In which oh, why not

Just found this on FB. The beard is starting to get positively Rothfussian. If only my writing would follow suit.

So technically my fundraiser was supposed to end yesterday, and in fact I just double-checked and it is definitely set to end on the 12th. But for some reason right now it’s still up and donations are still possible, so if for some reason you wanted to donate and forgot or something you have some unknown amount of additional time to throw in a few bucks. We’re over $350, which is amazing. Those of you who donated more than $25 should expect me to be contacting you next week to find out what book I’m sending you. Thank you all so much!

I’ve been quiet this week, mostly because the Ongoing Medical Calamity which ate the last month-and-a-half of the school year has raised its ugly head again, and I’ve been tired and stressed out and generally not wanting to deal with anything. I’m crossing my fingers that things are going to start improving again soon, but … yeah.

(I know, that’s vagueblogging, and I apologize for it. I’m personally fine, for the record; the OMC is not my MC.)

Also– and I know this makes me the worst person in the world, so feel free to call me terrible names in comments since I deserve them– I am heartily tired of summer vacation. One of the very worst things about America’s cultural outlook on work is that I can be in one of the very, very few jobs that actually provide large blocks of vacation time and I spend most of it climbing the Goddamned walls because I don’t know how the hell to just relax and I don’t feel like I’m using my time properly. I’m at about exactly halfway through my break and I’m looking around going WHAT DO I HAVE TO SHOW FOR THIS and freaking the fuck out because I have a month of break left– which is more than most people ever get– and I’m gonna waste it.

How the fuck do you waste vacation? I’m an idiot, dammit.

Well, that was easy

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Pictured: not my tooth

The tooth extraction has basically turned out to be nothing worth talking about, honestly, which isn’t going to stop me from devoting an entire blog post to it.   The most complicated part was convincing the … nurse? not-the-dentist-but-not-clearly-a-hygienist?  Dental assistant?  I dunno, the lady who wasn’t the dentist– that while I appreciated the offer of sunglasses and would happily wear them during the procedure, the idea that the television in the room should be tuned to my needs (“Christ, no, not the news, anything but that”) or that the in-room bluetooth should be playing my own personal pullin’-teeth playlist was utterly unnecessary.  The TV doesn’t even have to be on, and if it’s going to be on my only condition is that it be either not turned to a channel that’s going to provoke rage or muted.  I really don’t need music.

She really had trouble with this idea.  Apparently it’s rare that patients for extractions don’t have media demands while going through the procedure.  Personally, I don’t get it.

Anyway, the nurse smeared my tongue and the area of the tooth with some sort of numbing gel and left me alone for a few minutes and then the dentist came in.  We talked about Hamilton for a few minutes and then he did … something inside my mouth for maybe a minute and said “Okay, all done!” and left.

I was surprised to learn that a tooth extraction takes less than a minute; I hadn’t felt a damned thing.  I expressed my surprise (“Holy shit, that’s it?”) and then discovered that, no, he hadn’t even touched the tooth, I’d just received three numbing shots to complement the numbing gel; the various non-dentists in the room were vastly entertained by my theory that the dentist declaring “all done” meant that “all” was “done” and that I could go home.

It was not, and I could not.

That said, the actual extraction took maybe five minutes.  He warned me beforehand that he suspected he might have to break the tooth to get it all out; as it was maybe 97% of it came right out and then he had to do a touch more fiddling around to get a tiny piece of root that stayed behind.  There was no pain whatsoever.  There wasn’t even any real sense of pressure or discomfort or even tugging.  If he hadn’t shown me the tooth I don’t know that I’d have believed he removed it, since I couldn’t feel anything inside my mouth– it was hours before I could actually feel the hole the tooth left behind with my tongue.  My appointment was at 10:00 and I was texting my wife that I was finished at 10:30.

