Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Root Canal




This story is not for the faint of heart. So my dear MIL should not read on as it involves dentists, pain, and not a lot of happiness. 

I had a root canal today.  In January, I had a crown put on a tooth on the bottom left side of my mouth.  The tooth was cracked. 

All went well. The dentist quickly realized that I need extra numbing stuff because I have a larger than normal nerve system in my face.  Make of that what you will.  When I went in to get the permanent crown, they thought they'd just pop it on there.  Wrong. I'm sensitive. So the highly thoughtless dental hygienist gave me a shot without using Lidocaine. No numbing agent for a mouth shot. Are you kidding me?! Then she got irritated when I squirmed.  I was fuming by the time I left. The pain was so intense that tears squeezed out of my eyes and filled my ears.

Fast foward to June and my tooth still hurts.  It's sensitive to hot and cold and I haven't chewed on the left side since December. I don't want to go back there. But I can't drink without pain and sometimes get a little dehydrated unless I get stuff room temperature. So I go back.

The dentist was surprised I made it that long.  He gave me an antibiotic and scheduled the root canal.

I took the antibiotic.  It made me sick. I called for another one. It made me sick too.  I took it for awhile anyway. 

Today I went in and advocated for myself.  I was really polite but also firm.  I shouldn't have to take Valium or Halcion just to get a shot in the mouth. So the dentist did the shots this time.  The dental assistant gave me two different swabs with the Lidocaine.  He was as careful as he could be, but the shots still hurt.  And they didn't work.  So two more. It worked. I did this:

I put my earbuds in and listened to some french electronica. Very soothing.  Until he struck that nerve.

OWWWW.  Cuss word, cuss word, dirty word!! I threw in a few personal insults about his mother.  All muffled by the dental dam and an inability to speak well. I jerked and raised my left hand.  He stopped, puzzled. 

"Oh", he said. He looked at the assistant.  "She has a hot tooth."

What the hell is a hot tooth?

It's an infected tooth, one that antibiotics won't help since it's encapsulated.  And since the infection is acidic, the nerve-blocking and basic Novocaine didn't get through it.

In other words, they were drilling a live nerve.

Wanna know what he had to do next?

Seriously, if you're my mother-in-law, you may not want to read this. 

He had to inject Novocaine directly into the nerve. I had to hold still while he did it.  That made me a sweaty, heaving, crying, mess of a woman with uncontrollable shakes. I've said it before, I'll say it again: I've broken bones before without as much pain as I've felt in the dentist's office in the last 6 months.  But after 15 long seconds in absolute hell, my tooth finally went dead. I still felt a little pain, but it was nothing like what it was.

After the drilling, I saw the dentist sticking first needles into the canals of my tooth, then pins.  The pins, he explained to my giant eyebrows, were attached to a sonar to tell him how deep the nerve canals went.  Like a fish depth finder, only inside of my jaw.  Gross.  Fascinating.

Then out came tiny drills to dig out the nerves in the canals.  It was a little freaky to see inch-long drills being put into my mouth and then come out again.

It got weirder. It's never good when a mechanic, a plumber, or a dentist are in the middle of something and you hear them go "huh".  Kind of like "I didn't expect that", only with one syllable.  It's never a good sound. It's usually an expensive sound, or in my case, a painful one.

My eyebrows asked the question for me.

"Oh, you have four root canals instead of the regular three." He went back to work. My jaw started aching from being propped open for so long. 

I asked him about that when he was done. He'd only seen that a few times in the 30 years he's been in practice.  But he said he thought it went along with me having all those extra sensitive nerve endings in my mouth.

By this time, there were some little medicine-filled sticks in each of the canals.  I had to excuse myself for a minute and looked at them in the bathroom mirror.  It looked like someone shoved four
matchsticks into one tooth and left them hanging out.  They smelled like clover. 

I asked the assistant about the clover, because she's much better at guessing what people are saying.  She had the dentist explain. The clover is part of what they shoved in there because it's a natural anti-bacterial. 

They ended up just cutting off the ends of the sticks and putting a temporary cap on the tooth. The dentist was very sympathetic when it was over.  I think he saw the tears rolling out of my eyes from under the heavy sunglasses they give you to protect you from flying debris. "When you come back in for the permanent filling, we won't need to give you anymore shots.  All those nerves are dead and gone. I drilled them out." 

I said "Thank you", but I'm sure my eyes said "we'll see". 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Summer Hike at Umtanum Ridge

Today is a stay-at-home, take care of myself day.  It started wonderfully, with a short walk with my friend Kim to get some coffee.  We're going to a movie later.  And of course, G is invited. He's friends with Kim too. She's been so busy lately that it's a welcome surprise to find she can hang out and just have some down time. I miss her!

