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I have an issue…not tooth related.

15 Dec

I am a reader.  I am an AVID reader. I am rarely without a book in progress.  September of last year my husband (with help from our ultra generous family) bought me an iPad.  My youngest son was only a couple of months old and it was difficult (not impossible, just difficult) to read and nurse him at the same time.  It was close to impossible to read and pump at the same time.  Being able to hold my reading material and turn a page with one hand was a beautiful thing.  The added bonus from my husband’s perspective was that he was not always tripping over or trying to find a place to store the copious amount of paperbacks in my possession.  I consume books at a startling pace and those objects take up a lot of space.  An added bonus from my perspective as a tired mother of two young sons was that I did not have to change out of my pajamas when I needed a new book.  I could indulge in a little “instant gratification”.  When I finished a book I could purchase another and be reading again in minutes.  That is a serious modern luxury.  Since the iPad moved in with us I have read around 145 books on it.  I say “around” because while there are 127 book in my digital library it doesn’t include the books that I checked out online from the public library, read, and returned.  145 is probably too conservative. That is an impressive number of books in 12 months.  (I doubt it rivals my mother-in-law or my brother-in-law.  From what I know they run circles around my book consumption.)

I am bad at math, but not that bad at math.  I know that since September of last year until now is more than 12 months.  Here is my issue.  I haven’t read a book in 3 months.  I know, right?  (I will amend that statement to say that I haven’t read any fiction in 3 months and fiction is my drug of choice.  I did read “Raising Your Spirited Child” which I highly recommend if you suspect you might have a spirited child.)  Why haven’t I read a novel in 3 months?  There are plenty of good ones out there.  I even have 1 in my library that I haven’t read yet that sounds really interesting.  (“The Name of the Wind” by Patrick Rothfuss.)  I haven’t started a new book yet because I loved the last ones so much.  This summer I started reading the “Song of Fire and Ice” series by George R. R. Martin.  This series is slightly different from my usual read but not so different as to be out of the realm of possibility for me.  I like fantasy.  That is what it is.  If you haven’t read them then you wouldn’t know that each of the 5 books that are out right now are around 900 pages.  I was invested in this reading experience and it paid me back by being satisfying, dramatic, and engaging.  I enjoyed them enough to now feel paralyzed when it comes to starting a new adventure.  Is that uncommon?  It hasn’t happened to me before.  The series isn’t complete yet.  I hear there are at least 2 more books planned.  Starting a new book almost feels like cheating.  I am not done with these characters.  I want (need) to know what happens. My goodness, I even dressed up our kids like characters from this series.

I know I need to move on.  There was a 5 year gap between books 4 and 5.  I can’t go that long without reading.  I need the escape it provides me.

I am acting like a love-sick teenager or a junkie.  “He broke my heart, but there is chance he will come back.  I won’t look at another boy.  I will wait for him.” or “I don’t want your crack.  I want my heroin.”

Help me out here.  A bit of my reality has been sucking pretty hard lately.  This girl needs a little distraction.

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Don’t mock my dreams. They might KILL you.

9 Dec

Be warned:  I composed this post in my head while in bed trying desperately to a) fall asleep or b) not throw up.  If either happens to you upon reading the following post, remember you were warned.

Last Friday I wrote a little post about these recurrent “teeth falling out” dreams called I can’t keep my teeth in my mouth.  Somewhere near the end of the comments I responded to a remark made by BecomingCliche where I casually mentioned that just today (the day of the post) my jaw slipped a little again.  Wow.  I was as wrong as I have ever been about anything, ever.

Friday night the pain my jaw increased and I found myself unable to sleep even using my night-mouth-guard thingy (I’m a teeth grinder) and taking a couple  of T3 left over from my c-section.  The kicker (this IS a pun) was that early Saturday morning my sweet baby Ephraim kicked me in the face…on the side that was hurting.  We co-sleep (before you get upset that I took pain killers and slept with my toddler let me assure you that I did NOT.  I slept on the couch that night and only went up to the family bed in the morning when I heard him fussing to get up!)…back to where I was: We co-sleep so getting kicked in the face, chest, kidney, or neck is nothing new.  On especially rowdy sleep nights I flip over so that E is kicking my back and it feels awesome. Sometimes I look forward to it.  Anyway, I don’t usually cry about baby foot in the face.  That morning I did.  I cried hard.

