Rob Abrazado (flatvurm) wrote,
Rob Abrazado

The state of things

I feel much more "recovered" today than I felt yesterday, or at the very least I believe my head is a little clearer, anyway, so I thought I'd try to get a blog post up. For the curious, here's a little detour into my dental world, starting with a recap. As it were.

However frickin' long ago it was that I broke this goddamn molar, I broke this goddamn molar. I mean broke like it shattered into pieces one day. I remember I was petsitting for my sister at the Pet Palace, and I remember I was eating sweet potato chips. Anyway...this particular tooth had been giving me problems on and off since childhood, so...whatever. So the ol' family dentist down in SoJo rebuilt it as best he could from aftermarket parts, and life went on. Some time later, I think we're getting into like...this past May? fell apart again, and since by this time I had already landed in Philly, I set out to find a Philly dentist, which I did, and who is cool.


After some examination and discussion, the following plan is hatched: Take apart the rest of the crumbling remains of the aftermarket patch job, and then crown that mother so it stops breaking away a piece at a time. The alternative to the crown is an extraction, but I am assured (and shown x-rays verifying) that the root of the tooth is set quite deep in my jaw, which has two major relevant effects: (1) an extraction will be a hell of a lot of trouble, and (2) a crown set there will have a pretty solid place to live. Before the crown is applied, however, a root canal is recommended, because the decayed portion of the tooth is like a gnat's wiener away from breaking into the pulp, and if I end up needing a root canal after the crown, that will be a lot more problematic than if I just do the root canal now. So the plan becomes: Take apart previous mess, get root canal, get crown.

The previous mess gets taken apart, and I get the root canal. This process reveals some new issues, one of which is that there doesn't look to be enough actual tooth above the jaw bone upon which to anchor a crown, so the execution of this multi-stage plan has to be delayed until I get something done called a "crown lengthening," which is really just digging out tissue and bone surrounding the tooth to reveal a larger area on which the cap can be anchored. My cool new Philly dentist can't do this procedure. He tells me I've got to go to an outside periodontologist, and he tells me I can save a few bucks if I head to the dental school at Temple University and get it done there. Sounds good. So the new plan is: Take apart previous mess (done), get root canal (done), get crown lengthening, get cap.

So, the university school being what it is, it takes like three months before I can actually glimpse a possibility of getting this done. Finally I get to the pre-exam, though, and they set everything up and set me up for the procedure in like three weeks. Before that happens, though, I have to get a temporary crown put in by my normal dentist. So, fine...I set that up, too.

Now we're at: take apart previous mess (done), get root canal (done), get temporary crown (done), get crown lengthening (soon), get cap.

Then the crown lengthening procedure happens, which is what I was doing spending a couple hours in the chair yesterday. Kids, it was bad times. The root canal was actually a preferable procedure. It was presided over by my primary contact at the school (who I take it is like...I guess the dental version of a resident? -- I dunno) with two, more junior students assisting, and the one older faculty dude who would just pop his head in once in a while to make sure things were going well and that they weren't working on the wrong tooth or sawing my jaw off or anything. The whole thing required multiple hits of local anesthetic for me throughout the procedure, and sadly that didn't prevent me from feeling it when the dude accidentally drilled my lip (not kidding; looks like I got busted in the face in a bar fight), but overall I take it that things went fairly well. Except! Turns out the "temporary crown" I got wasn't exactly the kind of thing they were looking for, and the mixup meant that the cut tissue that's currently healing up in my mouth had to be sutured down to make sure it didn't regrow up too high and cover up the bone trench that was just cut out of my mouth. know...good times.

So here's where we are now: take apart previous mess (done), get root canal (done), get temporary crown (done, except not really, but it doesn't matter now), get crown lengthening (done, thank FSM), get cap. I have to wait two months before I can get the crown finished up, because it apparently will take that long for this surgery to heal. So all told, from the time the tooth came apart this latest time to the time (hopefully) that the crown is installed, I will have spent close to six months and probably something like two grand on this one frickin' tooth. I was kinda wallowing in that depressing thought yesterday during recovery.

Anyway. So the last couple days has been nothing but a liquid diet for me, and that hasn't been a really joyful time, either. I tried to make it up to myself by including a generous allotment of ice cream into my mealtimes, but let me just say that, although I would have never expected it to be possible, I actually got kind of sick of ice cream. Probably because the rest of the time was yogurt. This has not been a diet of much variety, so...probably just myself to blame for that. But I miss food. That's actually pretty much been what today has been about. Yesterday was just trying to heal up and feel like not killing myself. That done, today was just pining after some meal of substance that I could, literally, sink my teeth into. Today I kept thinking, thank goodness I already quit smoking; if I had to quit food and cigarettes cold turkey like that, I'd be gunning people down in the street right now.

So, yeah...that's kinda where I'm at right now. Hungry and irrationally angry. Oh, man, I totally yelled at like this 100-year-old guy driving around with his wife today because he was rolling along at like 8 miles an hour in the bike lane -- just fast enough that I couldn't pass him in traffic, but just slow enough that it was fucking up my ability to go uphill, which is naturally where we were. Not my proudest moment. I mean, I don't like yelling at anyone, let alone a couple of senior citizens looking for a parking space, but damn, man...I just wanted to get home and eat my yogurt. Well, no, I wanted to get home and eat like a 12-course meal of Chinese takeout, but what I was going to eat was yogurt.

Not that I'm bitter.

Yes I am.

Anyway. So something like...oh...six weeks or so ago, I posted this lament about how I wasn't at all sure about this new job being a good idea, and what do I do now, and all that stuff. I happened to see it today, so it seemed like a good idea to take stock of things in that department. I can report the following improvement: I'm not in debilitating pain at the end of my work days any more, so there's at least that. I think this is due to a combination of me having acclimated to a lifestyle involving a lot more physical labor than I was previously used to, plus I think there's less actual physical demand on me these days. Not a lot less, mind you...but less. I'm also feeling...let's say marginally more competent at my work, but I feel I'm still ignorant of a lot more things than I've learned. The job isn't as spiritually fulfilling as I'd hoped it would be, and I don't expect that to change. Intellectually it's like pounding on my own hand with a hammer, but what the fuck...I work in a warehouse, what else can I expect. Physically I think I'm probably in better shape now than I ever have been in my life. Socially... Hmm. Well, let's just say that this isn't going to break me out of my shell. I'm getting along with people, don't get me wrong. But I'm getting by pretty much solely on politeness reflexes. It'll have to do.

Life outside work...well, there isn't anything going on, frankly. My weekdays are totally shot. I generally give about a quarter of my weekend downtime to weekly chores and shit like that, and I spend the rest of my time...well, I guess trying not to go completely insane. Mostly this involves Netflix or bike rides. I actively try to spend so much of my waking life, both at work and not, just shutting my brain down so that I don't have to be aware of what's going on. Any serious analysis I attempt to make of my life and times generally ends up with me sort of shaking and gibbering, so I'm trying to kind of put that aside for now. I know in the general sense that what I need is probably some goals...short-term, long-term, whatever, just something that will point me in a direction other than the one I'm pointed right now. In the vagueness of my fleeting thoughts, I tell myself I just need a little breathing room, but I know that's probably bullshit. All I do with breathing room is waste time. So what I really need, then, extrapolating from that, is more energy or determination -- the ability to do what I need do both now and for the future. Also I'd like to not break any more teeth. And I want to eat.

So, yeah. That's how I'm rollin' nowadays. Seeya on the other side, everybody.
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