Breathing Through the Chaos

Since the onset of the pandemic, the flow of daily life has done a 180-degree turn and flipped on its head. Access to many of life's conveniences – the so-called ease, effortlessness, and efficiency of life - has all but evaporated. We've all had to buckle down, prepare for the worst, and wait it out. Suffering through it with chronic illness, doing my best to remain as well as I can, I cope with the never-ending chaos that seems to have exacerbated 3-fold since the onset of the pestilence named COVID.

Complaints aside, my family and I have fared pretty well through most of it. We depend on each other and remain as close-knit as possible, checking in through visits, text, or video. Although we all have our own particular chaos, we need to find specific ways through it, to survive it, not letting it affect our mental toughness. As simple as it may be, it is difficult not to fall into the depression and anxiety trap this sickness has created. My main goal is to be sure they are all still breathing through the chaos that each of us faces on a daily basis and to support them in any way possible.

Lately, I am losing my "shizz," and my mental health is suffering

Every day, chaos rules more and more of my emotions upsetting the balance of the universe. My exact chaos is that of coping with the medical field I believe is falling far behind, failing the patient, causing healthcare burnout – for employees as well as patients - on a grand scale. Normal tasks are not as easy as they were pre-COVID, where appointments are set incorrectly, prescriptions not ordered, tests forgotten, and follow-ups put to the side. I am not sure if it’s just that I am tired of the constant and relentless disorganization involved, or if the mayhem is truly getting worse. It may just be that coping daily with spondyloarthritis and fighting the good fight is that much more exhausting and fatiguing as of late.

"The wrong facility"

Early this morning I drove 40 minutes to my appointment for this nuclear CT I scheduled well in advance. Standing in line to check in, I get a call from the center telling me they are unable to perform my scan because it was scheduled at the wrong facility. Mind you, I have had this appointment scheduled for over a month, and they are just now calling me, while in line, after all the chaos I went through to get to this point. Biting my lip, I reverse gears and exit out the door. Frustrated and overwhelmed, I head home, cursing the whole way.

An extremely frustrating situation

Normally I can handle a situation like this gracefully. Considering I’ve had nothing but problems with this medical issue for what seems like an eternity, I am quite frazzled. For the past 6 months, I’ve endured medical gas-lighting and worsening pain. My insurance company approved the dye administration but denied the imaging portion of a nuclear exam. There have been peer-to-peer meetings between my physician and insurance carrier with a multitude of calls to and from the office to resolve the dispute, with an appeal filed within the past week to overturn the denial. I was “a day late and a dollar short” getting this approval.

I had waited until the last minute to cancel hoping the appeals process would be quick. This morning - a day too late- the appeal was overturned and approved, allowing me to get my scan. More than frustrated, I jump on the phone to see if the time slot was still available. It was, but unfortunately, they couldn’t schedule me or hold the slot without the appeals approval number...that I didn’t have. By the time I got off the phone with insurance claims and called back, the slot was unavailable. In the end, a representative worked me back into the schedule today, gratefully.

Exhausted, frustrated, skeptical...

Fast forward to standing in line at the imaging center this morning – waiting for my scan that was scheduled at the wrong facility. I literally lost my mind, but I think I handled it gracefully. I am exhausted, frustrated, skeptical, short-tempered, and above all irritated beyond all belief – very little of me left for being gracious. I now have been rescheduled another month out, this time on a Saturday. I repeatedly asked her, "Are you sure they are open on the weekend?" and got the "Oh yeah, they are open" response. I’ll be calling the facility to be sure well ahead of time I can have a SPECT CT done on this day, 4 weeks from now, at their facility. *eye-roll*

As angry as I became today, I understand many are suffering through the virus burnout as well. I do have to remember 1) to breathe through the mayhem that upends my world daily and 2) that it will get better...eventually. As my day went on, I was able to release some built-up tension, which improved my mental health, at least for today. I am desperately trying to find and give grace to those who have created and are caught up in the chaos of my life. It may take a second or two - it’s definitely not an easy task. If you need me I will be practicing my 4-7-8 breathing technique in the corner.

What is your mélange of chaos lately? How are you working through it?

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