Archive for the ‘health’ tag
Something I am thinking a lot about as the long Memorial Day holiday weekend approaches is meat, especially grilling and barbecuing.
One of the things about my new restricted diet and my persistently tender mouth is that I have been fantasizing (a lot) about about foods that I either cannot eat or would have great difficulty eating right now. Hamburgers with bacon and cheese and dripping with ketchup. Barbecued ribs. Sausages in toasted buns topped with sauteed sweet onions and peppers. Now, in theory, I could still enjoy these things, but I would have to cut them up into little pieces first (because of the whole issue with biting into things when I still have what amounts to a less-then-half healed wound in the front of my mouth) which is less then optimal. The experience of lifting the loaded burger up to your mouth and trying to fit in as big a bite as you can is a huge part of the enjoyment. Cutting that same loaded burger up into neat little pieces (leaving aside the whole issue of how exactly to neatly cut up a loaded burger) and then carefully forking them is kind of a disappointment.
As a sort of “last supper” before the surgery, John and I went out to dinner at The Pine Club. He had known about the place for a while, and been interested in trying it out for a while, and we decided that this was as good a time as any.
The Pine Club is a steakhouse. An excellent, excellent, classic steakhouse. Sitting in it, I felt like I was in either Chicago or New York in the 1950s.
A couple of quirks to keep in mind about The Pine Club. First, they don’t take reservations. You show up, and you take your chances. We went early, at about 6:00pm, and it was already fairly busy. It was completely full when we left. And this was on a Monday of no particular importance, just a normal day. So I guess that I wouldn’t recommend trying to go there for a meal on a holiday (assuming that they are even open on a holiday). Second, they don’t accept credit cards. Cash money and personal checks only. Since neither John nor I have had a checkbook in several years, we crossed our fingers, stopped by an ATM, got a sum of money rather larger then either of us normally carry on us, and hoped it would be enough. (It was. But it still felt very odd to pull out actual paper money when the bill came rather then a credit card.)
The meal… was amazing. Meat done skillfully and without any unnecessary flourishes. John had the bone-in rib eye and I had the broiled veal chop. Each came topped with crispy fried onions and were accompanied by a salad, potato, and vegetable. The meat just melted in your mouth.
When my implant is finally in and everything is all healed and settled, the first place that we are going to go out to eat is The Pine Club. We think that it will make a nice, neat bracket to the whole situation.
I had yet another round of oral surgery last Wednesday. (Which of course I am thrilled about. Not.)
The original surgical site was persistently (despite two rounds of antibiotics) red and swollen and inflamed and painful. And the Dr did not like the look of it. So I had an appointment on last Wednesday to “check it out”. Which quickly turned to (once I was there) “let’s open this up and take a look”, and then (once I was in the chair and sedated out of my mind) turned to “this looks really bad, so let’s take the post out and put in some more bone graft”.
Basically, the implant (the titanium post) failed. Initially, the Dr had done a bone graft and put in the post all at once. And in most cases, that would have been just fine. But because I am special, either the graft or the post reacted badly, and caused a persistent infection below the gumline. So the post had to come out, and more bone graft had to be put in.
I am trying really hard to not see this “failure” as a personal failure. In theory, I know that there is nothing that I could have done to change the outcome. But I still feel (silly as it may be) that this is a personal failing on my part, and that I should have been able to do something. That’s the Type A personality in me.
Now the timeline for the process is thus:
- Bone graft (3-6 months to heal)
- Surgery to (re-)place the titanium post (3-6 months to heal)
- Surgery to place the final replacement tooth
Two additional surgeries. And odds are that this process will not be finished until sometime next year. Next year!
Originally I had hoped to have the whole process done by Ted and Sabrina’s wedding in September, so that I could actually enjoy their wedding dinner. Shit, I had hoped to have the whole process done by Pennsic!
No chance of that now.
If you are thinking of giving me some kind of sanctimonious “other people have it so much worse” pep-talk, please spare me. I am just not in the mood to hear it right now.
