Priorities

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When we moved into our current house at the beginning of December of 2020, there was much to be done. First up, we had to get ready for the delivery of the greater bulk of our belongings. We had each driven a car from Arizona to Wyoming, both cars packed tight with the bare necessities we would need for the four to seven days before our things would arrive.

We did some grocery shopping, bought some cleaning supplies and got right to it. And kept at it for about nine months.

There were many renovations and repairs. All sorts of little things needed touching up. The house had been home to a family of seven and the structure had been fairly severely neglected and very hard used.

But it was welcome work all through the cold and snowy winter.

When spring came along with some warmer temperatures, our focus shifted to the outdoors. The yard had been equally neglected, or perhaps even more so, and so it needed a great deal of attention and time.

So I find myself here, at the beginning of September, having whipped most things into a shape I’ll call adequate if not totally decent. And my thoughts have turned to my writing.

I put my writing on an unofficial hold for a long time. It wasn’t intentional. It just sort of happened. Other things just seemed more important. I even pretty much ignored my blog for weeks at a time. But now that the pace of work on the house and yard have let up, I find myself wondering what more I could do.

My husband suggested I resume my writing. He even suggested which project I should work on. There are three incomplete novels sitting in our computer.

Realistically, a person, me, should probably really only work on one writing project at a time. But I can’t seem to stop myself having ideas and smack in the middle of one thing, I will find myself starting another. It’s not helpful really.

The novel my husband thought I should work on was not the one that I thought I should work on. His reasons for his choice were compelling. So I’ve begun the laborious task of re-familiarizing myself with what I have already written, the characters, the situation, and what I would like to happen in the end.

That novel is titled “Daria’s Tale.” I’ve written about it a little bit in my blog in the past. I’ve even shared a couple of the chapters. They were fairly well received.

I have trouble with priorities sometimes. I know there are things that I should do. I know that some things are more important than others. But when I am writing, that sort of becomes about the only thing I can do. I think about the story day and night. Everything else suffers.

I’m working to change that. I’d like to be able to write and get all the housework and yard work done, but I’m not sure that’s possible. And since my husband has gone back to working outside the home, there is more for me to do.

So, we’ll see how this all turns out. But right now, I am going to prioritize making a new page on my blog to feature “Daria’s Tale” and explain a little about the novel. It will be a place to get updates on progress and other news about it. You can find it under the main heading “My Novels.”

Maybe that will light a fire under me and I’ll get this one done in record time. Or maybe not. After all, priorities can shift and one never knows what might happen.

blissquote.com This one made me smile.

The Five Senses

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I read an article the other day that stated that we have more than the usual five senses that people talk about. However, they were not talking about extrasensory perception and so I was not as greatly interested as I had been when I read the title of the article. Not that I’m necessarily a believer in such things as ESP, but I am also not a total disbeliever. I’ve had too many strange things happen to me over the years to discount it altogether.

Traditionally, the five senses are taste, touch, smell, sight and hearing. But there are all the sensations of our bodies to take into consideration. Or at least that was the thrust of the article. Rumbling stomach, churning intestines and the like seemed to come under the heading of “other senses.”

Okay. For me, that’s all a bit iffy. Because for years, I’ve sort of looked at it as if there is really only one sense and that would be touch.

Think about it. Photons land on the retina and you have vision. Molecules land on receptors in your nose and you have smell. All sorts of things sit on your tongue and you taste them. Sound waves bump into your eardrum and you hear. All sorts of things make contact with your body all day long and so you have the feeling of things touching you.

It’s all basically about things touching things. So maybe Touch should be the main heading and all the others should be subheadings.

But consider this, without our brains to interpret all that incoming touch data, what would we have? All of it, touch, taste, smell, hearing and seeing all go on in the brain.

So, are there really any senses at all?

That’s my thought for the day.

picturequotes.com

Grace Ellen

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Ellesbeth Gracelyn Nealy is about to have her afternoon tea, as she has done for most of her life. On most days, since moving a short time ago, she takes her tea alone in the little sitting alcove of her suite.

Her grandson has caused her suite to be added to his house. It is not really sumptuous enough to be called a suite, but Ellesbeth thinks of it that way regardless. There is the small sitting area she now occupies. There is also the area that holds her bed. Behind one door is a small and efficient kitchenette. Behind another door is a nicely appointed bathroom.

