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Living at the Dentist’s office

            Lately I’ve been living at the dentist’s office, or the oral surgeon’s, depending on the week. First there were regular checkups to see how I was healing from this summer’s oral surgery, and then at about the three month mark a crack appeared in the temporary upper teeth, not visible on the outside, and, luckily, the oral surgeon had been testing out his own 3D printer this fall and made a second version of my temporary device, so it was available to be switched out for the cracked one. And after that, I had to start the process of going from a temporary implant to a permanent one, which means molds and try-ons and who knows what else.

            But in the meantime, I also had regular cleanings, and more extractions, because my bottom teeth were jealous of all of the attention the upper teeth had gotten, and I had to get a temporary tooth, called a flipper, to fill the empty space up front, so now I have to be even more careful about what I eat, so I don’t accidentally pull out the flipper and swallow it with my dinner.

“That doesn’t sound yummy at all.”

            I wish this was all as entertaining in real life as it looks on paper.

The bone and gum loss in my mouth is so premature and seems to be a big honking clue that there is some underlying systematic disease process at work in my body, but no one can explain it or tie it to a specific diagnosis. So I continue to lose my teeth, and I continue to get more and more exhausted, and nothing I try seems to be able to slow this process down, let alone reverse the damage already done.

            I’ve also had to go for blood tests, and a mammogram, and a gynecological checkup, and there’s the oral pathologist and the primary care doctor and the gastroenterologist coming up, and, of course, the continuing dental visits.

And I’m tired. I’m tired of having to spend money on my teeth, and on tests and supplements, and I’m tired of having to spend so much energy and time going to doctors and researching potential diseases and treatments, without success.

            My nutritionist mentioned that someone she knows, with similar autoimmune issues to mine, had some success with Low Dose Naltrexone (the regular dose, which is prescribed to interrupt opioid addiction, is covered by insurance, but the low dose is an off label use and therefore only available at a compounding pharmacy, and therefore not covered), so now I’m doing research online and asking my various doctors what they know about that. But I’m worried that either the doctors won’t prescribe it, or that they will and then I’ll spend more money and time on yet another possible solution and get no improvement.

And in the meantime, my micro-part-time job is getting harder to manage, and when, on top of that, an emergency comes up: like the smell of gas in the building (leading nine members of the fire department to stomp into my apartment, silencing even Cricket, and then they turned off the gas for the whole building, for two weeks, while they checked the connections in every apartment), or the toilet leaking into the apartment below us (leading to a new wax ring and therefore a new toilet and new tiling because our toilet had been set in place with concrete, for some reason), the resulting invasion of workmen makes life even harder.

“Oy.”

            But, Mom has been doing better, and has had a string of good luck with new doctors who seem to know what they’re doing and care what she has to say. And the dogs both passed their yearly checkups with flying colors, and Ellie survived yet another dental cleaning and now has fresh clean breath, and I still love my work, and have tons of good things to watch on TV, and good books to read, and good food to eat…

            And I feel like I should be celebrating all of this good fortune, but I don’t have the energy. So I keep trying new probiotics, in case the gut microbiome is the source of all disease (as Facebook keeps telling me), and I keep trying new breathing exercises and yoga poses and guided meditations, in case a calm mind really is a healthy mind (again, Facebook), and I hug the puppies, and I take my naps, and I read my mysteries. Because what else can I do?

“Bark. At everyone.”

If you haven’t had a chance yet, please check out my Young Adult novel, Yeshiva Girl, on Amazon. And if you feel called to write a review of the book, on Amazon, or anywhere else, I’d be honored.

            Yeshiva Girl is about a Jewish teenager on Long Island, named Isabel, though her father calls her Jezebel. Her father has been accused of inappropriate sexual behavior with one of his students, which he denies, but Izzy implicitly believes it’s true. As a result of his problems, her father sends her to a co-ed Orthodox yeshiva for tenth grade, out of the blue, and Izzy and her mother can’t figure out how to prevent it. At Yeshiva, though, Izzy finds that religious people are much more complicated than she had expected. Some, like her father, may use religion as a place to hide, but others search for and find comfort, and community, and even enlightenment. The question is, what will Izzy find?

