Posted in health

INSOMNIA MUSINGS

I’m taking prednisone this week and am not sleeping, so I thought I’d share what I’m learning this late at night with you. Granted, I am usually the night owl, but it’s tough being a night owl when there isn’t proper rest between night owlings.

1. When trying to relax, do not listen to Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass.

2. It’s difficult to play solitaire when you forget the order in which the numbers go. Mahjongg solitaire… it’s sad when you can’t match simple pictures together. Scrap solitaire all together.

3. When you Google “nerd” you get 3 million hits. With “geek” you get 23 million. “Star Wars” nets 63 million and “insomnia” gets you over 5 million.

4. How I feel right now reminds me that it’s good I went to college when I was much younger… when it was fun to stay up all night for no reason.

5. Poetry is impossible to write while this tired. Even the haiku, a favorite form of mine, which oft does not rhyme.

6. Note to self: buy some more sleepytime tea.

7. If Spock were here, he’d so that Vulcan pinch thing on my shoulder and it would be LIGHTS OUT!

And now, I’m going to TRY closing my eyes and we’ll see what happens.

Posted in dental adventures, health

DENTAL RELIEF…

Hallelujah, I’m back from the dentist… one filling, one root canal and two crown fittings later. Thank God for insurance and interest free payments, otherwise, I would have had the equivalent of a car payment for a BMW for months.

I’m hungry, but still numb, so I’ll wait and then see what I’m hungry for… but the office manager made me promise that I wouldn’t eat anything sticky or chewy until my permanent crowns are on.

That leaves my choices for the evening as… SOUP… or SOUP. 🙂

Addendum: The Roomie let me eat some of her pancakes. What a pal!

Posted in dental adventures, health

THROBBING TEETH AND MY NEW RELATIONSHIP WITH ORAJEL

My teeth are throbbing. There could be several reasons:

a) My sinuses (I’m so congested) are pressing down on the nerves in my mouth. This has happened before — long before my current tooth problems.

b) The tooth that’s broken and in need of a root canal has finally gone nuclear.

c) both A & B

d) The temporary crown is covering a tooth that might need a root canal.

e) both A, B, and D.

Really, I have no idea. All I know is — chewing is an adventure. I have invested in a tube of super Orajel that will numb just about anything. I use it before bedtime so I can sleep. I don’t know what will happen with the teeth issue, so therefore, I’m going to let things run their course and go from there. I can’t worry about it anymore… 🙂

Posted in dental adventures, health

MORE CROWN NEWS AND OTHER STORIES FROM THE REALLY BAD DAY

What a day…

First of all, my temporary crown has been bugging me… so I’ve had trouble sleeping because of the pain. Therefore, last night I got about two hour’s worth of sleep. When I woke up this morning, I was really groggy, but I made it to work okay. Thursday is my day to file and find a place to work wherever I can. Usually, I use the conference room across the hall and carry my 2′ stack of filing across the hall along with my “office in a box” — a filing box that has pens, paper, sorting stuff, etc.

I get everything sorted into the starting piles and WHAM! I spilled my coffee all over the conference room table. I splattered only one piece of paper, but otherwise, made a big mess. Fortunately, I stopped the puddle from leaking onto the floor or the chairs (my biggest concerns). One of the angels from housekeeping helped me mop up.

So, new cup of coffee in hand, I settle in to file. At 10, I went upstairs to distribute the mail and when I came back… my piles were gone. Turns out the lady who schedules the rooms forgot I was in there and told another group they could use it.

Of course, I was frustrated. #1, all the piles I made were picked up haphazardly by a stranger who didn’t bother to ask if it was okay to move any of it–I mean, whenever I go in to use another office, I always ask if it’s okay to move things and believe me when I say I use half of this conference table — so it’s quite obvious that the room was being used. #2, I always use that room as an office unless something else has been scheduled in that room and as of 8 a.m. nothing had been.

