Oral Surgery

Food is amazing. I love the sweetness, the saltiness, the spice. The smoothness and chunkiness. The savory flavor of the meat. But for the next few days I can eat none of it. I had oral surgery this morning.

I have to get a tooth implant because of the emergency extraction I had back in February. This is part one of that. THEY DRILLED AND SCREWED A SCREW INTO MY JAWBONE. Let that sink in.

Insurance wouldn’t pay for anesthetic. There was no way in hell I was going through it without anesthesthetic.

Bleeding is not too bad, but they told me at the office that the pain gets worse. It peaks days 3 though 5. I have had an extremely hard week, and this has not been a good way to end it.

No matter how many surgeries I have, even the ankle fusions and replacements in my future which terrify me with their pain and long layups, I am grateful to be here. Life is so sweet, but I live on its edge and my balance is precarious.

Getting Better

On the rise. Physically and mentally I am improving. I am sitting down while Angelica gets tutoring.

Craig is liking his new job and I am so happy for him. I miss him though. He is already working late hours, and he is on week one of training with his predecessor. His previous schedule constantly rotated between days, swings, and mids during the week, so he was exhausted. That schedule was awful for him and I am glad he’s done with it. However, the one advantage of that job was that we had a ton of family time. We really loved that, especially since he was just coming off a sea tour.

I doubt we will ever have family time like that again.

It is May 9th and it has been snowing today. Nothing that sticks this time, but still – it’s mid May.

Soon I will be taking Angelica on a mommy daughter date. She misses them. It has been a month now. She is going on a daddy daughter date this weekend.

I am in a state of bliss listening to lectures on Great Courses. I am diving into linguistics, natural history (dinosaurs and terror birds!!!), and dystopian and utopian fiction. It is the intellectual joy of college without the expense of actually getting another degree. I do take notes sometimes though. I can’t help myself.

Great Trip

We got home Saturday night from a trip back to the East Coast to visit family and friends. We went to TN, GA, and NC. Angelica spent time with her great grandfather, and then her grandparents in Georgia. Craig and Angelica went with my inlaws to Easter services. I WAS TOO TIRED TO EVEN GO! Part of this was that the hotel pillows were truly the most horrible pillows I have ever laid my head on. I ended up sneaking out at 330 to go to Walmart and buy some at 4 am. I had already tried folding a bath towel onto my hotel pillows to no avail.

We spent time in North Carolina and Virginia visiting a friend – relaxing, talking, shopping, eating, spending time by the water.

Fresh Gratitude List

To praise God and to lift my mood, I want to ruminate on some things I am grateful for at the moment.

  • A working car. I went through a period in my early twenties when I did not have a vehicle. Now, being able to jump in the car and go where I want feels so good. I don’t need to dread cold or rain because I don’t have to walk in it for miles to get to the doctor.
  • I am tremendously grateful that I can put off ankle surgery for at least awhile. I know that technically that isn’t good. They told me to hold off as long as I can because none of the surgical options have a high likelihood of success. But the fact is that every month, every season I don’t have to be laid up and in pain is something to thank God for. Walking is a gift not everyone has.
  • Amazon. I know it is killing brick and mortar stores, and I hate that. But it gives me access to so many books I could never find locally.
  • Evangelists. I admire what they do. It isn’t that I don’t have the courage to share the Good News of Jesus. I do. I am just so awkwardly introverted that I don’t know how to express something so important in real time conversation. Maybe one day the Holy Spirit will give me the right words for the right person at the right time. Otherwise, I will serve in some other way and be glad for the spiritual gifts I have.
  • Snow. Its loveliness laces through my life. Snow is intricately entwined with me. I understand snow.

Getting Brave

As I work through therapy, a lot of things have come up. One of them is challenging the overwhelming messages I received as a child that I wasn’t good enough. In therapy one of the questions asked was what I would do if I felt I was good enough.

Taking my art more seriously was my first answer.

Overall I am pretty confident and strong. I learned over the years to be true to myself, to not let even the most overbearing people erase who I am. Yet still, certain messages persist – trepidation about criticism because I have received so much of it.

