July 20, 2020

thanks, bites, and bits

Just a quick thank you for the kind words and supportive sentiments you shared last week.  Since few people in our 'day-to-day life' even know that we are considering adoption, stumbling though the process these last few months with so many emotional moments has been challenging. 

The current, occasional feeling of being in a dark tunnel is unfortunately reminiscent to me of having a miscarriage.  The possibility of expanding our family (when we were much younger) was something we kept private, and when those hopes and dreams ended in miscarriage over the years six times it was heart breaking.  It was a loss I avoided talking about openly because I wanted to avoid the "WHAT?  DON'T YOU HAVE ENOUGH KIDS?" comments (not that people would have said this AFTER a miscarriage, but if they had known that we were even considering more kids after 2, or 3, or 4, etc. they would have weighed in. People are weird, in case you haven't noticed)

I also kept the miscarriages quiet because I wanted to avoid the long stares later:  "Is she pregnant?"  Best to keep people out of the loop.  Have you ever known people who invited EVERYONE into the loop:  We're gonna start trying, we've been trying, So-I'm ovulating, etc.  Sheesh.  Not our approach. 

I had a few close friends that knew how sad I was back in the day, and I am grateful to have close personal friends who I can share this process with now.  Still, there is a side to this that is just flat out lonely and painful and full of 'what ifs'. 

I appreciate that I can share with all of you, it wasn't easy - and I was hesitant because it's A LOT.  So, thank you!

Guess what else makes for a memorable summer . . . dental work.  My dentist has been after me to replace two silver fillings that were old and tired, much like myself.  He also wanted to bond a few teeth and build up my gum where my nerve was exposed.  The nerve?  OK, I'll stop.  

Guess who brushes with too much energy?  Aggressive brushing plus stress plus God knows what else, and my gums are receding.  

I finally scheduled the good times for last Thursday and I couldn't wait for it to be over.  

Warning:  this photo might be disturbing to those
of you with neat and tidy tendencies and'/or
 offspring.  This was taken AFTER I told the
children to remove their current toothbrush from
the bathroom.  Who the hell is failing to toss out
old toothbrushes until the bathroom because
over-run by an abundance of toothbrushes? 
While I was laying there in the chair wondering how much longer, I pondered my dental visits as a kid.  The goal was not to have a cavity, and each of us entered the waiting room after our cleaning to face the other siblings and their stares of:  "So? Cavity?"  Rarely a cavity between the 5 of us, which I find remarkable, but eventually I got one.  

Mom had spoken vehemently about the horrors of Novocaine for as long as I could remember, so naturally I opted to have my tooth filled without it.  I was maybe 10 or 11.

I know you were hoping for a photo of me with a
 droopy lip, but with no photos I found these
toothbrush-mystery photos as the closest link.  I am
 sure you will be relieved to know that I did not
 hold my breath as I waited for someone to admit
 to hoarding old, gross brushes because no one
 would ever step forward and I would surely
 have passed out and hit my head on the toilet or
 something.  I am annoyed, but I have survived
 the excess toothbrush elimination project.

When we moved away minutes before I started high school, we ended up at a new dentist.  Maybe a year later he had to fill my 2nd cavity.  I bravely waved away Novocaine, and he looked at me like maybe I was touched in the head.  He started the work and several reflex-induced punches and kicks later delivered by perm-wearing-self to himself and his assistant, he lowered his drill and asked me what my grudge was against Novocaine.  

"Oh, it isn't my grudge, it's my mom's.  She says it's bad.  Real bad." or something to that extent.  Not sure why in this made-up-dialogue I sound either uneducated or like I am from the hills and never been to a real dental exam before, but let's roll with it.    

Dr. Sullivan shot his assistant a look that screamed, "So, just as we thought . . .  her mom is a nut job," then he told me that he couldn't proceed until I agreed to be numbed with Novocaine.  Too close to a nerve, etc.  

I caved, and you know what - I can deal with a blubbery lip, because damn . . .  so much easier.  Can I get an amen?  

