Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Hurry Up...and Wait!

People spend much of their time rushing through life or waiting for life to happen. The holiday hustle and bustle is more of the same with people hurrying around and then waiting in ridiculously long lines. For me right now, the hurry up and wait is a little different though. I realized I never updated my "followers" (aka super supportive family and friends who follow these random blog posts of mine) on the education situation and wanted to rectify that inadequate reporting. I also wanted to share another hurry up and wait situation that I am facing right now.

First, the education situation. I did appeal the grade to the department chair. She supported my appeal but Professor X was unwilling to acknowledge his grading of the APA mistake(s--since he claims them as multiple and I dispute them as one mistake multiple times) or compromise on the overall evaluation of the paper. Since the department chair does not have authority to change another professor's grades, that option was exhausted. The final step was to appeal to the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate, who would form a committee to investigate and issue a final ruling/grade. I decided I owed it to myself for the hard work it took to earn the "B" and submit the paper that was not deserving a basically failing grade (D-) which reduced by "B" to a "C-" for the course. Therefore, I filed the appeal for the final step in the process. They are deliberating now and will issue their written decision by this Friday (last day of classes). I am cautiously optimistic, but will certainly comment on the final outcome since my future education and career are at stake.

Now, for the other matter that is definitely going to be "hurry up...and wait." I have been having problems with my right eyetooth (tooth 7 for you dental geeks) for at least a year. Problems would be defined as an ache that would come and go and a visible black fleck at the far left corner which I knew meant decay of some type. I ignored it because I have SEVERE dental anxiety and figured as long as it wasn't loose or crumbling apart, I had time to work up the courage and address the issue. (NOTE - that is NOT smart dental hygiene!) On Thanksgiving Saturday when my family was feasting, a sliver of the right side fell off while I was sampling some shrimp cocktail and the pain has been escalating ever since.

Last week, the pain was so bad I was forcing myself to take pills. Now you KNOW that means I was in pain because everybody knows I can't swallow pills and I really hate the inconvenience of crushing them up in applesauce to "enjoy" with the Ibuprofen or Aleve. Since they weren't really touching the pain, I took more than the recommended daily doses to the point I had left sided abdominal pain and thought, "Oh great, my liver and kidneys are shutting down from years of soda drinking and a few days of overdosing on OTC painkillers." (Did I mention I have not had a soda in over two weeks? It reminded me of a new car purchase...the minute/week it is paid off, the problems begin with maintenance and repair. LOL) It further scared me to realize urine output was no longer clear but rust-colored. (I apologize if that's TMI for you--I'm an EMT and lost some sensitivity to "gross" things of that sort.)

I called the dentist and scheduled an appointment for the earliest opportunity--which required several additional days of waiting. I was seen yesterday for my consultation and things are worse than I had feared. The root of my tooth is dead and there's not much of the tooth remaining post-Thanksgiving-break-off for them to attempt a root canal with crown procedure. My options were extraction of tooth #7 and a very self-conscious smile (gap) or extraction of the eyetooth and a very time consuming process ending eventually in an implant and a picture-perfect smile. *groan* I'm self conscious enough as it is...I don't need a permanent hole in my dental alignment to complicate things.

Soooooo, I chose option two. The road to an implant is definitely going to be ripe with "hurry up...and wait" moments since so much of the pacing is dependent on my own body's ability to heal and do what is required for a successful dental implant. The process began with an impression (can we say gag reflex?!) so I can be fitted for a partial periodontic aka "flipper." The next step is an intense antibiotic that the pharmacy only had available in liquid form and tastes like metallic trash. Let's just say I'd almost prefer a jar of applesauce laced with horse pills. The antibiotic is necessary because there is so much infection along the gum line where my body was attacking the dying root, which explains all the swelling and pressure along my right cheek/face that I thought was sinus pressure with the extreme climate change (70s one day to 40s just a few days later). Next Thursday afternoon comes the extraction and implant consultation with the oral surgeon who removed my wisdom teeth earlier this year.

As I understand the process, I will wear the flipper in my mouth to camoflauge the gap that will be created when Dr. Wallace removes my tooth. I cannot eat or sleep with the partial flipper contraption in my mouth though, so insert self conscious behavior here...and here....and there....and pretty much anywhere in public if food is involved. Suddenly, I am so glad I am single and sleep alone! LOL The flipper will be my "friend" while the bone grows. This could occur quickly or slowly. Nothing can happen until the bone is in place along the gum line and strong enough to support an implant as confirmed by bone density testing and x-rays. (This took twelve months for someone who shares the gene pool with me, so I'm pretty much planning to become a house hermit when it comes to mealtime for the next year. Once the bone is prepared, they will screw in the implant with cap, and wait for my mouth/gum/teeth to heal and support the new house-guest. If there are no complications and once healing has been completed, they will apply a crown to the implant and make it a permanent addition to my family of teeth...except that by permanent the oral surgeon means 10-15 years.

This adventure will cost me $4-5,000 out of pocket ($500 for the flipper that gets thrown away once the implant is secure), lots of tears, anxiety, testing of my patience, new levels of being self conscious around others, and oh so much more. Here's the life lesson - even if your blood pressure tends to be 176/112 the minute you walk through the dentist's door when it was 132/80 at your house just ten minutes prior, do not ignore basic symptoms of something being wrong with your teeth. The good news is all of my others were inspected yesterday and are in great shape - no cavities, no decay. I guess in the big picture, one out of twenty-plus teeth isn't that bad, but for me, it's a crushing blow.

This is a sneaky way to lose weight though. No eating out for at least a year or in extremely rare instances. Eating lots of applesauce. Continue this newfound regimen of sufficient water intake daily. Sodas rot your teeth and kill your internal organs just like my Mama Jo said they would when she said that she was not going to donate one of her kidneys to me and that I'd better budget for dentures in my "old age." Apparently, the money I'm saving on sodas is going to spent on fixing the situation with this one little eyetooth.

Hurry up and wait indeed!


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