Posts Tagged ‘dentist’

Ouch

December 2, 2018

My poor mouth hurts.

I am in a lot of pain, but I know, from last years experience, that it will get better.

I had to get another crown put in.

I cracked, yet again, another tooth.

This is tooth number two.

My dentist told me that I am grinding my teeth in my sleep.

Great.

I’m not stressed, really.

Bwahahahaha.

Sigh.

So, two weeks ago I got a temporary crown.  What had been an appointment for a teeth cleaning became a three-hour session in the chair.

And cost a fat $1475.

Then today, two weeks later, I got my new crown in and dropped another freaking $465 to get a mouth guard because my dental insurance doesn’t cover mouth guards.

But I tell you what.

When my dentist says I need a mouth guard or I run the risk of cracking more teeth and having to get more crowns, I’ll fucking pay it out-of-pocket.

Happy birthday!

Merry Christmas!

Yay.

Dental work.

Oh well.

At least I had the money in my account to just pay it out with cash and not freak out.

I wanted to sort of freak out, but I don’t have to.

I still have some student loan money left over to get through the rest of the semester and I will be alright.

I always am.

There was a time that dental work of this nature would have blown me out of the water, but I have a touch more experience with padding my bank account with my student loans.

I told a friend today what my student loans were at, around $104,000 and he blanched.  He’s also from country that doesn’t charge its citizens to go to school, so he’s not really accustomed to what it means to be an American with a great big heap of student loan debt.

I don’t care though.

My education is worth it and hey, I took out a big chunk to help with my move into my new place and I have no regrets about it.

I am interning at a non-profit and plan on working for them for the ten-year period that the federal government asks one to do if you want your student loans forgiven.

I can do that.

So it’s ok if I have them.

And yeah, they’ve helped with more than just paying tuition at my super expensive school.

I’m worth it and I still get to live in San Francisco.

So, there’s that.

I’m not on any pain killers for the tooth though and it feels big and hot and ouchy in my mouth.  If I remember correctly from last January it passed within a few days, the big pain by the next day, hopefully that will happen for me as well.

I expect that there will be some tenderness and hot cold sensitivity for a while, but it does pass too.

I will say I am not in the mood to do any homework and since my landlord is having a party I’m not really in the space to turn my attention and focus to homework.  I’m playing some pretty loud French music right now and trying to not think about my tooth.

I also did some apartment hunting on Craigslist.

I’m happy with my new place and not happy at the same time.

I had to move all of my things out of storage in the basement today, which I was not planning on having to do.  When I moved in the landlord offered me space in the basement to store stuff as my unit as no storage space, just a tiny closet that doesn’t fit all of my clothes, I got a big dresser and a rolling garment rack to deal with that.

But I don’t have anywhere to put my camping/Burning Man gear, nor the boxes of notebooks and text books I’m not currently using.  Fortunately my boss offered me space in her storage unit.  So tomorrow I get to get up way earlier than I was planning for on my one day off during the week to take my stuff across town to the Bayview to put in storage.

Two weeks ago I had asked my land lord that the basement be unlocked, I wanted to grab my Christmas ornaments a something to wear to the Burning Man ARTumnal event I went to a few weeks back.

It was at that time I was told that I was going to have to find another place to put my stuff as the landlord’s wife is pregnant and they are going to be renovating a room into a nursery and needing to store stuff in the basement.

FUCK.

I was floored.

I was also fucking pissed.  Where the hell was I going to put my stuff?

And.

I hate to be a bitch.

But fuck my life, I moved in here partially because I was assured it was a really quiet space that I was going to be able to study and not be disturbed and all was going to be chill.

A new-born living over my head is not a quiet living environment.

Now.

Don’t get me wrong, I love kids, I adore babies, for fuck’s sake, I’m a nanny.

AND.

I’m a nanny, I deal with crying baby at work all the time, I don’t want to come home to crying baby.

Ugh.

I might be making too much of it but that coupled with a few other things, like the unit is not nearly as sound proof as I was lead to believe and that the landlord and his wife have had two knock down screaming fights with each other where things were smashed and doors slammed since I’ve moved in that makes me think I will be looking for a new place to live when my lease is up.

I’m not going to break the lease, unless something extraordinary gets dropped in my lap, but I do think I may not be making this quite the permanent place I had thought.

And really, not that permanent either, I wasn’t planning on being here longer than my PhD program.

I sort of figured that I wanted to get settled in and cozy and then not have to think about moving until I was finished with my program and by that time I would be making good money with my private practice and could afford a one bedroom instead of a studio, or even, maybe start looking at what it would take to land a house.

I really do have the  dream of owning my own home one day in San Francisco, crazy as that may seem, I have my hopes and I have seen stranger things happen.

So.

Yeah.

A tooth ache and a loud party upstairs are not conducive to doing homework, but I thought, I can blog!

And there you have it.

I’m back to the blogging and my, it does feel fine and I just realized my tooth hasn’t hurt that much while I was writing.

Win/win.

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I Was All Upset

August 4, 2018

I was going to entitle this blog “motherfucker.”

I got another bill from the endoscopy procedure.

$899.

Why the fuck do I pay so much in insurance?

And get so damn little?

Which I am sure will be on my mind tomorrow when I go in for my dentist appointment.

The last time I was there the dentist said I should get a mouth guard.

And of course, it’s not covered by my dental.

I am not sure what my dental covers, truth be told, I’ve paid a ton out-of-pocket for the work I have had done.

The mouth guard will run about $400.

Which I have been preparing myself for and have not more animosity about it, I need it, I don’t want to grind my teeth at night, why am I stressed?

Bwaahahahahaha.

Sigh.

But I wasn’t expecting another damn bill from the endoscopy.

It feels like I just paid a bill.

For about $900 not even a month ago.

However, there it was, all cheerful and cheeky with its return envelope in my mail tonight when I got home.

Ugh.

I opened it and tried to not pay attention to it, I got a phone call right as I did.

Give the person on the line your complete attention, they are important, not this stupid letter that looks suspiciously like a bill.

