Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Mysery-Thy name is Tooth!

Personal Journal:
Dr. Fossum, a dentist, is my new best friend. Why? Because he ended my horrible tooth pain I've suffered with ever since the new year began. Oh, the constant ache that ruled my days and night is gone now. In place, I have endured a root canal and acquired a brand new crown upon my furthest back right top molar. I guess it was worth paying out for the higher dental plan this year, plus the $600 out of my own pocket. I had considered to get the tooth pulled out.

After all the xrays were done and the damage to my way-overdue-dental care that fell to the wayside last year was evaluated, he deemed I actually needed three root canals/ four crowns (as one tooth had a piece break off) and a filling. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch!! It seemed I might top off my insurance annual allowance probably after the second root canal and crown buildup. So yeah, pulling a tooth seemed less costly. I have had a couple of friends who did that and were no worse off, so they said. But the kind dental assistant at Dr. Fossom's office explained to me how pulling a tooth can make the rest go out of alignment. Then you risk having crooked teeth, unsupported in the spot where the missing tooth would be. To get a bridge to ameliorate this malalignment would cost more; up to $3000. Wow! I didn't realize.

And then when I spoke over the cost factor for the root canal/crown with his financial person, there was no pressure to absolutely have all the work done at once. "We can work with your schedule and your budget. We can put the immediate need first to get you out of pain." she had explained. Her mannerism is what sold me the most. She was kind, considerate of how not everyone can afford such elaborate work all of the time. If I wanted to get a tooth pull, we could go that way too.

I guess I was so impressed with his staff, the professionalism, and Dr. Fossom himself (who is a YOUTHFUL and great looking dentist !! )I decided to save the molar. I seen him around the 18th and booked the surgery on Jan. 25. And in all those days in between, I SUFFERED. Oh my. I had never had a tooth ache and ache as much as this one. I couldn't sleep well. I couldn't eat well. I alternated taking Tylenol and then Ibuprofen, downing about three pills at a time every four to six hours. When I went to work the morning of the 25th, I thought I had a slight fever.

"They won't pull the tooth if they think you have an infection" my co-worker said and my eyes went wide.

"OH NO!" I sputtered, grabbing the ibuprofen, "It's been long enough waiting for relief. I won't tell them a word!!"

I was hurting so bad that morning. So much that I was working and trying to hide my tears. So when 2:15 p.m came for me to leave for the dentist, I flew out the door. And when I sat down into the dentist chair, I told Sophia, the assistant, how I couldn't WAIT for them to numb me up. She gave me the prettiest smile and patted my hand.

"Oh, you've been hurting?" she asked, to which I nodded and then went into the explanation how that day was the worst; that I couldn't tell which tooth on that side of my mouth was hurting anymore. Was it just the back or the other one that required surgery as well. So she explained this to Dr. Fossom, who nodded and mumbled something about "We'll find out."

After about two injections, which he did very gently, we waited for the anesthesia to take affect. And the pain that had throbbed like a huge bongo drum beating out of control in some untamed jungle finally quieted into nothingness. Ahhhhh, relief. And then a sense of calmness. He came back into the room and asked, "Do you feel any pain elsewhere?" To which I said, "No, Doc. I'm feeling fine now."

"Then it is just the one tooth," he explained and sat to gather his tools, "Because I only numbed up the nerves for the back. If the other tooth was hurting too, it would still be aching."

Well this made sense to me. Then they proceeded to help me relax by putting ear phones on my head to allow me to listen to the television, while they inserted all those instruments (drill!!) into my mouth. There were times I could feel the drill pull away the root, if that makes sense. I could feel it, but it didn't hurt me. And all I could think was, "ahhh, he GOT you!!"

So after that, they fashioned a temporary crown. Then they used some funny instrument to put into my mouth. I thought it was a laser, as it had a light at the end of it. To my surprise, it was a type of camera and this enabled Dr. Fossom to create my permanent crown. It would be ready to insert with the same week. Hallelujah! Talk about convenience.

