Some days you just have to declare victory

This is a post about Wednesday. It is now Friday, but I made these notes after my Wednesday night when I experienced a sense of piece and hope— I was in minimal pain and did 94% of my metrics in my home department at work, folding clothes.

The air was frigid with ice on the cars, but I was wearing the teenager’s letterman jacket (and I made the wise crack to my favorite security guard that it was not my jacket, she had left it in the car, and I know it must be really hard to believe that I was not in marching band.)

I knew the end of this week would be draining, even before they announced the elimination of our shift at the Stitch Fix warehouse as they transition from two shifts a day, five days a week to operations seven days a week. (As second shift workers, we get first choice of the shifts available, so the company is trying to accommodate preferences, but every shift starts before 7 a.m. so that sounds like torture.)

So Wednesday was dentist day.

I thought the teenager and I had appointments at 9:40, which meant retrieving the child from school at 9 a.m.

She made me an offer I could not refuse. If she peeled and quartered the apples our friend Photographer Joan of Plastiqueville brought so that I could make apple butter as I promised, could she just skip first period?

I said sure. That meant I could sleep until 8 a.m.

I think she later regretted her choice as she has still not finished.

Hopefully today I can use my voluntary time off to get this into jars.

And in true Angel fashion, at 8:45 a.m., I discovered our appointment is at 10:40, not 9:40.

The hygienist and dentist gave me a disappointed talking to about my teeth— apparently my middle of the night tooth brushing has been half-assed.

But no major issues.

So the day prior my physician has ordered x-rays of my spine, si joints and hips.

I thought with the shift change, the information in those scans was more important than ever. And there is a radiology office in the urgent care across the street from my dentist. I asked the teenager if we should stop.

My doctors office had recommended one of these smaller urgent cares as they might be less busy than the hospital or the central outpatient radiology office by the warehouse.

My gut said go there.

I didn’t listen.

Instead I went to the urgent care that my PCP’s office always recommends because it is close to my home and operated by the hospital network he works for. (The Lehigh Valley is in the middle of a hospital war— both St. Luke’s and Lehigh Valley Hospital buying up and building offices everywhere.)

(I watched Lehigh Valley build a hospital near the warehouse, one I believe they have been trying to build for a decade. It opened in July. When I drive by at midnight, it looks deserted.)

Anyway. We go to the urgent care by all the good food. The teenager has a book in the car. It is 11:40 and her next class starts at 12:30. I know the probability is we’re not going to make it, but I need these x-rays and her presence will make sure I don’t procrastinate.

I have been to this urgent care once before— my si joint had locked up and was seizing and neither my chiropractor nor my doctor could see me and I couldn’t even think through the pain.

The staff at this urgent care was lovely, but I waited more than 90 minutes, got told to take a hot bath in Epsom salts, ingest some ibuprofen and the best thing for me would be a massage. And I got a $200 out-of-pocket bill.

I picked this urgent care because the location is convenient and it’s in a higher middle class suburban neighborhood. But they are always understaffed and seems to be frequented by college students with no common sense and a certain element that I hate to classify as unsavory, but let’s just leave it as there was one poor man who needed to go to the ER, even I could see that, but he didn’t want to go.

The doctor was backlogged by 90 minutes so this seems like the normal wait time. I tried to slip out of the office politely but the office person (who was honestly coordinating a three-ring circus and remaining an angel despite it) wouldn’t have it. You see radiology is a different office. I was next in line.

The tech in the radiology room was a delight. I got all the x-rays I needed.

At work, a lot of people were congregating to discuss the upcoming changes. But at this point, I don’t understand the point of wasting time like that especially since things are still getting ironed out.

The Mirena seeks to be helping with my menstrual issues as cramps where they belong and the bleeding is significantly less.

And the apple butter smells amazing.

Cats and a rainy Tuesday

I woke up grumpy and frustrated and irritated.

I had my first dental cleaning in close to nine months— and it had me on edge but luckily I got my favorite hygienist. It was a relaxing visit after all with no issues.