Looks like a bill because it is a bill.

I looked at it after I got off the phone.

$899!

For things your insurance doesn’t cover.

There was a big block of letters in the billing area, “insurance company does not cover,” well isn’t that terrific?

I was about to fish out a stamp and write a check and put it in my wallet to mail tomorrow, but then I thought, fuck it, save the stamp, just pay it now, get it over with.

I have the money, I was just hoping to put it towards a new place, not old medical bills.

I got online.

I got logged into their weird payment system.

And!

I don’t have a bill there!

No bill means nothing to pay.

I wondered about that, was I billed twice?

I decided to just double-check and I called the number on the bill and logged into my account, which confirmed that I have nothing outstanding!

Zero balance.

I just chucked the bill in the trash.

Fuck you bill.

The nice thing, now that I don’t have to pay the bill, fingers crossed it would suck if that suddenly changed, but the nice thing was that even though I had a  momentary hissy fit, I wasn’t really balking at paying it.

I was just going to get it over with and pay it.

I am grateful for that in my life.

That I pay my bills when I get them.

I don’t like owing money and I have worked really hard for the last 13 years to be really clean with my money.

I don’t always succeed.

But I don’t owe any money to friends or to medical institutions (it would seem).

I owe money on my car, but I tell you what, with the exception of one month, I have paid double my car payment every month.

I am pretty happy about that.

I plan on making a payment tomorrow, I do them on the 4th when the payment is due, despite not really owing one, my next payment isn’t due until December, I’d rather just keep the habit going and I’ll pay tomorrow.

Hell I may even just pay it tonight to get it out-of-the-way since I’m writing about money and finances.

And, of course, I owe on my student loans.

But I’m not in default and I do pay them when I’m not enrolled in school.

I also don’t owe any money on any credit cards

Or, as the case may be, the one card I have.

In fact, I am thinking it’s time to cancel the damn thing.

I got it last year after being persuaded by a friend and haven’t used it once.

I could be accruing travel miles and such, but really the thought of using it wierds me out.

I had credit card debt, and a fair good bit of it.

I worked really fucking hard for a few years and got it wheedled down and then, yes, upon the suggestion of a lawyer, I filed for bankruptcy.

It’s a little complicated, but basically I spent two years busting my ass to pay off debt that was mostly acquired when I was in early sobriety.

I had run up my cards, got sober, and then was so broke and destitute for my first year that I never made any payments.

And boy howdy did that add up fast.

The interest on the cards skyrocketed and it was worse than paying off a loan shark.

I think I had 9% on one card that went to 28%.

And the other had started around 12% and was at 31%.

My lawyer basically told me I would never get out from under it, that I had made a huge effort to rectify the situation, I really had, worked so much for those years to work with the collection agencies, to the point I was on a first name basis with two different women, made amends financially, did the work, read front to back twice “How to get out debt, stay out of debt, and live prosperously,” by Jerrold Mundis, that I had records of all my payment plans, of everyone I had talked to, that I kept track of how much I spent and that I hadn’t any other debt, was huge.

I handed the lawyer such an enormous amount of spending plans, budgets, records, and notes that he literally was able to turn around the case and file it within two weeks of me seeing him.

I guess normally it takes longer because the lawyer has to do all the work that I had been doing for the past years.

So.

Yeah.

I’m not really interested in that kind of thing happening again and though I understand my friend’s reasonings, I think I am going to just cancel it.

Feels better.

Not as good as throwing away that medical bill.

But damn close.

Damn skippy close indeed.

No Problems

April 22, 2018

Well that’s what a girl likes to fucking hear!

Thank God.

I was praying in my head and doing deep breathing the entire time I was at the dentist getting x-rays and the exam prior to the cleaning, keeping my fingers crossed that there were no more surprises, no cracked teeth, no need for another crown.

Clean bill of health.

Except.

Well.

Not quite.

Turns out it looks like I may be grinding my teeth, this is the first time that that’s been mentioned in the two years that I have been seeing this dentist.

Might be time for a mouth guard.

But.

Of course.

My insurance, what the fuck, doesn’t cover it.

I was like.

Whatever.

Dentist says it’s an indicator of stress when teeth are ground at night.

Great.

Really?

Stress.

Hahahaha.

Sigh.

I asked them to check under my other insurance, yes, technically I have two insurance plans, Universal Health Services, a PPO, through my school, and I also have Delta Dental.

The Delta Dental doesn’t cover it.

Frankly it doesn’t seem to cover much.

It didn’t cover my cracked tooth and subsequent crown, that was $1400 out-of-pocket.

The mouth guard, should my other insurance not cover it, and considering the lack of shit that they do cover (remember this is the insurance company that won’t cover the endoscopy), will cost $495 out-of-pocket.

The admin team at the dentist’s office said they’d check for me on Monday.

I figure I’ll be getting a mouth guard my next dentist visit in August and it will be out-of-pocket.

Whatever.

Stress.

Meh.

What stress?

Bwahahahahaha.

On the up side, no cavities, no cracked teeth, and a good cleaning and I was out the door.

I was happy to be onto the next thing that I needed to do, supervision, and I had time to get cross town and find parking.

Which was a shit show.

There was a fixed gear bicycle race in the neighborhood and all but one of the blocks around my internship were closed off.

I had to circle for a while.

I’m super grateful I had the extra time.

I would have been late.

As it stood I made it just at the stroke of 2 p.m.

I had a good check in, got to relay that I had the clean (ish, I suppose if there’s evidence of teeth grinding it wasn’t exactly) bill of health and that I had made it to yoga today for the first time in six weeks.

Sigh.

Six.

That’s a lot of time, but I have been suffering with the reflux for so long that I couldn’t go, I mean, I wanted to, I signed up a few times, but I could never make it to class.

Today was hard.

But not overwhelmingly so.

I didn’t have reflux, though my tummy still has some issues, I was able to do the class and I’m quite happy for the exercise.

I am sure I will be sore in the morning.

I signed up for an early yoga class tomorrow.