Her chairs are old and have been reupholstered many times. They have matching footstools which makes it easier for people with short legs to sit more comfortably. There is a small round side table between the chairs with a very nice crocheted doily in the pineapple pattern atop it. Currently there is a tea service for two on the table.

Ellesbeth is not taking her tea alone today. Her great granddaughter, Grace Ellen, has asked to join her. Most likely it was Grace Ellen’s mother who made the suggestion. Ellesbeth is happy for the company no matter how it came to be.

Ellesbeth has prepared the tea, and because Grace Ellen is only 12 years old, her drink is more milk and honey than tea.

Ellesbeth has always prepared the afternoon tea in the same way. She uses her finest (and admittedly now her only) teapot along with lovely milk and honey servers that her husband bought for her when they were both still very young. She has laid out shortbread cookies on a fine china plate. She was not able to keep most of her things when she moved in with her grandson, so she kept only the most important things. She thinks she will miss all of her books the most.

The cups and saucers are light and thin and fragile, as is the teapot. They are nearly translucent. She has had them forever. They were decorated decades ago, by hand, to her specifications.

Each time that Ellesbeth looks at her tea service, she remembers the day she spoke with the craftsmen and their reluctance to break with tradition. She remembers how she had to cajole and bat her eyes and promise them a bonus if they would do as she asked. It always makes her smile.

In her reverie, Ellesbeth has lost track of the time. And so it is that the impatient tapping of Grace Ellen’s heel upon the hardwood floor has brought her back to reality. Ellesbeth looks a little sideways at Grace Ellen’s heel and reflects that it is not as much the foot doing the work as it is the furiously bobbing knee that the foot is attached to. Ellesbeth smiles again and draws in a long breath, but not to speak. She lets it out and reaches to place one cookie on the saucer upon which her teacup rests.

She tilts her head and makes a short and brief nod to indicate to Grace Ellen that she should do the same. Grace Ellen takes two cookies and drops them aside her teacup.

Then Ellesbeth reaches over, a longish stretch of her arm, and takes up the saucer with her left hand in one sure move. Not quickly, but not slowly. She brings it to in front of her without a rattle or jostle of the teacup. She has done this so many times that she is sure of herself and it is like a little dance between her and the teacup and saucer. Choreographed by time and habit.

Grace Ellen seeks to emulate her Great Grandmother and takes the saucer in one hand. But it tips, almost spilling. The quick reflexes of the young come to her rescue. But the cup chatters on the saucer and one of the cookies falls to the floor. Grace Ellen starts to reach for it, but Ellesbeth clears her throat and with a glance and minuscule shake of her head, stops her. Otherwise, it might all have ended up on the floor with teacup and saucer shattered.

Ellesbeth draws in another long, slow, deep breath, but says nothing. She smiles at her Great Granddaughter and takes a small sip of tea and a tiny bite of her cookie. The tea is still hot, but she does not slurp noisily. Many, many years ago, she had mastered the art of quietly drawing in air with the sip in order to cool the tea.

Grace Ellen takes a large slurp of tea and a large bite of cookie and around a mouthful of mushy cookie says, “GG, are you old?”

“Yes, my dear. I am old.”

“How old are you?”

Ellesbeth smiles and says, “My dear, it is never polite to ask a woman her age. But I shall answer anyway. I am 97 years old. What do you think about that?”

Grace Ellen is not sure how to reply and so she takes another slurp of tea and another bite of cookie. Eventually, she says, “I think that is very old. Does it hurt?”

“Does what hurt, dear?”

“Being old.”

“Yes, my dear. Sometimes it does hurt.”

“Does it hurt right now?”

“No. Right now, everything is fine. I’m having a wonderful afternoon tea with my great granddaughter and nothing could be finer.”

Grace Ellen takes another slurp of tea and then says, “Oh look, GG. There are roses painted on the inside of the teacup. I thought the cups were plain. You can only see the roses when you drink the tea.” The roses are pink and very pale with cream colored highlights. When you know to look for them, they are almost apparent from the outside of the teacups.