I want to move on completely from my childhood. Some things are just toxic, and sometimes beneath the surface of the beautiful pond is something grimy and filled with leeches. Sometimes things don’t work.

Yet to truly move on I have to get rid of the negative emotions and negative ideas I got from those years of my life. In most childhoods there is something good to be gleaned and that is true of my own childhood as well. I received an upbringing of good manners, as well as an emphasis on academic excellence that served me well as an ambitious student. There were definitely positive things about my upbringing. However, many of the messages I received were critical, unkind, and demoralizing. My basic needs were met, and I am grateful for that, but I was not liked or even particularly loved.

It’s time to take my art more seriously. And in answering the prompt in therapy about what I would do if I knew I was good enough I actually ended up coming up with a list of over 40 items. Some of them were very big and important and some of them were very small, but there were over 40 things I would do if I could get past the echoes of my younger life. It’s time to start doing those things. I am 30, and I don’t want to spend the rest of my life stuck in the same headspace I was in in middle school. Tomorrows are never guaranteed, so I want to make the most of today.

I go through my day expecting censure and ridicule. But is that really fair? It’s no way to live, and not everyone is going to be out to criticize me. And if they do criticize me it doesn’t matter. I’m not trapped in a house with someone who criticizes me all the time nor am I economically dependent on them. If some random stranger on the internet or a local mom I don’t know that well has something to negative to say about me oh, who cares?

There are so many things on my list to go through. Another major thing I need to address is my inability to trust people. That’s pretty important. Some things on the list are just small though, but they would make me really happy. For instance, I always really want to wear glitter on my cheeks or my arms. That’s not the most important thing in the world, but it would feel so nice to do it. As a kid I loved the idea of body glitter, but when I received a bottle of it from a friend in middle school I was told even then that I was too old for it and shouldn’t be wearing it and that it was silly. It’s time to get past the point in life where I really care who thinks it’s silly. It’s my body and my money and I’ll wear whatever I damn well please. To reiterate the point, whether or not I can wear glitter is not a life-or-death issue and is not earth shattering. It’s glitter. But the idea behind this is very important. I’m not doing something I really want to do, something I would have fun with and enjoy, because of the criticism of others.

I have a lot of things I want to work through and so far therapy has been helping. I was in therapy years ago and although it helped me with certain issues, it did not help me with everything I would have liked help with. This time around it has been really productive so far.

Good Day So Far

Today has been amazing. It started with some cuddles with Craig when he got home from his mid.

After that I jumped in the shower and enjoyed the steam and clean feel. Sometimes I don’t feel well enough to shower, so that made me happy.

Afterward I started some laundry, mopped the floors, did the dishes, took out the recycling, took out the trash, and ran the roomba.

I then did some photography experiments.

I used text and video to teach Angelica a lesson about volcanoes.

I spent time in a devotional.

Completely unrelated, I enjoyed part of a volume of erotic poetry.

Then, to top a perfect morning off, I got to spend time catching up with my friend L over the phone.

Such a successful morning! I hope to feel this good and be this productive the rest of the day.

Pure Tiredness

I read Angelica an adorable story called, “Love Monster.” I saw it from across the aisle at Target and knew immediately that we had to have it. We sort of have a monster theme in our family, and this just looks like the cutest book.

Now I am so tired. The pain killer for my jaw is making me tired, and worst of all I am almost out of it. I am still laying that side of my face on a heating pad a lot to dull the pain.

Yesterday, though I was in pain and undoubtedly way too whiny about it, I got to hang out with my friend M and our kids got to play together. It was lovely.

More later. Half asleel.

Lost a Tooth, Lots of Screaming

Last night Craig and I went to the Spider-Man movie he wanted to see on a date. I bit into a Sour Patch Kid while the movie was going and I suddenly felt two hard things. My crown and piece of real tooth had just popped out of my mouth. The hole was so deep on one side that it went below my gum line. It was night and I had to find an emergency dentist to go to.