Several hours of lazing about the house and occasionally switching out my gauze ensued; as of this moment the extraction was ten and a half hours ago and while it’s been a bit obnoxious I still can’t say that I’ve felt any actual pain at any point.  I ate ice cream and applesauce and had macaroni and cheese for dinner.  I’m going to take some painkillers before bed strictly as prophylaxis but I’m not sure I really need them.

So, yeah.  Kinda feel like an idiot that that had me more nervous than my gallbladder surgery did ten years ago.  I mean, shit still has time to go south if I lose the blood clot or something, but so far this has been cake.

In which I annoy a medical professional

Carie_0fada0_3648754So.  Uh.  Oops?

You may recall my misadventures in corn chippery over the weekend.  The doctor at the ER who checked me out said she thought my tooth might be cracked, so I made an appointment with an actual dentist like a big boy to have it looked at.  Now, this person is “my dentist” in the sense that ten years ago when the exact same thing happened to me (possibly not involving corn chips) his office was the one I went to.  I’m not afraid of the dentist, I swear, I just … don’t prioritize it?  So the last time I was in there was the last time I was in there.

Anyway, what I figured would happen was that they’d look at the tooth, do some X-rays, maybe a cleaning, and then make a recommendation for what to do about the tooth in the longer term.  And if they tell me that the tooth needs to come out, so be it.  I’m grown, I can handle a little tooth pull.  It’ll be fine.

So. Dental assistant gently chided me for the length of time in between visits (fair) inspected my teeth (expected) took some X-rays (still following the script) and then called the dentist in, and then the whole damn thing went sideways.

“So, we’re gonna take that out today,” is how he started the conversation.

“Uh,” I said.  “Today?”

“Right now,” he said, gesturing at a pile of tools behind him.

“About that,” I say, realizing that in a very real way my entire life has been leading up to the next three sentences that are about to come out of my mouth, “It’s my 10th anniversary?  And I have reservations at an expensive steakhouse and tickets to Hamilton tonight?  I am not throwing away my shot.”

And of course neither of them get it.

“What are you saying?” he asks.

“We are not going to be pulling any of my teeth today.  I intend to be eating a large steak in about eight hours.  I’ll make an appointment for next week.”

… it didn’t go over well.

So, serious question: I had not for a single second anticipated the possibility that absent an imminent dental emergency they were going to just go and yank a tooth out of my mouth on no notice.  All of my training with medical procedures for my entire life has led me to believe that this is the decision flowchart:

  1. Make medical appointment to discuss/diagnose problem.
  2. Are you dying or in danger of imminent death?  If yes, go to 4.  If not, go to 3.
  3. Make second appointment sometime in the future to remedy problem.
  4. Do surgery, or radiation, or whatever.

So apparently I need to add a 2a, which reads are we gonna pull a tooth? and if the answer is yes you also go to 4.

Anyway, I stuck to my guns– turns out it’s awfully hard to convince me to let you yank a tooth out of my mouth if I didn’t wake up today prepared for tooth extraction and have very expensive uncancellable plans that will be totally screwed up if you try to pull my teeth– and now I have an appointment next Thursday for a tooth extraction.

Which I’m sure will be all sorts of fun and generate at least one more blog post.

(Please, somebody, speak up in comments and tell me if I should have been expecting this– because I literally hadn’t even considered the idea that they’d go straight to an extraction without specifically scheduling it.  Am I nuts?)

Hold my beer and watch this

002012107-1So I think I found the dumbest possible way to end up in the ER, guys, for serious.

Friday afternoon I found myself craving both corn chips and queso and potato chips and French onion dip at the same time.  I texted my wife and requested that she obtain at least one of those two pairs of things on her way home from work.  My wife, being wonderful, came home with both sets.

“OM NOM NOM,” I replied, and I had me some corn chips and some queso.  And a piece of chip promptly got stuck in one of my wisdom smilebones.  While this was an unwelcome development, it wasn’t the end of the world or anything.  I dislodged it after probably less than a minute, had a few more chips, then decided it was a touch more hurty than such things usually are and discontinued my chip-eating.