About rachelmankowitz

I am a fiction writer, a writing coach, and an obsessive chronicler of my dogs' lives.

62 responses »

  1. My head is spinning reading all of that health stuff your going through!
    Take good care, and hug the pups a bit tighter tonight!
    Much love to you and so many hugs! ❤

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  2. Oh, Rachel. Sending warm thoughts your way

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  3. I thoroughly understand the constant medical appointments. It is exhausting just reading it. Sending virtual gentle hugs.

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  4. Wow, that’s a lot of unsettling unknowns and havoc. {Hugs}

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  5. I feel odd about clicking “Like” on a post like this. It would be nice to have the full range of Facebook reactions so that I could indicate that it makes me sad or angry. I am sad and angry that you are having to go through all this, but I hope you will not let it make you too discouraged. The fact that you manage to continue to post weekly is encouraging!

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  6. Thinking of you, Rachel!

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  7. I am not surprised you are tired. I would be exhausted if I was having all the doctors and specialists visits and dental work. I have you on my prayer wheel and I hope you will get some answers and feel better. 🙏🙏

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  8. Oh my! So sorry to hear about all your health issues, particularly your time spent at the dentist’s office, one of my least favorite places on earth. 😦 But at least your mom and doggies are doing well and I’m happy to hear that! Hang in there! It has to get better! 🙂

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  9. Is there any way to get a “full” prescription but take only half?

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  10. Goodness you are going through a lot. Sounds very frustrating. I hope you will get a resolution to help you. Dental problems are the worse.

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  11. Rachel–if I had one wish, I would give it to you. I hope all this resolves, my friend. Good on your mom. Hopefully, you are next in line for some goodness, too.

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  12. Glad there are some positives mixed in with all the frustrating things going on in your life. Sending hugs and good wishes.

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  13. These things take time but I hope it’s worth it when you’re all done.

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  14. Oh wow, I hope the saga of your oral health ends soon so you can get back to a more normal life and one which is not so expensive. I can understand why you are exhausted from all of this.

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  15. This seems never ending. So sorry.

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  16. Oral problems relate strongly to overall health and feelings of well-being more than most people realize. I’ve been through some of what you’re experiencing, but not to the same degree as you are. Good luck with your treatments and care.

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  17. Health issues are a real pain, I have my own list thanks to Operation Iraqi Freedom, plus that pesky getting older thing. Chin up, we will survive, but continue to be frustrated by it.

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  18. So really sorry to hear this. I am having problems with my health too and like you I am tired of going back to the doctor every week. Take care and God bless.

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  19. Argh and ugh! What a chore! Wish you well.

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  20. So sorry you are going through the ringer with your health but at least your clouds have some silver linings.

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  21. Oh my, Rachel! You are having a rough time. I hope you find some answers soon. Sending you good wishes.

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  22. That’s an awful lot to go through, Rachel. I hope things get better for you soon.

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  23. Take care. That’s a lot of health issues for someone so young.

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  24. “my bottom teeth were jealous of all of the attention the upper teeth had gotten, ”
    at least you maintain your sense of humor. ugh❣️

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  25. hope all goes well for you!

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  26. This all sounds horrible. Hopefully things will get better for you soon.

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  27. When you know something is wrong and don’t know what it is, that’s far harder than knowing what it is and how to avoid those things that will make the situation worse. It took 2 months for my gastroenterologist to diagnose gastroparesis. Now that I know what it is, I can work around it. However, the tinnitus is a different story. It sounds like stereo screaming jet engines from an airport a mile away, a sound that I’ve gotten used to and generally ignore. However, it interferes with having conversations and annoys my “better half” so I’ve tried every sure cure imaginable and nothing is helping.

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  28. Sad to hear about your issues (especially the dental). Ask your nutritionist if adding kelp to your food can help a little. Years ago I used to feel faint often and collapsed a lot. A co-worker suggested adding kelp to my food. I don’t know if it really worked or was coincidental but I did feel more energetic and stoped fainting. Take Care!

    Reply

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