I don’t blame the scheduling lady. I just didn’t think you could schedule office space (nobody else does), so that’s why I never did and in over a year, this is the first time something like this has happened. It’s just always worked out that if that room was scheduled, one of the other ladies was out and I used her desk. So, to ensure this doesn’t happen again, I am going to schedule the room as my office from now on for Thursday so there will be no further conflicts… and everything worked out today because one of the ladies was leaving for a meeting, so I took over her office until 2. Still, it was a huge disruption after a bad start to my morning.

Oh, and if it just ended there…I would have been in a great mood… but it didn’t…

I called a dentist recommended to me (cost wise/payment plan) for a root canal (my dentist doesn’t do them). $765… though I could possibly pay it out over 12 months. No problem, right? Well, considering I’ve only had full time hours for 6 weeks after nearly a year of barely making ends meet… and I’m now having to go back make up for a bunch of stuff and my salary really isn’t competitive, it’s not like I’m “liquid” you know?

AND… Because I don’t have benefits yet, I still have to budget for those holidays/days off I don’t get paid for and for the time off I have to take to go to the dentist for the other issues. I’m already paying payments to my initial dentist, so I’m all paymented out at this point.

UGH.

So, of course, being all emotional at this time of the month… and being extremely tired, I sat in there and cried for a while. I had to let off some steam, you know? Not only was I tired… I was frustrated, and my tooth was bugging me. My benefits/full time status was still in limbo and I wasn’t sure how long I was going to be able to hold onto this tooth without a root canal.

Finally, I got a grip, pulled it together and kept working. Then, during lunch, as I’m telling my peeps how my day has been going, one of my friends says, “hey, at least it’s not raining!”…and then… (drumroll please)

MY TEMPORARY CROWN FALLS OFF!!

Everything touching my tooth, air, cold water, etc. nearly made me cry. I get an appointment at 4 so I don’t miss too much work. One of my co-workers finds an empty ziploc bag in the bookstore to put the crown in and I go back to work.

The pain gets progressively worse. I used to have an enviable pain tolerance, but pain definitely bothers me more, much more than it used to, but I suck it up and keep working … filing… trying not to inhale through my mouth. I finally used the pain as a motivator and I got an audience with the director of personnel and ask her where they’re at with getting me benefits. She says that since I work for three depts, all three parties have to commit to saying they want me long term. One party is on board, the other dept head keeps thinking it’s taken care of but apparently it wasn’t and then the personnel director says if I can get her on board, she’ll take care of the third person involved.

I leave her office, call party #2 and leave her a message… and find out later, she took care of it. Whew… so I don’t know when I’ll get benefits, but we’re one step closer.

As I drive out to the dentist in my car with no a/c (it was very warm and humid today), I’m more than uncomfortable. I take ibuprofen once I get to the dentist. I hand her my temporary crown and she smiles and says, “the cement will be cold.”

Well, I closed my eyes and went to my happy place. I nearly ripped the arms of the chair off, but it wasn’t worth getting a shot, because I would have had to wait a long time and the shots don’t work on me like they do for “normal” people. So I grip the chair and suck it up. It actually wasn’t so bad… meaning the chair is still in tact.

I ate very soft food for dinner and right now, there is slight pain, much like when I first came home with this crown last week. Never fear. In an hour or so I’m taking two MIDOL (yes, it’s been a GREAT day) and then, I’m going to bed.

Tomorrow will be better. Tomorrow will be better…

Posted in dental adventures, health

MY FIRST CROWN

OW!!! Well, not enough of an OW to take any major meds, but this very sensitive tooth beneath this temporary crown is driving me NUTS.

This morning, I had to be at the dentist at 7:30. AM…just after sunrise. You know, the time when all the vampires are hopping back in their coffins! Anyway, I got my temporary crown and we are still watching the other two teeth that need root canals (I’m shopping around for cheap root canals) while we play roulette with whether or not I’ll be able to tolerate the pain (though slight, every day it gets more interesting) until I can get insurance. I go back in mid May to get the permanent crown.