As the dentist was finishing up my work on Thursday, he put that black film stuff in my mouth and told me to bite down.  I believe he then sees where the black residue is left and then he files the new filling down to recreate a normal bite.

Well, I call foul.  People, how are you expected to bite down and be sure it is the real-deal bite if your mouth is all whacky-doodle?  I bit down, Doc filed away, and we repeated this little dance several times.  

I like my dentist.  I've been going to him since a year after college when I moved from my folks' house - back to where I lived as a young whipper snapper.  I suppose this will not come as a surprise to you, but I used to babysit my dentist's kids when I was in 7th and 8th grade - before we moved to the northern suburbs of Chicago for my hilarious high school years (buy the book someday, and you will enjoy the hilarity of my HS experience).  

I am hearing a collective 'Oh my gosh, is there anyone she DIDN'T babysit for?' from you, my devoted readers.  You know me so well.  Crazy, but one of his sons is now a dentist and has joined his practice.  And yes, I did tell him when we were reacquaintedSo, you don't remember me, but I used to change your diapers.

Anyway, I even blubbered at one point while numb last week:  Not sure I am biting like I normally do when I am not numb.  And Doc assured me my bite was perfect.  Oh, and he put this little foam piece in my mouth to prop my mouth open during the procedure and I told him that Coach might want me to bring a few of those home because they make it difficult for me to speak.  
Well, it is now Sunday night and the numbness has worn off and my bite is all-kinds-of-not-normal.  It is off.  And that is totally irritating.  To top it off, a few hours ago after I flossed I started noticing that I had sensitivity to hot/cold and sweet in the place where he did the work.  Come on now.  

I have been grouchy all evening.  Goes without saying.

I mean, I remain committed to my love for Novocaine, but not like I am jumping up and down to be a repeat customer or anything and I am not all that available to sit in a dental chair having just done my 2 hours last week - I am usually needed to chauffeur my offspring places.   Life might not be back to normal exactly but there is a definite busy contingent happening here.  

For the record - this happened to me years ago and Doc fixed it, and Coach says he is in the same boat right now having gone back a few times to have it adjusted and now he has just given up.  Silly me, I just thought he was at work all day.  

So, what hang-ups did your folks have that influenced you?  Did you eventually figure out that your parent was perhaps a bit loopy?  Or have you ever ended up with a screwed-up bite after dental work was done?  Don't be shy.


Nicole MacPherson said...

I missed everything last week, and just caught up. I'm so sorry you went through that. What a sad experience all around.

On a lighter note, dental pain is awful. Aieee. Hope you feel better.

Kari said...

I am not a fan of the dentist especially now. I couldn't even get a cleaning appointment until September but I guess they fit you in quick for pain etc.
I have Invisalign and have been HORRIBLE about remembering to use it. I used to be so good but with migraines and quarantine, I have been a bad girl.
Sigh. I figure they are going to keep canceling my appointment anyway so who the hell cares. :)

Busy Bee Suz said...

My heart dropped when I read that you've endured six miscarriages. That is a lot of loss and I'm sorry for that.
I agree with NOT sharing everything in life with your family/friends. Especially the trying to get pregnant part.

How do your children know whose toothbrush is whose? The thought of someone accidentally using my brush without me knowing makes my skin crawl.

I've had difficult teeth my entire life until the last few years. Well, wait a minute, I had a dental implant put in the year before last-that was a six-month ordeal.
But as a kid and adult, I had more cavities, root canals, tooth removal than anyone I knew. I promise, I was brushing my teeth (not as hard as you!) but I just had bad teeth.
I hope you can get your 'bite' back in the right spot.

The only weird thing my Dad constantly pounded into my head was DO not GET ON A MOTORCYCLE. Is that weird? Probably not, but I've never been on a motorcycle.

Kara said...