I went to the bank to deposit the $127 I had collected over time. It was 9, but they didn’t have the door unlocked so I used the ATM. I get unrealistically nervous that the machine will eat my money.

It did not.

The tellers unlocked the doors at 9:10 a.m. a I pulled away.

After the dentist, the teens and I went to Chaar to see our fosters, Zeus and Apollo, on display there. It was delivery day so we couldn’t get too personal.

Also a note about yesterday, Nan, the teens and I went to Lidl where they had pet carriers for $15 and the teenager bought a new cat toy for $10.

Cheery dental Wednesday

It’s not everyday that starts with a 9 a.m. dental visit (in the middle of a pandemic where you end up getting some restoration work done when you thought it was a quick and easy crown adjustment) and you end up thinking— “This is a good day.”

My dental staff had a very gentle touch and it seems like (fingers crossed), I should have no more issues for a while.

The dentist was very optimistic as she set to work and I reminded her not to get too cocky, as dentistry has to be a lot like plumbing— the older the house gets the more you don’t know what you’ll find until you really get inside.

She liked my analogy.

I also told herself about the time they gave me so much Novocain, I went to blow my nose and almost exploded my ear drums because I couldn’t feel anything coming out because my nostrils were numb.

For more on my dental disasters, visit this entry: My dental past.

In other news, I took these cheap fish nuggets and made fish/cabbage tacos. I dressed them with bacon ranch.

I planned to use my lunch break today to host a business meeting with my supervisor from my new volunteer position. I’m helping a relatively new non-profit hone their grant-writing skills and work out some communications strategies. I’m hosting a meeting with their summer interns tonight.

The news that we would be hosting someone in our home sent the teenager into a cleaning frenzy.

When our afternoon guest departed, the teenager turned to me and said, “It was so nice to hear the two of you talking.”

Tooth and nail

I’ve had fake nail tips and my nails done in acrylic for a little more than a month now. My real nails are just about as long as the tips now! (My friend and nail tech reshapes them when I go in for my fills.

On Friday, I popped off one of the tips (opening cat litter) and was pleasantly surprised to see a lovely, long, healthy nail underneath.

So when I went for my fill on Saturday that nail is now my real nail!

But speaking about fake body parts, today I went in for my permanent crown. The temporary gave me no trouble. I had high hopes for my real one.

It sat too high. The dentist knew it was and starting removing surface was the tooth above it. It hurt. I almost started to cry from the anxiety. And I told the dentist the crown felt okay.

I don’t do well with this dentist— he’s very sweet and quiet but he doesn’t tell me what he’s doing and I need communication or I freak out.

Like I did today.

I mentioned to someone it didn’t feel right. She suggested I figure out whether it was or not because I couldn’t have a crown that was misaligning my bite.

So I tried to eat.

I couldn’t.

I called the dentist’s office and cried to the receptionist. I can’t go back to that nice man, I said. He’s too quiet. She said she’d set me up with my dentist if 30 years.

Except when I got there I got the same hygienist I had earlier in the day and she drilled off pieces of my crown and my actual tooth. You know, the one that was hurting me earlier.

It instantly felt much better and I asked if they had a sandwich for me to test it.

They did not. But the hygienist said I could come back tomorrow if I needed to.

Three times in two days?

So I came home and ate lunch. A small lunch. At 3. And it didn’t feel right. I don’t know if something is exposed in that upper tooth or it’s just sensitive. But it’s sore. And the it hurts to bite on the left. And harder to bite on the right now. The bite has to be off yet.

I’m incredibly hungry and defeated.

Tooth Update: ten years of dental drama

Let me pour myself a cup of coffee as I digest the chicken burger with avocado I just inhaled. I will tell you a story as I sit and reflect on one of life’s foremost pleasures: enjoying a mediocre meal that tastes like the most amazing food ever specifically because you had a dental emergency and now your mouth is fixed.

That is a run-on sentence but you can deal with it.

Sidewalk splat

It was May 2011. The teenager was in first grade and I was working very part-time at Target and working on my second bachelors degree at Lafayette College.

I walked the child and a neighbor to the elementary school every day. This day was no exception.

