Thursday, July 14, 2022

Six Months Out

I've had enough dental procedures now that I shouldn't be afraid of them. I have good dentists, I'm not hypersensitive, I bear pain well, every time they warn me it might be painful, it isn't really. It doesn't even hurt when they inject the anesthetic. Sometime I need some medicine that night or the next day, but not much, and mostly just some Tylenol. So I shouldn't worry.

And in addition, the next to last time I was in to see Ryan, my periodontist, he said that we had just done the hardest part, excising those three lower front teeth in addition to removing the implant that had failed after a couple of years, disappointingly. And the last time I was in, when he put in those two lateral implants, drilling down into jaw bone, it wasn't really too bad. And I'm a good patient and my dentists are good dentists and they are nice and I am nice and the staff are all nice and you never hear anyone yelling or complaining or anything. It's not like those frontier towns with big signs for “painless dentistry,” and the nicknames of dentists like “old smackmouth.” No, now it's all computers and advanced materials and bonhomie and anesthesia, so it's cool.

But I still worry, not that I had to. Ryan had had me scheduled for a check up and an Xray to make sure I was healing well, before this appointment with Barry, my general dentist to put in the two teeth on top of the implant infrastructure in my jaw, whatever they call it. Then the office cancelled that visit, and they wanted to reschedule but I told them that I had an appointment with Barry the next day and they were going to do some work and needed the periodontal go-ahead, and they were confused and confusing, and I called Barry's office and said I didn't know what to do now and could they get Barry himself to figure out what to do, not to just put off appointments, and do I really have to be checked by the periodontist. Finally they called back after they had gotten Barry and Ryan to talk to each other and they figured I didn't need to keep that periodontist appointment, that Barry could just check it up when I went there, but in the meantime they had cancelled my appointment with Barry so they were rescheduling me for the next day, and I said sure. I wondered what would happen then, but I just had to trust it would work out and there's nothing vital pending anyway.

I haven't made any plans for the next couple of weeks, I cancelled this week's French lesson, and I've hesitated on making plans to go to Hawaii, waiting to make sure it's all OK. Today was supposed to be a big deal, I thought, I was given to believe by staff or I assumed or I don't know, they really tend not to explain in full what to expect and sometimes the front office staff gets it wrong. So I made sure to take my swim yesterday, and work out in the gym this morning, so that I wouldn't go too long without exercise. I put a lot of soft food in the refrigerator, so after my 11:30 appointment with Barry I could come home and lie down or do whatever I needed to do and I knew it would be over soon because it always is, and I could tell my stepson Brian whether or not I could go down to San Jose and visit the baby this weekend and I knew it would be OK.

And besides, it's such a beautiful day, July 14, and José is hanging out the new French flag I bought on Amazon – a few months ago we installed a flag pole holder just outside the second floor bedroom window so we could hang a Ukrainian flag, and then our own flag for Fourth of July, and then French today for Bastille Day (just the way my stepdaughter Sara and her French husband Eric do,) and I'll have to figure out when to hang the Swedish flag (I lived in Stockholm for a year) and the Swiss flag (Ann and I visited there and loved it and my French teacher Claude is Swiss and she claims that she is teaching me French with a Swiss accent) and the Mexican flag (José and Antonia are Mexican and they take care of the house and the garden and me two afternoons a week,) all to go with our new house paint job and the tulips and the rhododendrons and the camellias and the lilies in our yard down below. July isn't hot here in Berkeley, and not so foggy as it is across the bay in San Francisco, so a sunny day isn't rare, and it isn't hot and humid as it is back East, in Philadelphia, where I'm from. I wondered today, as I walked down from the gym, was it the weather that made me move here? I sure remember when I lived in DC and worked for the US Public Health Service and flew out here in winter and landed at SFO and it was sunny and nice and I thought, what am I doing living back East? It's a beautiful day, how bad can any dental appointment really be?

So I got back from the gym and grabbed a couple of Swedish multigrain hard bread crackers – I learned to eat them in Sweden, along with Pripp's beer, and it's surprising to see them at Safeway, but there they are. So I buttered up a couple, figuring that after the dental appointment I wouldn't be able to eat much for a while. I had bought some yoghurt, and I have the Anderson's pea soup that I love, usually putting in some fresh carrots and maybe onion or bell pepper and some pepper and thyme, maybe. So I'm well stocked. I figured I would be just about in time for my appointment. I usually take a medical journal or two to read there while I'm waiting, but this time I didn't, maybe I forgot it at the last minute. But I'd get there a little early, which I always seemed to have trouble doing, but now I don't, for some reason. Anyway, I'd be ready.

So I got there and the assistant had me wash out my mouth and I sat back and was calm and ready – I'm really quite a good patient, calm and cool and good-humored. And the assistant told me that today they would be doing a scan so they could get the lab to prepare the bridge they are putting in, to be anchored by the two implants, like between two goal posts. Well, that makes sense, but somehow I had been ready for a big dental day. “No big day today?” I said. “No, just the scan.” I thought the front desk lady had said on the phone there would be anesthesia. “Nope, just the scan.” Then they'll send it to the lab and see me in two weeks “Big procedure then?” Well, not really, just fit it all in there, maybe some anesthesia.

How are you doing,” said Barry the dentist as he came in. “I'm OK,” I told him.

He confirmed what I now understood for our schedule, that there was just some fitting in to be done, and I'd have to wait a few days afterwards to see if there needed to be an adjustment if it hurt, but otherwise, we were almost home with this 8 months worth of pull, drill, and paste back in.

OK,” I said.

The scan took about five minutes and was amazing, as the assistant scanned with a scan gun of some sort in my mouth and a 3-D picture appeared on the screen. Jesus, that's just so amazing.

Then I drove home and realized that I could schedule some things for next week, go up to Sonoma to visit Richard for lunch maybe, schedule some other lunches with guys I've been seeing, like Bruce, and schedule my trip to Hawai'i, where I'd see Peter, and Sara and her family would be there staying in the condo, and my old friend Larry from med school would be vacationing, and where Pete's girl friend Holly was scheduling a special trip so she could be there, too. She's really so nice.

Now I won't be taking meds and lying down this afternoon, I wonder what I'll do? It's so beautiful, I'm going to sit out back on the little deck we have, that it was Ann's idea to put in over the little patch of grass between the redwood tree and the dawn redwood tree, a patch that didn't do much and was always scrubby, but now it's a destination, a deck surrounded by camellias and rhododendron and with so many neat pots with fuchsia and dwarf lemon trees and a grapefruit tree I planted about 30 years ago that I picked up at Price Club in Richmond, which became Costco, and under the redwood and the dawn redwood and a volunteer or two, all of it such a small and dense area, maybe 25 feet max from tree to tree. So I think I'll do that. And who knows, maybe I'll be able to put in some work on that essay on astronomy, geology, and evolution I've been working on. It should be especially relevant now that the James Webb Space Telescope is some wonderfully, miraculously functional, unblinding us again, after having been unblinded before by the Hubble.

Tomorrow, it will be exactly six months since Ann died.

1 comment:

  1. My dear friend, I am moved by your blog and respectfully wish "yehi zichra baruch".....