7:15 a.m.

I can’t believe I’m going to do it, but I am.

I’m going with my best friend and then we’re going to have breakfast.

After I wrapped with group supervision I did exactly what I had hoped to get done.

Car wash.

And.

A mani/pedi.

It was lovely.

I also got some grocery shopping done then met my person at my Saturday night commitment and got right with God.

It was a really nice day, full of stuff, but really good stuff.

I have a lot to do tomorrow, and the paper is looming, but I feel like the self-care that I did today was good and that I am on the right track with getting the paper done.

I am going to not be anxious about it.

I’m going to really fucking try.

I don’t want to be grinding my teeth tonight.

Damn it.

 

Unfortunately

January 7, 2018

That’s not covered by your insurance.

My dentist told me this morning.

Ugh.

I sat in the chair and thought to myself, maybe I misheard him, maybe I didn’t hear that right, I mean, he speaks mostly Chinese, which I find oddly comforting, I don’t need to know what he is talking about to his assistant, but I’m pretty sure I had heard what I had heard.

Fingers crossed, please, tell me I didn’t hear what I heard.

Sigh.

But.

I had.

“Crack,” he’d said to the assistant in between poking and prodding and checking my teeth.

I was just in for a routine cleaning this morning.

I had all intents on going to the 10:30 a.m. yoga at the studio on my block and then meandering into my group supervision at 2p.m.

The supervision happened.

Yoga, well, yoga did not.

Nope.

Instead I was under the drill all morning.

My dentist took a picture of my tooth and showed me the crack.

I was surprised by how big it was and also that I hadn’t had any pain to indicate that there was a crack in my tooth.

Which was a really good thing.

No pain meant that it was probably fairly recent.

It had to have happened within the last three months, it wasn’t there the last time I went to the dentist, and it probably had occurred more recently than that.

Certainly nothing came to mind.

Nothing that I remember eating and doing any damage to my teeth.

“It’s not grinding your teeth while you sleep,” he said, answering a question I was just about to pose, “there’s not indication from any of your other teeth that you grind them while you sleep.”

Well, that’s good news.

“You eat anything crunchy?” He asked.

“Nuts?” I said, I do like raw almonds with my apple as a snack.

“Nuts, no good, nuts bad for teeth, you no more eat nuts unless you want to pay me big bucks and keep me in my mortgage,” he chuckled.

“Um no, I do not want to come back for another cracked tooth, I’ll lay off the nuts,” I replied.

Irony.

I kept thinking about my night-time snack, a couple of end of season super ripe and delicious persimmons and some raw walnuts.

Sigh.

No snack tonight.

I’ll still have my tea though.

I was really surprised by the photo and super glad that my dentist had caught it and he explained that I was lucky if there was no pain it meant the damage was manageable and that I would not have to have a root canal.

Fuck yes.

But.

I would have to get a crown.

And thus ensued the “your insurance doesn’t cover this,” discussion I had with my dentist.

Like I said, not really the conversation anyone wants to have on a Saturday morning, but I also knew when he started telling me about the differences between what my insurance would cover, it wasn’t going to cover the full amount, it would have still be $825 out-of-pocket, versus the better quality crown that the dentist was recommending, at $1200, I just sucked it up, made the decision to take good care of myself and signed the paperwork for the better product.

I was asked if I could start the work today and of course I said yes, bye, bye yoga class, and I went out and plugged the meter for parking another two hours and went back into the office, used the bathroom, prayed a bunch, came out signed off the paperwork and got ready to get injected with Novocaine.

He gave me a local, but I still felt the prick of the needle.

Ugh.

I hate needles.

I hate shots, hate, hate, hate.

The second injection was horrible, the local anesthesia hadn’t quite numbed me out in the second location, that one just plain good and hurt.

I sucked it up though, what was I going to do?

And then the dentist went to fucking town.

My god.

I will just say that smell of my tooth being ground down was overwhelming.

Not a pleasant smell, the drill, not a pleasant sound.

The taste of blood in mouth, horrifying.

I just breathed and prayed and breathed and prayed.

I had my mouth wedged open with some sort of device, that also sucks, frankly, it hurt my jaw keeping it open so long and my face felt tender for hours.

As of right now, I am happy to report, that the pain is really ok.

It’s there, sensitive now and again, a dull throb, but it’s doable.

And I have been able to eat.

They did a bunch of molds to get the fit right and then they did the temporary crown.

The permanent one takes two weeks to be ready.

I have to be cautious with the temporary one, nothing crunchy, and no gum.

I can handle that.

And two weeks from today I’ll go in and my dentist will give me the permanent crown.

I am assuming it will mean more Novocaine, but I’ve got two weeks until it happens.

I’m a baby around dental stuff, but at least I showed up and I did do the work and I paid for it all in full at the end of the session, I could have put it off until the permanent crown gets put in, but I figured I had the money in my account, just pay the damn thing.

And for that I am grateful.

I had the money.

I didn’t always have the money.

A little while ago a dental bill for $1285 would have floored me.  It was not pleasant, I will say that, and I did go through a spurt of brief financial anxiety, but I’m ok, I really am.

And so grateful I chose well and chose to take care of myself and my mouth.

There was a homeless man on the sidewalk sleeping when I came out to climb into my new car and go home and make myself a fancy espresso drink with expensive organic coffee beans.

I have it really fucking good.

I have no money problems.

Fuck.

I don’t have problems.

I just have opportunities to learn.

And.

To be stupid grateful at how good my life is.

It really is.

It’s Got To Be

October 2, 2017

Good enough.

Because I am about done and my brain is tell me I could have done more, I should have done more.

But really.

Fuck off brain.

I got done what I needed to do and then some.

Yoga.

Meeting with a lady bug and working on inventory for an hour.

Three loads of laundry

Cleaned the house, scoured the bathroom, took all the trash out, swept, vacuumed, swiffer’ed.

I know, swiffer is not a verb, but you know what I mean.

I went grocery shopping.

I cooked two different meals.

