Good afternoon everybody. There’s so much news all the time but I just have 10 minutes to write to you right now and I want to talk about teeth and dentistry.
As longtime readers know, my teeth are fucked. I am now the wrong side of 50 (eek!) and I have aggressive periodontitis, which gives you sore gums, loose teeth and bone loss. This is a problem as it is not good for your general health, also I am very vain and I need to look presentable for work.
Five years ago I had six molars removed on the right side of my face, then I had a sinus lift which means the bone in your face is artificially built up by a surgeon, then I had six dental implants. It took several months to do all the work. I blogged about it all here. At the start of that process I was a very nervous patient. I was afraid of dentists and very panicky and distressed about the state of my teeth and the implications for the future.
My periodontist/implantologist here in London is one of the kindest people I’ve ever met. Despite this, I remember sitting in a Harley Street clinic in a state of shock as he and two of his colleagues used diagrams to describe what seemed like a terrifying, lengthy and incomprehensible plan involving metal posts and cadaver bone. I was like a rabbit caught in the headlights.
Well, it’s now 2018 and things have changed. I still have bone shrinkage and aggressive periodontitis and probably will always have that to some degree. However, I’m much more confident and knowledgeable now, I don’t cry or freak out at the thought of having teeth removed, I’m not scared of dentists and I don’t regard major oral surgery as something to be dreaded because I’ve done it before, I know what’s involved and I know it is actually fine, just a bit painful for a short time immediately post-surgery. And what’s pain? No big deal. It’s just pain, it doesn’t last for ever. You just put ice on your face and play World of Warcraft.
Here’s my plan.
- I saw my everyday family dentist this morning, immediately followed by the dental hygienist. He patched up a couple of fillings so I can look respectable.
- Periodontist/implantologist at the end of this month to set a plan for rebuilding some more bones in my face. I’m ready for a second round of this now.
- I am ready for the quote on this to be eye-wateringly expensive but business is good and in any case if it is astronomically out of reach then I will attempt to get the work done in Slovakia or somewhere in Central Europe.
I am happy that I am more confident about this now because it makes the whole process of buying and receiving treatment easier to deal with. I am an oral surgery warrior now, let’s just get on and do the work.
Good, in fact Amazing.
I went to my gym again today, for the third time in five days. I did 65 minutes of brisk marching on the treadmill. When you add walking to and from the gym to that, I had 80 minutes of cardio today, which is quite good, isn’t it. I am fatter than I would like to be but I am not freaking out about it and I know from experience that if I simply keep going to the gym then I will lose my excess fat over about 3 months.
Regularly going to the gym also stops me from smoking, which is perhaps the major crime that I’ve ever committed against myself. So there we go. I am a non-smoking, regular gym-goer, which is great, isn’t it.
Not Good, in fact Dire.
Oh god, my teeth. What I really mean is oh god, my gums. I have periodontitis, which is an incurable but somewhat manageable condition. I have had it for years and as I am getting older it is getting quite bad, no matter what I do. I’m extremely self conscious about it, despite the amount of cosmetic dental work I’ve had. I find the appearance of my teeth and gums varies dramatically depending on which mirror I’m looking in and what the lighting is like. The mirror in my own bathroom plays cruel jokes on me and tells me that my teeth and gums look okay. But then quite a lot of other locations, like the mirror at the gym, for example, tell me that I have teeth and gums out of a horror movie.
I feel that my regular dentist is not taking my periodontitis seriously enough, maybe because he thinks I’m not taking it seriously enough. I have just emailed my super amazing periodontist who helped me with my gums and implants a few years ago and begged him to rescue me. On the agenda:
- I have a sonic toothbrush, a newly purchased air flosser, I quit smoking and I use hyaluronic mouthwash and gel. Is there anything else I can be doing?
- I am not really happy to hear my normal dentist’s opinion that we can’t do an implant on the left side of my face because there isn’t enough bone. Let’s do a bone graft then. That’s what we did on the right side. Let’s just do it. I’m not as interested in temporary solutions.
- The bones in my face are gradually dissolving. What are we going to do to get this under control? I’m not stupid. If we don’t get it under control then eventually there won’t be enough bone even for traditional dentures, never mind implants. Meanwhile, I’m only 50, I could conceivably live quite a lot longer and I have to look presentable for business. What’s the plan? I don’t mind spending money on having my face reconstructed.
Misery. At least I am going to the gym, so there’s that.
Right, well here we are at 7.30 in the morning. About time we had a news update, as my life lurches from one urgent decision to another.
- There is plenty of it, so that’s good. Can’t complain about that. There is an abundant supply.
- I think I’m about to get promoted at my day job, the Terminator invited me to a meeting about a business proposal that I wrote.
- In my privately owned business, another new client has just come on board, just as I’ve wrapped up 3 projects for the last one.
- This person who I’m not supposed to be in love with. Things keep heating up, it is like a slow cooker. This person loves everything about me EXCEPT that I am absolutely shit at looking after my own health. This is not a minor consideration for them. It is going to be a deal-breaker, I can tell. This forces decisions in the areas of health and also beauty because vanity.
