Sunday, November 19, 2017

Why Jelly Beans Are The Devil

Several weeks ago, I stupidly ate a jelly bean. It pulled out my crown. It wasn't even a black jelly bean so it was totally not worth the ensuing dental problems!

I went to the dentist a couple days later, handed him the the very expensive piece of porcelain, and asked him to glue my crown back on. He looked at it. He looked at what remained of my tooth. He look at me with a face that said You're kidding, right?!

"What?" I asked innocently.

"Does your tooth hurt?"

"Nope. So if you could just glue it back on, I'll be on my way."

"I can't."

"What do you mean you can't? Just stick it back on," I helpfully prompted.

"The crown didn't just come off, your tooth broke off in the crown." He held the crown up so I could see.

"Okay, well just glue it back on," I insisted.

"I can't glue it back on. Have you seen your tooth? It broke off at the gum. There's not much left."

"Okay then just glue it on temporarily until I have money to get it fixed the right way."

"It can't be glued on even temporarily."

"Just give me the glue then! I'll do it!" I said, only slightly maniacally.

"You need a root canal. Then a post can be put in so I have something to work with. Are you sure it doesn't hurt?" he asked increduously.

"No, it doesn't hurt. Didn't I already have a root canal?"


"I'm pretty sure I did."

"I know that you didn't."

"So you really won't glue it back on?"

After being kicked out of his office, referral for an endodontist, and prescriptions for antibiotics and pain medication in hand, I resigned myself to getting another root canal.

Fast forward to a week later at the endodontist. The receptionist called me to the counter to fill out paperwork. Upon completion, she handed a little gift bag with tissue paper sticking out of the top. Then she called my name to go back and I started crying because A: I was about to have a root canal, and B: I WAS ABOUT TO HAVE A ROOT CANAL! 

A nurse naively tried to take xrays, but soon tired of my constant gagging and moving, and gave up. The endodontist came in, took a look at my tooth, and announced, "Well, I have good news and bad news. The good news is that you can relax and stop crying because I can't do a root canal. You don't have enough tooth left. The bad news is that you'll need to have that tooth extracted. Did your dentist even see this tooth before referring you to me?"

"Yes, he saw it last week."

"Hmmm . . . How much pain are you in?"

"It doesn't hurt at all," I said, a mixture of utter relief and absolute horror playing across my face at his good news/bad news.

"It will," he predicted. I'd get in to an oral surgeon ASAP."

I cried a little more on the way out when I was given a $50 bill for the pleasure of gagging on xrays and being told they couldn't help me. Once in my car, I took the tissue paper out of the gift bag and pulled out mints, chapstick, a pen, and a t-shirt emblazoned with the words, "I SURVIVED A ROOT CANAL" across the front. I felt a little like a fraud, but after my $50 bill, the time taken off work, and the gagging extravaganza, I thought What the heck! I deserve this stupid t-shirt!

Fast forward again to my consultation with the oral surgeon. The nurse took my medical history, took panoramic xrays (with nothing shoved in my mouth hallelujah!) and took my blood pressure. 

" Your blood pressure is 141/90. That's a little high," she announced, concerned.

"I'm about to have someone put his fingers in my mouth. Considering that, my blood pressure is a little low," I countered.

The oral surgeon took one quick look and said, "No problem. I can pull that out. I'll have to use the drill to get it out. We'll just numb you up and you'll be fine."

"Wait what? Drill? Numb me up? I'll be awake???" I freaked out.

"Well, we can sedate you if you want, but you don't need to be out for this procedure."

"Clearly, you don't know me. I most definitely need to be put out for this," I insisted.

I paid another $50 and got some clearance forms for my hematologist to sign since I'm on blood thinners. The receptionist gave me papers that showed my out-of-pocket cost would be an additional $265 due on the day of the procedure. 

"Ummm, just out of curiosity, how much would it be if I wasn't sedated?" I inquired.

"Then your cost would be $25."

I went home and agonized over which was stronger - my fear of the dentist, or my empty wallet.

Fast forward a week and I saw my hematologist, was told to go off my blood thinners 5 days before my procedure and to do Lovenox shots instead during this time, and again after the procedure until I resumed the Coumadin and my blood was brought back up to therapeutic levels.

Fast forward to the oral surgeon. It's the day of the procedure. I have no money so I'm sucking it up and going through the extraction while awake. On the bright side, I'm too depressed to be too scared. The doctor comes in, shoots me up with a ton of novocaine. It doesn't work. As usual. He comes back in the room and I'm freaking out because I can feel everything. He gives me several more shots, and says, "Don't worry. This tooth has very long roots. If I can't get you numb, I can make a hole in your gum and shoot more novocaine down by your roots, or I can bring you back another day and sedate you for this."

"Oh yeah. Now I won't worry. Thanks for that reassurance," sarcasm dripped from my mouth like the drool that was puddling down my chin because I was finally getting numb.

