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Where is my mind

September 21, 2013

I’m hoping that the return to blogging will sharpen my mind.

These writing exercies should help to redevelop my ability to organize my thoughts in a more coherent manner, to recall vocabulary that I knew as a high school student, and even to remember correct spelling.  I can’t even spell anymore!

Over the past few months, I’ve felt dumb.  Not in the embarrassed sense, but in the sense that my mental capacity has actually lowered.  And I can’t figure out why, except that I’ve been out of school for six years now, and most of my brain works in a very narrow field that is mostly routine.

That isn’t to say my job is easy!  I would argue that it’s quite complex and does require extensive training.

However, my overall dumbing down seems to even affect my job.  Seriously, I second guess my math when I try to add a string of single-digit numbers in my head (but then, a good accountant always double checks, right?).  My excuse of relying too heavily on my ten-key is really just a cop out.

Hopefully this is a start for a turn around.

Turn it all around.

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Crooked Teeth, Part III: The Office Visit (Tray 1 of 22U/L)

May 15, 2011

And a month later, I’ll be talking about using my first tray.  (I’m already in the middle of my third!!!!)

So about six weeks after my second appointment, when my Invisalign impressions were made, I received a call from the orthodontist’s office, telling me that my trays were ready.  I was super excited! Unfortunately, I had to schedule an appointment to receive the trays, and, as I’m slowly beginning to get used to, it’s not so easy to make an immediate appointment; I had to wait another week before I could come in to get my trays.

I waited the week, went in, and it was actually a quick, sort of in-and-out ordeal.  I sat in the dental chair, and the first thing the orthodontist (Okay, back up . . . whenever I say “orthodontist” I don’t always mean the same, one orthodontist.  The thing is, there’s THE orthodontist, for whom the office is named after and whose name appears on the letterhead, and then there’s her staff.  Up to this point, most of the work was performed by her staff, and the orthodontist only examined and evaluated my teeth and gave me my options.  I feel like the staff also have to have specialized in orthodontics in order to work for her, but I’m not 100% sure.  I’m not even 100% sure they’re dentists.  Could be dental assistants?  I actually doubt that they are that though.  I mean, I’m extremely confident in their work, absolutely. So for now, I’ll call anyone who fiddles with my teeth an “orthodontist.”) did was schedule me for the next appointment for four weeks later.  I was picking up two trays for now, but at the next appointment, I would be getting attachments on my teeth, and I would need a longer appointment.  I was hoping attachments wouldn’t come until much later, but I guess you do what you have to do. *shrug*

Next, she snapped on the upper and lower trays.  My first impression was, “Wow, this feels really weird.”  The initial feeling wasn’t pain or discomfort.  Kinda just felt like I had an ill-fitting mouth guard on.  In fact, I actually think the first words out of my mouth was, “This feels weird.”  And then I said, “Wow, am I gonna be talking like this forever?” At that point, I don’t think the trays were completely in.  If you’ve ever watched SNL’s Darrell Hammond impersonate Sean Connery, if you remove the Scottish accent and just leave in how he “shushes” every word, that’s what it was like. I was told that, eventually I’ll adapt to it and speak how I’d normally speak.

While she dated my aligner baggies, she let me practice taking the trays out and putting them back on.  I was confused.  It was like the first time I got contact lenses, and I had to practice taking it out and putting them on in the optometrist’s office.  It was like, how am I even supposed to approach this? I was able to do it, and I figured out that I had to get my thumbnail on the edge of the tray, and then pull down (or up).  I was so afraid that I wouldn’t be able to do it later, so I squeezed it an extra removal and application.

Then she went through the entire kit I was receiving.  I got:

  •  The second set of trays.  I was to use the first set of trays for two weeks, and then move on to the second set, to be used for another two weeks.  And the trays were to be used for at least twenty-two hours.  In my head I’m thinking, “So I’m not eating then, am I?”  She told me that if I couldn’t do twenty-two hours, and I think I need more time, to just call and reschedule my next appointment.  Yeah right, that’s not gonna happen!  I’m all for compliance with this, and I’m not gonna risk prolonging the process.
  • An emery board.  The trays might have sharp edges, and I may need to file it down.
  • Red & blue aligner cases.  Here’s how I was explained it worked.  Use the blue case when I go out.  If I were to remove my trays to eat, and just left them in a napkin, it could accidentally be thrown away. It’s a dark blue, shiny, plastic case that’s not likely to be thrown out by some waiter.  When I’m done with a tray, move it to the red case, and in case I lose my current tray, I can revert back to the one prior in the mean time.   Yeah, even the ortho thought it was kinda weird to specifically use the red tray for that purpose.  I could just put them in their original baggies.  In fact, it was suggested to keep all my old trays in their original baggies.  I told her that after investing almost $5,000, absolutely nothing will be thrown away!
  • Invisalign produced Cleaning Crystals.  Apparently, Invisalign doesn’t endorse using retail denture cleaners.  So I was provided with two samples, and I could order more through my ortho’s office if I wanted more.  Otherwise, I was instructed to just use soap and water.
  • Chewie.  It’s a purple, inch-and-a-half long rubbery tube, with maybe quarter of an inch in diameter.  When I’m doing something like watching TV, I’m supposed chew on it, because it’s supposed to help the aligners seat properly onto my teeth.  I was hoping I’d get more than one, because it kinda seems gross to be chewing on this one thing off and on throughout the entire process (which I was told would be two years).  At that point, I realized I was constantly biting down on my trays.  I’m not a teeth grinder, so I was really noticing how I kept wanting to sort of chew on the trays.  I asked her if I could bite down on the trays, and it was completely fine, and in fact, do it with the chewie.
  • Colgate Phos-Flur Anti-Cavity Fluoride Rinse. I have to rinse my mouth daily after brushing.  It’s supposed to help strengthen the teeth.  I’m actually quite fearful about having cavities.  If I don’t do a good job cleaning and then use the trays, I’m actually trapping food and bacteria on my teeth.  And if I do get cavities, how does that affect the process? A filling might make the trays not fit right, and I’d have to start all over.  So along with compliance, I’m all about brushing and flossing good after each meal, and using this mouthwash daily.
  • Random reading materials
From there, I was done, and I was allowed to leave!  Despite this long ass post, it was maybe only twenty to thirty minutes.

