Category Archives: Health

Rinse and spit

Rinse and spit

I’ve spent the past 6 weeks in dental hell.  And it’s not ending anytime soon.

Labor Day weekend we were getting ready to go to the beach when I noticed Xander’s right cheek was all swollen.  “Do you have a toothache?”  After a moment, he said sheepishly, “Kinda.”  I sighed.  “Okay, we can’t do anything about it right now.  I’ll call and make you a dentist appointment on Tuesday.”  A little while later, I said, “Here, let me see it.”  He pulls open his cheek, and I look in to see half his molar is gone.  “Why didn’t you SAY anything?”  He shrugs.  Kids!  What is worse is a few days later, after I scheduled the appointment but before the appointment itself, I asked the question I should have asked in the first place.  “When did this happen?”  “I don’t know.  Around graduation?”  Kid, that was THREE MONTHS AGO.  I don’t know if he just didn’t realize that pain wasn’t normal or if he was scared to tell me.  Either way, he and all the kids got the lecture that if they’re hurting, they tell me and I worry about things like how we’re going to pay for it.

That lesson didn’t sink in so good, but we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

So we went to Xander’s appointment, which to my shame was many years past due.  The first appointment was just a cleaning and x-rays, but he was pretty nervous as he couldn’t remember having been to the dentist before.  Everything went well, but there was no saving the molar, so that would have to come out, and he had 5 cavities that needed filling.  So I scheduled weekly appointments and got the name of an oral surgeon, which I also scheduled.  Every week for the past month I have been at the dentist with that kid.  He did great.  Didn’t have any problems at the oral surgeon, which surprised me, especially since I couldn’t stay in the room with him.  But then that kid always surprises me.  All his cavities have been filled, and his wisdom teeth come out on Monday.  After that he’ll heal for a month before we go back to the dentist to get a spacer in where his broken tooth was.  Unfortunately we have to wait a couple of years before getting an implant or bridge until his jaw finishes growing.

In the meantime, though, I’ve become very aware of my kids’ teeth.  I’ve been nagging them all about improving their dental hygiene (my parents were pretty lax about it when I was a kid, and that’s carried over into my parenting), and we got the water pik the dentist insisted on, and both Crow and Xander have taken to that pretty well.  So when I glanced at Crow the other day and noticed a black spot on her front tooth, I went uh-oh.  Sure enough, they have a big cavity right on the side of their incisor.  So, back to the dentist we went.

Their cleaning and x-rays were today.  The dentist said she could tell Crow was starting to use the water pik, so yay for that investment.  But they still have 8-9 full blown cavities, and half a dozen more “baby” ones.  Those we’re treating with prescription toothpaste, but the others need a whole lot of appointments, especially that front one.  It is millimeters away from needing a root canal, which none of us want.  So I have all THOSE appointments made, and will be at the dentist most of October and November as well.

I am so grateful I have what passes for decent dental insurance in this country and a health savings account to pay for all of this.  I know it’s largely my own damn fault, but when you live on the financial edge, going to the dentist is terrifying.  Crow needs braces, and has for a while, which I’ve known and just had no way of even considering before now.  But the fear of being told it had to be done and figuring out how I was going to pay for it kept me from getting even the basic care done for them.  That kind of financial insecurity is so hard to explain to someone who hasn’t experienced it, and the shame spiral that goes with it is impossible to escape.

Morgan goes to the dentist on Monday, the same day Xander gets his wisdom teeth out.  Fortunately Morgan’s teeth are rocks like mine are, so I’m not too worried for him.

 

Wheelies

Wheelies

I’m still in the boot.

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You can see the fine line of the break just above the fold crease. It looks like an elevation chart!

Two more weeks, which is discouraging, but should have been expected.  Every article I’ve read about broken ankles has said 6 weeks, and it never occurred to me that 4 weeks might just be to check on progress.  So I was incredibly disappointed, bordering on tears.  But everything’s lined up nice and straight and starting to fill in as it should.  Another two weeks, and then I get moved into an ankle brace for god knows how long.  As long as I can start driving again, I’ll be happy.  I actually kind of like riding to work with co-workers, but I want to be able to run errands, dammit!  I’m working on sucking it up, though, aside from a lot of whining, and am looking to get on with things.

To that end, I’m looking ahead to what’s next.  I won’t be able to run for months even once I’m out of the boot (sob!), but it looks like biking will be good right off the bat.  Since initially I got into running as a gateway to cycling (who knew I’d end up loving running!), it seems like this may be the universe’s way of telling me to get on with it.

I did get a few trips in this summer, and even managed a hilly 10 miles once.  But my bike is heavy and sluggish for that kind of riding.  She’s good for rough trails or grocery getting, but dragging her uphill is a chore, even in the lowest gear, and I can’t get her going very fast even ont he flats.  As the ennui of my ankle settled in, I went looking on Craigslist for a more suitable road bike.

I found Galadriel.

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She’s a 1984 Lotus Challenger mixte.  But you wouldn’t know to look at her that she’s over 30 years old.  She looks like she just came off the line last year.  The paint is almost pristine, the welds perfect, and the guy selling her had replaced all the things that lack of use would degrade, like the tires and cables and bar wrap.  He’d even added a rear rack.  I did a lot of research on her, and even though he was asking a lot for her, it was a fair price.  She’s a collector’s bike, where even ones in crap condition go for $150-200, and she’s in gorgeous condition.  I would spend twice as much to get a similar bike new.  But I wasn’t in a hurry to get a bike.  This was only week 2 of the boot, after all.  But she kept eating at me.  I started researching her, and asked other, more experienced riders for their input.  Hell, I even dreamed about her, which is when she told me her name.  So I figured I needed to at least make an attempt at her.  I got in touch with the seller, and he responded right away agreeing to set up a test ride that weekend.  Nikki was great and came up to drive me over, even though she hadn’t driven anything in almost a year, let alone my big old van.  I took off the boot, put on a sneaker, and off we went.