This being my first crown, I did not anticipate the annoying sensitivity to cold, hot, pressure, inhaling air across the tooth… basically any activity in my mouth at all (had soft spaghetti for dinner). Ibuprofen is my friend and I can take more soon, and I still have some teething gel left. I should be able to sleep.

Oh, but the most fun part was after I left the dentist’s office. You see, there’s this kolache shop next door. I stopped to get a cup of coffee and a ham & cheese kolache. I am not blonde enough to actually try to drink the coffee while my face is numb. What the dentist is learning about me is that my mouth and face gets the most numb long after I leave his office. It’s a curse I have — high tolerance for meds. They take longer and usually a higher dose to get the desired effect most normal people experience…but I digress.

I put the coffee in the cup holder…I knew it would cool sufficiently as I drove and I wasn’t going to try to drink it while cruising down I-10. The kolache… well, I was hungry! I didn’t eat breakfast (sometimes I have tummy issues when someone drills at such a high pitch) and my blood sugar was low. So I bit into my kolache and chewed on the side beaing my broken, in need of a root canal, tooth.

Well, the ham in this kolache is in little pellets…and I’m a mile or so down the highway when I realize my, uh, breastial shelf is covered in little ham pellets. Thank God I wasn’t trying to drink the coffee, huh? lol

All morning, it was as if my brain was also numb. I could hardly function while I was numb… and let me tell you, the height of numbness didn’t come until 10 a.m. After that, my brain functions began to improve, but then I started to feel the annoying pain. I say annoying because my pain threshhold is pretty high and this hurts, but I can live with it.

It’s nothing like my episode from last year… see archives Shae’s trip to the dentist so I’m pretty happy all things considered…

Posted in Adventures, health

ADVENTURES IN A HOUSTON EMERGENCY ROOM

Don’t worry, I’m fine. I merely accompanied the injured this time.

My friend E has a 14 year old daughter, C (names changed to protect the clumsy). C tripped on her way to greet the pizza delivery man… unaided, in her living room. The ripping sound she heard, I’m sure, was scary enough, but when the pain hit her, E knew the injury was pretty serious by C’s reaction. E called the pediatrician and she told E to take C to get X-rays.

If you live in a small town and have made multiple trips to the emergency room that turned out to be short, easy visits that you complained about nonetheless, you must come hang out in the ER in Houston. You’ll never complain again. Fortunately, E did not take C to BT Hosp. where, I’m told, if you’re not bleeding, carrying the plague or have bones sticking out where they shouldn’t, you wait…and wait… because most severe accident victims go to BTH. The same can be said for the well known children’s hospital. E instead chose the southwest branch of one of the hospital networks in town.

Here is where our adventure begins. At 7:45 PM the pizza delivery guy shows up and knocks on E & C’s door. E is lying down, as she had THREE TEETH pulled earlier that afternoon and that can take the wind out of a person’s sails for sure, so C jumps up off the couch and charges toward the door. Unfortunately for C, the instructions carried along her nervous system were interrupted by her teenage awkward stage, and she came down hard on her ankle at a skewed angle. I, too, have done this, but I cannot blame my teenage awkward stage. I did something similar 18 months ago…but I digress.

The ripping noise of the awkwardly skewed angled ankle was followed by pain and a flood of tears and a call to the pediatrician. My phone rang at 8:15. E was calm, but asked if I could come help out since a) she had THREE TEETH pulled earlier that afternoon, and b) she’d yet to take any pain killers and was sure the pain would hit her eventually, and c) she’d visited an ER in Houston before and company always helps.

I was halfway through Pirates of the Caribbean when the phone rang. I was in my jammies, curled up with a glass of milk, an Oreo, Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom, and I was totally vegged. E calmly tells me what happened and asks for my help. “Of course I’ll help,” I tell her and I went from vegetable to super hero with one twirl in the telephone booth… okay, not really, but in spirit, I do wear the super hero cape. Truthfully, it took me longer than 30 seconds to get dressed, finish my milk, find my cell phone and say goodbye to Johnny and Orlando.

