Sammi is madly chewing gum, in between breaks for Swedish fish, this morning. Today at noon she gets her spacers back in, and then next week the expander goes in for 6 months, so she only has a few hours left for chewy, sticky foods. Then it’s “goodbye, gum” until September.
Archive for February, 2012
Lotsa stuff chipping away at my sense of well-being lately… Here comes a big post of negativity, the kind I wasn’t supposed to do any more. I’ll try to post some fluffy bunnies later to make up for it. Maybe a nice refreshing unicorn chaser.
So, what am I complaining about today?
- The humidifier’s still not working. We used to be able to crank the thing up so high that the windows would be covered with condensation from September until March. Not good for our window frames, but fanTAStic for my sinuses. This year we haven’t been able to get the hygrometer to budge past “dry”, everyone’s got nosebleeds and dry skin and chapped lips and is snoring, and I feel like crap. We’ve had the HVAC guys out twice so far, and the second time Anth had to argue with the guy for 10 minutes to get him to even try to look for a problem (eventually he did look, and he found one, and he fixed it, but it’s still not working correctly). Now we need to call them again. Ugh.
- Presumably because of the above, my head is killing me all the time now. I have to think that having the same kind of pain every day for over three months qualifies as a chronic condition, yes? And yet it feels really self-indulgent to call it that. Hurting every day is incredibly draining, and it’s hard to function at anything like an acceptable level when I feel like this, and yet I strongly suspect that no one wants to hear me complain about this any more. If I’m not going to be visibly sick in a way that responds to medical treatment or otherwise has an arc of increasing severity and then recovery like a “real” illness, I feel like I’m somehow perceived as goldbricking to still be “milking” this after so long.
- The headaches and general unwellness makes it hard for me to exercise. Before this started, I was working out 3-4 times per week, at least. Now I struggle to get one workout in each week. I’ve gained weight, I’m not sleeping as well, and I can tell that I need to get back in shape, but it hurts to move, so yeah.
- The palate expander thing is freaking me out. I try to stay very positive about this for Sammi, but it’s not a fun thing, and it’s hard to be responsible for the decision that puts her through all of the crappy stuff about the experience (the spacers, the impression, etc.). I feel like it’s the right choice for us, but I’d strongly prefer not to have to do it at all, if that was an equal option for us. Being the one to take her to the appointments, being the one who’s going to have to turn the key every night to crank the thing open a tiny bit more, being the one who is making these unpleasant things happen to her is painful for me, even though I know in my mind that it’s the right thing to do.
- Sammi’s insomnia is back. She goes through periods now and then when she just can’t fall asleep for hours after bed time. She’s old enough now to just get out of bed on her own and go out in the living room and watch late-night TV until she eventually falls asleep (usually well after midnight), which is what she’s done twice so far this week. We’ve got a passel of things we can try when these periods occur (increasing her exercise, cutting back her sugar, making sure she’s not getting any caffeine, getting strict about bedtime and the wind-down that should come before bedtime, sleep aids like Moon Drops or teeny tiny ¼ tabs of melatonin, etc.) but there’s never a quick fix, and it’s hard on her to miss hours of sleep and hard on me to try to help her cope.
- Miscellaneous life stuff… This whole entropy thing where nothing ever stops changing and things eventually all change for the worse is kind of getting on my nerves lately. I’m so nostalgic for my youth and my past periods of relative good health and minimal stress that it makes me queasy sometimes.
Yesterday’s orthodontist appointment kinda sucked, y’all. I always work hard to (a) prepare Sammi for what I think is going to happen without (b) terrifying her about what I think is going to happen. This is often a very fine line to walk. The line becomes finer when I don’t understand all that a particular visit will entail, which was the case yesterday.
I thought they were just going to do an impression, so I talked her through the kind of dental impression that I’ve had done a couple of times in my life, all goopy stuff in a little cup that you have to leave in your mouth for, like, 10 minutes. I said it wouldn’t hurt but it would be really annoying, and we brought lots of stuff for her to occupy herself with while the cup was sitting in her mouth.
First problem: They didn’t just want to do an impression, they also wanted to fit her for the bands that will wrap around her molars and connect to the expander. This fitting involved repeatedly pushing tight pinchy little metal things onto her back teeth and then pulling them off again. It wasn’t agonizing, but it was ouchy and Sammi did not enjoy it. Apparently a couple of her molars are oddly shaped (because she’s evolutionarily advanced), so it took about 10 minutes to find bands to fit all four of the teeth involved. So it hurt, and she cried — not sobbing, but crying and sniffling, and the hygienist did her best to take care of business while remaining sympathetic.