Ellesbeth smiles again and says, “Yes, dear. I had them made that way. I thought it was nicer to reveal the beauty slowly and gracefully rather than laying it all out there in a rush.”

Grace Ellen is not quite sure what to make of that and decides to finish her tea and cookie in a hurry so that she might get back to her mother and the pies that she is baking.

Drinking down her tea, Grace Ellen sees that at the very bottom of her cup, a honey bee is painted sitting atop a rose. Her eyes go wide and she smiles with delight.

Ellesbeth says, “Alright, dear. Off with you now. Go and help your mother.”

Grace Ellen races for the door, but does not leave immediately. She turns back and says, “GG, can we do this again sometime?”

“Yes, my dear. I think that we shall.” Ellesbeth pauses a moment, but not long enough for Grace Ellen to be out of hearing. Then Ellesbeth says, “Grace Ellen?”

Grace Ellen peeks around the door frame and says, “Yes, GG?”

“Do you think you might show me how to use the Kindle that your father bought for me?”

“Oh yes, GG! I can do that, but later. Okay?”

“Yes, dear. Later will be fine.”

Grace Ellen scoots off and Ellesbeth finishes her tea. She takes her time and savors the flavors because a good cup of tea deserves respect.

picturequotes.com

Grace

The dancer aged 106 who bans the word 'old' - BBC News
bbc.com

She has whittled it.

And refined it.

She has pared it down over the years.

Until it is something fine and indefinable.

The young don’t have it.

With their restless and boundless energy.

Always fidgeting and stuttering.

She makes reaching for a glass of water and act of grace.

She glides from her chair into the kitchen.

She washes the dishes with smooth and precise movements.

A conservation of energy that only the old have perfected.

Making everything seem effortless.

lifetraveledinstilettos.com

Karens

chron.com Wow! just wow. This is someone’s depiction of a karen.

Boy that really bothers me.

I read an article this morning about a woman who insisted that some Walmart employees scan and bag her purchases in the self-checkout section of the store. Her reason for that was because there were no regular cash registers open. She said she would have gone to one of those had there been.

That was actually the most reasonable portion of the entire discussion, but that’s not what is bothering me.

I have a cousin named Karen. She’s a really nice person. And the woman in the Walmart story was referred to as a karen.

I think we need to find a different name for people who annoy us in a certain manner. Something other than Karen. And let’s not immediately fall back on “bitch” because that does a disservice to female dogs everywhere.

Or maybe, just maybe, we shouldn’t label these people at all. Yeah, okay, some things are certainly outrageous and ought to be reported as a lesson to others. So why not just report it without stigmatizing the person with a label? Especially one that is a perfectly fine female name. Seems to me that the actions of the person being written about should be enough to get the point across.

Name calling is a juvenile pursuit and not always complimentary to the person doing it.

That’s my thought for the day.

quotemaster.org

Color, Pattern, Texture

A good afghan will incorporate all three of those qualities.

I’m not talking about Middle Eastern people called Afghans. I mean the kind that you use to keep yourself warm on a cold winter evening while sitting in your chair with a cup of hot herbal tea and a good book.

I guess most people would call them “throws” these days. The blankets, not the people. And based on the mess in Afghanistan right now, I could see the wisdom in that. But I’m old-fashioned as well as old and I still think of the sweet little blankets that I like to crochet as “afghans.”

Traditional granny square afghan in vibrant colors

I’ve often wondered why they are called as they are. One explanation is that the country of Afghanistan is known for its distinctive textiles, colorful carpets, and beautiful karakul wool. So someone, somewhere, at some time decided to call colorful knitted or crocheted blankets “afghans.”

Ripple Afghan | Etsy
etsy.com A basic ripple afghan
Ravelry: Granny Ripple Afghan pattern by Mary Garrow
ravelry.com This is the ultimate … a granny ripple afghan

And if you look at some of the more traditional patterns for afghans, like granny squares and ripple stitches, I can see why you might attribute them to Afghanistan.

Most people will recognize the need to pick harmonious colors for their crocheting project, whether it is a scarf (I do still call them mufflers), hat, sweater, or afghan. Also people will often consider the pattern (order of colors, but that can also refer to the way they use the various stitches) they want to use. If you are making a solid color sweater, then pattern is not as essential. But the thing a lot of crafters often neglect to consider is texture. And in a solid color project, texture can become critical. Think of a cable knit sweater and think about how much more interesting that is than if the whole thing were done knit one, purl one.