HEALTH, BEAUTY AND VANITY
- FFS, I need to grow up.
- Teeth. As you know, teeth and dentistry are a major part of my life, this is because I smoke more on than off. I reduce my mouth to a state of dereliction by smoking, and my dentist attempts to repair or disguise it with moderate success and considerable expense. My gums look like smoked bacon and I need to sort it out.
- Smoking. See above. I have in fact reverted to being quite a heavy smoker and I need to quit now.
- I am compensating for the destructive effects on my appearance in various ways. Don’t judge me.
- Clothes. Everybody loves my wardrobe. I am one well-dressed smoker.
- Botox. My new guy is great and half the price of my previous doctor, also great.
- Liposuction. I am looking into this but also I’m doing a reasonably good job of not being fat and weigh 149 pounds this morning so it’s not desperately urgent.
- Yesterday I went into a shop and took half my clothes off and a girl aged about 20 did things to me with a high-tech machine that goes ping, this is because I have discovered laser hair removal.
That’s where we are. I need to do some more work now and I need to figure out a way to work 80 hours/week without using smoking and coffee as a crutch.
Right then, let’s see where we are up to.
- Happy pills. I am down to 10mg now. Light is at the end of the tunnel.
- My head is clearer and my productivity is FINALLY improving. FINALLY.
- I don’t have much appetite, which is good. I got on the scales and they said I’d lost 4 pounds!! I am not sure how much I believe this, as I am still not getting any exercise, but I am not complaining. I think I must be eating less, because I haven’t even touched that box of chocolates that Charlie bought me, and I tried to eat an ice-cream just now but became overwhelmed halfway through and put it back in the freezer, next to another one that I couldn’t finish the other day.
The Brownie Points project is going really well and I might keep it going after October.
It is making me do different things with my time, I’ve done a lot of drawing (1 Art point) and quite a bit of reading since the project began, and have spent 0 time playing video games. I also realised that I can extend Brownie Points to include American Scout badges, here are the Girl Scout badges, there are a lot. There is Hiking (you know how I like my long walks), Household DIY (which I desperately need to get on with and had to stop because the pills robbed me of energy), several types of Finance and Athletics, and a few that I would never have thought of, such as Inventing (lol!!) and something called Night Owl, which I am sure I can creatively re-imagine as something that requires me to stay out all night. Would be fun, wouldn’t it.
I am happy to report that my freshly-bleached teeth are not hurting at all and I am obsessively brushing them for fear of stains, which I have to regard as a good thing. It’s not like I would normally run for my toothbrush every time I put something in my mouth.
Right, I must be going, it’s 11pm already and I think I just have time for a bit more drawing before I go to bed.
It is 4.30 am and I am *desperate* for a cup of tea. I think I am going to drink it through a straw so it doesn’t get on my freshly-bleached teeth. If I could take it intravenously, I would.
We are just about half-way through my happy-pill tapering-off schedule. I’ve been back down on 20mg for the last two weeks. So now I’m going to have two weeks on 10mg and then I should be free of it altogether. So far so good. I can’t wait to have my normal brain back. This hasn’t been a brilliant year for Health but we are working on it. It will be nice to feel normal emotions again and not have headaches.
We are 4 years old today. Thank you SO MUCH for coming on the big journey with me. So much love. Wish I could hand round actual cake.
The Brownie Points project is coming along well already. I can see that it is going to be instrumental in helping me to develop new interests. Last night, with one eye on the Artist badge, I took out my pack of pencils and spent the evening taking some lessons from an art book I’ve been reading, and now I have a few sketches. There we go, that’s better than spending all evening playing video games, isn’t it. If I manage to draw something that I wouldn’t be embarrassed to show all of you, then I will claim the Artist Badge and in the meantime I am having 1 Art point for making an effort.
I went to the dentist yet again today (1 Health point) which included having my teeth bleached. They look AMAZING and now I’m scared to eat or drink anything. I am going to the supermarket later to buy foods and beverages that are white, because that’s what I’m going to be living on over the weekend. Probably yogurt and chicken and rice and drinks of milk. God damn. You just don’t know how much I want a cup of tea. I am British, after all.
A courier arrived at my house today, bearing a large box. It was a surprise gift! From Charlie. A silver bag with a ribbon, containing an assortment of very luxurious food items. A beautifully-wrapped box of chocolates. Crackers. Chutney. Elderflower presse. More chocolates. Florentines. Macaroons. It is all absolutely delightful. That’s dinner taken care of. All we need is a nice piece of cheese and we are good to go.
Isn’t that sweet. Bless him. Who doesn’t like presents?
In other news, Socrates was a blazing sun of virility, as ever, and I went to the dentist again, scoring another Health point. This Friday I am having my teeth BLEACHED so expect two days of complaining of sudden pain. The results were more than worth it the last time TLYW had its teeth bleached, a couple of years ago, or whenever it was, so I am willing to endure it.
1 Health point, and we don’t collect Achievement points for receiving gifts and having one’s brains fucked out, but such things are a bonus and a welcome reward.