25 minutes later (about 6:00 a.m.) the little family was dressed and headed to the ER.  I don’t go to the doctor on a whim EVER.  I only go when I have to or when I am pregnant.  I am bad enough about the doctor thing that my husband makes appointments for me and reminds me repeatedly until I have gone…and then he will pick up my prescriptions for me because I am bad about that too.  My kids on the other hand will go to the doctor for a check up on schedule and often in-between.

So, we are at the ER and my face looks fine except for the fact that my features are contorted in pain.  Poor Rich…I know the staff was just doing their job, but they asked me far too many questions about how and why it hurt for us to think anything other than they thought he had done it to me.  I got a morphine shot.  It took my pain from a 8 to about a 5.  That is all the relief I got.  They took 4 x-rays of my head.  Nothing to see.  Seriously?  There was nothing there?  How can something hurt so bad and you can’t find anything?  The ER doc was super nice and his only deduction was that I had injured my trigeminal facial nerve.  He offered a CT scan but that was going to take another 2 hours and rugrats had just about used up all their public decorum by that point.  I declined and went home.

Saturday night was worse.  The pain was still there but then something new started to happen.  My face started to swell.  I mean SWELL…but only the sore half.  If I thought I hurt before I was a light-weight.  This hurt worse than childbirth.  Guess where I was Sunday morning?  Yep. Back in the ER. Luckily my mom and step-dad took the boys to play (they even skipped church to help us out. God would totally understand.).  The same super sweet ER nurse was there and helped me into a room immediately.  She was noticeably concerned considering the change in my condition.  She hooked me up to an IV for fluids, more pain medication (this time Dilatin since the morphine was a wash the day before), and something to keep me from throwing up.  I have a weak stomach.  I got the CT scan this time.  Guess what…still nothing.  My sinuses were a little mucky so the ER doctor gave me some antibiotics, some vicadin, and some other pills for nausea…and sent me home again.

Monday morning…the first day of classes for the new quarter.  I was in bed, drugged, fevered, and crying.  I love the first day of classes.  I felt guilty I wasn’t there.  My face was still swelling and the narcotics were not working.  My husband called our family doctor and made me an appointment for that afternoon.  My mom picked me up to drive me there.  She hadn’t seen me since this started.  Her expression was enough to know I didn’t look so good.  She didn’t need to say anything.  Even the receptionists who are an angelic bunch of women that oh and ah over my kids when I bring them in were a little taken aback by my appearance.  My GP’s expression confirmed it.  I looked inhuman.    She looked at the x-rays, the CT scan and then gently poked around in my mouth.  She couldn’t see anything either…and she is SMART and I trust her.  She insisted I see my dentist just in case I have an abscess tooth even though there were no signs of it on any of the scans or during any physical exam by any doctor.  Super Mom called the dentist and got me in immediately.  My dentist is another smart and very kind woman whom I trust.  I was at her office in 30 minutes for more x-rays.  Still no real evidence of anything.  She was worried enough about me to call my GP right then and form a plan of action…because as she put it to me in her softest kindest voice, “your kids need you”.  Yeah, whatever was wrong that could not be pinpointed could kill me.  KILL ME.  She called the oral surgeon she trusts most and got me an appointment for a day later.  The dentist and GP were satisfied that with the amount of antibiotics in my body I would make it until Wed. although both of them called to check on me on Tuesday just to make sure.

Wednesday morning came and my mom drove me to the oral surgeon’s office.  Yet again another x-ray scan of my entire jaw and yet again no real evidence of a problem.  I do have a root canal in the area…the best guess at this point is there is a fracture so small that it cannot be seen on any scans and it is infected and leaking puss into the skin/muscle in my face.  (Puke now if you need to.  I almost did when I heard that. Thank God for those anti-nausea pills)

Here I am one week after my silly post about teeth with a swollen face (albeit FAR less swollen) and an appointment to have one of those teeth ripped out (a real one, not a dream one) next Friday.