Very often, a crafter will let the qualities of the yarn stand in for texture. Big, chunky yarns are great for that. And some of the newer yarns (I’ve been crocheting for over 40 years and can remember when about all you could find were worsted yarns) with their stretch, and whiskers, and multiply dyed plies are really good for adding texture to your project.

The thing about a worsted yarn is that it is smooth. On its own, it has very little interesting going on. But by using your crochet stitches creatively, you can add texture to the equation. And there are some interesting stitches in the crochet arsenal that crafters have been coming up with over the years. Front and back post double crochet comes to mind along with the puff stitch about which I have written in the past.

But even without the benefit of these more dimensional stitches, you can still work texture into your project with just the four or five most basic stitches of crochet.

When making an afghan, I try to vary the stitch pattern with each variation in color. So if I am using, say, tan, brown and green and each color will be three rows deep, I might do three rows of tan in single crochet only, then three of brown alternating single crochet, double crochet and then single crochet again with each row. Then for the green, I might do all three rows in double crochet.

For this scarf, I alternated three rows of single crochet with three rows of front and back post double crochet. In each row of the single crochet, I picked up only the top loop of the next one along to create the straight line across the width of the scarf.

Not only can you see a visible difference in the texture, you can also feel it. And I think my work should feel interesting as well as look interesting. I like to do the same thing with the mufflers that I make. Although, there is nothing wrong with uniformity or simplicity. The Quakers have done a lot with simplicity and keeping things fairly plain.

A simple trick that can be done with just about any crochet stitch is to pick up only the top loop of the next stitch in line. This will create a “line” along the length of that color and adds some visual appeal. A caution is that if you do that too much in a larger project like an afghan, the result can be too loose for the weight of it. In scarves and sweaters and hats and the like, though, it is not as much of an issue.

For this scarf, I used the same trick with the single crochet to create a line. But I also alternated four rows of single crochet with the three of the front and back post double crochet. The yarn for this project is a multi-colored twisted yarn that is lighter in weight than for the one previously pictured.
This is a scarf with mitered corners worked from the middle out in rounds. The discrete “bubbles’ of lavender were created by making three double crochets separated by chaining two. Then the subsequent row of blue filled the space created by chaining two with two triple crochet stitches.

Really, though, when all is said and done, the whole point of crocheting is to enjoy doing it. So just do it however it pleases you. I’ve always found that works the best for me.

Here are some of my favorite crochet quotes.

pinterest.com
happilyhooked.com
crochetnow.co.uk

Tooth Extraction and Dental Implant

How To Stop Bleeding After Tooth Extraction | Omega Dental Houston TX
omegadentist.com

I did it. I survived. Wouldn’t have been possible without my husband. Literally and figuratively.

Wyoming is a very sparsely populated state. It’s the least populated state in the United States and the tenth largest. Alaska (the largest state in our nation) has more people than Wyoming. A long time ago, we lived in California. It is the third largest state and has the highest population. As of April 2020, there were 39, 538,223 people living in California (one of the reasons we left) and there are only 576,851 people in all of Wyoming (one of the reasons we moved here and no we don’t hate people, we just hate congestion).

So it should come as no surprise that the small town we live in (Riverton, about 11,000 people) has no oral surgeon. And the second largest city in Wyoming (Casper, about 59,000 people) has only one oral surgeon’s office. Yes, there are two doctors there, but it is only one office. And the doctors are related.

Casper is 120 miles from Riverton. So when my dentist told me I had to go to Casper to have my tooth removed and an implant placed, I wasn’t sanguine about the idea. Add in my absolute terror of dentists and dental procedures and … well, it wasn’t pretty at our house for a few days.

The oral surgeon, when I finally met him, was a bit aloof and, well, doctorish in the way that doctors are. It’s my theory that they all have to sort of be egoists because they have to be self-assured enough to make decisions regarding people’s health and act on them. I don’t think I could do that.

Also, it probably did not help that I insisted they break from their usual policy with me. I probably could have been more diplomatic, maybe a little bit ingratiating even when the front desk person I talked with on the phone told me that first I would have to come in for a consultation and then make an appointment for the procedure. I basically said, “No. Do you have any idea how far Riverton is from Casper!” And that exclamation point was in my voice when I said it.