I still have a bruise and faint needle mark in the bend of my left elbow from the IV. I didn’t expect to have such a long-lasting bruise there, as I have never bruised from blood draws. But this wasn’t exactly a blood draw, and I do have a tendency to bruise easily, so I guess that I shouldn’t have been too surprised. At least the drugs I got were good ones. I was a bit anxious about that (and I opted for general anesthesia rather then local and a sedative) and I wanted to be 100% out for the procedures. The technicians promised that I wouldn’t remember a single thing, and they were right. I actually don’t remember a lot from the first day, which is probably a good thing. I slept most of the day, and took a lot of pain medication.
The next couple of days I also slept a lot. I read when I could concentrate. I napped and numbed my brain with daytime TV and movies when I couldn’t. I am glad that I was able to take off the week as sick leave. I wouldn’t have been good for anything at all in the office, and couldn’t concentrate enough to get any work done at home.
My face it still numb and a bit swollen on the right side.
I am still taking antibiotics (and will be for several days more) but I am down to 1 or 2 vicoden a day (morning and night).
When I peel up my lip and look at the purple, bruised, and swollen ruin at the surgical site, it depresses me, so mostly I don’t look.
I have a mouthpiece to wear… or I would have a mouthpiece to wear if it fit right and I could wear it without pain. Hopefully my doctor will be able to make some adjustments to it tomorrow morning. Otherwise… otherwise, I don’t really know what my options are. No good options, anyway.
Moderate to hard exercise is out right now. Nothing that would would me up enough to where I would need to pant through my mouth… nothing that would dry out and irritate the surgical site. Yoga, weights, and walks in the neighborhood only, for now. No biking or running on the elliptical. And no fencing. When I mentioned the fencing to the oral surgeon (and to my dentist) the reaction was surprise and mild horror. Participating in an activity where the likelihood that I will be hit in the face is quite high, never mind that I wear a mask? No. Not that I really feel like fencing right now anyway.
At the moment I am just feeling depressed about the whole thing.
Silver lining? Well, considering how restricted my diet is right now, I bet that I lose weight.
One of the good things about being an adult, is that sometimes you don’t have to do things that you don’t want to. For instance, I have never popped the screens out of my windows and washed them. (This was a regular part of spring cleaning when I was growing up.) Nor do I bother to make the bed most mornings. (Sorry, Mom. You tried.)
On the flip side, being an adult also means doing stuff that you don’t want to do, because you know that you need to. Like making doctor’s appointments. And dentist appointments.
Especially dentist appointments.
I hate going to the dentist.
I don’t remember how old I was… 5? 6? 7? It was early grade school, anyway. The way that I remember it happening, I was running up the steps at school. It was winter, the stairs were icy, I slipped, and I hit my mouth on the metal handrail. One of my front teeth was chipped. (You can still see the chip if you look) My parents took me to the dentist, and he smoothed out the chip. That tooth wasn’t the problem. The tooth next to it was the hidden problem. The blow had severed the nerve as the base of the root, but we wouldn’t know about that for 10 or so years.
Time passed. I lost my baby teeth, got adult teeth. I got cavities, and had them filled. I got braces, and then had a series of retainers.
Then in high school I got a terrible, painful toothache. Turns out that it was the tooth with the severed nerve. It had gotten infected. If it hadn’t gotten infected, I wonder how long it would have gone unnoticed?
I got a root canal.
In college, I had persistent trouble with the root canal. The filling kept falling out, among other things.
So I got a crown. (According to the dentist, crowns really only have a shelf life of 10 or so years. At the time I decided to just not hear that… I was pretty sick of dentists.)
10+ years pass. Then I have some problems with the crown, which is well past its expiration date. My current dentist fixes the crown, warns me that it could fail at any time, and strongly urges that I get an implant.
I don’t want to get an implant. I have to get an implant. Basically, at this point, I have no other options.
So I got a consult with an oral surgeon, and made an appointment to get the first stage of an implant. The surgery is this coming Tuesday morning.
I don’t want to have oral surgery. I hate the fact that the process for getting an implant takes so long and that with the multiple surgeries and healing time, it will probably be close to the end of the summer before the process is complete. But I have to have it. No other options. So I am having oral surgery.
Goddammit, sometimes I hate being a responsible adult.