Monthly Archives: April 2013

Nothing Hurts Like Your Mouth

I had my root canal today.  One week earlier, I was eating lunch and thinking, “wait, that feels sharp.  Oh, crap.”  At lunchtime today, I was thinking, “wait, that feels too smooth.  Oh, crap.”

Last week, I waited for almost an hour to get taken back for an exam.  Today I had barely gotten into the chair in the waiting room when they called me back.  I felt like that was a good sign; starting quick, ending quick.  Git ‘er done.

(You know how quiz shows have a buzzer sound that indicates a wrong answer?  Pretend I have one of those.)

I was told the procedure would take about an hour and a half.  I expected to be back at my desk, a five-minute walk across the street, by 11:30 a.m.  Instead, I strolled in around 1:00 p.m.

See, the tooth I needed…I’m going to call what they did “excavated”…is (was?) the last tooth on the top row on the left side of my mouth.  That’s pretty difficult to get to.  On top of that, there was the cavity to get rid of, and then there was an extra canal in there somewhere as well (which, according to the venerable medical journal Wikipedia, is actually fairly common in molars).  Of course I’d be difficult.  All that extra time and work…and pulling and contorting of my face…naturally leads to more swelling and discomfort in the end.  Of course.

Despite reassurances that “it’s not that bad,” it was almost assuredly a reasonably bad experience.  Whenever you get a needle they tell you, “oh, you’ll just feel a little pinch.”  That’s bull.  It didn’t feel like a pinch; it felt like she was putting a needle into my gum.  The weird part is that I could feel the liquid anesthetic dripping into my gum; like, I could feel it trickling in.  Kind of off-putting.

I could also feel them working on the tooth a little bit.  I assume it would have been significantly worse without any anesthetic, and there were a couple times where I thought about signalling for more.  In fact, towards the end of the procedure, one poke in particular caused my body to involuntarily  jolt a little bit.  “Did that hurt?” she asked.  Nah, I like to fake the occasional convulsion when people have fingers and instruments in my mouth.  Just a fun little game I play.

Apparently they have to fabricate a crown somewhere off-site, which means I have a temporary one for a couple weeks.  Unfortunately, it feels like a mess because it’s the last tooth, which means there is nothing but gum to affix it to on one side.  It feels like there is a wad of silly putty in the back of my mouth.

I was very careful eating dinner (just some rice because yeah right am I actually going to chew anything seven hours later), and quickly came to a realization: I will never know if I have food caught back there, because what’s left of my natural tooth is “dead,” and the nerve is gone, so I won’t feel anything.  As I ran my tongue around the area to clean out any stray grains, the lack of sensation was, in and of itself, a strange sensation.

The tooth is so far back that if I open my mouth to smile or speak to you, you’ll never be able to tell what’s going on back there.  The problem is that I can.  I’ve been told that once the swelling goes down, and then later once the permanent crown is in there, it will feel much better.  To the point that I won’t even think about it anymore, that I will eat and drink normally, that it won’t feel like I have a foreign body resting in my gums.

As of right this second, I don’t see that happening anytime soon, but I remain hopeful.  Until then, I guess I have no choice but to grin and bear it.

(Pun so incredibly intended.)


We Are Who We Are

The biggest news story of today was Jason Collins’ announcement that he is gay.  Collins is an active professional basketball player, and the story is that he is the first active male athlete in a major team sport in the United States to come out of the closet.

While it’s great for him that he can live his life out in the open, and I could never begin to imagine what it’s like to hide behind a facade like that, my first reaction was: so?

Don’t get me wrong; I understand that it’s a big deal.  But if we’re truly a more tolerant society, which in a lot of ways we are, shouldn’t someone not need to make an announcement?

I guess it just bothers me that this matters.  I think the comments along the lines of “oh he’s not a star so it doesn’t count” are stupid.  Of course it “counts.”  I just don’t like that we’re even debating that.  We should all be free to live our lives without hiding who we were, and without having to orchestrate an announcement.

