#dSavannahDefects – P is for…

My theme this year for the #AtoZchallenge is #dSavannahDefects, aka “What’s it’s like dealing with #InvisibleIllnesses”. Or, in short, {some of} what’s wrong with me.

P… paperwork

The absolute bane of my existence as a Sick Person is … paperwork. You’d probably guess something else, like, being in pain or the anti-mold diet or medications, or simply being sick, but not. It’s the {insert expletive} paperwork I have to fill out.

Every.single.doctor has their own set. And then my insurance company keeps sending me stupid surveys to complete. And as I (possibly) mentioned in another post, I created a spreadsheet to keep up with the meds I have to take (and I save each week’s completed piece of paper), and a document listing all my health info. Which as I’ve (probably said before), I’ve so far in my life had only two, count ‘em TWO, doctors actually review that document: my allergist and my primary.

The only saving grace of all this paperwork is that many providers have the paperwork available on their website for download, or they will let you pick up a set before your appointment, or will email it to you.

However, even those who let you download from your site rarely have the forms created as actual electronic forms that you can fill out. Can you say: “Annoying?!?!?”

And because I am organized, and because I am also terribly forgetful, I like to keep a copy of the forms I’ve completed so I know what I’ve said.

Lucky me, being a professional (former not currently working as such) graphic designer, I have Adobe Acrobat professional, so I can (luckily) complete the forms in Acrobat, even if the maker of said forms was smoking crack the day they made them, and even if those forms weren’t created with easy-to-fill-out fields. I can fill them out anyway. On my computer. Which means the doctor can read them, if they even bother to look at them. Cuz my handwriting sucks. Like, bad.

Probably the worst set of forms was from my ENT – 15 different forms, most of which both made no sense and were repetitive. *head desk* *head desk*

Just a quick count of forms I’ve completed that I have saved on my computer in my “medical files” folder shows *72* pieces of paperwork I’ve filled out over the past two years. And that doesn’t count the ones I’ve had to fill out in office.

*head desk* x a billion.

Have I mentioned being a Sick Person is a full-time job?


If you’ve heard of PTSD, you probably associate it with soldiers home from war, if that.

What it is: PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, is simply defined as “A mental health condition triggered by experiencing or seeing a terrifying event.” And generally, the “mental health condition triggered” is anxiety and flashbacks. They are invisible scars on the very psyche and soul of a person.

So, the terrifying event can be something experienced by a soldier, such as a land mine going off, or rockets being shot at their camps, or a friend being blown up, or any number of other horrible, awful things that someone in the military can see.

According to www.lonesurvivorfoundation.org, one in three veterans experience PTSD.

PTSD Post Traumatic Stress Disorder - Brain wordBut terrifying events are not solely experienced by people in combat situations. They are also experienced by, say, little kids who watch their dad break things. And beat them. They are experienced by women and men who are raped. Or people who live through some sort of natural disaster. By people who experience all kinds of traumatic, “shocking, scary, or dangerous events” (per the National Institute of Mental Health).

And, bear in mind, your trauma may not be someone else’s trauma. Things that you are able to easily shake off and forget about might stick with me for, like, a long time.

I went through a list with my therapist, and she counted up (if I’m remembering correctly; don’t quote me on it) like 20 different distinct “events” that can cause PTSD and trauma. That *I* have experienced. (And by the way, child abuse was counted as one event on that particular list.)

What it feels like: Again, the “mental health condition triggered” is usually anxiety and flashbacks.

Triggers can cause visceral reactions – like a panic attack or difficulty breathing or the need to run away reallyfast. Or it can be internal, such as frightening thoughts or bad dreams.

I can’t really speak to how other people experience PTSD, but for me, sometimes I have no idea what will be a trigger for a negative type event. For instance, reading my undergrad alumni magazine sent me into a mini panic attack with crying, shaking, snot running down my face… And I loved loved loved my undergraduate college. I LOVED it. But reading that magazine and seeing all the bright futures of all the kids there today reminded me fully of how my “bright future” is here, now, and it ain’t very bright. It’s kinda dire, actually. My smarts and potential are… stuck in this body, going nowhere.