Now, when he was done, Sophia put the temporary into place. OH my! The thing felt HUGE in my mouth. And later, I discovered when I tried to chew something, it felt like i was biting down onto a rock. I couldn't chew right and I couldn't eat on that side at all. My surgery was on Monday and my permanent crown would be placed on Wednesday afternoon- Thank goodness. I was a little hesitant when they put me back into the chair. I mentioned to Dr. Fossom how the temporary had been ill fitting. But luckily, the permanent fit like a glove. Ahhhh, relief again!!

So I walked out of the office feeling very happy with the new crown and the fact I saved my tooth. And I guess sometime in February, we'll go onto to the next phase of scheduling a root canal/crown on the 2nd teeth. It will be worth not enduring another week of a horrible tooth ache.

Writing Challenges from The Written Voice:

1. Martin Luther King Jr - picture prompt Jan. 18th. My submission:

My mother lives near a street named for Martin Luther King, Jr. It used to be called something else when I was a young girl, but it was changed to honor him.

I was born in 59, about the time a young man, Martin Luther King, Jr., had already graduated with a degree in philosophy and theology. In the year of my birth, he had traveled to India to meet Ghandi. He came away a changed man, who now envisioned "that the method of nonviolent resistance is the most potent weapon available to oppressed people in their struggle for justice and human dignity".

In the turbulent 60's, he used this to reach people in his sermons about civil rights. It was a time when black people could not even mingle with the whites, in restaurants, buses, or even schools. A young girl named Rosa Parks refused her seat on the bus and got arrested, which sparked an interest with the committee from the Birmingham African-American community to look into the case. Ever since then, Dr. King's crusade to reform civil rights in the United States became his life work. He took his case on a march to Washington DC to make specific demands: an end to racial segregation in public school; meaningful civil rights legislation, including a law prohibiting racial discrimination in employment; protection of civil rights workers from police brutality; a $2 minimum wage for all workers; and self-government for Washington DC , then governed by congressional committee.

He inspired many with his speech, "I have a Dream. which is one of the finest oratory speeches marked in history, next to Lincoln's Gettysburg Address and Roosevelt's Infamy speech. The march was a success; the largest gathering of protesters in Washington's history.

But his life was short lived. King was shot at 6:01 p.m. April 4, 1968 while he was standing on the motel's second floor balcony. He had gone to Memphis to help Black Sanity workers get fair pay. People cried over his death. The news was on television and talked about for years as much as Kennedy's assignation

Now both of these men inspired a nation to do what was right for every citizen. They inspired dreams, courage, and having faith in yourself against adversity.

I heard a song when I was a young teenager.. singing about the loss of such men. I didn't realize all that it meant because the changes they began were already a part of my life. Kids of all races were going to the same schools. Were there some clashes? yes, but not as violent as witnessed in Alabama.

We were blending in; sharing our culture; growing as individuals and bonding as friends. I recall in high school how one of my friends was belittled for dating a black boy. She was white, but we were friends. Later, they had a child and she was happy. It's what I wanted most for my friend.

Later, I got married to a white man, but I'm Hispanic. And the older I got, the more it seemed that people were finding it easier to marry outside their own culture or race. Its not an easy path to follow as there is always someone who won't tolerate; understand; or who will cut down. But I think more people are willing to overlook to accept everyone as they are.

Just this past year, our country elected its first black President. A huge milestone in this nation's history. Did I vote for Mr. Obama? No, because my background is republican; conservative. Do I honor and respect how he goes about leading our nation? Of course I do. He's my president, of my country. I don't always have to agree with his policies, but I do admire the man. He's educated, a father who shows love to his children; a devoted husband, and a man with vision; similar to the direction that Dr King displayed during a hard time in our nations history. Mr. Obama would have never been considered a candidate without the changes Dr. King began in my toddler years.

So when I go down my mother's street and see his name on the corner post, I recall what it stands for in the back of my mind. It is a brief recall- for all he has done is like a breath of air to me; just natural. And I believe it's probably the way Dr. King wants us to think about when it comes to fair treatment to all of its citizens, no matter what race or creed. To treat everyone just natural

2) Picture prompt- Camping
She wondered what it would be like, to go without electricity, radio and television for a weekend. Her new beau was an avid outdoors man, while she had only gone to a cabin in the woods for girl scouts. She had been 12 then and could recall mosquitoes, trails with snakes and lizards, and lots of swatting of gnats by day. Yes, the campfire with smores had been fun, with the sing-a-long, but their stay had been inside a clean place, with a running toilet and electricity. Even the cot had a great mattress upon it, so it wasn't a total bad experience.