I see the messages of support on Twitter and in the news media for Collins.  On the one hand, that’s great; I’m glad his colleagues are showing that they care for him.  By all accounts, he’s an intelligent, thoughtful guy, and I’m glad people like him.  But on the other hand, if we feel the need to show our support for someone because they live a certain lifestyle, or because we know they’re going to deal with negativity because of it, then have we really advanced all that much?

Ideally, there will be a time when an athlete, or movie star, or politician, or the bartender down the street “coming out” won’t happen.  They will simply be gay, and people will know it, or they won’t, and it won’t matter.  They’ll just be Bob, the guy who works at the deli.  Or George, the guy you went to high school with.  Or Jason, the professional basketball player.

Someday.  Unfortunately, that day wasn’t today.

This is the Anthem

We sing or play the national anthem before all of our sporting events in the United States.  It’s whatever; if you like it, cool; if not, I get it.  I have no problem with it, but I feel like that’s a symptom of having attended hundreds of games and just being used to it.  Standing for the national anthem is just another part of the pre-game protocol.

What I most certainly do not like is how some people make the national anthem into their own personal performance piece.  I am reminded of this tonight because TNT felt the need to show the anthem before the Golden State-Denver NBA playoff game tonight.  The anthem doesn’t usually make it onto the broadcast unless it’s a special event and there’s a big star performing.  That wasn’t the case tonight, but it was a cute story, because the anthemist was the wife of Warriors head coach Mark Jackson.

To put it politely, it was awful.  Here:

Total train wreck.  She added words!  This is not American Idol, this is the NATIONAL ANTHEM.  It’s not about you, Desiree, or anyone else who sings it.  Treat it with a little bit of respect.

Oh, and lose the shades.  You’re indoors.

What It’s Like to Have to Choose

I was originally planning on writing about the NFL Draft on draft day, but then I realized the friggin’ thing is three days long, so I had some time.

If you can’t already tell, I am not a fan.  Part of it has to do with the fact that I like football itself less than I used to.  Part of it is that NOTHING IS ACTUALLY HAPPENING.  IT IS MEN READING OFF THE NAMES OF OTHER MEN.  And yet it dominates sports from the end of the Super Bowl until the end of April.

I guess I just don’t understand what makes someone obsess about football when you’re still four-plus months away from games that actually count.  There are so many other – better, in my mind – sports going on.  Football is so far past its saturation point these days that you would think fans need a break.

(And no, I’m not being hypocritical here; baseball is my favorite sport, and I’d love to watch it year-round, but the off-season circus barely registers with me.  Come November, I don’t mind it going away for a few months.  I also don’t watch too many spring training games, either.  Something about seeing number 78 pitching to number 63 makes it seem less important.)

Then again, is it past its saturation point?  If people care so much about what college player their favorite team is forcing to work for them and them alone (yeah, reconcile that with your idea of freedom and worker’s rights, America), I guess the NFL is doing something right.  Brainwashing, probably.

I mentioned that I don’t like football as much anymore.  It’s not out of some benevolent nod to the increased attention on the dangers of the game; if the guys playing it choose to play it, I don’t feel guilty watching it.  No, it all ties into that overkill aspect I was talking about.  When there are games going on, from September through January, I will watch, for the most part, every Sunday (when work allows).  But the nationwide obsession…like, when baseball’s pennant races are going on in the last couple weeks of September, the fact that Week 3 NFL games are considered a national event bothers me.  I also know in my mind that the amount of coverage the league gets on September 15 is only marginally higher than the coverage it gets on April 15, which is, I repeat, nearly five months before the season begins.

I tip my cap to the NFL owners; they’ve figured out how to maximize what they get out of their product.  The season ends in February now, and a few weeks later, free agency begins.  Then it’s the scouting combine (the fact that men working out gets so much coverage boggles my mind), the draft, and pretty soon, team mini-camps.  Before you know it, it’s July, and training camps will open and then preseason games start and then oh look, Week 1 is here and the cycle repeats.

People love football way too much.  I don’t get it, and I probably never will.  But whether I like or understand it or not, it’s America’s biggest sports obsession.

I used to wonder what the NFL Network could possibly show all day from February through August.  How silly of me to think it actually mattered.