I made a spicy andouille and chicken soup with vegetables and corn and brown rice.

I canned up three jars and I froze three other containers of it.

I’m starting to stockpile meals for the next school weekend, every time I can I will freeze a little something to have for my school weekend.

Inevitably I have a lunch out with a friend in the cohort, much more so this semester than any other, I suspect since I’m in my last year with my cohort and making an effort to be connecting with my friends.

So food’s been made.

And I also roasted a chicken while I was doing my CBT webinar class tonight.

Plus a pot of brown rice with peas and corn.

I’ve got food for the week and then some.

And yet, I didn’t get enough done?

What ever.

Read an article for my Jungian Dream Work class and realized that I was pretty much caught up with all the material except for one article, I should be able to knock that out pretty quick, I might, maybe, even go back and read it before I go to bed tonight.

The CBT webinar kind of took it out of me though and I had to recuperate after wrapping it up.

Which meant eating some of said roasted chicken and brown rice with peas and corn.

It was delicious.

Then I put on a mixed tape and got my fucking good time on.

I needed to get a release.

Ahem.

Sometimes a girl has to do what a girl has to do.

Giggle.

Anyway.

I did do plenty today.

Made some phone calls.

Stayed connected with my people.

I did plenty.

Plus.

I mean.

It is my day off.

It’s ok to “slow down” a little.

And I’m feeling better.

Although this morning I was sorely wrong about takin my antibiotic when I did.

I’m supposed to take it four times a day, I still have one more to take tonight, around my meal times–breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack.

But.

I don’t like doing yoga with food in my belly.

And I still felt like I had some food from my little snack last night in my body, I thought, I should take it now, since I won’t actually have breakfast until 11a.m. or so, yoga and then a shower.

WRONG.

Not a fun yoga class, my tummy was super upset the entire time.

I got through the class though and the sweating was good and I’m glad I went, just note to self, take the antibiotics with food please.

I haven’t really had any sharp pain in my tooth today, so I’m hoping that between the ibuprofen I’ve been taking and taking the antibiotic that I’m doing ok.

Which is good as it will be a full week.

Supervision tomorrow, work, two clients.

Therapy Tuesday, work, two clients.

Wednesday is my short day, “just” work, and then seeing some fellows in the hood up at the Sunset Youth Services.

Thursday is work and two clients.

Friday is going into work an hour early to help my boss and two clients.

Saturday is group supervision.

And that’s my week.

I am sure wonderful things will happen during the week, it’s not always grinding and making things happen.

There are moments of sweetness and lightness, laughter, seeing the amazing beauty in my life, being grateful for all the love I have.

I have so much.

It astounds.

And.

It’s October!

How did that happen?

I noticed that the sunset was pretty early tonight.

I did something proactive for myself that I’ve been thinking about for over a year, ever since one of my professors mentioned that she had one.

I got a SAD lamp for my house.

I was diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder in my early twenties.

It wasn’t until my early thirties that I got the Adult Child of an Alcoholic, PTSD, Depression, and clinical Anxiety diagnoses.

Add Alcohol Use disorder.

And.

Cocaine Use Disorder.

Look ’em up, there in the DSM V.

Anyway.

It has been recommended by more than one trained professional that I get a light box.

They’re expensive.

But I said fuck it.

I got one today.

The Northern Light 10,000 Lux Boxlite.

I got it off Amazon, so it was a tiny bit cheaper than the one from the website, but yeah, I dropped a couple hundred.

I don’t get much natural light in my room and I noticed it a lot today since I was inside a lot doing work on the house and homework and meeting with the lady.

I had a bout of low-grade depression last winter, not much, certainly not enough for me to go back on antidepressants, and I almost didn’t realize it until it was just about past.

I also was having a very hard time resolving myself with leaving the boys that I had nannied for two and a half years and transitioning to starting a new job with a new family.

Compound that with some family of origin stress and I was definitely on the depressed end of things.

So.

I am going to be proactive and do good self-care.

If the dentist thing taught me anything I need to really be on my self-care.

It is important.

I am someone a lot of folks depend on and I want to be dependable and I want to be able to be present at work, for my clients, for the people I love in my life.

I’m worth the investment.

As they are.

Just trying to give myself more love so that I may love others as much as I possibly can.

So I choose to replenish myself and make sure I get enough “sunlight” this winter.

I will have more to give.

And there’s so much I want to give.

So much.

 

Bruised

October 1, 2017

But not broken.

And I have to admit, a bit chagrined, but fuck it, overall, very happy with what went down at the dentist today, despite feeling like the girl who cried wolf.

“Bite down, bite down, and bite down, pain?” Asked my dentist.

“Nope,” I shook my head, and every time he poked the tooth that has been bothering me, I felt like cringing because I was expecting it to be painful, I mean, have you seen the pokey tools a dentist uses?

I was not expecting just pain either, I was expecting excruciating pain.

After I went to bed last night, feeling a little bit high from the fever I was running, I figured I better get a good nights sleep and let myself sleep a little longer than I would have since I figured I was going to have either no breakfast or a very light breakfast.

I was preparing myself for having to get surgery.

I really was.

“What about here?  Any pain?” My dentist continued prodding my tooth.

NOTHING.

I really felt abashed.

“No,” I told him, “I can’t describe it, but it hurts so much when it happens, but not necessarily when I chew or bite down, although it does happen that way sometimes, it just surprises me with it, it feels like a knife being slipped into my tooth.”

A long skinny sharp knife.

And.

Hello.

I’m running a fever again, by the way, but I just took some antibiotics, so hopefully that will burn out in a little while.

He took three different sets of x-rays.

And nothing, no cavities, nothing.

I thought maybe I had a cracked tooth, but nope, the dentist told me, “that’s a natural part of your tooth, you’ve probably had that since you were six and it wasn’t really apparent until we did the deep clean, you just never noticed it before.”

“You do have an infection in your lymph node,” he said, I had pointed out the fever and the swelling along my jaw line, “but I don’t think that’s associated with the tooth, that’s something else, so I’ll write you up a script for antibiotics, as for the tooth, well, it’s probably bruised, so be careful chewing anything tough and give it a few weeks.  If you’re still experiencing pain, call us and we’ll see you again.”