Moral of my story:  Don’t mock my dreams.  They might KILL you.

p.s. I thought of several alternative titles for this post.  Here are a few.  Some have explanations, some don’t need them.

1) After 4 days of being unable to eat, microwaved frozen cheese pizza meant for the children tastes like heaven.  Sorry kids, it is all gone.

2) I am not a fan of narcotics.  While they helped take the edge off the pain, they did not make it go away.  Also, they made me feel crazy.  I think, all right, I know they gave me auditory hallucinations.  We have a sound machine in our bedroom that plays soft summer rains sounds all night while we sleep.  I woke up Rich several times asking “did you hear that?”  He didn’t.  I had to leave the room because for me every few minutes the sound machine was making static poltergeist like sounds.  It was not soothing. It scared the bejesus out of me. Once I could get by on ibuprofen alone I stopped taking those things.

3) My mother is made out of steel. (except her knees)  My mom has been through a lot of shit in her life. (Excuse my language mom, but sometimes profanity is necessary.) Those are mostly her stories to tell…speaking of, you should have a blog mom.  My mom has grit (the “momma bear” thing) when it comes to taking care of those us  fortunate enough to be counted as one of her loved ones.  She went though revolving-door doctor thing when my dad had cancer and despite her best efforts that didn’t have a happy ending. She went through something like this with her mom, her dad, my brother when he was baby, her step-daughter, herself, my step-dad (which did have a happy ending), and with me a couple of times so far.  She will be right there when you need her and back off when you need space.  She will be at every appointment you let her in and ask questions you should have thought of yourself.  She will be on the phone making the next appointment and asking “what is next”.  She will also not take it personally when you are a bitch to her because you don’t feel good.  She is made out of steel…except her knees.  We all have our weaknesses.

4) It is perfectly acceptable to eat 3 giant pixi-sticks if you have a fever (and nobody is looking and you are over 4 years old).

5) My coworkers and boss are way cooler than yours.  They probably don’t read this.  Why would they?  As Adam so astutely put it one day, “Why would I read your blog?  I share an office with you.  I get the one-woman show.”  Being the first week of classes was the worst possible time for this to happen.  Well, maybe not the WORST, but a pretty awful time.  My coworkers jumped in and took up my slack.  They kept the train moving and saved my seat.  I would say I love them, but I would get all kinds of teasing for that.  F- it…I love them.  They are awesome.  I am so grateful.

6) I love my kids.  I cannot get any more clear than that.  When the dentist reminded me my kids needed me I almost lost my mind.  I do not want to die now more than I have ever not wanted to die in my whole life..not that I ever really wanted to die before.  Now is different though.  I could muddle through an explanation, but I bet I don’t need to.  I bet you get it.

7) A 37-year-old can find comfort in blankies.  For four days I was home alone and needing to rest.  Before I got in bed I searched the house for 4 things.  1) the heat pack for my face. 2) Alastair’s blankie. 3) Ephraim’s blankie. and 4) One of Rich’s already worn t-shirts.  I would get in bed, put Rich’s shirt over my face with the heat pack on top, put Alastair’s blankie up under my chin and drape Ephraim’s blankie over a pillow and then wrap my arms around it.  My warm little nest of family smells made me feel better than any drug ever could.

8)  I won the partner lottery.  I had to save this one for last because I am going to cry when I type it.  I have the best husband in the world.  Cliche statement.  I know.  I could give a thousand examples from the last week about him missing work to take care of me, doing all the housework alone, taking care of both boys emotionally and physically, dealing with doctors and prescriptions, driving everybody around, making dinner, keeping our families updated, and all those other things.  That is not what earned him the award.  (Here are the tears!)  He wins, or actually I win, for one tiny little thing he did that he probably didn’t think twice about, which, of course, makes it extra special.   Sunday morning when I was in the ER I was in bad shape.  I hadn’t showered, my hair was crazy (think: dreadlocks-finger-in-a-light-socket), my teeth weren’t brushed, my clothes weren’t clean, I was crying out of fear and pain, I was in a narco haze, and my face was so swollen I was almost unrecognizable.  Rich Mansfield, (aka The Love of My Life) took my hand, leaned over, and whispered in my ear, “Your freckles are so pretty.”