I was almost home. But just like the opening sequence in Ryan O’Connell’s Netflix comedy “Special,” I fell.

O’Connell and I share similar experiences with our cerebral palsy. (For more on that, see my article from The Mighty, Grit and getting published on The Mighty.)

Ninety-nine times out of 100, I get up, brush myself off and keep going perhaps with a scratch or a scraped knee.

This day, I faltered on a bad patch of sidewalk, caught my balance, then stepped forward only to unexpectedly lose my balance again. And I didn’t have a chance to put out my hands or collapse into the fall.

My glasses went flying. My phone also sailed away. My chin was the only thing that hit the sidewalk. This was both lucky and unfortunate.

I stood, gathered my things. I knew my chin was bleeding but when I put my glasses on I noticed something:

There was a tooth on the ground.

I was about four houses away from my domicile. But in my shock, I had no recollection where the accident occurred. I called my husband. He demanded I go to the dentist.

At the dentist, the used butterfly bandaids to hold together my chin as they X-rayed me. They encouraged me to head to the ER next. I ended up with two stitches. (Both the ER and the dentist were utterly impressed I hadn’t broken my jaw.)

Dr. Lorri Tomko

Now, my dentist often has other dentists working in her practice. This particular day I had the true, true pleasure of working with Dr. Lorri Tomko. She went CSI on my mouth explaining what had happened.

When I fell, my bottom teeth and top teeth smashed together and damaged each other. I damaged most of my mouth that day. For the next few years, I had a lot of dental work.

Some of it was hard for me and for Dr. Tomko, but she was dedicated and gentle and it helped my anxiety that she walked me through everything that was going to happen.

She’s my favorite dentist ever.

The tooth I spit out was only half a tooth. It was one of the few cavities I had had and the tooth broke around the filling. A really ancient and in my opinion terrible oral surgeon pulled it, reciting the tooth number the entire time. (#29)

I can’t prove it, but I blame him for a bad mouth infection I got upon receiving an implant. He had missed a piece of the original tooth.

Last night’s broken crown

So last night, I spit out a crown while eating candy from my daughter’s recent Universal Yums box. I was frantic when I saw it was my crown and not my implant crown.

That original crown… Dr. Tomko couldn’t get the tooth to numb and she used laughing gas on me and said something about never wanting to work on that tooth ever again. And that we both needed a glass of wine.

I called her office today, but she doesn’t take me insurance and she couldn’t see me until Tuesday.

My normal dentist got me in at 3 pm, but at this point my remaining tooth is stabbing my tongue when I talk, eat or drink.

My dentist could take the impressions and get the temporary crown on. Thank goodness, but my mouth didn’t want to cooperate. I couldn’t stop my gag reflex for the impressions then I wasn’t biting correctly.

Apparently I kept shifting my bite to the left to bite the stuff in my mouth.

You know what’s worse that doing something that triggers your gag reflex? Doing it seven times! No exaggeration. Seven.

And of course, payment was $394. Their regular price was $1250. But my insurance price was $750. But they would only pay 50 percent and I had a copay.

  • If I look at my American Express bill right now it includes (from the last month):
    • $500 for a diagnostic ultrasound for my breast
      $175 for radiology for that ultrasound
      $400 for the dentist
  • Ridiculous.
  • Go ahead, politicians of a certain type, telling me again that the system isn’t broken. Corporations run this country. And medical insurance is big business.
  • Health And Wellness: Realistic Update

    So the teen and I were going to the gym 3 times a week when I first joined Planet Fitness. Summer came. My husband moved out. I got a promotion. Teen started marching band.

    Now we’re lucky if we go 4 times a month.

    I was ready to cancel and work out at home.

    The teen stopped me.

    We both did killer workouts last night.

    But will it last?

    It’s like when I promise the dentist I will floss daily. Sometimes I make it three whole months of flossing daily and then something happens and I break the habit.

    Last night I worked out hard and now my arms are sore but tonight, I had Wawa macaroni and cheese for dinner.

    Why can’t I stay more disciplined?