And that was it.

Well.

That was almost it.

“Since you’re here, we’ll do a cleaning,” and he did and I walked out of the office feeling light as a bird feather and happy and it was sunny and the ocean was blue and my god, life is good.

I really though I was going to get a t root canal today.

In fact, the dentist told me that was what he was expecting to do with me when he heard what my symptoms are.

Man.

Fevers are super weird.

My face is so hot right now, even my ears are hot.

I don’t have strep, no sore throat, and I checked my tonsils last night and I don’t have tonsillitis and I don’t have mono, I’ve got too much energy for that.

Nor do I have an ear ache, and well, I have no idea what the infection is about, but it’s there.

My dentist just told me to make sure I did the entire course of the antibiotics and I have to take them four times a day, so they’ll be coming with me to work and my internship.

I don’t mind, I’m just so glad that I don’t have any issues with my teeth.

I did miss the yoga class I had signed up for, but whatever.

I just let the day happen after I left my dentist.

Talked to my best friend and my person back to back and let them know I was in the clear.

I went and did a little grocery shopping.

Came back home and had a latte and wrote for about a half hour and then went and got a pedicure.

Man it felt nice.

It felt like a day off.

Even though I still had to go to my group supervision, but it was chill.

I had a salad for lunch and a white peach and listened to the folks in my group check in about their clients.

I day dreamed a bit.

I admit it.

And when supervision let out I let myself go shopping.

I hit Nordstrom’s Rack and scored.

It took time, it’s always hit or miss with me and Nordie’s Rack.

Sometimes I get great things.

Sometimes I spend three hours wandering around and leave with a pair of socks.

Today was more fruitful and I am very happy with my haul.

Two pretty bras and pairs of panties.

Two pairs of very nice high-end jeans, Paige Brand, one in super dark denim and the other in black, both skinny and form-fitting, and my God, my ass looks good in them.

Just saying.

A super chic white cotton button up.

And a sharp as fuck black blazer.

I scored.

I also spent my clothing allowance for the month.

But that’s alright.

I don’t have a lot of time on my hands to go shopping anyway, so to do it all in one fell swoop was fine.

Especially since what I got are all staples.

I will admit I was looking for a pretty dress, I’m always on the look out for a pretty dress, but the jeans and white cotton shirt combo and the blazer, well, I can wear them as my therapist outfit and for going out.

I don’t know that I want to wear the white shirt to work, the baby is now eating solid foods, I can just see it getting splattered with pureed sweet potato.

But.

Really I can interweave all the clothes I got today into my wardrobe in a very cohesive way.

Then I went and saw my fellows over in the NOPA and damn, it was good.

And.

Then.

Home.

A nice bit of roast chicken, some brown rice, clipping all the tags off my clothes, and putting my things away.

I added my hours to Track My Hours.

Bringing me up 10 184.25.

Only 2,815.75 to good.

Ha.

Vomit.

Anyway.

One little day at a time.

That’s all I got and today.

Well.

It was, despite my worst fears, a really damn good day.

Yes.

Really.

It was.

OUCHY

September 30, 2017

Ouch.

Damn it.

Fucking to all hell.

I have a tooth ache.

And.

Yes.

I suspect.

An infection.

Currently running a fever, experiencing some tenderness and swelling on the right side of my face.

The fever is recent.

Started about half hour, 45 minutes ago.

The swelling is also new.

But I suspect that the infection, because that’s what I think it is, started in the last day or two.

I have had some tooth pain, sharp, unexpected, piercing pain, on and off for a couple of weeks.

But nothing like this.

Nothing where I am gasping out loud when it hits.

I almost did so with a client tonight.

Thank God I only had one client.

Yesterday I was feeling pretty punked by the end of the day and I thought, though the tooth was hurting a bit, I just thought, I’m tired, it’s been a long week, I’m not feeling great, and I cancelled my 7:30p.m.

But today.

I woke up and everything was fine.

Until about 3:30p.m. maybe four p.m.

Then I started to feel weird and a couple of times on the walk up the hill on Chenery Street I had a quick, fast, stabbing, piercing, white hot siren of pain in my tooth.

When I got back to the house with my charges I took some ibuprofen and I called my dentist.

I had an appointment in early November, I think somewhere in the back of my head that I thought I could make it until then, grin and bear it so to speak, but after the walk up the hill and realizing that once again I felt exhausted and the idea of going to my friends birthday dinner and dance party made me want to cry, that something was seriously wrong.

My god.

I am fucking burning up.

Fevers are weird.

Anyway.

I called and the receptionist said they could see me on Wednesday at 2 p.m.

I took the appointment and when the mom got home I told her and when I was telling her I could feel tears, OUCH! OUCH! Oof, sorry, yikes, tooth said hello, in my eyes.

That is a huge sign for me.

I have learned that I am sick not necessarily from actually acknowledging the symptoms, but from being in enough pain that it solicits tears.

Then.

Well, then I know.

And that took me years to learn.

I got used to turning off the pain receptors, ignoring them, not letting myself feel the pain, emotional or physical, a long, long, long time ago.

It was not safe to express pain.

It was not safe to be vulnerable.

Not at all.

Never.

Never.

Never.

I got used to toughing it out without realizing I was toughing it out.

I recall being 17 years old and having gotten really sick, so sick that I was walking around the house in a nightgown hallucinating and in so much pain I could barely talk, the back of my throat was on fire and coated with white mucus and my tonsils were so big I could barely breathe.

I called my mom at work and she couldn’t come to get me, she couldn’t leave work.

I called in sick to my debate team, we had a meet that next morning.

It was the only one we lost that year and boy howdy did I never hear the freaking end of it, but hey, I was in the emergency room by that point, so whatever.

I don’t remember much of what happened.

Except that the doctor yelled, I mean, yelled, at my mom for not bringing me in sooner.

