(not the teenage kind)

Sunday, June 10, 2007

And Speaking Of The Dentist

Last week on the penultimate episode of "The Sopranos," Tony Soprano is sitting in the waiting room of his psychiatrist, Dr. Melfi, leafing through a magazine. He finds an article with BBQ recipes and tears it out, folds it up, and puts it in his pocket. As I watched this I thought, how endearing. Tony Soprano's world is falling apart, his son just tried to commit suicide, and yet he is looking forward to a summer of barbecuing tasty new dishes for his friends and family.

Dr. Melfi did not see it the same way. Influenced by her own psychiatrist who has cajoled her into reading an article about how sociopaths are aided in their craft by talk therapy, she yells at Tony for his selfishness in tearing out the article and then fires him as her patient.

Here's my question. Last week when I was at the dentist instead of tearing out an article from a magazine I was reading, I actually took the whole magazine. I am thinking this makes me a way better person than T because, when you remove just one article, someone could pick up the magazine, see the article referenced on the cover or listed in the table of contents and then be completely disappointed when they turn to it and it's not there. But when you remove the entire magazine, no one would ever know the difference. So I shouldn't feel guilty, right? I mean, as Tony said, that's what they're there for.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

All About My Teeth

This is going to be so boring that all of you out there who have been begging me to update my blog are going to wish you had never said anything. But I'll try and make it snappy....

Spring/Summer 2006

This was when I discovered that my dentist had neglected to point out to me that my gums were really, really bad. So bad that I required three surgeries. The first was a tissue graft. After the tissue graft, I started having a pain on the top left side of my mouth. No one knew what caused the pain but everyone decided that I needed more gum surgery.

I went to a new dentist and had two laser gum surgeries. During this whole time, my dad was getting sicker, don dokken's mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, don dokken's aunt died, my dad died. In fact, I had a follow-up visit for my last surgery on the day after my dad's funeral.

At that appointment, the dentist told me that I needed a night guard because I was grinding my teeth at night. You know how you can only deal with so many things at once? I totally didn't believe her. So I put off getting the night guard.

January 2007
A new year, a new maximum on the dental insurance. I decided to get the night guard. Only the technician who made the mold seemed like she didn't know what she was doing. Then I went to pick it up and, after keeping me waiting for 45 minutes, they told me the night guard was not there yet. I considered billing the dentist for my wasted time. When I did pick the night guard up, the dentist did not even come and look to see if it fit and I decided it didn't. So I never wore it.

Also, I still had that pain on the top left side of my mouth and the dentist couldn't figure out why. I noticed that my teeth were shifting and there was a gap you could drive a truck through on the top left side. When I mentioned it to the hygenist, she told me that it had probably always been there but I was noticing it more now because my gums were good now. Huh?

One Month Ago
I became convinced that the gum surgery had caused the big gap between my teeth and I could no longer stand the pain on the upper left side of my mouth so I decided to consult with a new dentist. I brought the night guard with me.

The new dentist is quirky. What do you know. That gap in my teeth? It's because I grind them at night. And my night guard? He LOVES it. The pain on the upper left side? He is unsure of the cause but it could be that I ground a crack in it. He says that stress is written all over my mouth. I told him that the pain started right around the time my dad died and he asked what my dad died of and said his mom died of lung cancer too. He then said, "So, did you do the morphine? I hope he had the morphine." And I actually answered, "Oh, yes, yes, it was REALLY great!"

He told me that he wanted my night guard to become my best friend and that I should come back in two weeks and he would do a complete exam and try to figure out this pain I was having. After he left, the technician talked to me to explain all the possibilities. She said that, if the tooth is cracked, they will have to remove it and replace it with a dental implant. That is when I burst into tears. She told me that, as terrible as it sounds, the worse thing about it is the cost.

It turns out I know lots of people, young and old, who have dental implants and they concurred but, still, I was deeply depressed. Until last year, my teeth were something I could count on. I felt so old. And I prepared myself for another summer of dental fun and expense.

Last Week
I wore the hell out of my night guard and I went back to the quirky dentist. He told me my gums look great. He told me I have beautiful teeth. He also said "You have the mouth of a creative person who is a multi-tasker whose mind never shuts off. If I had a job opening, based on your x-rays, you would be the person I would want to hire." In other words, I grind my teeth.

But here is the good news. In the area of the pain, there is an old filling that needs to be replaced that might be causing some irritation. So, I have two appointments: one to replace the filling and one to have the gap in my tooth the size of a truck bonded. I am not going to need a dental implant! It is not going to be the summer of dental fun and expense.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

We Angelenos Are Wacky

This just in from Yahoo News and all I have to say is, oh my goodness, where am I going to throw my trash now? (The bold is mine, all mine.)

Los Angeles residents were urged on Wednesday to take shorter showers, reduce lawn sprinklers and stop throwing trash in toilets in a bid to cut water usage by 10 percent in the driest year on record.

With downtown Los Angeles seeing a record low of 4 inches

of rain since July 2006 -- less than a quarter of normal -- and with a hot, dry summer ahead, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said the city needed "to change course and conserve water to steer clear of this perfect storm."

It is the driest year since rainfall records began 130 years ago.

The Eastern Sierra mountains, where Los Angeles gets about half of its water supply, marked its second-lowest snowpack on record this year.

That and the lack of rainfall could force the nation's second largest city into full drought mode in coming months, officials said.

Below average rainfall for the past few years has also turned the traditional summer southern California fire season into an all-round event. Firefighters battled two major brush fires in May alone, at the Los Angeles landmark Griffith Park and on the tourist island of Catalina.

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