Sunday, September 18, 2011

D Day

As in dentist decision day.

Tomorrow I will have to act on the decisions with which I am struggling regarding my stupid and inconvenient mouth issues.  Jaw thing.  Pain in the ass and did I mention inconvenient?

Well, I guess that having something expensive is never convenient, but this, on top of the whole freaking mess around here, is, oh, it is like looking for your lost cat, slipping on the mossy banks of a mighty river, sliding down and down towards the surging foam, managing to grasp and barely hang on to a rocky outcropping and then having your kitty come, stand on your fingertips and purr like the dickens whilst kneading her spikey, little claws into your knuckles because she is so damn happy that you found her.

Anyway, I have decided to make an appointment with some other dentist, one that specializes in extractions, implants and bridges.  I know that my dentist is fully capable of doing all of this, but she is totally freaking me out with her odd behavior.  So, after I have the new appointment with the new dentist, I am going to make an appointment with her.

We will sit down, get comfortable and then I will share my betrayal with her.  I just totally suck, but I have already paid nearly $350 for the appointments last week, and I just have to make sure that any further work will last longer than the twenty-four hours she expected the bracing of my crowns to last.  Huh?  She is going to be upset, I am going to be upset as well, and I have a five day start on her in the whole freaking upset department.

I had a dream that indicated that this would all turn out fine.  I trust these kinds of dreams and I am not making any exceptions this time.  I have faith.  Yeah, in a stupid dream, but it is working for me right now.

How I am going to pay for all of this really expensive jaw stuff is a concern.  I write "concern" like I am wondering if the kale is going to be fresh at the market this week, or if I am going to have time to go to the post office tomorrow.  SWINM promised that I would be able to have dental care, but I have such a bad feeling about this, and that this will be just another broken promise.  A new dentist is going to insist on some kind of immediate payment for that first visit, and, gosh, it is just too much worry.  I have to get the dental and medical care to find out the extent of this jaw thing, have the disintegrating teeth removed and replaced somehow, and do whatever is needed to fix the core problem.

You know, it would be different if I did not take such stellar care of my teeth.  I brush and floss at least twice a day, after every time I eat.  I scrub my tongue and use those little brushpicks, and often floss as well, after every single meal when I am not at home.  I have my own scalers and clean my teeth thoroughly each week.  That recommendation that we should have our teeth professionally cleaned twice a year?  Well, I always did that until SWINM cancelled my dental insurance, but even then, my cleanings took barely ten minutes, or so, in the chair, because I really do take excellent care of my mouth.

If you go through life being a good person, doing good in the world and all that jazz, and still manage to expect some kind of fairness or something, life will be one heartbreak after another.  It is just that I am a really and truly good person around here and I am still treated like crap.  There must be something majorly the hell wrong with me.

Maybe I will have another dream tonight that figures it all out for me. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

More rationalizing

So.  O.K., I may have to fire my dentist, at least for the short term.

She is a great dentist, probably the best in her town.  Over the years she and I have become friends.  When I was at the appointment earlier this week where the jaw thing was discovered/suspected, she and I were joking back and forth, just being smarasses, the usual stuff, and I noticed that her new assistant was looking at us strangely.  My dentist noticed too, and said to relax, that we were good friends.  The assistant relaxed and sort of got into the spirit of the whole thing, although I do think that she was puzzled that I was taking the whole jaw thing and the possibilities and consequences of some of those possibilities a bit too lightly.  Whatever.  It is what I do.

Anyway, during the work that I had done that day, she was, well, how can I say this...she was cranky and not very nice to her assistant, who is new, as in really new.  Even though she is experienced, she is new to this practice and, like any new employee or colleague, needs time to learn exactly how things are done there and get up to speed. 

Next.  I received a telephone call to see how I was doing and she was all over the place.  I just listened and let it go.

Today was more telephone calls from all kinds of people involved in this and she was just a weird.  One of the options is to pull a whole bunch of teeth, repair the jaw thing, let everything heal for months, as in like months, and then create and install implants.  That would cost thousands and thousands and more thousands of dollars.  I do not have that.

The second option is to pull the teeth, up to four of them, repair the jaw thing, let everything heal for only a month or so, and then create a bridge appliance to replace the missing teeth, which I totally and completely want to do because these would be the four bottom teeth, from the center to the right of my mouth.  This option would cost only four thousand dollars, including the extractions and all the extra visits.

Again, I never thought that I was a vain person, but I clearly am because I really do not want to go to work with that large of a gap in my smile.  Immature, selfish, vain, vain, vain.  Too freaking bad.  I want replacement teeth there.  Implants, bridges, whatever, just fill the damn gap.