LAME

May 14, 2011

I don’t know what it was, but I haven’t been able to log in.  Now I can.  LAME.  (I’m using Firefox rather than Internet Explorer. Don’t know why that would make a difference.)

Crooked Teeth, Part II

April 14, 2011

My next appointment with my orthodontist was scheduled for three weeks after my initial consultation.  I was pretty sure I wanted Invisalign.  I just had to figure out how to pay for it.  Basically, my soon to be awesome teeth will be all thanks to my credit card, COBRA coverage, and deciding to pay everything up front and receive a discount.  Total out-of-pocket expenses turned out to be just over $4,700.

I received a mini case presentation where I got the whole Invisalign spiel and got to ask questions.  I didn’t really have much questions.  In fact, the only one I can remember dealt with teeth whitening.  Because the trays are customized for each individual, they’re perfect for those at-home teeth whitening products.  Unfortunately, because I would be getting attachments, or buttons, glued to my teeth to help the trays move and twist some teeth into position, only the tooth surfaces still exposed would lighten, and I would end up with unevenly whitened teeth at the end of the Invisalign treatment.

I also got to see a casting made from the mold they took at the first appointment.  It was kinda gross looking.  The jacked up teeth aside, the fact that it’s just your mouth kinda seemed creepy.  I got to see the x-rays also.  Interestingly, I have one wisdom tooth still hiding!  Most of the people I know who’ve ever talked about wisdom teeth only ever talked about extraction, and it mostly occurred in high school.  Up till now, I’ve always assumed I just never had them, and it explained why I had so much spacing in my teeth.  My dentists never mentioned it to me either.  But I do have one, on the lower right jaw, which I can choose to remove later.  I don’t see any benefit to it, so . . . meh.  The only other thing that I can remember from the presentation was this filing tool.  It looked less like a file and more like a grater.  I was told it may have to be used.  I’m hoping that really means they’re just giving me this info just in case, and it’s really not likely that they’ll need it.

The time in the actual orthodontist chair included another exam by my orthodontist.  I think the main thing they wanted to check was the lesions on my tongue they saw at the first appointment.  At that appointment, they asked me if I used any tobacco products or drank alcohol.  I said no to the tobacco, but I felt kinda guilty about the alcohol usage, which is ever so minimal.  I really don’t drink much, but it was still kinda hard to admit.  She was still a doctor, after all.  But she reassured me it wasn’t a judgment thing.  If the lesions were serious, they would have referred me to someone who specialized in that.  I think the biggest concern was tongue cancer.

Anyway, when they were looking at my tongue, they saw that the lesion wasn’t there any more.  The were supposed to be on the right side of my tongue.  It just wasn’t there.  BUT, I did have a lesion on the left side.  They had check their notes and pictures.  It appeared that the lesion had moved.  And thus, I was told I had a geographic tongue!  Please don’t go googling.  I can honestly tell you that what I found on Google Images is totally NOT representative of what I have.  I don’t even have it all the time.  When I do have any lesions, they’re just these white squiggles or circular formations, no longer/wider than a centimeter.  And they migrate slowly across my tongue.

From there, there was another impression made by the assistant, this time specifically for Invisalign.  This one was a little bit different from my initial impressions.  Mainly it just took longer.  And I think they used a lot more gunk.  There was a lot of stuff in my mouth.

That was pretty much it.  I paid and I was told the wait for the trays would be 6-8 weeks.  I was curious why it took so long, and I found out that the trays are manufactured outside of the US.  And so, the wait began.

Crooked Teeth, Part I

April 13, 2011

I’ve always meant to write about this, but I’m a lazy bastard, so here it is.

So I just got my first Invisalign trays!

This all started at my dental cleaning in January.  I don’t quite know all the details (or any, really), but my original dentist had passed away over a year ago, and in the meantime, some new dentist took over his practice, and then another dentist took it over again.  So anyway, I’ve always thought my teeth were pretty jacked up and wanted them corrected, but as long as my past dentists never said anything, I didn’t bother bringing it up.  They know better than I do, after all.  Anyway, my new dentist recommended getting braces, and referred me to an orthodontist.