In my defense, I had just arrived home from the appointment with my dentist here in Riverton. I was a mess emotionally but thought I’d better make the call to Casper before I lost my nerve altogether. Possibly, I should have waited. No, probably. Sigh.

Anyway, she paused and then said that they could make an exception and she gave me a date and time. Then I settled in for the long wait. It was going to be almost two weeks before I could get that broken molar out of my mouth. The only thing that made the wait possible is that it had a root canal several years ago and I had no feeling in it. It did make kind of a sick feeling in my mouth, though, every time I accidentally moved it a little. I tried very hard never to do that. And I worried a bit about the whole thing coming apart before my appointment.

The day finally came and we left a lot earlier than we needed to because my hubby was concerned about the distance and unknown problems along the way. Insurance actuaries know this well, the farther you go, the more likely you are to have some sort of trouble. So we arrived over and hour early and thought we would check in at the oral surgeon’s and then maybe toodle around Casper a bit. But they said they could get started with me in a little bit. So I had a seat in the waiting area with my heart just thumping in my chest.

Casper, Wyoming | Livability
livability.com I really wish we could have seen a bit of Casper while we were there. Guess we’ll have to go back some time.

My hubby went out to the car to get Maddie, our dog, out for a walk. We couldn’t leave her home alone because we would be gone too long. And no one would be there to let her in and out of the house or give her lunch. She loves her lunches. And … she has a fair amount of separation anxiety.

Our happy little dog, Maddie. She loves to go for walks.

After a short wait that felt like forever, Bernd and I went into the consultation room. We talked a bit with the doctor’s assistant. Got some facts squared away and then she took me to get a CT scan of my mouth. After that processed, the doctor came into the room and we got down to the nitty gritty. Possibly, I shouldn’t have been as assertive as I was. I have a history of irritating doctors.

I’m very proactive about my health. I don’t take anyone’s word for anything, not even a doctor’s, without due consideration. I’d done my homework beforehand and thought I had the whole thing pretty well mapped out in my mind. Later I said to myself, “Well, there you go thinking again.”

I dictated a few terms (maybe it wasn’t quite as harsh as that sounds, maybe). No saline solution because of my Meniere’s Syndrome. No epinephrine in the local because it makes my heart go crazy. And when the doctor mentioned antibiotics I blurted out, “Great. That will mess up my intestines for six months.” Egad. Keep in mind I’m never at my best emotionally when I’m sitting in front of a doctor. I know, excuses, excuses.

I think he thought I was a little nuts when I said I don’t take pain medications. Hubby piped up and told the doctor that even for the last tooth extraction I didn’t take the pain med the dentist prescribed. It’s not a philosophical thing and it’s not because I’m a former addict. I’m not. It’s because, they all give me what is called a rebound headache. And that rebound headache often turns into a migraine headache and relieving the pain usually isn’t worth a migraine headache. Usually. Might have to rethink that.

The doctor left the room shortly after that and when he came back I had reconsidered my terms, spoken with the PA and my poor hubby, and had some compromises worked out.

I told the doctor that since I opted for complete sedation that my heart rate would be depressed anyway so if the epinephrine in the lidocaine would make his job easier (it prolongs the effectiveness of the anesthetic) then that would be fine. He told me that the procedure would be short and that should not be a problem.

Then we discussed the antibiotic some more. I told him of my experiences as succinctly as I could and by now, dear reader, you know that I have a great deal of trouble being succinct. So he asked if I thought I could tolerate taking the Clindamycin for five days (it wreaks havoc with my stomach and esophagus as well as what all antibiotics do to the intestines). I said I thought I could do that. He reiterated that there is some risk of infection, though generally small, because they do a really good job of cleaning the implant area. But if infection were to occur, it could cause the implant to fail. I did not want that. I did not think that I could dredge up the courage needed to do this again if I had to.  And I really need a tooth right there. It will be the only molar I have on the lower right side. So we went with a five day course of antibiotic.

