Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I'm not sure why I have been procrastinating on posting the two things I mentioned in an earlier entry that I have been meaning to write about. I mean, if I don't feel like writing here, then who cares? Why bother? It isn't like it is a requirement or a job duty or something. But since today is a snowy day (we're having some winter and January isn't even over yet), I landed on posting them today.

I've been doing some thinking about my experiences at the dentist. What with my looming extraction (I guess I have made peace with that outcome), this has been on my mind. I remembered that as a kid, I went to this guy who I think was supposed to specialize in treating children. At least that's my assumption, because it isn't where anyone else in my family went. I vaguely remember that I gave my mother a hard time about going to the dentist - was scared, uncooperative, etc. My baby teeth ached, and her home remedy was to put whiskey on them. Eventually she took me to this kid's dentist that I mentioned. Even as a small child (I was in early elementary school, I'd say), I thought he was weird. He was one of those people who was way too affectionate, holds you on his lap, etc. I thought it was creepy, how overly friendly he was. I wasn't much a touchy-feely person, even then. He used nitrous oxide rather than Novocaine, and in thinking about it, that may be the real reason my mother took me there.

I remembered this dental experience because some people have told me that I should ask for nitrous oxide when I get my tooth extracted, since I don't really want to be put completely out with IV, and I think many people fear Novocaine. (I can't say I am crazy about it, not so much the needle itself - the problem is the numbness afterwards, but I can deal with it.) But I have no intention of asking for nitrous oxide, because I had it many times at that creepy dentist's, and I hated the strange feeling. Thinking about it almost makes me panic.

A few years after I left his practice and went to the regular dentist my family all used, that weirdo was arrested for molesting, or at least inappropriately touching a woman - or maybe several women, I can't remember. No surprise there.

The second story I wanted to tell was that a couple of weeks ago, I noticed that my niece had gotten one of her ears pierced, not on the lobe, but on the upper part. My sister and I agreed that is one place besides our earlobes where we wouldn't have minded having another hole. (We also agreed that while when we were younger we might have had it done, there is no chance we will do it now.) Then we started reminiscing about our original ear piercings. We both had a second hole done at a jewelry store when we were adults, but our first holes were done by our mother, with a needle, thread, cork, and ice. (Owww!) Then for a couple of weeks afterwards, you had to put alcohol on it and turn the blood-crusted thread. Finally, you could put in gold earrings, but even then, you had to be sure the hole stayed open and apply alcohol for a long time. It was excruciating!! However, we wanted pierced ears so badly, we didn't complain.

In those days, no other girls had pierced ears. You either didn't get them at all, or you waited until you were grown up. My mother did not only both of us, but herself, and many of my sister's friends and our cousins. She told my grandfather that she wanted pierced ears, and he said his sisters had done themselves, using the needle and thread method (probably important to mention here that my grandfather was born in 1874). When we were laughing about it, we asked my mother whether she had asked the other kids' mothers if it was OK for her to pierce their ears? She shook her head no and said "they just went home with pierced ears." Imagine if that happened today - the parents would probably start a lawsuit!

Friday, January 23, 2009

My classes started yesterday. So far so good, except that they are too big overall. I'm not sure if that is a symptom of budget cuts - with less sections being taught, or what.

I've had several ideas recently of things I want to write, but so far, I have not taken the time. Maybe I will get to it soon.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

My parents' dog, Mandy, died last night.

She was a gorgeous German Shepherd Dog, very protective and loyal. She loved her "babies," which were plush toys and her crate. She needed a job, and since she wasn't a police dog or guide dog, she found her own. Being alert, guarding the house, herding livestock and people.

She would have turned 9 in March, and her death was a shock. She was ill for only 10 days, and seriously ill for only 5. The cause of death is not known, although she tested postive for Lyme Disease, but that is rarely fatal. Everything was done to save her.

She was much loved.

On Christmas Day, my mother's old barn cat, Pookie, passed away. He was wild, a stray who wandered in when he "retired." She cared for him for over two years, and she was the only one who could get near him. He was a handsome orange cat.

The end of 2008 was not good and the beginning of 2009 is not promising at this point.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I spent the whole day writing student recommendations for graduate school. Lots of other stuff going on too; I've been preoccupied. I won't write about any of it now, except...

My tooth saga continues: Yesterday I went to the endodontist. I really, really liked him. So much, in fact, that I wish I could have him for the work I am facing. I told him I was not comfortable with the original referral and want to hang onto my tooth if possible. He did a lot of those tests of cold, biting down etc. sensitivity, went over my x-ray with me and explained everything in great detail.

Unfortunately, although he was much more personal and explained it so that I understood a lot better, the prognosis is the same. My tooth is hopeless and will have to be extracted, retreatment or apicecotomy are not possible. He said it must have had a huge filling in it before the root canal (it did, ever since I was a teenager) and that it is thin, probably has a fracture in the root (which doesn't show up on x-ray) and it is in bad shape. The infection is actually near the surface, not deep in there near the bottom (the purpose of apicecotomy). It isn't having any impact on either of the teeth beside it. It may have damaged the bone a little, near the top (something the oral surgeon I went to didn't mention, and bone graft was not included in the estimate money-wise or time-wise for the implant).

He said my regular dentist has already done everything possible to save it. Then he said if I wasn't comfortable at the original oral surgeon's (I wasn't) he could refer me somewhere else. He also said that I don't have to decide about the implant right away and I shouldn't feel pressured. He said that I may feel OK with having it gone, since it is a lower tooth far in the back, not visible, with a good tooth on either side. He said I could choose a bridge, but he doesn't recommend it since both teeth on either side are very healthy and there is no reason to weaken them with crowns. Or, he said, ideally I could choose an implant, and that would be like having my own tooth back eventually, but I don't have to make that decision right now.

So he gave me a referral to a building right next door. It is an oral surgeon, and I have a consultation with them on 2/9. I can't say I am thrilled, but I feel a lot more comfortable than I did after going to that practice that catered to dregs (that's awful, I know, but the waiting room was like a bus station. Not in terms of cleanliness or modernity - it was both - but it was huge and the clientele was unsavory. There was a woman yelling about having the show ID, an odd teenager who was turned away, and old lady who was totally out of it. It freaked me out). Plus the oral surgeon never looked in my mouth - I know he could probably tell how bad my tooth is from the x-ray, but still. It seemed he was talking theory instead of about my specific situation.

So, if I like the new oral surgeon I will go with them. I'm only going to focus on the extraction right now, not on the implant process. I also may opt to be awake, rather than knocked out. I am going to ask a lot of questions about how bad the extraction will be (my niece said it wasn't a big deal but she may be tougher than me) before I decide. I'm not crazy about the idea of being knocked out. On the other hand, I am not crazy about being awake while I lose the tooth (both pain wise and emotionally). I emailed my sister, who is also not very tough, and she told me that she has also had a tooth pulled without being knocked out and it wasn't that bad. She said she got a valium and a local, so I think I will ask the oral surgeon about that approach. I may also take a walkman and headphones, as a distraction to the sound. Bob said the sound is worse than the feeling. I think I will probably decide to get an implant eventually. The oral surgeons I am seeing on 2/9 do them also. I plan to ask a lot of questions and give it thought before deciding.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

My first post of 2009! I've been catching up on things, puttering around, sleeping in. It feels good. We had another ice storm today, but luckily, have not lost power this time. My appointment for a second opinion on my tooth is Monday; it is doing OK. I read Left to Tell, a sad, but powerful and inspiring story by a survivor of the Rwandan genocide.