Day 131

My front tooth crown fell off again. I am hoping they can just glue it. I am not up for another crown, in addition to the one I have to do next Thursday. Seriously, I can’t take much more. I just want to have my surgery and be done. In the meantime, I want to be left alone to do what I want. I am angry and sad. Woo hoo! It’s a 2 emotion day.

I got my crown put back on. I meant to take a picture while I was outside lest you all think I never leave the house. Trust me, it doesn’t happen often so it should be chronicled for posterity’s sake. Anyway, here’s another picture of me in my office. I am now listening to music so I am a little happier.



Days since breast cancer diagnosis: 8

Ode to Dr. Coodin

I have had a dental phobia since I was a kid. My childhood dentist looked like Vincent Price and was creepy as fuck. Plus he would drill my bottom teeth when they were not frozen. I once had to have 2 teeth pulled on the bottom to make space, my bottom teeth do not freeze, I was severely traumatized.

In my teens and 20s I avoided the dentist with everything I had until it caught up to me. I had a choice between having them all pulled or enduring the dental work. Ativan in hand, I endured hours in the dentist chair. My bottom teeth still didn’t freeze. To fix my front bottom teeth they once had to go so deep to inject right into the nerve so they could work on them. I was again severely traumatized.

Fast forward to our move to Vancouver in the early aughts and a new dentist entered our lives: Dr. Arnie Coodin. Dr. Coodin was a simple dentist – he didn’t whiten teeth or do any cosmetic procedures. He had 2 chairs – one for cleaning and one for fixing. He did everything himself. Up until Dr. Coodin, I could not stand to have my teeth cleaned and would never let them scale them. He made a deal with me – we started with one ¼ of my mouth at a time. He had a dictum he followed: “If I hurt you, you will not come back.” Now most dentists have a hygienist who cleans all the teeth. Not Dr. Coodin. He said cleaning teeth relaxed him. Over the course of a decade or so, Dr. Coodin got me used to having my teeth cleaned, he even did root planing and it was all fine. I owe him a huge debt of appreciation.

Eventually Dr. Coodin retired (we still drove to Vancouver to see him even living in MR). I was panic-filled. We had to find a new dentist. We started going to Valley Fair Dental because of a car ad I saw that said they ‘catered to cowards’ and offered ‘sedation’ dentistry’. Both Deb and I have had quite a bit of work done there. If it involves my bottom teeth, I opt for sedation. If it is on the top and fairly simple, I can tolerate the anesthetic needle to get it done.

Now, Paul scales and cleans my teeth. He told me today he can’t believe I ever used to be phobic. I told him it was all because of Dr. Coodin.

Dispatches from the Swamp – the ‘I hate daylight savings time’ edition

  • I really don’t understand why we are still doing this whole daylight savings time thing. When it was first introduced in 1895 and really took hold during World War I. The idea was to save electricity by reducing the use of incandescent bulbs to light evening activities. Surely this is no longer necessary now. Plus since George Bush had the bright idea[1] to stretch out the amount of time we spend in DST, it now starts earlier and ends later. I hate it. It messes with my routine.
  • I had the last of my sedation dental work done on Thursday. This time I seemed to remember way less of that day than before. It also took much longer for me to shed the effects of the medication. I wonder if the medication becomes more effective each time you use it. Anyway, I get the last of my new crowns on Friday. Yippy for me!
  • I have to say that the longer I live with Zoe the more impressed I have become at how she gets her own way by making your life so freaking miserable that you can’t even consider not giving in to her. Case in point – last night we had pizza. Zoe barked and scratched at my chair and me for a good 40 minutes. Finally I gave her some. Then one of the pieces I gave her went under the chair and she would not rest until she got it. She tormented me by almost upsetting my laptop until I got up and flipped the chair up so she could get her damn pizza! There is no hope of ever training this dog. The only reason she will humour us and pee outside is because she gets a treat when she is done. She tries to play us with this as well by going out on the step and coming back in without doing anything. I think we have convinced her that we are all pretty stupid.
  • We have been involved in transporting Miss Pickles between Chilliwack animal control and her foster home in Vancouver. As a surprise, Pickles’ foster mother made some liver cakes for the dogs! Nummy! They really enjoyed them. Here are some pictures of the layered liver cake!
L is for liver. A is for apple. T is for Tru! Tru got her very own cake.

[1] No pun intended.

I ♥ My Dentist

I have been talking a lot about dental work on the blog as of late. So I thought it was time to show you all the before and after pictures of my front teeth. I am beginning to think that some dentists are actually artists.

My teeth before
My teeth after

Only 2 of the front teeth were crowned. The rest she was able to restore extremely well. Apparently, I had 18 fillings done that day.

I am so grateful to Dr. Stephanie Song for doing such an amazing job on my teeth. I have always hated my teeth and lived in fear of anything happening to them. Having dental work done under sedation has seriously changed my entire relationship with my teeth. I no longer fear something happening as I know it can all be fixed without trauma.