Apparently what happened is this. When the dentist put my crown on a couple of years ago, he put it on top of a cavity. The dentist last night said, you have a cavity, and at first I thought that he meant the real tooth that was around the edge and was exposed to food and air. I thought I just hadn’t brushed it well enough. In actuality he said, the cavity was in the middle of the tooth and was sealed in by the crown. He said that the dentist who put the crown in put it on top of decaying tooth. They didn’t take care of a cavity that was in there. They just put a crown on a tooth that was decaying. Finally the tooth became so decayed and weak that it couldn’t hold the crown on anymore or the growth around it. So it just came off. The dentist who put my crown on stuck it on top of a cavity and the tooth was just rotting under there day by day ever since. He said every last bit was rotted inside all the way down to the very thinnest bottom layer. It was not salvageable at all. He had to extract it. Some of it was so soft, but some of it was extremely brittle and he was jerking on and pressing on and yanking my jaw so much that I thought he might dislocate it.

When he was going at it with the drill the stench was horrendous. I know that you usually smell burning bone when they have to drill into your teeth like that. I’ve had cavities before, and a root canal, so of course this was not my first time smelling burning tooth. But there was another horrible smelling thing that made it hard to breathe. I asked what it was and they said it was the smell of the bacteria in the cavity. The rot. I could have passed out. It was horrendous.

The whole thing was hard. To start with I have a fear of the injection needles that they use to put the novocaine in. It’s been getting worse and worse over the years. I had Klonopin with me and I took some to help with the anxiety and fear. It did help, but I was still so panicked that I screamed during all the injections. When it was done and I managed to calm down and breathe I told him I was glad I at least had the Klonopin because that helped. They raised their eyebrows and said really? But it would have been worse if I hadn’t had the Klonopin. I was trying to scream quietly, since Angelica was in the waiting room with Craig at that point and I don’t want her to develop a fear of the dentist. But apparently she did hear some of the screaming even though I was way in the back. I think I’ve reached the point where when I make normal dental appointments I need to go to one of those places that will put you under. That’s going to be expensive. But I took double klonopin and I was still hyperventilating and screaming. Last night though there just wasn’t an option to wait find one of those dentists who puts people under though. The hole was bad and it had to be plugged immediately. They put a bone graft in to hold me over until I go to an oral surgeon after I do some healing.

I have to get an implant tooth. I’m really dreading this. It will happen over the next few months. And I know that for that procedure at least he said that they cannot put me out because sometimes when they drill to screw the fake tooth in they accidentally drill into the nerve that runs along the jaw, so they need you to be awake so that if they hit the nerve you can raise your hand and yell so that they don’t drill any further. But to make you at least a little less miserable they do give you Novocain and part of your mouth, which means at the very least one more time I have to have one of those needles come at me. My heart is absolutely racing at the thought. Part of it of course is the pain. I’m a sissy wimp and when they stick that needle all the way in down deep and you feel it hit, that really hurts. Plus I am considered hard to numb, so they have to stick a lot of needles and most of the time and inject a lot of the novocaine before I am numb enough for them to do what they need to do. But part of it is not the pain at all. It’s just the absolute Panic of seeing the needle there and knowing it is there and feeling a piece of metal being inserted into me like that. Part of it really isn’t the pain it’s just what’s going on. It’s the act of having a needle inserted into me. If they could get rid of the pain that would help, but I would probably still be doing some screaming and panicking just because of what’s going on. It’s an injection. Injections give me panic attacks.

Not a great night. But I am grateful to my husband for all his care. We got home late and he was out at 11:30 picking up my pain medicine and antibiotic. He made me comfortable with a warm pad. He woke me up for my medicines. When I couldn’t sleep for a long time to begin with because of the pain he just held me. I remember moaning and crying. It was a rough night. And somewhere in the middle of all that he found the time to clean my ankle brace for me because it really needed to be cleaned before I could wear it again and in the midst of pain drugs and pain and exhaustion I wasn’t up to the task of cleaning it. He was up so late that he went to bed at 3 this afternoon to prepare for his morning shift. I am trying to take the pain medicine on time so that I don’t lapse. I love Craig. I am thankful for him.

