Monday, September 12, 2016

Dental implants--or, my oral surgeon was awesome!

Dental implants:  Best idea ever!

The oral surgeon was so kind and competent, not like that sadistic endodontist.

They took X-rays and concluded I was a great candidate for the implant surgery.  Plenty of bone in which to successfully place the posts.

Not a fun process, though.

I went in last October for the posts to be implanted.  Posts are the metal pieces to which the fake teeth will be attached.

The process wasn't fun, involving drilling and putting metal nail-like things into my jaw.  Two of them. One near the front, on the right side; another near the back, on the left side.  I was quite sore for a couple of weeks, and the stitches were... disconcerting.

At least my oral surgeon prescribed appropriate pain meds.  A few days' worth of Vicodin.

Then I had to let my jaw heal for six months.  It was hard to chew at first, with sensitive gums on both sides, but it quickly got better.

My wonderful, compassionate dentist made me a little fake removable tooth to fill the gap near the front of my mouth, sort of like a denture, to use when I needed to make a good impression (like in court or at a meeting at work).  I couldn't eat with it, but I could talk and smile without showing a big gap in my teeth.

In April, I went back to the oral surgeon to have the implants "uncovered"--i.e., he cut through my gums so the posts could be used to attach the new fake teeth.

Then I went to my wonderful, compassionate dentist, who modified the fake tooth denture thingy to fit with the newly uncovered posts and took casts so he could make the two fake teeth.

A few weeks later, I went back to the dentist and had the fake teeth installed.

They are amazing!  Just like real teeth!  I can chew normally again!  I can smile without being self-conscious!

All in all, life is good.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

The Second Root Canal

I told you all before about my first root canal, the one that took me totally by surprise, given my prior perfect-teeth condition.

The second time it happened, last year, I nipped it in the bud early.  I recognized that particular sensitivity to heat, cold, pressure...  I knew right away that I had cracked another tooth.  I regretted all the ice I had chewed for years and years before that first root canal.

This time, I engaged in no denial.  I went straight to the dentist and said, "I think I have another cracked tooth."  He took X-rays but said that there was no clear crack visible, maybe just a little shadow that could be a problem, and referred me to the endodontist for a second opinion.

I walked across the parking lot to the endodontist's office, referral slip in hand.  Could they get me in today?  Yes!?  Thank heavens!

The endodontist took more X-rays and poked around a bit and declared that, indeed, I had another cracked tooth.  Did I want a root canal today, or just remove the tooth?  She recommended trying the root canal

I said ok.

The root canal didn't work.  The tooth split.  It had to be removed.

After the removal, I asked for a prescription for a couple of days' worth of pain meds.  They said no(!)  They don't prescribe pain meds.  They recommend that you just take OTC Advil plus Tylenol.  I explained that the last time I'd had a root canal and tooth extraction, I had thought I'd get through it with aspirin, Tylenol, and/or Advil, but had ended up needing the Vicodin that had been prescribed. With just the Tylenol and Advil, I had not been able to sleep because the pain was so intense.  I further explained that I needed only two days' worth of pain meds.

They said, "There are too many addicts.  We don't prescribe anything, ever."

I said, "If you had told me that before the procedure, I would have never consented to it and would have gone elsewhere."

(LegalMist's life lesson:  always ask about pain med policy before consenting to a dental procedure.)

They said, "It will not hurt as much as it did before you came in."  I said, "It already hurts more than it did before I came in because I came in at the first sign of pain and cracked tooth, based on my prior experience.  And besides, I know from experience that the pain will keep me from sleeping for two nights.  I did not pay $800 to have a root canal/tooth extraction (and have a tooth extracted!!) just to get two days' worth of drugs that I could probably buy on the street for less than $40."

They said, "Sorry, we can't help you. "

I said, "You people are sadists!  This is like 'Little Shop of Horrors!' This is why people hate endodontists!"

I walked back across the parking lot to my dentist's office and explained the problem.  My compassionate dentist gave me a prescription for a few days' worth of Vicodin.  The man (now retired) is a saint.

Sure enough, I needed the pain meds.  I would not have slept for two days without them.

(I have since that time told two people not to go to that endodontist and have told my new dentist that he should never send anyone to her, ever.  I hope he takes that advice.)

I still hadn't gotten the implant to replace the first lost tooth.  It was in the back, not really visible.  And the procedure promised to be expensive, time consuming, and potentially painful, so--as any normal person would do--I had procrastinated.

But this second one was near the front and visible when I smiled, making me self-conscious and afraid to smile.

I knew I had to get two implants ASAP.  Ugh...

Next time...
Implant procedures:  not fun!
Implant results:  awesome!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

The spider

I got a new car.  It's a 2017 Fiat 124 Spider.  Here is a photo:

Gorgeous, right?  It's a convertible.  It is an awesome car.  Fun to drive.  Stick shift.  Turbo.  Quick 0 to 60 ( or 80... ).  Best car ever!

As my friend Sandy said, "Way to rock the midlife crisis, LegalMist!"

Question:  does it count as a midlife crisis car if you have wanted it since you were 25 but couldn't make it work until now?  Actually, I wanted a Mazda Miata when they came out in 1989.  Here is a 1989 Miata:

Cute, right?

But I was just about to start law school (in 1990) and couldn't afford one.  So in 1992, I got a used 1987 Honda Prelude instead.  It was awesome too. Sporty. Stick shift. Moon Roof.  Quick acceleration.  Fun!

Then I graduated, got married, had kids, and a Miata just wasn't practical.  In fact, I had to sell the Prelude to get a car with 4 doors and room for a child safety seat.  I got a Toyota Corolla (the "Green Lady").

Well, LegalMist's Daughter (LMD) is off to college this fall, leaving only LegalMist's Son (LMS) as a potential passenger (I am planning a divorce, remember?), so a two-seater became  a possibility... I decided to get that Miata.

But then I read the Consumer Reports car guide and saw the Fiat 124 Spider, reinvented for 2017.  It was even prettier than the Miata.  Sporty.  Convertible.  Cute...  I held out for the test drive.  Finally, on July 12, the spider arrived at the dealer... I showed up right when they opened to test drive the car.  Drove the automatic.  The stick shift.  The upgraded, all-options version.  The stripped down, no frills version. Looked at all the colors.  Considered all the options.

Side note:  I loved the blue one.  But to get blue, one had to buy the "Prima Edizione" version with all options, including automatic transmission (what's the fun in that?!) and leather seats (in Arizona, I prefer cloth).  They only made 124 of them (get it? The "124" spider?), and they came with the free t-shirt and poster and a numbered plaque on the dashboard to tell you which one you got.  But it cost $11,000 more than the stick-shift, cloth-seated model that I preferred.  In the end, I decided that blue paint and automatic transmission was *not* worth $11,000, so I bought the gray one pictured above.  Here is a photo of the pretty blue one:

Nice, huh?  But I think the gray is pretty too.

I love my car.  It is so fun to drive to work now.  It makes me smile every time I see it.  I call it my "Midlife Crisis Mobile," and it is a bright spot of joy in my otherwise not-as-joyful-as-I-wish-it-were life.  At least on the way to and from work, I can pretend to be the happy, carefree young person that I used to be instead of the somewhat sad, about-to-be-divorced, almost-old person that I actually am.

The car turns heads, even if I don't any longer.