Tag Archives: health

Lack of Wisdom

dentists-arlington.jpgIt’s been time for a while. Everyone else did it when they were teenagers or college students, but I’ve been holding onto mine as those around me fell to necessity and society’s pressure. Last month, I met the man who would handle it for me and, after brief social banter and a discussion of technicalities, I scheduled a time to abandon the few and become one of the many.

My wisdom teeth were coming out.

They were “erupted” (good) but not “impacted” (bad), so it was determined that only two of my remaining three would be taken and recovery would be brief.

(I was surprised I only had three. I thought I still had four. My dentist never mentioned one was missing and I don’t remember ever having it out, so either it’s still in there (bad), it fell to a particularly raucous bit of my late twenties (bad), or the tooth fairy has become professionally over-aggressive. Well, or I was abducted. Bad and bad.)

I scheduled the operation carefully to fall on a day when R. wouldn’t be traveling, the nanny would be with A., and I could devote a couple days to recovery.

That didn’t so much work out.

I cracked one of the two teeth two weeks ago, the day the nanny left on vacation, and rode out the week on Vicodin and Codeine until the earliest available surgery date, which was, naturally, the day our Labor Day weekend guests arrived from New York. Great start.

Thirty seconds before the anesthesia kicked in, the doctor offered to remove a little salivary cyst on my lip as well. Excellent. Two for one. Turns out complementing stitches top and bottom on the back left of your mouth with a set on the front left of your mouth makes for some serious pain and impediment. You know what else doesn’t help? Slamming the left side of your face into the bathroom doorframe the next day when you swing around too quickly on pain medication that, apparently, affects your ability to judge distances.

I hit the frame so hard that I and everyone in the other room thought I broke my nose. I took a chunk out of my tongue because it was between my teeth fiddling with my lip’s stitches, and I narrowly averted a black eye by icing my face for the next two hours as the bruising pooled below my left eye. Yeah, left side again. My glasses saved me: the upper frame has a slide of white paint an inch long.

The next morning, I careened down the last five steps of the staircase while I was carrying the baby. I slid on something beneath my heel (an hilarious banana peel?) and nearly threw A. into the wall at the bottom of the stairs, but managed to save us both by taking some additional bruises on the arms. You can’t say I don’t have follow-through, right?

I thought I was done, but no.

Yesterday afternoon, I fell on our steep concrete front stairs, also while carrying the baby, this time going up. My knee and shin are blacker for it, my pain quotient continues to climb, but again, the baby remains unscathed.

The nanny is still out, and R. is on the other coast for a few days, so A. and I are muddling through the pain and its killers on our own. It’s been a difficult week, to say the least. I have to say, with all the accidents, I do feel as though my wisdom has been diminished. I wonder how you get that back. I think I need it, or I’m going to end up in the hospital. Or as the lost Marx Brother. One or the other.

Bedside Manner

My doctor left our insurance group last year and I had to choose between staying with my obstetrician or following our GP. Since our GP was treating me for sore throats and my OB would be delivering our child, I picked the OB. Call me crazy.

So this year, we were in the market for a new doctor. We managed to get into a well-rated practice with a doctor who came highly recommended. Here’s an outline of how that went.

Me: I seem to have developed eczema on my hands, which is weird, since I’ve never had any skin problems. But a friend of mine got it postpartum and I’ve done some research and it seems like that’s something that happens. It gets better and then worse and my hands hurt so much sometimes, it burns just getting water on them.
Him: You don’t have eczema.
Me: … [long pause] Is there anything I can do for it?
Him: You don’t have eczema.

Me: I’ve also been having severe pain in my hands, so much so that it hurts when I type. It’s hard to pick up A. too. I’m wondering if there’s a possibility of arthritis or something similar?
Him: [picks up one arm, turns it over, looks at my inner wrist for five seconds, puts it down] It’s not arthritis. You’re doing something over and over again that’s causing it. You should stop doing that.
Me: Yes, well, I don’t know what that would be.
Him: You’re texting a lot.
Me: No I’m not.
Him: When I came in, you were on your computer. You’re getting carpal tunnel from typing too much.
Me: I have a one year old. I barely have any time to type at all.
Him: Well, you’re doing something that’s causing it, so you should stop doing that and it’ll go away.
Me: ….