8:40 PM (yes, it took me 13 minutes to go from vegetable to super hero — but this is really good for me during a non life threatening emergency — and 7 minutes to get to E & C’s) I walk into the apartment and C has carefully put her shoes on and is ready to go. I observe her injury (the cape gives me great medical wisdom — I wish) and let C know that if she was a cow, I’d have to shoot her, but since she is not bovine in any way shape, or form, I assure her she’ll live. She grabs Tig and Bub (a stuffed tiger and penguin) for moral support. She decides that rather than lean on me, she’d rather hop on the good foot and take her chances. I did not take offence because well, I’m a recovering clumsaholic and if she was leaning on me and my knee or ankle gave out… well, E would be transporting two people one, a victim of her teenage awkward phase, and the other, a woman stuck in her teenage awkward phase.

9:05 PM I follow behind C as she hops to the sign in desk at the ER while E parks the van. C leans against the wall while I grab the sign in sheet on the receptionist’s desk and look around for a place for C to sit down. Of course, this is the ER in Houston. Not a seat or wheelchair to be found. A very impatient security guard tells me C cannot lean against the receptionist’s station. I told him that there was no place to sit down and he didn’t seem impressed. After a long, deep breath I told him that C needed a wheelchair and told him she’d badly sprained her ankle. Fortunately for Mr. Impatient Security Guard, his attitude changed and he returned with the necessary equipment, and I moved C out of the way. I wasn’t sure what the cape would make me do if he’d been less than nice.

As we waited for E, I started to fill out the sign in form while C took in what was going on around her. Not only was the waiting room full, the hallway included about 10 people, including us. I filled out what I could on the form, then handed it to C, who continued with her SSN, address, etc. I reminded her she was single, she didn’t have a maiden name and helped her spell ankle. For some reason, I found that difficult, but we came to an agreement on kle. Then E found us and took over the rest of the form.

Having been warned by the roommate (a nurse, she knows these things) that we were all in for a long night, we went to look for a place to sit down. A few minutes later, two seats cleared out in the ER waiting room, so E and I wheeled C in and took them. Note here that I did not run C into anything that would cause her pain while I was driving the chair. No wheelies were popped, no corners taken on one wheel. Remember, I am wearing my super hero cape and am suddenly responsible.

The waiting room at the ER is full of people who are too sick or injured not to be there, but not sick or injured enough to be whisked away quickly. Several children were in the room, along with a parent or two each, but sadly, I noticed at least two people who were by themselves, trying to stay awake and alert until their names were called. Most people in the ER were somber and serious, and I could feel the tension in the room, so what do I do? I try to make the injured teenager and her mother (did I mention she had THREE TEETH pulled just hours earlier?) laugh. I love E’s laugh.

9:55 PM C’s name is called, and she and E disappear into the ER.

10:05 PM E comes out to tell me C is on her way to what the hospital refers to as “Fast Track.” We follow C and a nurse (whose legs are programmed for the hospital autobahn) down the hallway to another waiting room… where we see others who were liberated from the ER waiting room… and we… wait.

10:40 PM Still waiting in “Fast Track” … E mentions she’s thirsty and C says she is as well. After a minute or two, E mentions her thirst again. Eventually, her words reach the earphone attatched to my super hero cape and then the words reach my brain and I realize that I should go find a vending machine. Another ER employee (whose legs were also programmed for the hospital autobahn) pointed out the machine and I got us 3 Sprites and a bag of Doritos for me (if I don’t eat I turn even more “blonde” than I already am, and since I am wearing the cape and am responsible, I decide eating now and staying lucid would be a good thing).

I return and a lady sporting blonde dred like tendrils steps out and calls out a name for the consultation and payment portion of the evening. She asks for a lady named, “Albino.” Albino is not present. We wait some more.