So, I said that I would prefer, only because of the cost, to have the bridge appliance.  She then proceeded to argue me out of it.

Me:  But, X, the implants cost too much.  I want something there in the gap, but, seriously, who has that kind of money?
Her:  The implants are a better choice.
Me:  Well, at my age, it probably makes sense to choose the bridge.
Her:  That's not true.  Implants are there for good and they are easier to take care of.  They function just like natural teeth.
Me:  Yeah, but I still do not, will not have that kind of money.
Her:  Well, it's probably for the best because I have not done these in a long time and I really should be re-trained in how to do them.

Me:  Great, then no problem, the bridge it is.
Her:  Oh, I suppose that I could have the company guys come to me and refresh me.  (That made me laugh a little in my head)
Me:  Well, I still think that I prefer the bridge.
Her:  You do know that all of those teeth on the bottom in little, right?  And that the bridge would have to connect to them?

Me:  Yeah, I know, but I cannot get the implants.  I really cannot.
Her:  Well, the training is expensive and takes a long time, and I really do not have the time right now, so I guess that is best then.
Me: Cool.

There was so much more of the conversation and it just got weirder, something about maybe she still has the molds she took of my mouth a few years ago, maybe they are in the back someplace, maybe.  Now, why should any of the matter?  A sensible and thinking person would do her best to find another dentist to do this part of whatever we end of doing.  And, doing it soon because I am counseled to not wait long to decide and begin the process, as in begin the extractions and jaw thing fixing next week

It matters because I care about her and she has just come out on the other side of a year of really crappy personal experiences that included the death of someone close to her.

This is where, if you are going to insist on maintaining a friendship that grew out of a business relationship, that you just pull up your big girl panties and have a conversation, clear my head of all the negative noise, and either have her go ahead and to the extractions prior to fixing the jaw thing or find another dentist to do the work.

If the friendship is strong, well it survives.  If it is weak, then it dies the natural death it should.

I should have called her back at the office this afternoon and had this conversation or arranged to go in after clinic hours and have at it.  I just could not bring myself to do it.  I could still call her at home this weekend, arrange to get together and have this conversation, but I know that I will not do that, either.

I am wasting precious time, as finding and achieving an appointment with a new dentist is going to take more than the couple of days that I have.  It could take weeks, months.  I am a procrastinating time-waster.

I should just go and make that smoothie, but I think that I will grab a kitty and go rest, read the last of my zombie book and, with any luck, have a nice nap and wake up to find that this whole damn week was just a crappy dream.

And, you know, this whole thing is not serious, as in life-threatening, just tedious and potentially weirder than this week has already been.  Big girl panties time.  Lordy.

No whining

Well, just a little bit, mostly because it seems impossible for me to go cold turkey, although I would never complain about turkey.  Well, I would, but I am not comfortable sharing that story.

So, anyway, I have this jaw thing and until I decide what to do about it, I have to not chew, not bite.  All foods have to be soft, fluidy, liquidy or capable of being mushed in my mouth, on the opposite side of the jaw thing, using my tongue against the roof of my mouth, again, on the side opposite of the jaw thing.

I miss chewing so much.  I never gave it a thought, but biting and chewing are...were...a large part of enjoying food.  But, I am doing what the doc recommended.  I even had a burger yesterday by cutting it into really small pieces, like smaller than a half inch, and gumming the stuff into insensibility.  It was tasty, but not the same or right feeling experience.

I have to keep thinking about this, am going to have a smoothie for a snack this afternoon, have been eating cooked cereals,and have made a couple of really tasty meals since Monday or Tuesday or whenever this all happened.

Late last night I made meat loaf in the pressure cooker.  It was interesting.  It was the first time that I had heard that machine make noises, other than the occasional steamy murmuring.  When I opened the cooker, there was a ton of juicy sauce, and a little bit of fat globules floating and glistening on top, which was a surprise because I used 90% lean ground beef.  I guess that shiny stuff was the 10%, but it seemed like a lot.

I ladled out as much as I could, then inverted my big strainer over the top of the cooker pot, lifted and flipped it over so that the juicy stuff could drain into the bowl into which I had ladled the juicy stuff.  Then, when it looked like most of it had drained out, I covered the strainer with a dinner place and flipped again.  There was still some stuff that looked too glisteny to not be fat, so I put some paper toweling dams along the plate edges so that I would not have to clean any overflow from the refrigerator in the morning.