First, gentle face washing, then I put on some Elmer's glue for about 5 minutes. Doesn't take long to dry in this heat/0 humidity. When you peel it off, the junk stuck in your face comes off too.
Then I got out this beauty:
Collagen is good. 
The mask itself is white and looks like Hannibal Lector when you put it on.  Fifteen minutes later, my face is wrinkle free. I took a picture of the right side of my face, which has a few dark patches.  The women in my family get blotchy dark skin when we get out in the sun.  You can barely tell. No makeup, no filter. It's so dry here that when my skin isn't dry, it's cause for celebration.

I took the 15 minutes to put on lotion, put super softening gunk on my feet and meditate. I went bounding in to see G, who was listening to some smooth jazz.
"Oh my gosh. Look at my skin." He barely glances.
"You look nice."
"No, no. I just got done with an AMAZING mask."
"Yeah, I saw it."
"No. You saw the Elmer's glue. Touch my face!"
"Kinda feels soft and fishy. But you're beautiful. I love you." He gently wipes his fingers off on his jeans.

Men don't understand beauty at all.

I really needed a bit of time to take care of myself.  I'm sore! Between working out at the gym and all the hiking and moving around G and I do, I'm a little pooped.


Anyway, it was a great weekend. We went hiking up at Untamum Ridge. You can learn more about the ridge here and here.

If you click on the topomap, you will see that Umtanum is south and west of Manastash Ridge, which is the other steep altitude hike we've taken. We drove out a ways on Canyon Road in Ellensburg and parked on Bureau of Land Management land.  Since it was the 4th of July, lots of floaters and flotillas were passing lazy time going down the Yakima River. That's the river snaking North/South through the topopmap.  It wasn't actually a long hike, but we originally took the right fork through the canyon floor.  We saw a cleared area that's been overgrown for 50+ years with apple trees growing wild now. Obviously, someone homesteaded this canyon and/or cultivated it.  Good apples, just small. There were also the remains of a livestock fence.
It's overgrown, but it's an apple tree.  And Gs butt.

And another- only with reddish apples

And another

Love those high canyon walls

A little creek meandered down to the Yakima

They'll get bigger, later in summer
I was wearing shorts, so about a mile in we had to turn around.  The grass was really high and some brush kept scratching my legs.  Also, we encountered a couple of snakes. I am still training myself not to have a jumpy fear response, but every once in awhile I do sort of dance backwards.  I didn't get any pictures of the snakes. I fear that my readers might give up on reading if I did. Here are some flower pictures instead.

I altered this a little, but not much. 

And a little video.


On the way in, we saw a couple of big horn sheep, and on the way out, I got video of them.

And a couple of good photos.

They knew we were there, and at times moved off a bit. They weren't scared so probably they know that BLM land is closed to hunters.

We went back to the trailhead and began the ascent.
This part of the ridge went south, whereas the other canyon went west. It went up and up and up.  Here's a couple of those photos. I had to stop every 25 yards to catch my breath.  Asthma sucks.

Steep and rocky.  Joy.

Glad I did all those squats this week. 

This is a natural little bridge between the canton walls. Wildlife use it frequently from what I can tell of the trails.

Another view of the land bridge 

I think this looks like a French impressionist painting.

We didn't go much farther after I shot this video:


Think I'm going to need another hit from the inhaler.

We saw an outcropping with what looks like a small wild animal's den.  Being as many of those little critters, bobcats, skunks, cougars, and the like are nocturnal, we decided to turn around.  Besides, we hit a brushy patch and my legs were getting scratched.

On the way back down, G fell off the mountain.  That sounds way better than that he lost his footing and fell onto the mountain.  Guess it depends on how you look at it.  He's ok, but he is taking it easy.  I thought for sure he'd break his wrist or his tailbone because he hit hard and because I'm really sympathetic to people getting hurt.  A little limping down the mountain- we still had a mile to go- and he made it to the car.  Still limping two days later but this could have been much worse.  I had joked earlier in the day about having to shoot him if he broke his leg.  I shouldn't make jokes. There must be a thing called karma. We were cooling out tootsies in the Yakima river on the way back to the car.  It's nice to step into 12 degree water after a hot couple of hours tromping around in the bush.  I leaned over to move a river rock and PLUNK! My phone hit the water.  And sunk.
I put in rice, and the pictures and video transferred over to the iCloud. That's how I have access to them. Woohoo! But booooooo for my phone. I'm not sure if it's alright. We'll give it a few days.

