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November 5, 2001
a year ago
two years ago
three years ago
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A Two Doctor Day

9:19 pm: Last night, while I was lying down to go to sleep I resolved that I was going to call the dentist that Dan had recommended. It was a dentist that Dan had said really believed in night guards and who thought that a lot of dental problems stemmed from teeth grinding. So it was pretty obvious that he'd be able to handle adjusting my night guard to a more comfortable level.

I nearly gave up on the idea this morning because I was able, with Motrin every six hours, to keep the guard in and use it all night and while my teeth ached in the morning, they weren't quite as bad as they were yesterday. Then again, I hadn't let the Motrin run out on me and I'd taken it once every six hours. Which was likely why I was so comfortable.

I did leave a message with the Macri dentists and asked them how long I could expect the nerves to be unhappy. I also got Jet when he woke up at 6:30, fed him, and then, when he went back to sleep at 7, I sat and read baby books. I haven't read them since he was four months old and my knowledge was out of date and I needed to catch up on what they were saying about what might happen in the next few months.

John had been up with Jet from about 4:30 to nearly 5:30, so I let him sleep until quarter 'til nine. Jet actually went back to sleep after eating off me and stayed that way until 8:00 and we played quietly until I figured that it was probably time for John to get up. He did feel much better for the extra sleep. I had gotten up because my teeth ached, but not because they hurt badly.

I did make the appointment, though, with the new dentist, Terry Davis, in Boulder. The receptionist heard my troubles, asked me my name, warned me that I might have to have a new guard made, but made sympathy noises when I said that I couldn't have the other dentists gain from their mistakes.

Then I ate my breakfast, nursed Jet, and we headed for his nine month checkup in Longmont.

Even in the waiting room the whole experience was different. Jet wanted onto the floor and he crawled over to meet another little boy, and then went to see a baby girl. He wanted to say hello and see who they were. He liked getting to see the nurse and the doctor again, and he squawked happy squawks at full volume whenever he thought they were listening.

He weighs, officially 19 pounds and 3 ounces, which is only 20th percentile, so no matter what anyone says, at nine months, he's actually a small baby. He's 27 and a quarter inches long, which is pretty short for his age. What is utterly startling is that Jet has a 19 inch head. 46.8 centimeters, to be more precise, but it's just immense. He's up in the 80th percentile with his huge head. No wonder he keeps losing his balance and whacking his head. Poor tyke.

Dr. Turner was very pleased with his progress, that he was quite capable of sitting up on his own, that he could do pincer grabs with his thumb and fingers, that he was cheerfully babbling away in consonant sets was all good stuff. He was interacting well, and checked out on the whole. One good thing to learn was that his lungs were totally clear, that the coughing Jet was doing had nothing to do with lung congestion. It's likely it's either from saliva from him not quite teething or even the bad air quality that's been going on recently.

They didn't have to do any immunizations this visit, but they did have to do a blood draw to check for his iron levels. We had to take him down to the lab. I held him in my lap, and they stuck him in his big toe. It took a little while for the pain to register and he cried while I held him and murmured quietly to him. He was actually really good about not fighting it wildly. He did whimper and cry every time she had to squeeze his cut to get more blood. She had to fill a little vial with his blood and it had a special scoop to pick up drops of blood. She had to bang it to get it to settle into the vial, and after a few times of banging on the metal railing, Jet was as fascinated by the banging as he was whimpery about getting squeezed for more blood.

I was pretty impressed that he was interested in this other activity. When she was done, she had John hold a gauze on Jet's toe and put mild pressure on it to stop the bleeding. Jet stopped crying when she stopped squeezing, but he started whimpering a little while John put pressure on the cut. She went off to make sure the sample was okay, and when she did that she came back with a little, one-piece, neon green plastic jet plane. She handed it to Jet and he instantly put it into his mouth. Then he waved it around a little and stopped crying completely when they took the pressure off and put a Band-Aid on it.

Jet is really good about only crying when something really is bothering him and that impresses me more than a lot of other things.