Put Your Back Into It

I had kind of a long day at work.  I got home around 8:30.  Picked up some pizza because duh.  Watched some baseball.  Laid around for a little while.

Eventually, I got up, because hey, I had a blog entry to write.  And that’s when the searing pain ripped through my lower back.  My word.

Occasionally, my back will hurt after a lengthy period of doing something.  Whether it’s bowling, or golf, or carrying stuff, or sitting at my desk, my back will occasionally start to hurt.  Sometimes it’s the upper back; then, it’s more of a stiffness, and it works itself out soon enough.

Unfortunately, this one is in the lower back, towards the right side.  Those are the ones that linger.  Usually the whole “ah crap, my back hurts” thing lasts for a few days, or a week or two, and then goes away.  It’s that abrupt, too; one day, I wake up and it hurts, the next day I wake up and forget that I ever had a problem.

So yeah.  I’m gonna go get a hot pad see if I can’t find a comfortable way to sit.  But it’s only temporary, because everyone knows back pain goes away the older you get.


Sitting, Waiting, Wishing

So I had my dentist appointment this morning.

(Dentist appointment?  Dentist’s appointment?  I don’t know.  Let’s just go with, “I went to the dentist today.”)

The appointment was scheduled for 10:30 a.m.  I was early because the building is right across the street from my office.  I knew I’d have to fill out some paperwork, and after I did, I sat.  And sat.  And sat.

It appears that despite many dentists working at this practice, only one was in today.  And while there were few patients, all of them were getting actual procedures done as opposed to a cleaning that a hygienist could do.

I finally got called back.  The hygienist apologized for the delay, but I wasn’t upset.  The only thing was the not knowing…like, even though I knew it wouldn’t happen, part of me hoped I’d get called back by 10:45, be checked out, fixed, and sent on my way by 11:30.  Instead, it was 11:30 and the dentist hadn’t even seen me yet.

After she did, she confirmed my initial self-diagnosis: I had a cavity.  Unfortunately, that cavity went all the way to the nerve, so I need a root canal.

(Side note: a “root canal” is a part of a tooth.  “Root canal therapy” is the procedure that everyone fears.)

What’s going to happen is she’ll dig out any bad stuff that might be in there and then take out the root, essentially killing the tooth (R.I.P.).  Then the tooth gets filled with some sort of substance that isn’t the same as a filling; this substance filters into the root canal (see?) and seals everything off.  Then comes a crown.  All told, they said it would take about an hour and a half.

From what I’ve been told, it’s not as bad as everyone thinks it is.  My insurance covers a large part of it, so while I will be writing a check to the dentist’s office, it won’t be nearly as bad as it could have been.

Even though I don’t have any now, the dentist told me I could feel pain in the tooth at any time.  So that’s nice.  What I do know is that I’ll be feeling pain in my wallet (and a mild dose of anxiety) come Tuesday morning.  I will no doubt have a full report.

Trivia answers from Wednesday: Larry Johnson, Horace Grant (no, Michael Jordan was not in NBA Jam), Detlef Schrempf, Dan Majerle, Clyde Drexler.

To the Hoop, Y’all

At Quizzo tonight, one of the rounds was “Sports Video Games.”  We did not do as well as maybe we should have, but eh, it happens.

A few of the questions were based around the rosters of the original “NBA Jam” arcade game, one of the classic sports games that helped usher in a new age of sports video games.

I was thinking it might be fun to have trivia questions or quizzes on the blog because, well, I obviously like trivia questions, and this is my blog.  So here we are, the first pop quiz, and it’s on NBA Jam:

You will be given a team and the name of one of the two players on that team’s roster in the original NBA Jam arcade game.  Name his teammate.  Answers revealed tomorrow; don’t go look them up.

Charlotte Hornets: Kendall Gill and ________________________

Chicago Bulls: Scottie Pippen and ________________________

Indiana Pacers: Reggie Miller and ________________________

Phoenix Suns: Charles Barkley and ________________________

Portland Trail Blazers: Terry Porter and ________________________

Good luck!