Despite putting crushed tomatoes (canned) into the bottom of the cooker and covering the top of the loaf with a little sauce that I made from tomato paste, water and seasonings, the bottom of the meatloaf burned.  It was weird.  It was a paper-thin layer of burn.  I was able to lift it off with a fork, not lose much of the loaf and it did not impart a burned taste to the meatloaf, not even in the adjoining meaty part.  Weird.

Anyway, it worked out fine and it tastes fine.  Unfortunately, I forgot that I was cooking this stuff just for myself and I made portions generous enough for the two for whom I usually cook.  Someone who is not me is not interested in trying any of these new cooking experiments in mushy stuff.  I do not blame him, but I will have to remember to not use three pounds of ground beef if I make this again.  I will be eating this meat stuff for a very long time, even if I freeze some of it, which I intend to do this afternoon, along with half of the pan of lasagna.  Easy meals coming up.

Today I had a small piece of the meatloaf for breakfast/lunch.  It was really good, even better than the taste I had last night.

More of it was crumbled and put into a small pan of lasagna, along with whole wheat lasagna noodles, spinach, ricotta, canned mushrooms, shredded mozzarella, and I used the juicy stuff, which had overnight transformed into a really yummy tomato sauce (nice because I did not have to make any...yippee!) as the sauce.

I wanted it to have as few carbohydrates as possible, so I put a single layer of noodles on the bottom, filled the pan with the fillings and put another single layer of noodles on top, smoothed on some more sauce, and sprinkled a bit of shredded Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses on top of that.  I tented aluminum foil over the top so that it would not get crunchy and baked it for an hour.

It is fine.  Good even.  The only problem seems to be that even wishing and hoping will not magickally make a dairy sensitivity go away.  I had a three-inch-square piece and the cheeses helped the whole thing move through my system in short order.  So, future pieces will have most of the cheeses ripped or scooped out.  So sad.

In an effort to lessen the carb load, I used whole wheat noodles.  I cooked them until they were as floppy as possible, used lots of sauce and they still are too chewy.  I had to mash them with my fork so that I could gum them down with the rest of the ingredients.  Oh, and there is one section where the edge crisped up despite the foil covering and it is all I can to do cut it off and gnaw away on it.

I prefer to think of this whole thing as sharing and not whining.  I am so good at rationalizing.

I am.  Just ask anyone. 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

I do not ever, well most of the time, have sweet things to eat.  I have diabetes and manage it with diet and an oral medication.  Since my diagnosis more than four years ago I have learned to avoid hidden sugars and to read labels even more carefully than I have always done.  It has been two years since I baked anything sweet, and that was spaghetti and meatball cupcakes and babies under a blanket cupcakes for a niece's baby shower.  Much longer than that since making anything sweet for myself, well, I guess the bit over four years ago diabetes thing.

But, losing sweet tasting things is so sad.  Really.  No Halloween candy for me, no candy canes at xmas or Cadbury eggs at Eostre and only a token bit of a taste at the babies birthday parties, just for good fortune for the coming year.  No pastries when out with the Chickies.  No gummie critters, no gum drops, no gum.

If I still was able to go to see movies, there would not be any Twizzlers or popcorn (whilst not technically a sweet, still too carby).  I do drink artifically sweetened diet soft drinks, but I just figure that the preservative and chemicals in there might help preserve my cells whilst calcifying my brain.  Hey.  It could happen.

But, last week, well, it was in the middle of some biblically bad stuff here.  I am not saying that any seas parted, but there have been several occasions when I feared that the fabric of time and space had been violated.  But, that is another story.  I would share it, it might even make me feel better to unburden some of it, but then I would not be able to stop crying and, well, it is Saturday and I do have to be able to go to work next Wednesday.

Anyway, by Tuesday I could not stand it and by Friday I was frantic for something sweetly tasty and my usual apples or carrots were just not cutting the custard.

I thought about custard, but knew that a savory one would not do the trick, so when I went to the pharmacy to get my medication, I stopped at the market and bought chocolate chips and a bag of walnuts.  I am not judging myself, but I was aware of how epic a fail this would be.

Little did I know.

I came home, followed the directions for chocolate chip cookies, on the back of the bag and set to work.  I used whole wheat flour, Splenda (don't start...), a whole cup of butter, the walnuts, eggs and a dump of Ghirardelli's cocoa.  I spread it out in a sheet pan to make bars, easier.  When it came out of the oven I sprinkled another bag of chips over the top, waited a bit, spread out the melted chips and waited some more.

I let it cool completely and got out wrap so that I could immediately portion it out and put most of it safely away in the freezer.  Freezing sweets might not work for others, but it does for me.  Probably because I am needing more immediate gratification these days, but whatever works, yes?