I overheard, “she could have died,” and drowned the rest of it out.

Severe tonsillitis and strep and yes, wait for it, MONO.

How the fuck I caught the kissing disease is beyond me, but I had the trifecta.

The doctors didn’t want to do a tonsillectomy because they felt I was too old, it was too risky.

They pumped me full of antibiotics and I think I slept a lot for a few days.

I was back at school Monday though, to hear all about how I had let down the team.

The funny thing.

I can remember a lot of, what to me were wonderful things, about that Saturday afternoon after we left the hospital.

My mom took us, to the Willy Street market and bought crab salad and croissants, they were a day old, but fuck, they were croissants.

And ice cream.

And she was really nice to me.

I remember the way that crab salad sandwich tasted and the bowl of ice cream, butter pecan, and falling asleep on the couch.

It was wonderful.

How crazy is that, that one of my fondest memories is of being terrifically sick.

Anyway.

I wasn’t allowed to feel sick or be sick or act sick, or sad or angry, or any emotions really.

Maybe happy was allowed.

I don’t recall.

So today I was pretty impressed with myself, even though, yes, it could be argued that I should have called in a few days ago.

Should, would, could.

Ways to beat myself up that right now I prefer to not do.

Instead.

I will celebrate the fact that I listened to someone admonish me to take care of myself and I heard my boss in my head saying, “call in the mornings, every morning and see if there are any cancellations.”

Because when I got off the phone with my best friend I felt the fever tick up a notch and I could feel an intense hotness in my cheek starting.

I called my dentist.

8:45 p.m. on a Friday.

Expecting to leave a message and hope that someone would cancel and they would call me in.

Except.

Holy shit!

Someone answered.

My dentist has an answering service!

After listening to what I said and pulling up my chart she said come in tomorrow at 9 a.m.

There’s already an appointment, but she’d make sure that the dentist would see me, it meant double booking and it means I might have to wait, but better to wait in the office and be ready to go than wait until Wednesday.

Because frankly.

I am not going to make it until Wednesday.

Super freaking grateful I know to take suggestions.

So grateful.

I won’t be going to yoga in the morning.

Nope.

I’m going to the dentist.

Wish me luck.

I am a little scared.

Just a little.

Ok.

A lot.

I am a lot scared.

And that’s ok.

I’m going anyway.

I will be taken care of.

I always am.

OW

February 26, 2017

Fuck that hurt.

That hurt more than I expected.

Hurt my face.

Face still hurts.

Hours later, my jaw is aching from having a weird rubber thingamabob in my mouth for too long.

No.

I was not at a sex play party.

I was at the dentist.

Yes.

I finally went.

Ten years later.

Pro tip.

When they say get a cleaning every six months.

Listen.

Walk through the fear, just go.

I am smacking myself for letting it lapse so long.

I can only beat myself up for so long though, I haven’t had dental insurance and it’s a pretty penny to get dental work done and you know, I have things to do, places to go, people to see, I’m busy.

Too busy.

But when my teeth felt.

Well.

Achey.

I guess is the word.

Back in December I made the decision to go back to the dentist and I used part of my Christmas bonus to buy dental insurance for the year.

It became activated in February, so as soon as I had the card I made the appointment and my dentist has Saturday hours, and voila, there I am sitting in a chair at Sunset Premier Dental at 4 p.m. on a Saturday afternoon listening to a child screaming.

This does not bode well, I can see in hindsight.

AND.

I do not joke, I thought I was hearing things, I really did, I thought, ladybug you are just anxious, they are not talking about you.

They were talking in rapid fire Chinese, Mandarin I believe, and occasionally in between the crying and the screaming of the little girl I could swear I heard my name, “Carmen” being spoken.

Turns out the little girl was named Carmen.

I was hearing things right.

The dental assistant was very sweet and kind and did my ex-rays, then I sat for a while, looking at flower decals on the wall and owls and clouds and soft pastel paintings, listening with half an ear to the easy listening on the radio.

I now will have Huey Lewis and The News imprinted in my mental memory of the dentist visit.

The dentist was super kind Chinese man, Vincent Leung, D.D.S. who made many nice jokes and patted me on my shoulder a lot and also, yes, I am not joking, wiped tears, the continual stream of tears, off my face as I cried in the chair with the big rubber block thing holding open my jaw.

He did the initial exam and looked over the ex-rays and then went and consulted on another client while the nurse came back, or dental assistant, not sure what the difference is exactly, to inform me that yes, my insurance did cover a good amount of the necessary care, but, I would still need to cover some out-of-pocket costs and she explained that I had to have some fillings, Doctor Leung had joked that I had a smattering of “baby cavities” and also, fuck me.

Gum Disease.

I have heard of it but I did not know what it was really.

The doctor came back, showed me my ex-rays, pointed out the baby cavities then pointed out what was happening with my gums, why ten years of not getting my teeth regularly cleaned was not the best idea for me, even with brushing three times a day and flossing once a day, for real, that’s my routine, my gums were receding and if I let it go too long I was going to start losing teeth.

Fuck no.

Do the damn cleaning and scrape the teeth, underneath the gum line.

The sound it made.

Like tiny high-powered squirrel robots screaming in my mouth.

Getting to that point though I skip the worst part.

The part that was the hardest to bear, the part that had me crying and scared and shook up.

Yes, it was painful.

Even though I was numbed out.

It was the pain of the numbing out that shook me up.

First, the local anesthesia.

So much of it and the taste, and then I ended up swallowing some and oh my god, so grateful I had a decent lunch, if I had gone in on an empty stomach I would have thrown up on nice Doctor Vincent.

Second.

I have not been on anything, nothing, nada, zip, zilch, zero, since I got sober.

Nothing.

NOTHING.

No pain relievers, no prescribed meds, I have not had any surgeries, although I have had some challenges, hello severe ankle sprain two years ago that still bothers me, but nothing stronger than ibuprofen in twelve years.

I had a physical reaction to the anesthesia and it felt awful to have something in my body, intrusive and I shook a bit and I got super cold and shivery.