My Mom is incident specific cheap. Many things she doesn't have an issue spending money on, but occasionally she'll get a hair across her ass about something and be super cheap for no good reason. For example- they redid their kitchen/dining room/3 season porch/bathroom, and spent about $40K doing so. At one point in the renovations, my Mom freaked out and insisted that the light switch and outlet face plates get reused. You know, those plastic things that cost about $1 each. They were old and dingy and would not have looked right in the kitchen. My Dad's way of dealing with it was to have one of my brothers throw them away during the night when she wasn't awake. During the same renovation, she tried to reuse a 40 year old faucet that "only needed to be repaired." It was beat up and crappy. Again, it was thrown away without her knowledge and replaced with new.

I have terrible teeth. Growing up, we had well water, so it was not fluoridated. During my very early childhood- newborn to age 3 or 4, I pretty much drank everything mixed with that water. By the time my siblings were born, we switched to drinking fluoridated jug water, but the damages were done to my teeth. I have fillings in just about every tooth except for the front eight. I've had two root canals and three crowns already. Not only that, but I've swallowed a crown and cracked another. Moral of the story- fluoride works.

Ernie said...

Nicole - It was a trying experience. In the middle of all of it, I read your post about luck and it hit home. I am hoping the issue with my teeth is a quick fix. Of course they are not there on Mondays.

Kari - I feel like this is the summer of dentist appointments. We usually get our teeth cleaned in June, but since all the spring appointments were pushed back they just found us a few appointments here and there. I feel like I drive to the dentist almost as often as I drive to the grocery store. I dread calling to figure out when they want to fix it almost as much as I dread having anything else done.

Suz - Six was a lot, I guess my kids are lucky, they each have an extra guardian angel. :) Even without sharing info people felt that because I had a handful of kids, they could or should comment. Strangers in the grocery store: "Are you done?" Like, as in done shopping? Nope. They wanted to know if I was going to have more kids. I assume they just thought my guys were cute and wanted to see more of the same, but still. I suppose it looked like it was just a piece of cake to reproduce, but you just never know what someone is dealing with.

Toothbrushes: some of the kids hide their toothbrushes in their bedrooms or in the back of a cabinet in the bathroom so that no one uses one by mistake. After our visit to the dentist, I try to get the kids to select colors that we don't already have floating around in there. Then when we travel, I have had a kid with the same toothbrush color as me and I have to scrape off a bit of the handle or something so I know. As with most things in our home, it is a free for all.

Yikes, the thought of having constant dental issues makes me squirm. Yikes. I have fared pretty well - just a few things here and there. Never even had to have braces. Lad yanked keys out of my mouth as I leaned over to buckle him in his carseat when he was a baby and that cracked my molar, etc. I am hoping this is a quick fix.

My dad knows how to swim (not really well, but he can swim) but he used to hate it when we got invited to go on a friend's boat. That made him nervous, and we had a million swim lessons growing up. Sounds similar to your dad's fear of motorcycles, although I have not avoided boats.

Kara - Oh my gosh, your mom is a trip. So funny about wanting to hang on to switch plates for dear life. Such a bummer about your teeth. That is the pits. You could be the poster child for fluoride. Once when Tank had to have a tooth pulled at the dentist office, he was so freaked out that when they got the tooth out he sat up really fast, knocked the tooth out of the dentist's tool, and it flew up in the air - then he swallowed it. It was like something out of a cartoon. The dentist was looking on the floor for the tooth and I was just sitting there shaking my head, "Nope, he swallowed it."

Amy said...

Ouch, dental work is the worst! I decided to try getting a cavity filled with no novocaine, just to see what it was like. The dentist was ok with it, seeing as how it wasn't supposed to be near a nerve. Yeah, he hit the nerve, and it was an AWFUL experience. I've switched dentists and opted for novocaine every time since. lol!

Beth Cotell said...

Further proof that your mom really is insane! Did she have a bad experience with novocaine?

I can't think of any crazy things my parents ever said or did. I have lived a very dull life.

6 miscarriages is so many. I am still haunted by the one I had. But yes to all the extra guardian angels! :)

Ernie said...

Amy - Ouch! Yeah, the second dentist was like I CANNOT CONTINUE and I was all, OK TWIST MY ARM. I left a message with my dentist that something isn't right with the work he just did - just making that call took me half the day because I am so bummed about it. Hoping for an easy fix.