The orthodontist, though… Bleh. We haven’t seen him since the initial consult (at which, you may remember, he hocked me big-time about a small spot of decay), but he breezed through yesterday while Sammi was having the bands fitted and crying. He never even looked at her, just attempted to make small-talk with me about the book I had in my lap (which I was not actively reading because I was rubbing Sammi’s feet and comforting her). It would have cost him nothing to have said hi to Sammi, told her she was doing well, been encouraging or friendly or sympathetic to her obvious discomfort, or even glanced at her. What a doofus. (You may notice that I am not naming him. Don’t want to get sued or anything… Heh.) Anyway…
Second problem: When it came time to do the impression, it wasn’t with the soft goopy stuff, but with very firm stuff that had to push hard against her teeth and then stay in place for about 2½ minutes. Unfortunately, the cup-thing that they used, while “the smallest size [she could] get away with using,” according to the hygienist, was too big for Sammi to hold comfortably in her mouth. It just barely fit all the way in there — her lips stretched about as far as they could go to let the thing pass. Once it was in, she started gagging, and she gagged and retched and almost puked and sobbed for the entire 2½ minutes. By the end, there were three hygienist around poor Sammi — one holding the impression tray in her mouth, one holding a basin in front of her in case she threw up, and one cheerleading her with encouraging words and firm hand-holding. And then there was me, still rubbing her feet and not reading my book. What an ordeal.
So, not counting the initial consult which was basically all talk (and glaring and finger-pointing on the topic of tiny cavities), Sammi is 3 for 3 in leaving the orthodontist in tears. *sigh*
We got a rush appointment to get Sammi’s shallow cavity buffed and filled a few days after the orthodontist gave me the stink-eye over it. This was actually a spot that the dentist knew about and was “watching” — a shallow bit of decay on a molar that she’ll lose in a year or two. But since it was SUCH A BIG DEAL, we took care of it, and there was no need for Novocaine since it was too minor to even cause her pain.
I was hoping that the orthodontist would be there at the next appointment (this past Monday) so I could be all, “BOOYAH, OH YEAH, THE CAVITY’S GONE, WHAT NOW” when he looked in her mouth, but I was denied this pleasure, because she only saw a hygienist. At this visit she got 5 “spacers” put in — special little rubber band thingies wedged in between her teeth to open up the spaces where the appliance will go. They were unpleasant to insert, and they left her mouth sore for a few days. One of the spacers fell out that same night, and we had to drive back out to the ortho office (½ an hour away) the next day to get it put back in, and then it fell out again the day after that. They were trying to place it between a tooth that’s kind of loose and a tooth that’s not all the way erupted (because there’s no room), so it’s no real surprise that it wouldn’t stay put. We have permission to leave it out after it fell out the second time, thank goodness.
On Monday she goes in again, they take out the spacers, and they do a mold of her mouth. She’s not going to enjoy that, but hopefully she won’t find it traumatic. Then she’s got 2 weeks off, during which time she must get her fill of gum, taffy, gummy bears, caramels, and all other sticky and chewy foods, because it’s her last chance to indulge until after the appliance comes off. At the end of those fourteen glorious sugar-filled days, she goes back in for the spacers again. A week after that (first Monday in March), she gets the appliance on, and then the real torture begins. Mwa ha hah!!!
Not much else to report here, obviously. I’m feeling really worn down and wrung out. The whole thing with the headaches and the sinus problems and the tooth/jaw pain and the general not being right in the head (shut up) has been going on since before Thanksgiving and I’m just over being sore and “off” all the time. My current hypothesis is that this is related to dehydration — our whole-house humidifier hasn’t been working this season, and we had the guy in to fix it a few weeks ago; he replaced the humidifier unit, but the new one doesn’t seem to be doing its job because the humidity levels are still too low, and everyone here is feeling it (with nosebleeds and dry skin and snoring and headaches and sinus problems and etc. etc. etc.). It seems like I feel better in general if I really push the fluids (at least 5-6 pints of water per day), and eat substantial meals at regular intervals. Honestly, though, I wish I KNEW what is WRONG.