But now she was twenty five and worked in the city. She had met Tom at a local night club and somehow through the haze of smoke, loud party people, and a rocking band, they managed to talk some and exchange phone numbers. Their dates, so far, had consisted of movies and restaurants. They bowled and walked around at the mall for exercise. Their romance had begun in winter and now with the first mild-temperature weekend approaching, he wanted to go fishing and camp out under the moon and stars. His married brother and sister-in-law wanted to join them, so they wouldn't be alone. Plus, they offered tents.

"We'd be cooking on an open fire?" Megan quizzed, watching him pack items into the car,"and sleep on the ground?"

"Uh, huh, but we'd use air mattresses," he replied, cramming fishing gear into the back of the Toyota. His answer was short, being in a hurry. What rotten luck. The plan to get off at three backfired. An unexpected conference call delayed him. Then he got stuck in after hours traffic. Now, it was getting dark and they hadn't finished packing the car. Thank goodness he had asked Megan to prepare the cooler items and to get their clothes ready.

"Doesn't the park attendant leave by nine?" she asked with a frown as she looked at her watch. His scowl made for a good reply, "Will we make it?"

"Maybe," he said and with that he slammed the trunk. They were ready. Both scurried into the car. Within minutes, they were on the highway heading towards their destination 30 minutes away. They drove out of the city into the dark of the land. She could barely make out fence rails go by. They veered off the highway onto a dirt road, going down a hill towards the lake. As they made it to the bottom where the parking attendant building sat, they saw everything was dark and the gates were locked tight with chains.

"Oh, no" he said and steered the vehicle to the side of the road, turning off the engine and lights. "I guess we'll have to park here for the night and come back to retrieve it in the morning. We can climb past the gates and walk."

"All the way down to the campsite? In the dark? What if there are snakes or scorpions! You can hardly see the road past this place!"

"Don't worry. I'll hold your hand," he replied and got out, "Come on! It will be an adventure."

Luckily, his key chain had a small beam light to help guide their way. They knew the numbers of the spots and what vehicle to look for. They could feel the wind accelerate and heard a crack of lightening in the distance.

"It's going to rain?" Megan questioned, "I thought the weatherman said there was only a 30% chance tonight and it would be all clear tomorrow and the rest of the weekend."

"Guess the percent chance found us. let's hurry!" he retorted and they picked up their pace. To their dismay, when they arrived to the right spot, poor Eric and Kristen were having a major argument; and no, not a single tent was up yet.

"What's going on?" Tom cried out, rushing to their side. Kristen held up a lantern while Eric struggled to put up the support rods.

"I just bought these on sale last year. I've never used them. We got here late and I've been trying for an hour to get these support rods in. Kristen was trying to read the directions by the lantern. Then she lost them!"

"Not my fault!" she shot back, glaring," The stupid wind picked up and blew it out of my hands."

Before another word could be said, rain drops began to fall. Each drop grew faster and heavier. They had no choice but to duck under the picnic table which had a metal roof covering. The wind blew the rain onto them, so then they escaped into Eric and Kristen's small compact car. Their breaths caused the windows to steam up. The rain didn't seem to let up at all and they soon fell asleep, all cramped in their seats.

The next morning, they awoke and got out to stretch and look around. The rain had stopped and the morning sun rose behind pink clouds. Megan stood by the lake and watched tiny minnows rush around by the edge of the bank. In the distance, a huge fish jumped out of the water into the hazy mist hovering over it. Then it crashed back into the water, breaking the silence. She turned to see the men make another attempt at the tents. Upon the bush nearby, Megan saw the directions stuck in the branches. She rushed over with them and the three tackled setting up the tents. Kristen had started a fire and pulled out her cooking gear. Within minutes, the smell of bacon and brewing coffee penetrated the air. Tom went up for his vehicle and when he returned, they ate breakfast on plastic plates. The air was cool, but the morning sun was rising and warming the earth. Everything smelled fresh and natural.

