hummingbird with sugar water; and me that cannot sing.

Always wish you the best .. you have no IDEA how I love to see you back in here.

~ Anne ~

ps: FORGOT TO SAY: thank-you-2.gif sorry.gif thank-you-2.gif

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