She looked even better in person.  Then I got on her.  She was fast.  And smooth.  She shifted great, despite me having no clue how to use her lever shifters.  There was a fairly steep (for me) hill right next to the house, which I was able to fly up, despite babying my foot.  And she fit me perfectly.

I needed this bike.

I tried to talk him down, but he knew what he had, and I knew what he had, so I told him I’d have to think about it until pay day.  I was worried he’d sell it in the meantime, but if he did, well, that just meant I wasn’t meant to have her.

Monday Nikki sent me half the cost with a not.  “Buy the bike.”  I looked at the ad again.  And I got in touch with him.  The problem, of course, was that I couldn’t drive out to get her.  Fortunately he was willing to drop her off.  She was just as beautiful in my yard as she’d been in his.  I was not going to lock her on my front porch with the other bikes, though, so initially she was in the kitchen and now is living in my dining room where I can pet her whenever I want.

Now, there may be some adjustments made.  As I said, she has lever shifters, which I have never used, and they’re on the down tube instead of on the bars, so it takes a little more finesse to shift.  And she has drop handlebars, which again, never used.  So she’s going to take a little getting used to.  I am going to get professionally fit to her so everything’s the way it should be.  I think the handlebars need to be a little higher, as I feel like I’m tipping over if I hold the brakes.  Once that’s all set, I’ll give it three months to get used to.  If at that point it’s just not working, I’ll change out the bars for butterfly bars which will let me ride more upright and get thumb shifters installed on the bars.  I want to at least give the current set-up a try, though.

Not getting to start riding her this week was especially disappointing.  I’m making it up to myself by shopping for gear for her.  I’ve ordered a handlebar bag which has a map pocket and cell phone display pocket, and I got a repair kit with all the basics for on the road repairs.  I want a trunk bag and panniers, but those will keep, and as the season moves on, I’ll need decent lights.  Sophie, my old bike, will probably be my winter bike, as she can handle snowy roads better, so I won’t need heavier gear for Galadriel.  But what I really want for the new bike are these panniers.

The vendor on Etsy who sells them has taken them down, but I’m hoping they’ll go back up eventually.  They’re expensive, though, $150, but they hold a lot of stuff, and don’t they just look like something an elf queen should have?  And they’d be easy to move between the two bikes as needed, so they’d be flexible.  So I’ll watch to see if they go back up.  I’m not allowed to get them anyway until I can complete the long park trip I have planned.  It’s 30 miles round trip, and is the same route the local bike club rides, so once I can do that, hopefully I can start riding with them.  Meanwhile I’ve created an Amazon wishlist for all the other goodies I want.  I may make another one to build fantasy kit for bike camping.  There’s so much stuff to get, I could go a little nuts!

And I’m not the only cyclist in the house!  Xander has been amazing about riding his bike to school.  He can’t wait to get out the door in the morning, literally.  I’ve had to keep him in when he’s made a break for it a 6:15. As it’s staying dark later and later in the morning, we’ve been adapting.  He know has a quick release light for his handlebars, and I ordered another set so he’d have them front and back.  I also got him a pair of cycling gloves with skeleton hands on the back to keep him warm now that it’s finally cooled off.  There are a couple more goodies I want to get him, like spoke lights and a reflective harness, but there’s time for that.  He said he wants to keep doing it even after I start driving again, but we’ll see how long that holds once the snow flies.  I may drag him out with me on a couple of long weekend rides once I get moving again.  Who knows, maybe I’ll have a riding buddy!  Hero’s getting more attached to her bike, too, but she doesn’t want to make it her sport of choice, because then it’s work instead of fun.  This is a mindset I hear from a lot of my family, and it makes me a little crazy.  I mean, shouldn’t your work BE fun?  But she has to do what works for her, and as long as she gets some fitness in, I’m happy.  Of course, she still has to get through her push up test in gym, but that’s a whole other workout goal!

So.  Two more weeks.  (Again.)

Meh

Meh

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Injury is isolating.  I’ve been feeling pretty lonely lately.

It’s been 4 weeks since I broke my ankle.  4 weeks of being dependent, of being confined, of being uncomfortable, and, honestly, of feeling sorry for myself.  I think I’ve actually felt worse with this than I did through most of my cancer therapy.  Which really is pathetic.  I’ve been very fortunate.  People have been very kind and generous with their time.  Eileen and Jess from work have been giving me rides every day so I haven’t had to work from home.  Eric took me to run errands last weekend, and Nikki came up this past weekend to drive me around as well.  Which I appreciate more than they’ll know.

But it’s hard to be dependent.  I can’t do everything I want to when I want to.  There’s stuff that is fine to wait until after I’m driving again, like taking Morgan clothes shopping, but I hate having to (gods, that boy needs new pants!)  I’m trying to buy a new bike, but I have to see if the seller will deliver it since I can’t go get it.  It’s just INCONVENIENT, and that’s almost worse, because you get aggravated even though you know it’s not that important.

The worst is at night.  Sleeping with the boot on is a pain, as there’s really only one position you can sleep in, on your back, preferably with the foot elevated.  If it’s not elevated, my knee tends to lock and hurt.  But I’m a stomach/side sleeper, so I’m in and out all night.  Last night was cold enough to be under the covers, but I couldn’t because of the boot.  I woke up at 4 and couldn’t get comfortable, so that was it for me.  Which is probably why this post is so whiny.  I’m tired, I’m uncomfortable, and I’m frustrated.

One more week.