There are other places and things that I know will be a trigger, so I just avoid them.

Treatment: There.is.no.cure.

Let me say that again: there is no cure. None.

Tho it goes away on its own for some people, but not all. And not necessarily often.

But there is treatment. That treatment includes medications (anti-depressants being one) and talk therapy. The guv’ment has a site called National Center for PTSD, which is mostly geared toward veterans, but may be of use for other people as well. There is even a page full of self-coping ideas. (Note: I haven’t delved into the site fully, but it looks like it might of some help.)

If you suffer from PTSD, I want you to know that You Are Not Alone. This is a real condition, and it can be treated. I hope you get the help you need. If you just want to talk to me, feel free to click on any of the links over to the right and find me. I’ll listen.

… pain

I’ve written about pain a lot, so I won’t belabor the point. I suffer from pain. A lot. It sucks.

And when I say “a lot”, I really mean “all the damn time”. It never ends.

Everything hurts.

And, my pain, and most people’s pain, is invisible. Unless you’ve got a broken femur with part of it sticking out of your actual leg, people don’t know you’re in pain. (And sorry for sticking that image in your head.)

So, remember, the person with the handicapped placard who looks perfectly fine probably isn’t. Be kind.

… physical therapy

Just last year I had the joy, honor, privilege, delight, glee, treat, and lots of other words just like that to go to physical therapy.

Which actually sucked, for a couple reasons:

  1. I had to go.
  2. I had to go. And it hurt. Like a lot. I was weak as a newborn kitten, and it sucked.
  3. Insurance fought paying for it. I’d have to fill out a form like every third visit, and I had to walk a fine line of “I’m getting better” with “I still need it.”
  4. Did I mention it hurt?


It really most especially sucked because this girl used to be married to a guy who is a personal trainer, and I used to be strong. I would do the *real* squats. Not the girlie squats with a machine either. The squats with just me, my body, and a bar with weights on the end. Squatting. (And sorry; no photographic evidence of this marvel exists. You’ll just have to take my word for it.)

However, if you are having any mobility issues, any at all, I highly recommend that you ask your doctor for a referral and go. Physical therapy didn’t fix me, by any means, but it did help correct my gait, which was really awful. And I learned exercises I can do at home to keep up the momentum. (I just made a funny. Get it? Get it?) (Never mind. It was funny in my head.)


So, that’s P. Ten more letters in the #AtoZChallenge2016. Think we can make it?

More ramblings / other posts you might want to read...


About dSavannah

~ #disabled #spoonie fighting numerous, chronic, painful #InvisibleIllnesses ~ also #wife #feminist #ally #advocate #papyrophiliac #DogCatTurtleWrangler
This entry was posted in #AtoZchallenge2016, #dSavannahDefects, depression, hard work, health, illness, making a difference, mental illness. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to #dSavannahDefects – P is for…

  1. Elaine LeDoux says:

    My sweet Debbie…PLEASE stop banging your head on your desk. You do not need any extra ouchies!!!!!!❤️

  2. The paperwork games are ridiculous. And don’t get me started on the amount of time spent on the phone with insurance companies just to get them to do what they are already paid to do. And I’m fortunate: I’m considered basically healthy. Gah!

    @mirymom1 from
    Balancing Act

  3. There is hope regarding the paperwork nonsense. My daughter and her husband just bought their first house, and their closing was completely electronic. No sitting at the conference table signing page after page. I love this and hope it spreads to other industries. Medical is the worst on paperwork.

    • dSavannah dSavannah says:

      There is hope indeed. Hubs and I actually did a refi quite a few years ago that was entirely paperless. I’m not sure why so many industries are against it.

  4. Betsy says:

    No fun things going on in “P” land. Hang in! Remember you are not alone. Love ya.

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