Initially I was disappointed that the earliest available appointment was three weeks after making the call, but I’ve come to realize that that’s pretty standard — apparently orthodontics is a very in demand service.  It makes you think about all the jacked up teeth people have in the world . . . and why animals have straight teeth.  How do they naturally achieve that?

I had no idea what to expect, but thanks to the internet, I had a general idea, and hoped all the good stuff, like getting braces then and there, would apply to me.  My orthodontist (a woman) and the assistants (there were tons of ’em) were really friendly.  Anyway, the actual examination was extremely quick.  My orthodontist looked at in my mouth, identified teeth, and told me that I was a good candidate for Invisalign.  That was a pleasant surprise, and I think I knew that additional cost wouldn’t matter, because although I was willing to accept adult braces, my vanity hadn’t.

The doctor also noted some funky lesions on my tongue.  She asked me if they hurt, and I said no.  I figured that if they didn’t hurt, it was nothing I should be worried about.  But, she made a point to reexamine the lesions at the next appointment.

From there, they had me take impressions of my teeth, pictures, and x-rays.  Having impressions involved putting this gummy substance in trays that I had to bite down on.  Did I have to bite down?  No, I think the assistant had to hold it against my teeth.  It’s a weird experience when you take yourself out of the moment and realize you have someone holding this gunk in your mouth.  The picture-taking was also kinda funny.  These plastic hook-y things had to pull my mouth open and my cheeks away from my teeth while the assistant took pictures with their huge, fancy, fandangled camera, this close to you.  And then there were standard pictures of my face and side profile, which I’ve been doing for other doctor’s office and even for a college class.  It always feels like a mug shot!  Anyway, the assistant said I’m photogenic, so that was a big ego boost.  From there, we did x-rays.  It wasn’t a standard x-ray machine in a dentist’s office.  It was this huge contraption that you stood under, and I think it rotated around your head.  No matter how much lead you put on me, a big machine with like that feels like it’s gonna shoot too much x-rays that would either kill you or give you super powers.

The appointment was wrapped up with more administrative matters.  I was given quotations on traditional braces, and Invisalign, and various payment plans.  I think I just went ahead and decided on the Invisalign then and there.  I had to schedule another appointment and decide how to pay.

I’ll talk about the second appointment later.

Bring It (Snakes on a Plane)

March 27, 2011

I was totally trying to come up with a list of things to do for the week, but I got side tracked by Oregon Trail on Facebook.  That totally ate up two hours of my time.  This is probably a sign of things to come for the week.  (FYI, I want to ditch some members of my party because they get bitten by snakes way too often.)

Currently Playing:
“Oh Lately It’s So Quiet” by OK Go

Down With the Sickness

March 25, 2011

Ugh. The best way to do this is to just make sure I get on and start typing.  I have no problem with obsessively getting on Facebook and Twitter.  This is more of a chore because there’s nothing here for me to check on, I guess.

Anyway.  Yesterday, there were two reports of dengue fever in Pearl City, which is just the next town over.  All winter, the mosquitoes have been pretty bad.  Their numbers wax and wane depending on the rain, but at least one or two of those bastards are always present around this house, slowly sucking the life out of me.  They’re so ubiquitous, that I feel like I’m slowly becoming immune to their bites.  I’ll still get an itchy welt, but after 15 minutes, I’ll stop noticing the itch.  Wait, that might actually be a bad thing, because they might suck me totally dry before I realize it.

So with the news yesterday, the mosquitoes went from itchy nuisance to serious disease spreader.  I’m not in a position to get sick right now, so I took that information seriously.  Death to mosquitoes!!!

There are buckets of rain water all around the house.  The buckets’ primary purpose is to catch rain water for use in watering the plants.  It’s not my doing.  Believe me, I would dump those buckets in an instant if I could have my way.  I’ve always hated the fact that mosquitoes ALWAYS breed in them.  They’re the sole reason there’s such a big mosquito problem here.

I’ve been pretty proactive these past few months in actually using the water for the plants.  So yes, the mosquitoes forced me to be useful around the house.  And as soon as I woke up this morning, which was pretty late, I went nuts with the water.  Every bucket was emptied!  I don’t want to sound like a  sissy, fishing for pity, but that was back-breaking work!  And even worse, I still ended up getting bitten by mosquitoes!  I need to go research later and see how long before dengue symptoms appear.

Despite being worn out, I kind of felt like I was on a roll.  I ended up cleaning the back, front, and side yards.  A combination of the strong winds making a mess of lots of fallen leaves, my dad trimming several plants and sort of just leaving the trimmings on the ground, and general neglect made for a big job.  It was five hours of sweeping, raking, and picking up crap.  My thumbs went numb.

So actually, I kind of lied, because by the time my thumbs went numb, I hadn’t done much cleaning in the front yard.  I thought to myself, “this looks sufficiently clean,” and went inside to bring feeling back to my hands.

It’s fine now.  There’s always tomorrow.  I just better not friggin’ rain!