G is really an optimist though, and the rest of the day was spent resting, popping ibuprofen, and watching distant fireworks as our nation celebrated so many years of independence from English rule by lighting things and watching them explode.

More adventures soon- where shall we go hike next? I'm open to suggestions!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Westside Story

I had a one-week break between spring quarter and summer.  My summer class is online and the Writing Center has graciously let me stay working for them through summer. I really do like them; it's not their fault that things fell apart.  So I wanted to use my time wisely but G didn't have the week off. Poo.

My mom and her husband, John, were going to be in the area, so G and I invited them to stay with us for 2 nights.  As a bonus, my nephew Dustin was with them.  They also had a little dog named Cheechee.
Eleanor helped me make the bed in the guest room. Can't you see that she loves that a dog is coming to visit?!

Oh, yes, that's why I went to the trouble of rehabbing this table... *awkward pause*

This kid here- he's one of my favorite people. What a wonderful young man!

John and Cheechee. Yes, D is reading one of my books. Yup.

There is no mistaking that this is my mom. We look so much alike.

I like John.  He earned three purple hearts in Vietnam.  He probably wouldn't tell you that though. 

Seriously. I'm his Mom #2. 
One remarkable part of this visit is that I got to spend time with John.  I like visiting with my mom and with my nephew. Don't get me wrong!  It was just that she married John when I was like 31 and living in Oklahoma. So it turns out that just he and I are the morning people (G was at work). So I made coffee and breakfast and we talked about literature and war and PTSD. I have had many, many vets in my classes and I enjoyed his perspective. He offered a few books that might be beneficial.  

After we packed them off to the next leg of their journey (They were making 5 stops on their vacation!), I threw some stuff in a bag and headed West.  My niece Niqui invited me to stay a night with her, so we did dinner and hung out on her porch for the evening and talked Aunt/Niece or Friend/Friend stuff.  She's 25 now so it's a different relationship than when she was 6 months old and I rocked her to sleep with her twisting my hair with her fingers as she nodded off.  
Love driving on the West side.

Tacoma Narrows Bridge

Jeez, I guess I'm fond of the black tank top.

See that? I'm going to cross a huge bridge called the Hood Canal Bridge. 

This is the Hood Canal Bridge

Can you see the sign? It says "Egg&I Road".  Yeah, from the book.

Us at dinner.  She did my hair.

These puppies are so sweet!

This is Jazmyn- she's the biggest puppy of all.

This puppy is rotten, but only 6 weeks old.  She's a good cuddler.

Cute house, huh? I love A frames.
Then I spent a few nights at my sister Patti's house- same sister from my wedding.  She's also one of my very dearest friends.  We dug around in the garden and went berry picking.  Ok, berry eating. We didn't bring any home and they have just acres and acres of blackberries to scavenge. Her husband Brian - who I also count in my friends- is the crew chief on a sprint car, so we went to support them.  JJ Hinkle won. It was a pretty exciting night. 

I always feel like I'm driving to Narnia when I go to my sister's house. 

Kia is the greeter

This is Leia and Lacy

Lacy is Dustin's puppy.  She's a snuggler.

Brian. We also call him "Grumpaw" instead of Grandpa. He's not that grumpy.

See that apple tree to the left of my car? I once ran that thing over.

Got my hair cut when I was there too.

This is Leia. She's saying "CHEEEEEEEZE!" She's precious.

I'm not photographing and driving, promise.


We are such goofballs!

JJ Hinkle.

You wouldn't think that rocks would fly up and hit me, but they did. I got a huge bruise on my right knee. 

Neat car

This is the crew after their big win

I did spent a bit of time in Port Angeles.  I do love that place above most others.  It's way out on the peninsula.  The beaches are rocky and cold, even in this summer.  But I love it.  My soul always feels,  Oh, I don't know, rejuvenated there.  
I had to stop by here.  Great college- I love the campus

Outside the long house at Peninsula College


Ediz Hook 1

Looking towards Canada from Ediz Hook


Sea Monster?

Looking at Port Angeles

I just love the view

Well, it had to come to an end.  I was missing G, so I went home.  Good times, but I'm glad to get to where I wanted to be- my house with my husband and one very cranky cat.  She didn't talk to me for two days, but this morning it was all snuggles. 
It was a beautiful drive home.  This is Mt. Rainier

So happy to see this guy!

You didn't want to wash DIS laundry, did you? Too bad!