In spite of their mishap , Megan sipped her coffee and absorbed the surroundings. She saw a couple heading into a nook to fish. A crane flew away, frightened off by their trespassing. A lone bass fisherman started up his trolling motor and steered the boat out onto the middle of the lake. Kids nearby threw stones across the water. Tom and Eric shared a story to make Kirsten laugh. All seemed right with the world again.. and mostly, Megan felt good being there, roughing it without modern day conveniences. Somehow, she knew the rest of their weekend adventure would go great and hoped there would be more times like these to share with Tom.

That's it for now. I hope you enjoyed. Take care until next time. :)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Do what you can for Haiti earthquake victims

Note- A post I did on a recent forum on The Written Voice "What's Hot or Not" forum discussion on 1/15/10:

I can't believe no one had discussed Haiti.

True story:

Brent was assigned to be the aid of a 4-star general and they moved from Germany to Miami two months ago. The general had business in Haiti, but Brent had a bad cold, so the general told him to stay behind. A different aid went in his stead. On the day of the quake, the general went out to the car. The quake hit and the aid was caught under the rubble. They didn't know whether he was dead or alive. And poor Brent felt horrible that this young man, a father of a toddler, had been hurt. He felt he should have gone, but Brent too is a father of three older children. For two days, they waited for news as guilt sank in and lots of prayers were given. Yesterday evening, they received news the aid had been found; alive, with many injuries and broken bones. Hopefully, this young military man will be transferred for care in the states.

Haiti is in desperate need for medical personnel. My new medical director had been asked to go to help; but his passport had expired. He found out the passport agency are giving special permits for medical personnel to go to Haiti. Even American Airlines is offering free flights. He had to pass this time, but is willing to go the next time he is asked by this special group out of Dallas. They had a makeshift clinic to serve the citizens way before this earthquake hit, but now the urgency is important.

Can you imagine what it must be like to wait for help? They need clothes, blankets, food, water, medical attention. What if it was me who suffered a broken bone and laid in the street waiting for someone to pay me attention? I can't even live with a hang nail! So all my prayers are going to those poor individuals who are suffering. I heard George Clooney is trying to get a network telethon going. I hope the money will be used properly. I had given before, in a situation like this. I think it was the Tsunami victims who got a part of my donation. I will do something, even if I just gather what I have here at home and offer it to a local group planning on going there. This is a time to forget ourselves and give for the very poor; people of such desperation. Think with your hearts on this one. Think of the children who have lost someone and are confused, dirty, and hungry. The devastation is too great for one to even comprehend.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Need to Escape ( A short Story)

Author's Note: Through writing challenges, on The Written Voice, my Cafemom group where I co-admin, we create poems and short stories using many prompts. I've decided I would share these stories as I come up with them over the year.)

Words to use: tablet, labor, sun, juice, sneeze

She sat in the lawn chair, under a bright blue sky. No clouds obscured the horizon beyond the oceanside cliffs. Looking up at tall palm trees drifting in the salty breeze, bright rays of sun shine filtered past the leaves and down onto her untanned body. She felt a sneeze coming on, but squelched it. And now she surveyed all the necessary gear around her:

Suntan lotion - check!

Frozen margarita- check! check!

Her favorite pair of dark glasses- got them!!

Cosmo magazine- Check! check! check!

And a writing tablet and pen- Check! of an urge came up to write all of her friends trapped on the cold mainland. Yes, she had planned this trip for a long time, to visit this tropical paradise during the wintertime, far away from cold fronts and falling snow. This mini-three-week vacation, the fruit of her hard labor at the television station all year long, seemed well worth the escape. What could be better than this?

"Hello there," a muscular, six foot four man, holding what seemed to be some juice concoction with an umbrella in it, looked her over from head to toe. He had beautiful blue eyes, glittering like diamonds, and jet black hair. His full smile gave away pearly whites, with one gold tooth on an incisor. She could smell the aroma of his fabulous cologne. Sticking out of his khaki shorts, was a money clip, barely holding onto a wad full of hundred dollar bills. He leaned over and grabbed the lawn chair next to her, "Mind if I sit next to you? A lovely woman like you seems in need of some pleasant company."