I cut into the pan and the darn thing practically shattered into crumbles.  The whole pan was weak and crumbly, like, ummm, crumbles.  It tasted great, but was like some kind of crumbly topping that you would put on top of ice cream or something.  The only thing holding even the crumbs together was the melted coating of chocolate chips on the top.

I ate a small piece, thought about it, tried to eat another tiny bit and and eventually tossed the whole, expensive mess into a container which went out to feed the critters at the feeding stations.  They liked it and it was gone in a few days.  The whole, freaking pan.

I had no idea why it happened.  Then, yesterday...another Friday, coincidence?  I think not... I began to think that maybe I had never put the eggs into it.  I remember going to get the vanilla, finding none and deciding to substitute with a little blackstrap molasses dissolved in a little water.  But, I had no recollection of fetching, cracking or incorporating eggs.

So, when I took my friend shopping yesterday (another nine hour day, but that is still one more, other story), I bought more chips, one bag this time, more walnuts and a small bottle of vanilla.  Man, has that stuff gotten expensive.

Two hours ago, after I set the bread to rise, I decided that since I had bought the ingredients, that I would make another attempt to satisfy my sweet tooth, which, in addition to my bleeding and shattered heart, was begging for comfort.

So, I did.  I made sure that I fluffed the butter and sweetener parts.  Fluffy, very fluffy indeed.  Then, I carefully added both the vanilla and the damn eggs.  More fluffiness.  All the rest got tossed in, mixed and spread out in a pan.

Well, it really must have been the missing eggs, because this batch turned out great, wonderful, amazing.  It slightly overflowed the pan and the edges are crisp and light and, oh goodness, just right.  And, I put so much cocoa powder in them that they are, in effect, brownies.  Even better.  More chocolaty goodness without any additional shame.  I also used three eggs, just the right amount to make it cakier than a cookie and not too much like cake.  I rock.

It is now cut, wrapped and safely in the freezer, but I must admit that I did have more than one piece.  How many more, well, I am not confessing that part, but I think it best to go and take a rest whilst I recover from my chocolate and carb coma.  I did drink a nice, big mug of green tea whilst eating the lovely bars, so that has to count for something, yes?

So, if there is a lesson in here...and there is that if you decide to indulge yourself, do not let your shame make you forget the eggs.

You may quote me.

All the things I can(not)

This unposted space mocks me.  I had plans, kind of nice, sort of big, mostly challenging plans and it is all fucked up, at least for the time being.

I cannot knit or sew or make those damn porcelain bowls I promised everyone for Yule.

I cannot make any stuff at all.

I cannot make sense of what is happening here, much less wrestle some forward movement out of it.

I cannot visit anyone, not my friends for Saturday morning coffee and, so much worse, not my grandbabies and their mommy and daddy.

I can keep saving money to have his car fixed so that I will be able to resume, at the very least, visits to the babies.  I am slightly more than half-way there and if I had not already paid for those stupid, non-refundable trips, I would be 3/4 of the way there.

I can be grateful for being allowed to use his car, so I just have to get over my selfish irritation about paying for all of the repairs this time.  It is a pittance compared to buying, registering, insurance-ing-up, gassing and maintaining a different car.  Big-girl-panties-pull-up-time.

I can go to work and do fine there.  I can go to fiber club afterwards, but not for long.  I get too hungry and antsy and cannot sit still.

I can work on the computer, so that is great, as I am mostly up to speed, like really, really close, on the sites I manage, and totally up to speed on all of the projects to which I committed.  Nice to have that one place where I am not failing.  So, I am also very grateful that I do have this computer and the Internet to help me with my work and help provide a place where I can go and disappear into the bits and bytes to have some fun.

I can manage on the money that I have and am grateful that I have simple tastes.  I never really thought about it in those terms until fairly recently, but it is true.  I am satisfied with simple things and simple pursuits, although I am not averse to having the Universe drop a whole, stunningly decadent and huge amount of resources on me so that I could take a break from being frugal and have the ability to indulge myself and those I love once in a while.  I would love to help my daughter with stuff and maybe send her and my sweet son-in-law away for a responsibility-free weekend once in a while.  I am glad and satisfied that I have always been glad, satisfied and grateful for what I do have, but that would be totally wonderful.  There is that platitude that money cannot buy happiness, but that is a lie.  It is also mean because it makes those who could really use more monetary resources feel like selfish pigs, which they/me/I are not.  Money can buy the release of terrible worry and the peace of mind that supports happiness, which is pretty much the same thing.

I have so many more of my 'can' than my 'cannot' and that is fine, but not fun.

Everything in it's time.  Right?  Yes?

I had to come back and add the most important thing that money can do.

It can provide safety.