The next morning my goddamn jaw still hurt.  Still hurt a lot, actually; quite a bit more than it had the night before, and with a touch of dizziness and lightheadedness (are those the same thing?) to boot.  I went to work anyway, of course, because driving when you’re dizzy is what you do when you’ve already made one stupid mistake in the last couple of days.  I did not last at work, however, as the pain intensified and I decided after about an hour that spending all day 1) on my feet and 2) talking to people was not what I wanted to do.  So I left work early and came home.

I spent the whole day fighting with myself about whether I was going to urgent care or not– it was Saturday, after all, so a regular doctor was out of the question– and finally decided I needed to go around dinnertime.  By that point I was assuming I had some sort of quick-onset jaw infection.  It wasn’t the first time that this had happened to me and the pain felt pretty familiar from the last time .  So, fine: off to urgent care, where they’ll give me a scrip for an antibiotic and probably some sort of painkiller and then I’m home free.

Hah.  First of all, there was only one urgent care center anywhere near me that was still open.  Second, they refused to treat me, since jaw pain is “dental-adjacent” and as the lady behind the desk very apologetically explained, they were administratively banned from dealing with anything “dental-adjacent.”

Here is a list of dental urgent care centers.  They are all closed on weekends.  Which violates my understanding of the meaning of the phrase “urgent care,” but whatfuckinever I don’t have the energy for this fight right now.

I contemplate the idea of being in this much pain until Monday and have to fight off tears in public, because shit’s getting worse.

“Do I have any options here?”

“The ER.”

No.  I’m not going to the goddamn ER for jaw pain that I created by eating corn chips.  The ER is where you go when you get shot, or when you’re so sick that you literally don’t know what else to do.  I need a simple goddamn antibiotic and a pain pill.  There’s seriously nobody who can do that for me?

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I went home.   I told my wife what had happened.  And she pointed out that my options were basically 1) Go to the ER now, or 2) go to the ER at 3:00 in the fucking morning once I entirely lost the ability to handle my shit.

Which is the story of how I spent my Saturday night– part of it, at least– in the emergency room, apologizing to nurses for wasting their (very efficient, it must be said) time.  And I left (quickly!) with an antibiotic and instructions to see a dentist ASAP for a tooth that the doctor thought miiiiight be cracked and a scrip for a much stronger painkiller than I’d expected, and instructions that if at all possible I wasn’t to drive while on it and that it therefore would be best to not go to work the next day either.

Which is why it took until 8:30 tonight for me to write about any of this, because I’ve kinda been in a bit of a haze.

Because of corn chips.

The end.

IDIOTIC POSTSCRIPT:  Despite all this I am literally at this very second considering finishing off the queso.  I might have to use a spoon, though.

In which I ain’t right

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Chances are if you’re reading this you’re not a doctor, since most people aren’t, but I bet you can look at my x-rays there and pick out at least one thing wrong: that being that my kneecaps are in the wrong place, and pointed in the wrong directions.  As it turns out, my femurs are rotated a bit to the outside, and then my tibias are rotated a bit to the outside more, thus resulting in my fucked-up feet that point outside instead of straight ahead like they ought to.  My knees apparently hinge properly, and while there’s apparently a bit of wear where there ought not to be I’m not in danger of the damn things falling apart on me anytime soon.  Basically I have some deformities (the doctor used the word “deformities” a lot) and that’s about it.

Solutions are as follows: surgery, which would be stupid, cortisol shots followed by knee braces followed by some physical therapy, which would likely be long and fairly pointless, or I could just be less of a fatty fat-fat and lose some weight.

The doctor didn’t quite say “fatty fat-fat,” but he made sure I heard it.  Also, I only know the things I talk about up there because he was busy explaining them to the med student he had in the room with us.  He barely talked to me at all.  Like, the whole conversation was third-person.

I’m kinda tired of dickish doctors right now.


My new book, Tales: The Benevolence Archives, Vol. 3 is now available for pre-order on Amazon!  Just $2.99 for the ebook edition!