Then we just had the saline issue to get through. The doctor said, with a little animosity coming through in his voice, that either I could do the whole thing … extraction and implantation while awake (and the extraction would be a bit complex because the crown of my tooth had come loose of the roots) or I could be asleep and have the saline IV. My choice. They had no Ringer’s Lactate and the saline drip is the way they administer the sedative.  Possibly, If I had done the consultation first and then set the appointment route, they could have acquired some Ringer’s Lactate. Oh well.

I’ve had teeth pulled while awake. It’s no damn fun, but I’ve done it. However … I was pretty sure I didn’t want to be awake for the bone graft and placement of the implant. So they said they would adjust the drip to the barest minimum.

Once we had all that settled we paid for it all and they set up the operating room. I didn’t have long to wait and it was time. I walked into the room under my own power. I climbed into the chair under my own power. I freaked out a bit inside (don’t know if it showed on the outside of me) when they strapped my arms down after inserting the IV needle (which was very expertly done and didn’t leave even a slight bruise). They put a blood pressure cuff on my left arm and an oxygen saturation monitor on my right index finger. They stuck an oxygen cannula in my nose. And the last thing I remember from that OR is the doctor saying, “Okay.” Next thing I knew I was sitting in the Jeep, buckled up and ready to head home.

In the car, my hubby handed me an ice pack and I pressed it against my jaw. I remember looking over at him and he said something like, “Okay. Here we go.” The car started moving and we were on the road. I might have nodded off a couple of times. I have no memory of leaving Casper. Somehow he found the way back to the main road home without the help of my superior navigating skills.

At some point, I discovered I had a baggie in my lap. It had gauze in it and some lip balm and instructions for after care. My hubby told me it was time to change the gauze in my mouth and I realized there was a big mass of something in my right cheek. Until then, quite literally, I had not been aware of it.

I spit it out. Luckily he had pulled over for this procedure and had a bag ready for me to put it in. I put the new gauze in place myself and congratulated myself for a job well done. I was still feeling pretty funky and that felt like a big deal; a great accomplishment.

I was a little more awake after that and started asking my hubby some questions. Turned out they had wheeled me out to our car in a wheelchair, but I had gotten right out of the chair and climbed into the car under my own power without any difficulty at all. Then I buckled my seatbelt without any prompting or difficulty. I have no memory of that whatsoever but I thought that was pretty impressive, but then I was still kind of under the influence of the sedative when I had that thought. I’m not sure it didn’t actually wear off completely until sometime after we got home two hours later.

He told me that the whole thing took only about half an hour. They told him they had used hardly any saline at all. And they said they had put a cap on the implant and I wouldn’t have to worry about dry socket. Dry socket, in case you’ve never had a tooth pulled, is when the blood clot comes out of the extraction site and the bone of your jaw is exposed. It is said to be extremely painful. So for my other tooth extractions, there was always some anxiety about dry socket. Not this time though.

bestdentisthoustom.com Healing cap.

Shortly after we got home and he got me situated comfortably in my recliner, he left to pick up the antibiotic prescription. When he got home he told me that the prescription was for a normal ten-day course compressed into five days. I was going to have to take twice the normal dosage three times a day. I may have gone a bit pale at that news.

Revenge prescribing? You tell me.

So I have a constant strange taste in my mouth. Maddie thinks I smell weird. My stomach is a mess. And my intestines … well we won’t even talk about that.

And the pain has been crazy bad. Way worse than a simple extraction. I have had to take a few acetaminophen caplets. Just one at a time. It does seem to help a little. But I have a nasty headache and am a bit worried about developing a migraine headache.

But hey, in four months they’ll do a torque test on the implant and then I will have my dentist here in Riverton set the abutment on the implant and then a bright, shiny new tooth will take up residence in my mouth.

Ain’t modern medicine amazing.

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery - Southern Indiana Surgery Center Bloomington
southernindianasurgerycenter.bom Implant, abutment, and crown (new tooth)

Power

enclaria.com

We all have power. Power over ourselves. Power over others. But what does that mean really?

We say it all the time. We say, “I don’t want to let so and so have that much power over me.” Or we say, “I wish I had more power over my job.”

I ask again, what does that really mean?

Seems like “power” is a catchall kind of word either for something desired or something to be avoided.

Maybe if we were more specific about our needs, we could get what we want more often. But by lumping them all under the heading of “power,” we lose sight of the basic nature of what might be troubling us.

