So here I am 10 years from my last blog post, and I didn't think I would ever post again here. I don't know what I can really say about this year that others haven't already said; however, I do need to vent, so why not do it here.
2020 started out looking so promising to me. I had a good-paying full-time job I enjoyed. I was on schedule to make the most money of my life this year. I planned and asking my girlfriend to marry me. I was, and still am, looking forward to the new generation of consoles. Things were looking to go my way...and then March came.
At the beginning of March, I was getting ready to head into work and was walking in my garage to get into my car when I heard a pop followed by minor discomfort in my foot. I am on my feet walking for most of my 10-hour workday, so I assumed I had strained it from the previous day. I did everything I knew I should do to try and heal it. I did stretches throughout the day, I administered ice treatment of 20-20-20, and elevated it when sitting/resting. Unfortunately, the pain only increased. Like any sane individual, I scheduled an appointment with my doctor. With the rest of the society starting to grow concerned about the spread of Covid-19, I couldn't get into the Dr. until the 24th of the month. I was hoping to get good news, but life had other plans. The Dr. informed me that I had most likely torn a ligament in my foot. I was immediately put on a 1,000 steps per day walking restriction, sent for x-rays, and instructed to start physical therapy. My stomach sank. I knew that the moment I heard the words walking restrictions, my life plans would change. As I said before, my job keeps me on my feet for long periods of time. I also knew due to the nature of the job, and they do not accommodate restrictions. I was immediately placed on short-term disability leave. Four days later, my State issued the Stay-at-Home order, which means my girlfriend will be home with me until further notice.
At this point, I should say that I work in the e-commerce division of a huge retail company. My employer responds to the State order saying that all employees are essential workers and send out exemption letters. Not only are we told we are expected to show up to our respective shifts, but to expect mandatory over-time another gut-punch for me. I knew I was going to be missing out on so much extra money. My employer-provided medical disability coverage only pays 40% of my hourly wages.
The first week of April rolls around, and I head off to finally get my x-ray. It was just my luck the x-ray came back inconclusive. The Dr. orders me to have an MRI to find out exactly what is going on. Two days later, I receive a call back saying that my insurance denied the MRI. I was told they wanted me to do 10 weeks of physical therapy and then re-evaluate. I immediately schedule my appointment to start therapy that week.
At this point, the pain was so bad. I was limping as I walked. I could not stand or walk on my foot for more than an hour before becoming completely fatigued from the pain. My therapist started me out with light stretches and exercises. At the end of that first appointment, they set me up for three one-hour-long sessions a week. Then they hit me with terrible news. Each session was going to cost me $387 until I hit my medical deductible of $6,300. After that, I would only have to pay $110 per session. And another punch to the gut and bank account. Now I get to go home and tell my girlfriend the wonderful news. Luckily she said she would cover our living expenses while I on leave in return for me doing all the house chores. Damn, do I love this woman!
The 10 weeks go by, and I see the doctor again. I have regained some mobility, and the pain has decreased, but at this point, plateau. We try for an MRI, and once again, my insurance denies the request. This time they want me to see an Orthopedic Surgeon. I comply with their request. The surgeon has me do another x-ray and looks at the treatment I've done so far. He agrees with my primary Dr. and orders an MRI. Another fight ensues with the insurance company, but this time I get a slight win. I get to have the MRI, but can't get me on the schedule until July 20th.
At this point, things are moving along fairly well. I had plenty of time on my hands to watch all the GB Lockdown content and play some games. I was able to get the Platinum trophies for Persona 5 Royal, God of War, Horizon Zero Dawn, and The Last of Us Part II.
On Sunday, July 12th, I receive a text message from my best friends' wife. She told me that he was in the hospital in a coma. While she was at work the day before, he had a stroke caused by high blood pressure. The doctors at the hospital were hopeful for a recovery. He introduced me to Giant Bomb all the way back in 2008 with the Pax video, and I've been following the site ever since. We were roommates back then, and we consumed all the site content together. I have always considered him to be the brother I never had. I am only 3 months older than him, and we share a deep love of video games, comics, music, books, and films.
On the following Tuesday, I contact his wife to see how things are going. She tells me that he had just started to have seizures and to swell on his brain. The doctors told her that he would need long-term care if he survives. Knowing the personal risk to my own health, I decided to jump on a plane the next day to see him and be there with her. Neither one of them has family close by. I could only afford to be there a few days, but they were days I will always remember. I could not see him in the hospital due to Covid, but I was able to stay and take care of their house chores and projects. On the night I arrived, he had another massive stroke, and the doctors said there was nothing more they could do. I was allowed entry to the hospital under end-of-life conditions on Thursday afternoon. I was able to say goodbye to my brother and watch one final GB Stream with him. His wife decided to take him off the machines on Saturday, July 18th. Which was also the day I had to return home. While I was waiting to board my flight, she messaged me that he had passed quickly and peacefully. He was one week away from his 39th birthday. You can find his profile here.
After a very long and rough week, the day finally came to have my MRI. It will be another 3 days before I get the results from the Surgeon. I have massive damage and need to have surgery. He gets me on the schedule for August 11th. I take a Covid test on the 8th of August in preparation for the procedure. I test negative, and the procedure goes without a hitch. I'm placed in a massive walking boot on the day of the surgery and told to keep it on for 6 to 8 weeks.
During this downtime, my friend and I decided that we should start a podcast. He had just undergone a surgical procedure, and with the upcoming new console releases, we figured it was a perfect time.
At this point, the State Stay-at-Home order has been lifted, and my girlfriend started to return to work in the office two days a week.
I enroll in an IT support certificate program because I love computers and technology to keep myself occupied.
I return to the Surgeon; he removes my walking boot and tells me to do another 6 weeks of physical therapy. At that point, I would be able to return to work. I know I have a hard date of November 3rd.
Things go well, and I inform them of my upcoming return. My HR department was then contacted, asking if I would be interested in applying for an IT position opening up. Of course, I jumped on the opportunity and applied. I had an interview the following week, and three days later, I was offered the position. After being on disability leave for 7 months, I get to return with a better paying position that doesn't require me to walk all day!
I hit my studies hard to learn as much as I can before my return. I also decided to do my due diligence and get another Covid test before returning to work. On Monday, the 2nd, I had the test, and I eagerly returned to work yesterday. Everything was going so well, until this morning. I woke up for work and was getting ready to make breakfast when I received an email that I have tested positive for Covid. I have no symptoms and have not knowingly been around anyone who does. I always wear my mask and practice social distancing.
I've gone 7 months of going to physical therapy, multiple doctors' appointments, and even traveled outside of my State without contracting this virus. How the hell did it happen? Why now?! I'm so fucking done with 2020 right now.