Incredible Cloth Planet

Our wonderful babysitter came today to take care of Angelica and give me a break. I used the day creatively, and I have discovered a new favorite place.

I decided to look up local fabric stores because I wanted a transparent fabric to use as a screen over my camera lens. It’s probably a silly idea but I really want to experiment with some different things and that’s one of the things I want to try. I found a local store on the other end of town and I decided to give it a shot. The place was magical! Fabric prints I had never even imagined. Beautiful buttons. Sequins and other embellishments. Sheer curtains that I can use a screens. Solid cloth that will make excellent backgrounds for still life and book photos. I cannot sew or quilt but this place was Heaven.

I wanted to buy a few things to bring back to the house and play around with, but it is a store owned by an older couple. I was wandering down the aisles in joyful shock when the old gentleman came and said that they had shut down their computers and we’re closing so did I need anything. I went out to the car and found out it was 15 minutes before they were supposed to close. They just decided to close up shop early! I will have to go back. I’ve never seen such an amazing fabric collection. I am used to big chain stores. This out does those by a long shot.

I am so pleased to have found some place new that I like to go, and I got some pictures while I was there. That isn’t the only creative thing I did though. I tried out a park on the north side of town that is supposed to have beautiful ponds and beautiful views. I got a few good pictures, but the north side of town is still coated in snow and driving through the park just wasn’t safe. I couldn’t even figure out where the ponds were. I’m happy for the few photos I got but I am definitely going to have to come back in better weather. That was too rough to be driving around in. Snow, ice, mud, gravel. Nothing paved.

While at home I decided to start altering photographs that I have had printed. I’ve been using watercolor and alcohol ink. I might use some acrylic paints or a lighter later this week. I’ve been altering them and then scanning them to my phone. I don’t know if any of them are turning out well but it’s interesting to do.

Overwhelmed

I took Angelica to speech this morning. Now we are at tutoring. I cannot take one more thing. I almost cried in front of Angelica’s speech therapist and the office ladies because they said I might need to take Angelica back to a primary care doctor to get her OT referral to go through. The idea of one more place to go and more people to deal with is just so much right now.

On top of that the UMW newsletter needs to get run today. I couldn’t even finish the document myself. I had a panic attack. Craig is taking me to church to run all the copies today when he gets home from work. I feel a huge weight on my chest just thinking of the machines and all the reams of paper and the noise.

To make matters worse, J, the nice lady who takes care of the mailing, wants to show up to meet me. We still haven’t met. I really want to meet her. We have spoken on the phone before and she sounded lovely. I have been meaning to ask her out to lunch to get to know her. But the idea of socializing with a stranger, of having to see yet another person…more pressure. I thought I would maybe be well enough today to make it work, but when I started crying at the speech therapy office because I was told I would have to get in touch with a doctor’s office I began to question that.

I don’t want to be rude but I cannot handle anything else right now.

It is so important to be involved at church. We should all commit ourselves and our time. But when I volunteered to be editor I was in a medication combination that worked (for the first time in my life) and I had the hope it would keep working. Yet here I am with the February issue due and it makes me cry. Craig is helping me, but in a few months his work schedule changes and I won’t have help. I am panicking. This is the worst I have ever been when the Torch is due, but this is not the first time I have struggled with depression or mania or anxiety and I have needed to put an issue out.

It is a sign of inner strength to do the work and get a good issue out regardless of how I feel or if my meds are working. I need to rise to the occasion. I am just so afraid I will be without Craig’s help and they won’t get an issue out because I won’t be functional. There is no one to help me. No one at church does this but me. Sometimes it is hard to take one more thing – another responsibility, another place to be. I have all I can handle to get Angelica to her appointments and last week I couldn’t do that. Thank God Craig had some days off last week.

I need to visit my lady who is homebound.

I want to go home and curl up. I can’t. My day is nowhere near done. I want to serve God. I need to be reliable. But I am as a building that has been demolished, and all these responsibilities are taking away whatever bricks and glass I was salvaging.