So he kept a tight grip on his little, green neon jet all the way home, even after he'd fallen asleep in his car seat. We stopped by a Taco John's for soft taco combos and headed to Joan's where we dropped a suddenly awake Jet off with her to take care of until 2. Then we headed home and ate and worked.

I worked until quarter 'til 2, and then booked for Boulder, and got to the dentist's office at 2:15 to fill out a questionnaire that amused me by reassuring me by it's very thoroughness. There were details in there that made it pretty clear that Dr. Davis was on the lookout for jaw problems. When I finished it and the essay questions, I got led directly into the examination chair and Dr. Davis showed up seconds later.

He asked a lot of questions that helped me talk about stuff without getting angry at the Macri dentists. He asked clear, direct questions about what was wrong, what he could do to help and what the actual problem was, rather than going into the whole sequence of events, he was more interested in what happened. He even asked me if the person who made the device was the one trying to adjust it, and when I said, "No, the person who made it is in Bellevue, Washington," he just nodded, as if he fully expected that they be completely different people.

After asking me what I felt, he then went and did the spray stuff that marks, clearly and unequivocally what is wrong. He got both of the side pressures that were bothering me and got them cleanly. He then went off with the guard and came back with the bottom side of it completely smooth where the Macries had hacked at it. He explained that they'd left grooves which could have aggravated my bottom teeth as well, so he'd smoothed the whole thing.

He also pointed out that there was a hairline crack in the device, along the areas that they'd 'adjusted' and that that might be some of what I was feeling as well. If the whole area broke off we'd have to make a new guard. Which would be a 400-500 dollar investment again, though I'd only pay for half of it with my dental insurance, which is pretty good, actually. Compared to losing teeth a few hundred dollars of pre-tax medical fund money is a small price compared to more ruined teeth and nerves.

He didn't seem too concerned about the nerves, yet, and when I asked about how long I could expect the jangled nerves to last, he said that it would be three or four days if I wore the guard regularly. If I hadn't had the guard, he would have expected it to last a week. So it's pretty clear he knows something about the benefits of the guards when they're done right, and it really felt like he'd done his best to adjust what I have left of my guard to his satisfaction.

It'll last or it won't, and if I can get it to last just into next year, I'll have the pre-tax funds to pay for a new one if I have to. With the job change, the move, Fezzik's death, and Jet's birth and early months, that toothguard has more than earned its keep already. Given how many cracks are already running through it, it might not have had that long to last anyway.

At least I can trust the person who will replace it, I think.

My teeth still ache a little, but I think it's getting better. The Macri dentists, after I'd left a message asking how long I could expect the aching to last, had only called to say that they got a message from me. They didn't answer my question. So I think that I'm done with them.

I spent the afternoon playing with Jet, feeding him, and working a little bit with him playing contentedly in this fenced area. He was pretty tired, so even by dinner time he was angry and pushing away the food John was trying to feed him. We didn't know if it was just tiredness or if it was also some pain from his healing foot or from possible teeth. So we fed him some Tylenol with his last feeding and he passed out a little early.

We had spaghetti and meatballs for dinner and cleared out yet more of the fridge for the trip. I also got a big box from Albuquerque and Cathie had sent me a lovely metal bath basket filled with bubbles, mango soap, lotion and a way cool rubber frog bubble blower that I get to keep for just myself until Jet's 18 months old. Then he might be able to borrow it from me.

I think it's time for me to eat my Midol and pass out myself. Just three more days and we'll see how it goes. With the travelling it'll be interesting to see how much I grind my teeth and how well or badly Jet sleeps the night before we fly. Traditionally it's a really bad night, but we'll have to see how it goes. John has a class tomorrow and Wednesday, so Joan's taking Jet for four hours each day and I'll have some time at home.

I might not go into work on Wednesday, or, at least, I might not have lunch with everyone as it'll give me a little time at home after my meetings. Time alone might be a very precious thing.

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Copyright 2001 Liralen Li. All Rights Reserved.