Ok, maybe the line came out like honey to a bear and she obviously fell for it. With mouth parted open and eyes wide, she nodded, never losing focus on his handsome, perfect face. Perhaps a gasp might have escaped her lips, but within an hour, they were into full blown conversation and they were drawn together like magnets. This seemed to be the beginning of a beautiful thing... and that topped the need to escape.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

We are off into the New year of 2010

Well, we are off into the new year. It's hard to believe I am alive in 2010. It sounds like some star date Captain Kirk may have mentioned on the series Star Trek. I've been around since 1959 and I'm now 50 years old. A lot of stuff has occurred in my lifetime, like the assassination of President Kennedy; Mans first walk on the moon; the inventions of the cable, Internet, and cell phones and most importantly, small computers/laptops to fit into one's homes. Wow, technology at its best and some to make our lives a bit easier in the kitchen, such as the microwave. I'm so grateful to those who dreamed up these products in the first place. Sometimes when I go camping, roughing it up without these miracle conveniences, then I do take time to appreciate them. I can't imagine what it must have been like over a century ago, when someone like me, may have reflected on her life in 1910. So many changes; so much progress.

I guess as I look down the road into the next fifty years, I can only pray that I can live to see what comes next. All the good things, of course. Of course it's scary because we are going into the unknown. With the factors of Aids; homelessness; economic crisis; global warming and even terrorism, we know we must face adversity. We must learn to overcome. Our children will be very affected by things we sometimes just take for granted that comes in the news. Hopefully, they will grow and cause changes in socialism and government to be positive; to lessen the threats of these evils. With hope, there is a chance for a better future.

With this said, I can move forward into 2010. I want positive changes just in myself and within my own household. To start, my list of resolutions are small, but positive:

1) Lose weight to improve my stamina, health and control my diabetes.

2) Eat healthier selections and eliminate the junk and fast foods.

3) Organize my junk drawers, closets, and throw away or donate what's not been pulled out in over a year. Why keep if you don't wear it or use? Some one's trash maybe the treasure someone else seeks.

4) Be more time efficient in everything, so that I don't fall off schedule or run behind.

5) Take time to meditate or write often. I so need to take a quiet "me" time once in awhile as my life does get a bit crazy with work, family, and aging parents. Even taking care of the pets can be stressful. So I need to dedicate one hour per day just to zone out. And while I'm doing this, perhaps jot down ideas or goals during this reflective time.

6) Take time to be thankful for my blessings. I need to pray more often and visit my mom more. She turns 81 this year and I know the time is slipping away. I want to communicate more and show appreciation to my close friends. Without their support, I don't know how I'd pull through sometimes.

7) Vacations/getaways- My husband is my ally most days and I want to schedule more weekend getaways and plan a vacation spot to visit late this year or early next summer. He wants to go back to Ohio to show me around. I'd also like to make one trip back to Florida to re-visit old in laws and their families, and one to Denver to visit my eldest daughter with her new baby this spring

8) Most of all, I want to finish up my Cross Passage book series. I have two manuscripts to edit and I procrastinated finishing up the 3rd installment. So my goal is to have "Hearts Restless Winds" out by early spring. And then the final installment , still untitled, by winter.

9) I want to work on promoting my Cafemom group, The Written Voice, newest book. Our Written Voices, is being sold now on Amazon to benefit the David's House facility in New Hampshire. I'm so proud of our contribution of poems and short stories for such a worthy cause. I'd think it would be fun to get our members to contribute submissions again by early fall, but we'll see how we are doing by then before we commence.

(To join, click here: The Written Voice.

10) I want to help my senior daughter to realize her dream of visiting Germany in August, as sort of a belated high school graduation gift. I still have to buy her passport and airline fare. After that, it's just the target of saving for her spending money. She's just begun working a good job at the hospital, so she might be able to put away some spending cash before then.

So there's my top ten list of resolutions. I guess resolutions can be goals too. I"m sure I'd probably have missed some ideas to post but if I can reach any five of these, it would be considered milestones.

Just this past weekend, I have cleaned up my house and stored away all of the Christmas decorations. I've pretty much eaten up all of the leftover ham, candy, cookies and am ready to start anew on my diet come Monday morning. The new year is off to a good start and no matter what comes, I am ready to handle all of the challenges. With God's love and the support of great family and friends, I will enter the unknown with a smile and much courage