Pause to let that statement sink in…

He probably thinks I didn’t hear him or if I did that I don’t remember.  I do remember and will until the day I die.  (which will NOT be any time soon!) You may have just fallen in love with him too. I wouldn’t blame you, but, sorry, this one is taken.  I totally learned “momma bear” from an expert so don’t test me on this one.  MINE!

 

I can’t keep my teeth in my mouth.

2 Dec

Gross.  They fall out.  They shatter into bits. It happens when I eat. It happens when I smile. They can get knocked out with an intense impact.  They can get knocked out with a soft kiss. Sometimes it is bloody and painful.  Sometimes it is subtle and I don’t notice until I choke on them. Sometimes they leave a big gaping hole.  Sometimes they leave a perfectly smoothed over space. Sometimes it happens in my sleep…all right, it ONLY happens in my sleep.  I keep having the “losing your teeth” dreams.

I have always heard that these kind of dreams are anxiety induced.  Being the intrepid woman I am, I Googled “dreams losing your teeth”.  Huh.  Surprisingly not that helpful and I even have a big thing for symbolism.  I love symbolism in literature, in art, in religion…in basically anything.  I give my Color Photography class an assignment called “The Psychology and Symbolism of Color” and I give my Intermediate Photographic Concepts class an assignment called “One Thousand Words” which is based on the methodology of Dutch Vanitas painting.

So, why weren’t the dream interpretation sites I explored helpful?  Because I couldn’t relate anything they discussed to my lucid life.

Stressed about your job situation? Nope.  I love my job.  It is true that a new academic quarter is starting next week, but that has happened every 3 months for the last five years.  That is not stressful.  It is exciting and I happily anticipate it.

Fear of being impotent?  Being a lady with lady parts the most common understanding of the word impotent doesn’t apply to me. As for the other definition, there really isn’t anything monumental that I am feeling powerless or helpless to control.

Afraid of looking stupid in front of people?  Uh…who isn’t?  Nobody likes to look stupid in front of people, but I do it all the time.  I usually laugh about it and move on.  (That was a gift from my dad.  Thanks dad!)

Stress about looking older/trying to stay young?  I am looking older these days.  That is probably because I am older these days.  So what.  I joke about it but I am most certainly not stressed about it.  My livelihood does not depend on looking youthful and neither do any of my relationships.

Have you lied to somebody?  It would be a lie to say that I don’t lie.  Everybody does.  I can tell a little one without much effort. I can answer the question, “How are you?” with an easy, “Fine” even though I have a throbbing headache and feel like I am going to throw up.  I am not so good at the big lies though.  It started in Kindergarten when I had some unexplained crayons in my backpack.  My dad asked me about them when I was in the bathtub that evening. (I remember this as clear as if it were yesterday.)  I tried to lie and tell him that Ms. Thompson gave them to me.  He knew immediately that was untrue and the next day made me take them back to her and confess.  Since then I have been insecure about my ability to tell a believable lie.  It didn’t stop me from trying as a teenager.  I got in trouble a lot.  So, no I haven’t told any big lies lately.

Lacking power at work or relationship? I actually have a remarkable amount of “power” at work.  I was hired  because it was believed I could do the job well and I have the freedom to design my courses how I think they should be to best serve my students.  As far as my relationships are concerned, they are all very healthy.  I don’t want “power” in my marriage.  I want equality and that is what I have.  I get along beautifully with my family and my in-laws and so does my husband.  I have the appropriate amount of power over my children.  I parent them…usually effectively.

Money?  Well, we never have any extra, but we are also not starving, naked, or homeless.  We have remarkably generous family members on both sides that help us out when we need it.

Truth be told, my dental health has been on a downward spiral since my second son was conceived.  In the last two years I have had 3 cavities, 2 root canals, 2 broken teeth, 3 crowns, 2 infections, and my jaw has been out of alignment 3+ times (which really really hurts).

Even Sigmund Freud said, “Sometimes is a cigar is just a cigar.”

I just made an appointment with the dentist.

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