I'll spare you the details. But the sounds . . . oh the sounds! The drilling, the cracking of my tooth, the digging the pieces out, the stitches, the tears that kept running into my ears because I was lying back so far. I was in the the chair while they tried to control the bleeding for longer than it took to remove my broken tooth though.

When I left, I was presented with a bill for $55 "because we had to add on an extra medication to stop the bleeding and your insurance didn't cover it."

I left and went to CVS to get my prescription for antibiotics and pain medication. While waiting for the pharmacist to fill my order, I shopped for pudding, soup, and Carnation instant breakfast. When I picked up my prescription, I told the pharmacist, "I also have some Lovenox to pick up. When I was here a couple weeks ago, you only had 6 out of the 14 syringes my doctor ordered so you gave me a partial order and told me to come back for the rest. She found my order and charged me for it again. 

"I already paid for this prescription. I picked up half of it. This is just the other half you didn't have in stock." I pulled the receipt out of my purse and showed her.

"I'm sorry. I can't help the way your insurance works."

"But you are charging me twice for the same prescription. My doctor prescribed 14 syringes total."

"I told you when you got the first ones that we couldn't fill your order," the pharmacist argued.

"Yes, I know. But you failed to tell me that you would charge me twice if I agreed to come back for the rest later. I have picked up partial prescriptions in the past when you were out of something and you have never charged me twice for it."

"I'm sorry," she reiterated, her hands in the air, refusing to do anything about it.

This is the point I had a full-on meltdown at Target. It wasn't pretty. I am not proud.

My whole face was throbbing because the novocaine was wearing off and I'd been feeling sorry for myself for a couple weeks now because I'd had to pay for car repairs, I was overwhelemed with everything, my stupid tooth saga, no one saved me seat at the work potluck because I was stuck doing some dumbass job and couldn't join everyone until later, and because I've been alone for EIGHT years and I'm tired, so tired of always having to do everything with no help, and wouldn't it have been nice to have someone take me to my appointment then drop me off at home while they went out and picked up my medicine for me? I'd been choking back tears for so long and the prescription thing was just the weight that pushed the scale over and I did big, ugly sobbing. Right there at the counter. Dripping snot, crocodile tears, gasping for breath crying as I paid for my prescriptions again, and left to go home.

I wanted to take a pain pill and just pass out, but I knew I'd throw up if I did so on an empty stomach so I got out a bowl to make some pudding. Before I started though, I ran to the bathroom to get some more tissues. While I was in the bathroom, I got a text from Austin. "Just a head's up, we stopped by thinking a chunky baby will help make you feel better. Don't be scared that there are people here lol."

I walked out of the bathroom to find Austin, Codi, and Colynn in my apartment. Austin made me pudding, and I got to see my grandbaby.

My tooth extraction was on Thursday. I still look like I have a golf ball in my cheek. The pain had lessened, but is now throbbing again. And the lessons to all this are - 

Jelly beans are the devil. Stay away from them. 
Sometimes life sucks and you just have to break down and cry. 
A chunky baby can help make you feel better. 
And if you have kids, steer at least one of them towards medical/dental school.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The Best Thing About Being a Grandma (aka - Payback!)

When my firstborn son, Austin announced that they were expecting, I immediately imagined cuddling a little grandbaby. Yes, I'll have a cute little grandbaby! Awwww. My son continued, "So what do you think, Grandma?"

Wait what? Grandma? Grandma??? No. Oh no, no, no. I am much too young to be a grandma. I mean, I know that having a grandbaby and being a grandma aren't exclusive; it's kind of a combo deal. You have a grandbaby - you become a grandmother. But no. Just no.

When I hear the word "grandma", I think 

I'm sure it's partly because I still have young kids. I have 3 kids who are in school. I buy their clothes, make them dinner, help with homework, drive them to sports practices, braid their hair (well, not Clay's hair.) But you get the idea. I'm still in the thick of the "mom thing." It's a little strange to embrace the "grandma thing" when you're still actively momming. (It's a word. Trust me, I'm a writer.)

Still, when I got to hold that little, minutes-old baby, I thought, You can call me whatever you want. This is pretty awesome. The best thing about having kids is seeing them grow up and have kids of their own.

But I was wrong. That is not the best thing. 

Austin sent me this text last night:

No, I'm not crying either. It's a just a little dust in my eye or something. Hand me those tissues, will ya?

This. This may be the best thing. And when his daughter hides under her bed instead of going out to catch the bus to school, or when she takes a jar of concentrated black icing color and paints herself, her sibling, and every conceivable surface in the house, I won't laugh and think payback! When she doesn't do her homework and gets a D in class in which she's perfectly capable of getting an A, when she waters your garden with a can of gasoline she found in the garage, and when she runs around the racks of bras in the department store while shouting "boobs", I won't smile smugly and think I wonder where she got that from. But as my child realizes just how hard parenting can be, I may be thinking - Been there, done that. Have fun, my son, have fun, and may the odds be ever in your favor.

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