Then the injections of Novocaine, super long thin scary needles, had my eyes shut, but still, super long thin scary needles, and even with the local, it still hurt to get the injections, the needle had to hit bone before it could be pulled out.

Six times.

Six injections.

I was destroyed.

Tears rolling down my face.

The doctor kept patting my shoulder and gently dabbing my closed eyes with tissues.

Probably not the doctor now that I think of it, the assistant, but yes, much was made of me crying.

I just oozed and leaked tears the entire time.

And prayed.

I prayed a lot.

I said the Serenity Prayer over and over and over again.

So many times.

I had a cute thought in there at one point.

“God wants me to have sexy teeth.”

Yup.

I thought that.

Made me smile on the inside.

I couldn’t smile for hours after, it was so disconcerting.

I had so much Novocaine in my face my ears had numbed out.

I am not kidding.

Afterwards I was told I needed to come back, I am going to need to come back for a while on the regular and get the deep cleanings.

The good news is that the biggest part of it was dealt with today and the maintenance cleaning though frequent, I have another appointment in May, it will only be $70 and not $1350 as today’s visit was.

Thank fucking God.

And I had the money in my account.

Thank God for that too.

I paid rent yesterday and bought groceries and after that I still had a good lump in my account for whatever today was going to cost.

I have $350 left in my checking account.

But.

Hey.

My teeth are hella clean, sexy and super fucking white.

And soon available for making out.

As soon as my jaw stops hurting.

Grateful it wasn’t worse, I didn’t have any teeth extractions, I don’t need a root canal, I don’t need crowns.

It was scary and hard to sit through, but I made it through and although the Novocaine was wildly uncomfortable and the injection process was painful, I got through.

I lived to tell my tale.

I will be able to do it again and I will know going into it.

It wasn’t exactly the Saturday I had planned.

But.

I am grateful for getting through with it, for showing up, and for taking care of it.

It could have been so much worse.

Frankly I’m not sure I could have handled much worse.

Grateful beyond words that I didn’t have to.

Seriously.

It’s Official!

February 7, 2017

Hi Carmen,
It is my pleasure to officially offer you an internship at the Liberation Institute. It was wonderful meeting with you and I’ve no doubt that you’d be a great addition to our therapeutic community.
Next steps:
We need you to reply with one of the following answers:
– Yes, I officially accept! 

or

– No, I officially decline.

or

– I need more time to decide.

Please let me know if you’ll be joining us!
If you have questions or concerns, just let me know.
Thanks!
What do you think I said?
Ha.
Of course.
I said yes.
I said I “officially accept!”
And I did.
And it’s official.
I’m an intern.
Holy shit.
So nice to have this part of the journey out-of-the-way, I was much more anxious about it than I needed to be, so much more anxious, and for naught, it worked out perfect.
It was on God’s time.
Not mine.
In fact.
I hadn’t even had the Liberation Institute on my radar, I was going to go work for UCSF or one of the CIIS sites.
I had my plans.
God chuckled, and said, hey, what about over here?
I said, nah, I’ve got this.
Then I realized, as I do so often, that no, in fact, I do not have this and yes, actually, the Liberation Institute is indeed the place where I am supposed to be.
How may I fit myself to be of maximum service to my fellows?
And there it was.
After I responded yes and then text my two besties in the program and sharing the news, and yes, I did, I called my mom.
It’s nice to call your mom with the big news.
We had a good catch up chat and she asked when I was going to be graduating and I said May of 2018 and she’s going to come out and see me get my Masters degree.
I was so touched by that.
And grateful.
Then I got another message from my new supervisor, saying, “hooray!  Welcome aboard Carmen.”
How nice to have someone excited to work with me.
My supervisor outlined what I need to do next, basically get paperwork through my school and I’ll be able to attend to that this up coming weekend when I am in school for the second weekend of the semester.
I’ll pick up the paper work and then I’ll meet with my supervisor in March to do the next part.
And I will also do my interview of him for my Community Mental Health class at that time.
Yes, I will.
Two birds, one stone.
It feels really so nice to be here, to be taking these next steps.
I know there is still so much more work to do, but this just feels so good, so right, so affirming to have this happen, and I’ve been assured by many in my cohort that of course it was going to happen, but still.
When it does.
Oh.
That is a damn nice feeling.
Yes, yes it is.
And it was really swell, yeah, I said swell, to also relay the news to my employer who was happy for me and also relieved, even if she didn’t express that as much as the happy, that I won’t have to change-up my hours, that I will be with them, that we are on the same page, that I can do the internship and still be their nanny.
Yup.
The grad school nanny.
Not a role I ever thought I would be in.
Not a hat I thought I would wear.
But I’ll wear it.
Jaunty and slightly askew.
Rakish like.
Happy to be in said position.
I got such nice compliments from the mom today too, about how nice it was to come home and not have to make dinner and that they really liked my food so much and, well, that too makes me happy.
I do so enjoy cooking for others.
I made them two kinds of pasta tonight.
One a fusilli with fresh pesto.
And.
Spaghetti with meat sauce and herbed tomatoes.
Lots of fresh grated parmesan and a happy clan of people.
I was let go a few minutes early and hopped out the door and was able to catch my 6:30 pm regular get together and see some folks there.
I was invited to fellowship and I ended up going.
And then.
I ended up bailing.
I love my people.
But I can’t eat at Pasquale’s.
It’s all pizza and pasta and as I started to get a little panicky about eating and making something work when I had planned on eating at home and so I bounced.
I felt a little bad, but not too much.
Sometimes I need company.
And sometimes I just have to eat my own food.
I’ll make up for it this week.
I promise.
I have dinner plans to meet with my person tomorrow after work, so that will do as a start.
It was really nice to check in with him today and tick off the things that I had done, taking his suggestions around some stuff that came up for me yesterday, relating that I had put my big girl pants on and made an appointment at the dentist.
Yes.
An internship and an appointment to go to the dentist.
Adulting all over the place.
I also shared that I had gotten the news about the internship.
It was nice to share the news.
I mean, I had known, the interview went so well, but until one gets the official letter, well, it wasn’t official.
Now it is.
I really am so pleased.
Life continues to open up and bloom and it’s such a gift to be witnessing it.
I hadn’t expected to be on this path and I am blown away again and again at how right it is, how it feels to pursue, how competent I feel in moving forward and how humbled that yes, after all, I am supposed to help people.
That my main talent is to be a helper.
First and foremost.
To myself.
But then for so many others.
I am thrilled.
And.
Honored.
I am.
Grateful.
I am.
Graced.
I am.
All the things.