Beth - I do not remember why she despised novocaine, but it must have stemmed from some sort of torture. My mom is literally the MOST stubborn person you would ever meet.

You have not lived a dull life, some people just remember things clearer. I mean my mom had an aversion to onions, spicy food, most fruit, most vegetables, etc so I in turn became a picky eater. Those days are behind me.

It was a lot and I when I learned that miscarriages can be symptoms of celiac disease it almost killed me. I tried from my mid-20s until 2015 to get diagnosed. Time does heal, but those were dark days. FYI - I just referenced a prayer you mentioned in a comment recently: Jesus, I trust in you, help me to trust you more. - or something along those lines. That is where I need the help.

Charlie said...

One thing I have a phobia about is the dentist. I have to be sedated for a filling. Sad but true. I’m amazed I managed to read your post AND comments without closing it down and having the shakes. It’s really a horrible issue to have, I’ve even tried hypnotherapy to see if I could be cured. Apparently even when sedated I still fight the dentist!!

Anyway... I was thinking while I read the beginning of this post that the loss of the children was very like a miscarriage with the quick finish to all the plans and dreams you had in your head, so I wasn’t surprised to read that’s how you are feeling. Sending so many positive vibes for you and Coach and prayers for Brother and Sister to find the family that’s just right for them.

Ernie said...

Charlie - Oh no, that's awful. Here I am thinking it is inconvenient to have to find time to squeeze in a repeat visit, but if that also involved arranging a ride due to sedation - YIKES!

Like I said, I am such a planner . . . although if you stopped by unexpected to visit my house you might wonder why I don't 'plan' to do housework more regularly. Mapping things out in my head and mentally figuring out how it would all work is the way I cope. So, yes - it reminds me of the days when I would envision things that needed to be done with a new baby. I think of Sister and Brother a lot and I do hope that they find the perfect fit. Feeling your positive vibes. :)

Bibliomama said...

I am terrible at the dentist - my jaw is tiny so no matter what they do I am bruised and sore for days afterward. I panic and have to do breathing exercises not to leap from the chair. And I hate when I have to go back - but I did have to a few months ago, and it was an easy fix that they didn't charge me for. Hope the same happens for you.

Ernie said...

Ali - Well if you have a tiny jaw, then I guess no one can accuse you of having a big mouth. ;) That would suck to come away from the dentist bruised. I am hoping for a quick fix. The thing is these old filings were not bothering me. Now I feel like I have a cavity, so does that mean he has to redo the filling again? I shudder to think.

Kari said...

YIKES, I read Suz's comment and I didn't even see the six miscarriage line in there. Oh, friend, I am sorry. I think I was stuck on the fact that people had the nerve to say, "don't you have enough kids??". What a horrible thing to say. I don't know why people judge like that but I guess I have judged people before in my life too, so I guess I should shut up lol!

I am reading this book about the Universe and how when you judge people, you become the energy of what you are judging. That stuck with me and changed me. Maybe those people need to hear that.

I am so sorry you went through that but I LOVE how you said that all of your kids have a guardian angel. I believe that is 100% true. :)

Ally Bean said...

I had braces as a teenager, then decades later needed to have them again because my bite was off balance because the orthodontist did the straightening all wrong. Talk about annoying! However, as an adult after an adjustment I could drink as many martinis as I wanted to dull the pain which made for a tolerable experience. My teeth hurt more as a teenager.

Ernie said...

Kari - Yes, that number is tough to think about, but I do know how lucky we are that we were able to still have a family. People say crazy shit, and I think when they see someone with a ton of kids they feel somehow more free about speaking whatever crosses their mind. Ugh.

Ally - That IS annoying. Kind of an expensive and timely ordeal to have an ortho not know what he is doing. Ed needs a root canal. It is scheduled for Friday. One thing the dentist said is that it could have happened while he had braces - like the ortho could have done something. I can imagine adult beverages might make the whole experience more tolerable. In that case, too bad most folks get braces as teens.