Me: I’m having difficulty sleeping, even when A. sleeps and I have the time to sleep. This has happened before – I get out of synch and can get back-on track with a prescription for a few weeks. Can you prescribe something short-term?
Him: You’re up at night because you have running thoughts.
Me: No, I don’t.
Him: That’s why you’re up. You’re anxious and have running thoughts.
Me: I don’t have running thoughts, but yes, I guess I am anxious.
Him: What are you anxious about?
Me: Well, normal new parent stuff. But that’s not what’s keeping me up. But OK, lately I’ve been worried about A. sleeping on a different floor from us, in case there’s an emergency. Like a fire or an earthquake or something.
Him: Maybe next time you shouldn’t buy a house with her bedroom on a different floor.
Me: … That’s your suggestion to help with my sleep issues? Buy a different house? We just bought this one. We’re not buying another house.
Him: You might think about not buying a wooden house as well.

In the end, he prescribes Ambien which I tell him won’t work because I’ve had it before and it doesn’t work. He tells me to call in a few days to report back.

It doesn’t work.

I call back and tell him it doesn’t work.

Him: Well it’s not the Ambien’s fault.

So that’s how well that went.

Now I have an awesome new doctor who is, coincidentally, a bad-ass. It turns out I do have postpartum eczema and there’s a diagnosis for the hand thing and I’m sleeping better – and I didn’t even have to buy a new house. Fancy that.

Health Care Crisis

I’ve been doctoring it up recently. It’s not a good time to add appointments to the calendar, what with our fast-approaching return to Europe, planning a major event for R’s parents’ 50th wedding anniversary, and two weddings to sort out in the next three weeks, but there it is. I’ve hit the optometrist and the dentist and taken the plunge with a new orthopedic adjustment.

You wanna know how all that’s gone? Not well, that’s how, thanks for asking.

First of all, the new orthopedic therapist is completely creepy. He’s oddly tan and pudgy and his personal manner is reminiscent of the guy you know from frame one is guilty on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. I was afraid to let him touch me in case he left a trail of slime. Unfortunately, he was pretty effective which made my decision to never come within ten feet of his creepy, creepy office again more difficult. But I got there.

Then I went to see my super-nice optometrist. All good. Except they tried to upsell me into anti-glare coating on my glasses lenses. On the inside. This made no sense to me – what kind of glare can be generated in the half-inch space between my glasses and my eyes? – until it occurred to me that maybe I was scowling during the appointment and they were trying to discreetly steer me towards reabsorbing my own ocular aggression. Like, they’re trying to bounce my glare back into my head rather than protecting me from any glare the world’s sending my way. Kind of insulting but also ingenious. If that’s what they meant. Which it probably isn’t.

To round out the disconcerting triumvirate of healthcare experiences, I had a full-blown panic attack at the dentist’s yesterday when they pinned me down for over an hour to do two fillings back to back. It was like Terry Gilliam had set up shop in the suburbs.

For your future information, in case you were going to try this at home, smocks with puppies and Fisher Price toys in your peripheral vision don’t offset the claustrophobia induced by having a large block of rubber wedged in your mouth and hooked up to lights and vacuum pumps.

After that ordeal, I moved on to the judgmental dental hygienist who gave me the silent treatment because I had accumulated too much plaque for her liking. Like I lie awake nights rubbing my hands together evilly and producing wheelbarrows of plaque just to spite her. It’s plaque for cripe’s sake, not nuclear warheads. And while we’re on the subject, I’d like to know who doesn’t lie about how much they floss?

I didn’t used to be an anti-dentite, but I am now. It took them a while, but they drove me to it.

From now on, I’m going to either avoid healthcare entirely or drink heavily before I go. That should make things more entertaining. For me, at least.