Self-Care Stress

March 16, 2015

Oh the things I write about.

Oh the things I don’t write about.

Or the things that I don’t talk about.

Or the ways in which I have to do the things that I suggest to ladies that I work with.

In the spirit of so doing I confessed a few things today that I have not been doing so well with.

All of it comes down to fear and a lack of belief, still, a core lack of belief that I am unworthy of caring for myself.

The thing is, after ten years of doing this work, I know when the gig is up for me and I know when I don’t want to tell someone something, in effect, tell on myself, then there’s something to be worried about.

I was asked this afternoon over a nice roast chicken lunch with vegetables at the Firewood Cafe, when the last time I had gone to the dentist was.

I balked.

I stumbled.

I made some waving motion with my fork.

“Awhile.”

That was the best I could come up with and I don’t even want to write this down, I’m already seeing your face, and yours, and oh yeah, yours too, when I say, I have not been to see a dentist since I lived at 23rd and Capp Street.

Which means that I haven’t been to the dentist in oh, um, gah, six or even seven years.

Is that possible?

Ugh.

The real thirteenth step.

Going to the dentist.

I have really good teeth and I am really lucky.

And there’s nothing wrong with them.

I brush them three times a day and floss once a day with dental tape.

I don’t smoke, although I probably do have some discoloration from coffee, my teeth are really in quite good shape.

But my knees.

Not so much.

That was also something I did not want to talk about.

My knees have been bothering me over the last few weeks.

Years.

Forever.

But I have definitely noticed a more marked discomfort and sometimes absolute screaming pain that makes me literal gasp and tear up, when I am walking.

And once in a while when I am riding my bicycle.

Fear is ruling the life.

I am afraid, in no particular order, of not being able to ride my bicycle any longer, needing to have knee surgery, not being able to work, losing my home, not being taken care of, not being able to ride my bicycle.

I know I listed that twice, but that is a big fear.

So, like any good crazy person, instead of addressing the issue, I have been trying to skirt it.

Not wearing shoes that I now exacerbate the issue more than once a week.

AKA.

My Converse.

Which, grr, I don’t want to admit either, like I’m fucking super woman or something, hurt my left ankle when I wear them too much anyhow.

Like right now.

My ankle is sore.

I wore Converse yesterday and today.

And despite not riding my bicycle yesterday and taking MUNI, I could feel both my knees and my ankle hurting a bit by the end of my walk, a short walk, a dwadling walk, from the North Berkeley BART to the baby shower, about eleven minutes, and I was tender.

Same today.

But today I did ride my bike, to the Castro and back.

Sometimes I know that my legs, mostly my quads and occasionally my calves (they cramp at night, no fun) need rest from the constant riding.

Today, though, it was my ankle and I told on myself.

It took a minute.

But I did.

“Girl, are you trying to become your mother?” My person asked.

Oh sweet Jesus.

I am.

Damn it.

Let us not to bond over my accomplishments, but over my lack of self-care to my body.

Why?

Because that was how I was fucking trained, ignore it until you are in the emergency room in scathing pain.

Then, if it doesn’t interfere with work, then go to the doctor.

I looked him in his very blue, very compassionate eyes, and said, “no, I don’t want to become my mother, and I knew I didn’t want to tell you because then I knew I would have to do something about it.”

“What are you afraid of?” He asked, folding his hands and putting down the salad fork, giving me full attention.

“Oh geeze, where to start?  Um, that I won’t have enough money to cover what ever is wrong with me, that I will need surgery, that I will lose my job, that if I chose to go to the doctor I’m going to eat into my vacation time, thereby losing money, thereby, um, not being able to pay my rent, not be able to go to Burning Man, not be able to afford going to Atlanta, being homeless and destitute.”

I had no idea.

I mean.

I did.

But still.

“I suggest you make an appointment with your doctor, just a regular appointment, and tell her what you what you are experiencing, and not make decisions based on information that is not true.” He said, “capisce?”

“Yes.” I sighed, though, in relief.

I really have been wanting to deal with this, it does scare me, but I also know that running away from the problem, hobbling at this point, I can’t imagine running, that I will only make the problem worse.

There is probably a very simple solution.

Or not.

But I won’t know until I go.

I also have to ask about a patch on my face that I suspect might be skin cancer or pre-cancerous.

There, I let that cat out of the bag too.

I have a reddish patch of dry skin on my right cheek that won’t heal.

It will get dry, peel and leave red skin and I think it’s going away, then it does the cycle over again.

I over heard someone say to another person, “oh you should get that checked out, it could be pre-cancerous.”

Ugh.

I looked at myself in the mirror and wondered.

This patch of dry, reddish skin has not heeled in how long?

Too long.

I, more admissions, noticed it over a year ago.

I know!

I know.

REALLY.

I do.

I just didn’t really think anything of it until I overheard that conversation last week.

And yes.

I am doing plenty about it.

I googled dental student cleanings and I will sign up for that as soon as I see my regular doctor.

I made an appointment to go in and see her next Friday at Kaiser on Geary.

I’m doing the deal.

Even when I have to drag myself to do it, even when I don’t want to admit that I need help, even when I am in fear.

False.

Evidence.

Appearing.

Real.

I took some actions and I’ll be seeing the doctor next week.

Sigh.

Self-care you nagging whore.

I mean.

Self-care, you wonderful woman, look at how you are learning how to take care of the beautiful body that God has given you to walk around in.

At least, hopefully, for a while yet to come.

 


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