AROW80 Check-In for March 11, 2014

Happy Wednesday! (Ok, so it’s Tuesday night when I’m writing this but the sentiment remains the same.)  I hope everybody’s having a great week; mine has been…interesting? In the proverbial sense of the word.

I’m going to switch up my usual format and put my check-in stuff up here at the top of the post and then talk about my interesting week after that.  The reason for doing this is that I’m going to be talking about my first dentist appointment and there’s probably more than a few folks who might be squicked by that, so I’m going to make sure there’s a goodly buffer so those who want to can skip such talk. 

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Personal Goals:  These are still going more or less as they should — well, except for the walking thing. Judging by my use of the pedometer, I average less than a thousand steps a day. My doctor wants me to be up to 10,000 — hopefully, now that the weather is attempting to be somewhat decent (except for today when it’s supposed to go nuts again), I can get off my fat butt and do some serious walking.

Writing Goals:

  • Defcon: Fade Out has hit over 77,000 words! In fact, I made it up to and past 77,777 words on Monday night/Tuesday morning! Next goal is 78,901 (for 7, 8, 9, 10, 11).
  • Word Count: If all goes well, I am on schedule for 100K by the end of March!

Goals for this week:

  • Make my root canal appointment.
  • Keep working on Defcon: Fade Out and the 100,000 word goal.
  • Be better about checking in with other folks
  • Get my ducks in a row for next round.

Powered by Linky ToolsA Round of Words in 80 Days is the writing challenge that knows you have a life. You can learn more here and if you want to join, you can Click Here to view this Linky Tools list and to enter your own link as well!

Now, on to the squicky stuff!

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Why Regular Dental Check-ups are a Very Good Idea. or How I Made the Waiting Room at Aspen Dental Very Uncomfortable:

I had my first of two teeth cleanings today. Because it has been over 15 years since my last cleaning, the process is a bit more involved than the ‘every six months’ cleanings you’re supposed to get — and which I will make doubly damned sure I GET from now on because I do not ever want to have to do this again. Well, except for the second appointment because right now I have half a cleaned mouth and that can’t stand. 

With the type of deep cleaning that my teeth needed, I had to be numbed up. Which, as I’ve mentioned in other posts, meant that they were going to be putting a needle in my mouth. I felt a little better after I found out that first they would be putting a topical anesthetic on my gums to numb them before I got the shot. I figured, hey, if I can’t feel the shot, how bad can it be?

Oh, me of earlier this week, you silly naive thing!

For this type of deep cleaning, they do half of your face at a time. This time around it was the upper and lower left side of my face — which is also where the tooth that needs the root canal lives, so I was expecting some tenderness there but was hopeful that the numbing stuff would make that a non-issue.

Ok, the numbing stuff tasted kind of good — it’s cherry-flavored — until it got to be overpowering and made the left side of my face feel all smooshy and weird.  The hygienist waited a bit to make sure that it had taken effect so the dentist could give me my shot.

I’ve mentioned that I’ve recently started taking an injectable medication for my diabetes and that, happily, it turns out that those shots cause little or flat out no pain whatsoever. Likely, it helps that the needles are small and that I’m injecting them into the fat of my stomach where the nerve endings are few and far between.

Turns out, there are a hell of a lot of nerves in your mouth. And not a lot of fat to cushion the impact.  Also turns out that when a dentist says a shot is going to be ‘uncomfortable’ what they mean is ‘this is going to be the worst pain you have ever felt in your life.’  Because it was. And I got to feel it six times — three shots in the upper gums, three in the lower. Maybe more, I’m not sure. I kept my eyes closed as much as I could.

I’m not too proud to say that I lost any sense of dignity I had during those shots. I screamed, I whimpered, I cried.  About the only thing I didn’t do was bite either the dentist or the hygienist. Because honestly, my dentist is a sweet lady who told me jokes while she gave me the shots and the hygienist patted my hand and talked to me soothingly and kept me breathing through my nose.

I honestly did try not to scream but it hurt like…insert your favorite metaphor for intense pain here. It was a deep, stabbing horrible pain and what made it worst of all was that it wasn’t just a one and done thing, it was done multiple times.  I really did scream loud enough that folks heard me in the waiting room — which is a lot less impressive if you know that the floor plan of the Aspen Dental I went to is more or less open and I was in the exam room closest to the waiting room.  I know this because once the shots were done and over with, I asked if my girlfriend could come back and sit with me since I had to wait ten minutes for the shots to take full effect.  I was hyperventilating and shaking and just a mess when she came back. She says it’s the most scared she’s ever seen me — and we’ve been together long enough that she’s seen me at my worst a few times.

The actual cleaning? Fhhht. That was nothing. There were a few uncomfortable moments and the sight of the ultrasonic scaler she used on my teeth made me flinch because it looked like a needle but other than that, it was a doddle. She did make sure to tell me, before she gave me an antibiotic treatment that the syringe she was using was just for irrigating between my teeth and putting the antibiotics where they needed to go.

I have the second cleaning appointment on the first of April and I’m not looking forward to it but at least this time, I’m going in with the knowledge of exactly what’s going to happen and maybe, just maybe it won’t be quite as traumatic the second time around. Probably not, because sweet red peppers, those shots HURT, but where there is life, there is hope.

And, on a somewhat braggy note, the hygienist said that for someone who hadn’t had a cleaning for over 15 years, my teeth were in amazingly good shape. So, go me!

To bring this all back to writing, one plus side of the whole experience is I now have a better appreciation for what pain and terror feel like.  And, also, I’m definitely putting some skull work into what dentistry is like in the Defcon ‘verse.

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7 thoughts on “AROW80 Check-In for March 11, 2014

  1. I skipped the squick lol! But I love that word. It’s one colloquial term I choose to believe will still be popular centuries from now, so I use it in my SciFi.

  2. Okay, ow, that sounds terrible. Now I feel bad because I have a friend who hasn’t been to the dentist in over 10 years. I told her her mouth might be sore after the cleaning and it might hurt a little, but not to worry too much. Now I’m concerned that I misled her. At least you’re halfway through.

    Sounds like you’re making good progress on your ROW80 goals. Good luck!

    • She might be lucky and not need to have the deep cleaning I did. My girlfriend’s cleaning didn’t require injections and her teeth were sore for a couple days afterward. My cleaning was basically the highest level of cleaning they do because my teeth were just not in a good state.

      The good news is, in my case, the actual cleaning didn’t hurt at all — I was advised that I might be sore and to take ibuprofen or whatever OTC painkiller I usually use before the anesthetic wore off so as to keep on top of the pain, which I did and then I took a nap and there hasn’t been a lick of pain since beyond maybe a couple twinges — which I actually think are from the injection sites.

      The injections hurt — sooo not gonna lie on that — and I’m so not looking forward to my next cleaning, but the alternative is a heck of a lot worse.

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