10:50 PM A bathroom break for E & C while I wait to make sure C’s name isn’t called while they’re gone.

10:55 PM The lady wishing to know the whereabouts of Albino appears again and totally butchers C’s name, but we recognize that C is the one she wants. E & C go to a room marked, Patient Access Services (PAS) and C appears about 10 minutes later, obviously bored with the whole PAS consultation and payment portion of the process.

11:22 PM E returns from PAS. They have everything settled and told her that C’s chart has been pulled and she’ll be with a doctor soon. Soon in “Fast Track” is like a caution lap at Daytona. Time should be fast, but it’s in slow motion instead.

11:33 PM C is whisked off to another room, followed by E. I stick around in “Fast Track” (only one visitor per patient allowed behind the big doors) and watch as supposedly ill children tear apart the “Fast Track” waiting room with more energy and vigor than most sick children. (Before I pass judgment, I hope that whatever was wrong with these kids is minor…and I also realize at this point that these kids probably didn’t have a primary care physician and this was probably a rare time when they actually saw a doctor).

Kids of various ages buzzed about the room, but one little one, a boy about 18 months old I’ll call EJ, had eaten several lollipops, a bag of Doritos, a Dr. Pepper and other assorted candy while he waited to see the doctor. No wonder he stood on the couch and screamed, “MORE CHIPS!” at the top of his little lungs.

Enter Sassy Mama, and her two children Diva and Cutie Pie. Diva is about 10, CP looks to be about 6. A nice man with cookies with the word, “VOTE” on them came into the room (behind Sassy Mama and CP) and gave a cookie to Diva who had walked around the couch to throw away something. Diva then made fun of CP for not getting a cookie. Diva licked her cookie all over to ensure that sharing will not be forced upon her (SM said that they both had sick germs but shouldn’t share them) and continues to taunt CP. Sassy Mama tells Diva that if she doesn’t shut up, she’ll have to throw her cookie in the trash. I walk around the corner to go to the bathroom and found the cookie man and asked him if he’d go give CP a cookie and save his sister’s life. He smiles and goes back to “Fast Track.”

When I return to “Fast Track,” several more people had been taken into see a doctor, but nobody has been able to locate Ms. Albino. Sassy Mama, Diva and CP, however are still there. Diva is at one end of the couch crying while CP eats his cookie. Apparently, Diva just couldn’t let things go and her cookie was now in the trash. CP then decided to pull out a Buzz Lightyear doll (the talking one with lasers that shoot), and he ceased to be CP and turned into Annoying Brat. Soon, Sassy Mama decided he was annoying too and Buzz Lightyear disappeared just as I was about to rip the only magazine I had found in half in frustration.

12:14 AM E returns and lets me know that a half hour ago, C saw a doctor and X-rays were ordered. A light appears at the end of the tunnel.

12:20 AM C goes to X-ray. EJ gets to go see the doctor.

12:40 AM Doctor gives diagnosis to E & C. Sassy Mama and her children get to see the doctor. I’m one of three people left in “Fast Track.” Ms. Albino has never appeared. One man in particular has been in there as long as I have. He’s in a wheelchair, and he’s pulled his sweatshirt up over his head and gone to sleep. A few minutes later, another group of grownups has brought in another boisterous child and I’m no longer inclined to take a nap.

1:12 AM E comes out, followed by C, who is on crutches and is sporting a temporary cast and a “really cool ice bag,” and a prescription for some kickin’ painkillers. Lovely parting gifts for those who endured the ER.

1:30 AM E needs to stop and get gas on the way home. No problem. I take the time and interview C about her experience. Her one quote: “I’m really tired.” Me, too, C… me, too…

I arrived at home about 1:50 AM and let E & C know I made it home. I took off my cape and at 2:06 AM my head hit the pillow and it was the last thing I remember until my alarm went off at 6:30 AM… I hope to catch more zzzz’s tonight.

Oh, and the moral of the story: when the pizza man rings the doorbell… rise slowly and take deliberate steps across the room.