My bottom teeth have always been the worst. When they were filled over 25 years ago, the dentist could not get them to freeze. He also used the wrong colour plastic filling and they have looked horrible for my entire adult life – until last week. Thank you to Valley Fair Dental, Nicole and Dr. Song for such an amazing experience with excellent results!

Dispatches from the Swamp – the ‘I love my new front teeth’ edition!

  • I love the way my dentist fixed my front teeth. About 25 years ago, I needed a lot of dental work done. My fear of dentists coupled with living in care and no money meant that I severely neglected my teeth. There was a dental office across the street from where I lived with a big sign advising that they ‘cater(ed) to cowards.’ So, I went there. I needed so much dental work, having all of my teeth pulled was a serious consideration. Instead, I decided to soldier on and get them fixed. My lower front teeth were in bad shape. When the dentist picked the wrong shade of filling material for them and my teeth looked horrible. Plus they were stained from when I was a smoker (20 years ago now!). Because they looked so bad, I always assumed that one of them was going to start to hurt. My bottom teeth are notorious for being very sensitive and not freezing very well. So the sedation route was great for me. The drug they use is halcyon and one of its properties is that you do not form new memories while on it. So all the anxiety of being at the dentist, the sounds, the smells, the anticipation of pain is not there. This is a huge relief for me as I am very fearful. I highly recommend the sedation route for anyone who has a lot of dental work to do!
  • Everyone here at the Swamp is well. Piper has been wandering howling for no apparent reason, which I find quite amusing. Kiefer and Clio were groomed the other day. They look so cute when they come back.
  • I love how some people are so desperate for spring that they are wearing sandals almost in defiance of the rain and the low temperatures. I am dying to get my feet out of socks and shoes too but it is just too cold. I do chuckle at the ones defying the weather.
  • It is still quite swampy here. We still have pooling water on the front lawn. The front part of the backyard is pretty dry but the rest is very, very wet. We have had a great deal of rain so it is not surprising.
  • Things are calming down in my life, which is a very good thing. I have made a decision that I am not going to post about yet but will at some point no doubt. It is a life altering decision.
  • I will post my election predictions tomorrow! Can’t wait!

More on the Dentist

Dental phobia is something that has plagued me my entire life. I have lived in fear of a tooth hurting because that would mean I would have to go to the dentist. The thought of the needles for the freezing would get me weeping. Actually trying to get through one took everything I had. Once my teeth were frozen the fear and the fear of pain was nowhere near over.

If the dentist was working on my top teeth generally it was all right as those teeth froze. I could kind of go away and put up with whatever it was the dentist had to do. Luckily for me, most of the work I have had done has been on the top. I have had root canals and extractions on the top and it has all been ok. Not a walk in the park mind you, but tolerable.

When I initially had a lot of dental work done about 25 years ago, I needed a lot of work on my bottom front teeth. They put in white filling material but they used the wrong colour. Plus, they have never felt very solid and have always been sensitive. Even when they did finally manage to freeze them, they had to go down and intercept the nerve. This was preferable to them drilling them when they were not frozen. And therein lies the source of my dental phobia. As a child, I would always tell the dentist that my tooth wasn’t frozen and he would not stop nor believe me. I even had teeth pulled for space and the teeth were not frozen. I was completely and utterly traumatized

Enter oral sedation for dentistry. I had come a long way in dealing with my phobia. However, the thought of sitting through 2 root canals and several fillings filled me with horror, especially because the bulk of the work was on the bottom teeth. The sedation meant that I could have the work done and not have all the anxiety and trauma associated with dental work.

If you or someone you know who has a dental phobia please tell them about oral sedation. If you can’t find a dentist to do it, just post to the comments and I will help you out!

Civilized Dentistry

I had my big dental appointment yesterday. I had 2 root canals, 3 fillings and a crown preparation. It was done under oral sedation. I was quite skeptical about the sedation, as I have had various kinds over the years for oral surgery and colonoscopies. I really didn’t believe that they could achieve any real degree of sedation without an IV. I was so very, very wrong!

The dental office gave me 2 pills. One was a valium I was to take before bed and then 1 triazolam that I was to take an hour before my appointment at 8 am. Once I got there they gave me more triazolam, ground up and under my tongue. I remember getting one more dose. I was with it for the injections of novocain. The one on my top right was fine. The two doses I got on the bottom were hard as the dentist had to intercept the nerve in order to get any freezing. I think the next time I will ask that I be more out before the bottom injections.

I will no longer be afraid of going to the dentist. In fact, I cannot wait to schedule the work to get my bottom teeth done. I have always hated them since they were fixed with the wrong colour. I have hated those teeth for over 20 years but I was never willing to have anything done with them because they didn’t freeze. With the oral sedation, not freezing is now a thing of the past.

I urge anyone with a dental phobia to investigate the oral sedation route. I know that the West Coast Dental Group offers it and they have clinics all over the lower mainland. It does cost a bit more but when the choice is getting your teeth fixed or losing them the choice is pretty easy to make.