Better to say something like, “I am not going to let so and so push me into sitting on another committee that I don’t really want to sit on.” Or we could say, “I really need to let my boss know that I need more time off to tend to my health issues.”

By being specific about what it is that we need and want, we can take specific steps to get what we need and want. But if “power” is all that we want … well we’ve got that already, always have had it, but it doesn’t necessarily get us anywhere constructively.

leadershipfreak.blog

Dentists

nytimes.com

I have nothing against dentists. Not the person. One of my best friends from high school is a dentist.

But I am terrified of them. Forget evil clowns, giant dinosaurs, Godzilla even. They are nothing as compared to dentists. Learning to drive terrified me. I was certain I would permanently maim or even kill someone. But it never terrified me as much as does going to the dentist.

My blood pressure is usually on the low side … kind of really low actually. But at the dentist, they are always telling me that maybe I need an antihypertensive medication. I try to reassure them that I don’t need it, but they never believe me.

So, here I sit. I need to make a dentist appointment. Not for a cleaning, although it’s been over four years since the last one. That’s a long story involving an accident and six CT scans (one full body) and nine chest x-rays that kind of put me off any kind of x-ray for a while (just try to find a dentist that will clean and examine your teeth without also taking x-rays of them). Then, just as I was getting a little more sane about the whole oh-my-God-I’ve-had-enough-radiation-to-equal-25-years-of-background-radiation thing, Covid-19 happened.

I love horses. Horses in general liked me. But they were not good for me in a number of ways that sort of outweighed the parts that were actually good for me.

I had more accidents working with and riding horses in the course of eight years than I had in all the other years of my life added together. The accident I mentioned above happened when I was 65 years old. So that’s a lot of years.

Falling off of horses can be disastrous for your teeth. Frequently, your mouth slams shut fairly violently when you impact the ground. Teeth don’t like being slammed together that way. That’s why football players where mouth guards.

So some of my teeth got damaged and needed a lot of work to save. One couldn’t be saved and had to be pulled. And then later another one that was “saved,” needed pulling. One tooth needed a new crown and then when a horse head butted me in the jaw, that newly re-crowned tooth ended up needing a root canal.

Now that re-crowned, root-canaled tooth seems to be going south quite rapidly. I am not happy about it. And the other morning while eating breakfast, there was a loud crunching noise in my mouth. I spit my food out into my hand and searched for a rock or something hard. Didn’t find anything. Went to the bathroom and looked all around my mouth in the mirror and everything looked fine.

Since between beginning to write this post and now, I’ve had that appointment with a dentist. The x-ray showed that my tooth cracked right at the root (that was the loud crunching noise) and the crown of my tooth and the root are now two separate entities. Wonderful.

It gets worse. My new dentist is not allowed to perform tooth extractions. The main reason being that many years ago he was a drug addict who abused pain medications so he is not allowed to prescribe pain medications. Apparently most of the population requires pain medication after having a tooth pulled. The fact that I do not did not sway him in any way.

So now we have to drive about two hours to Casper, Wy to go to an oral surgeon there who can remove my tooth and set an implant. It’s a long drive and it will be a long day. And I’m not looking forward to it in any way.

The only thing appealing about it is that they will give me an IV sedative to help with my extreme dental anxiety along with the local anesthetic. Sadly enough, I am looking forward to that IV sedative.

Now I just have to somehow keep that tooth together for about 11 days until my appointment comes up. I had been flossing and brushing the tooth like I normally would, but when my new dentist said he could probably grab the crown and pull it right off the root and out of my mouth right then and there, I decided not to brush or floss that tooth anymore. I already had not been chewing on that side since I heard the crunching noise.

I titled this post “Dentists” but it’s really been about me. So in all fairness, I will say this. I have the greatest respect for dentists even though I just about die every time I have to go see one. They put up with what has to be one of the worst parts of the human body. We ask them to perform miracles in there. They put up with crazy people like me. If someone said to me I had to choose to be a medical professional of one sort or another, dentist would not be it. I think I’d sooner be a proctologist.

And there I go, talking about me again.

We need dentists. I’m glad that there are people willing to be dentists. That’s all I’m going to say about that.

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