THE END

Posted in health

APRIL SHOWERS BRING MAY MOLD

… and other allergies stories. Ah, yes, spring is definitely in full swing here in southeast Texas. Each day, our cars are covered in a thick, yellow dusting of pollen, the air is full of pollen as well, and since we didn’t have a good, hard freeze this “winter”, mold is rampant everywhere and the mosquitos will be thicker than ever. But I digress…

It is now April. March Madness is over and I must say that I did so badly at guessing who would advance, that the last team I didn’t mess up on (Duke) lost last night, so none of my picks survived. Sigh. It’s never been this bad!

On a better note, I’m now working 5 days a week at the church I’ve worked for off/on for several years. Two of the days pay less than the other three, but any money is better than none, and since I’m working full time hours, I’m hopeful that I’ll be eligible for insurance. I could use the help in the dental dept and it wouldn’t hurt to have a complete physical, either. So, keep that in mind when you’re thinking of me.

Also, at the church, after 4 1/2 years, they’ve called a pastor, a young man who brings great leadership and discernment. The vote takes place on Easter Sunday, and though I’m sure they’ll vote him in, many of the more seasoned crowd isn’t sure what they think of this guy yet. As far as from the view from an employee standpoint, I’m just excited to have a boss again… maybe some things will change, maybe they won’t, but at least it’s a step in the right direction.

On another note, I think I’ve finally narrowed down my church searching. I haven’t been visiting different campuses lately, because I wanted to step back and decide which denomination I felt most aligned with. I also wanted to give myself time to grieve my losses and to seek God to know which way I could best worship. Please keep that in your prayers as well and I will update more about that soon.

Posted in dental adventures, health

A TALE OF BROKEN TEETH

I now have a second broken tooth… on the opposite side of the other broken tooth. Part of this tooth broke last night while watching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory — no chewing involved — and the rest while eating chips & salsa this afternoon. Two crowns will cost $1200. I have lived with the other broken tooth, because, while annoying, it has been tolerable. This tooth, however, is sharp and jagged and is rubbing my tongue. So far, the only pain is the jaggedness. I am going to try to cover it with a temporary filling until I figure out what to do.

I know of a dentist who will let me make payments, but at my present employment status, I cannot afford the payments. So, here are two prayer requests… a job and help in the meantime.

I guess I’m back to mainlining orajel and eating soup and oatmeal. Until next time! 🙂

Posted in health

A BLONDE MOMENT

I finally have antibiotic drops and the eyes are improving. That’s the good news. The funny, holy cow, I can’t believe you did that news is that I thought I was going blind yesterday when I was in the shower.

My eyes fogged up and I screamed and yelled for Jene’ (who was downstairs and did not hear me) that something was wrong with my eyes. Turns out I had left my glasses on and they had fogged up while I was in the shower.

After I finished laughing at myself, I apologized to blondes everywhere for representing them badly and stereotypically.

Sometimes I wonder about myself!

Posted in health

NOT SURE IF IT’S PINKEYE…

…but my eyes are sure red. My blue irises are surrounded by a pool of red… both eyes. Granted, I have horrible allergies, but usually the allergy eye drops do the trick. Not so this morning. I am going to get some antibiotic drops Monday to put in my eyes, so that should help.

On a brighter note, I received an early Christmas gift today and I love him. He is Swizzle, a stuffed toy giraffe from FAO Schwartz. Swizzle will now kick my fascination with giraffes into a full blown obsession… which all successful writers have. I could go for the popular obsessions, such as drinking, sex, drugs, the environment, politics, or making origami swans, but I think I’ll stick with giraffes.

Now that I have an obsession, I can bypass all other weird writer phases and go straight to the top of the NY Times Bestseller List… as soon as I… ahem… get published.

Great. I just touched my eye again and since I may or may not have pinkeye… I have to go wash my hands and hose my keyboard down with Lysol.

I’m sure all the great ones had these sorts of setbacks.