Today, I had a dentist appointment, to get a tooth pulled and cavities filled. That’s what I get for avoiding dentists for–what? 15 years? I’ve been fortunate, since I have always enjoyed healthy teeth, but I should have gone to a few of those appointments along the way. I accept the mantel of shame in that regard.
We had to go to Springfield, so we didn’t get home until evening.
When I laid back in the awesome Chair-I-Wish-I-Had-at-Home, It soon became apparent that they were not sure why I was there. Seems the VA had not sent over the records of the checkup I had in Fayetteville that resulted in a referral out to another provider (them) who used nitrous oxide, rather than those barbaric needles. While the overhead sound system took me to Funky Town, I was informed that they would just do the whole exam over again. She asked what kind of work I did and I said I was a full-time author, but omitted the TMI of expounding that I haven’t actually worked on a single book for the last five month, since I was on a sabbatical. “Oh? What sort of things do you write?”
I left out the “Lesbian” and just gave my stock answer to non-gay people: “Oh, a little of everything. I write in about 16 genres.”
After the pleasantries, I prepared for those 18 photos with a small camera inside my mouth, which didn’t feel small at all. A camera I had to clamp down on, feeling the hard parts of it cutting into my tender mouthy parts, just like the last time, but perhaps not quite as bad as the first time, which made my mouth bloody and sore for two days. Unpleasant, but not insurmountable.
After the photo shoot, the hygienist came in with her mask over her mouth, but not her nose, and explained all she was going to do and how she’d be calling out numbers to the assistant who would record them as she checked everything. Numbers 1 through 3 were good or okay, and anything above that was not so good. While she pierced my gums on either side of each tooth, front and back and called out numbers, I heard something like, “Two, four, five, six, five, four, three, two, four, five, six…” Uh-oh. That does not bode well. But I couldn’t comment on it because she had her fingers and a sharp needle-instrument in my mouth. After all this, the dentist came in next, and he did his exam and then told me I had moved past gingivitis and into periodontal disease. Fantastic. Now I really felt terrible about letting my dental health go while I had been busy dealing with Adrenal Exhaustion, menopause, hormonal imbalances, a cold, tonsillitis, bronchitis, severe allergies and allergy shots, weight gain, blood pressure issues, nerve pains in my back, fibroids, biopsies, and the looming hysterectomy. Yes, it seems all my pressing and new health issues seem to be converging at once. I try to think of it as getting it all over with so I can begin my new lifestyle with my wife, footloose and fancy free.
I bought some of their prescription strength sensitivity toothpaste and will be returning to another appointment later to have two teeth pulled, heal from that and then on another few visits have the treatments/cleaning for the periodontal issues. As unpleasant as all that is, it still wasn’t near as bad as the other things I was dealing with, or will be dealing with soon.
Toward the end of March, I posted on Facebook,
It’s been a stressful week. I’ve been feeling bad for a while, now. On top of this bronchitis that has been hanging on for 3 months, and all the menopause stuff, a visit to the dentist and a scheduling of another dentist in Springfield (who uses gas, which is the only thing I’ve had a reasonably okay experience with) to have a tooth pulled and some cavities filled, and finally getting my allergy shots started, I’m NOW waiting on lab results for a uterine biopsy. Expect to know results of that and the ultrasounds on Wednesday. That part is huge and scary.
All indications after the exams are, however, that i have l fibroids causing me quite a lot of trouble, but of course it’s wise to be safe and have the recommended tests. Going to GYN for me is a lot like being violated/molested, especially when it has to be a male GYN. I tend to avoid it unless something serious seems to be going on. I felt it was more important to get the quickest appointment.
Gory details aside, one of my biggest fears has always been having surgery, and it appears as though that’s going to happen, regardless, and probably not the easy-peasy laparoscopic version, but the full-fledged abdominal hysterectomy. MAJOR SURGERY. I’m trying really hard not to “pre-feel” all the stages of stuff on the horizon, but just focus on right now. That’s hard enough all by itself. First, these test results, then the plan for what will be done, which i believe at my age, needs to be a full hysterectomy so i won’t have to worry about future issues. Then the waiting for the surgery. Then the surgery itself (I’ve never had surgery, never been under anesthetic. Never been in the hospital.) Then the worries about post-op–not the pain or the recovery time, but the complications. If something wasn’t done properly, an instrument was left in my guts, or i don’t wake up from the anesthesia, or something else unexpected happens. SCARY SCARY SCARY.
Knowledge is always power to me, so I spent about 4 hours at HysterSisters.com last night (didn’t get to sleep until 5am today). Good information there, with many others who have dealt with all this. It helped to have more information from sources who had real experience with it. Helps ease the panic a bit, but it wouldn’t take much through this whole thing for me to have a melt-down. I’m really not good with the unknown, or trust–putting my life in the hands of strangers, facing one of my top three fears, the inevitable delays in our plans, etc. I’m trying to be brave. Melissa is being wonderfully supportive.
The good news is that the biopsy came back clean, which was the scariest part to contemplate. Second, the OB/GYN told me it appears it can be handled via laparoscopic, rather than the dreaded abdominal method. Huge relief there, too. Overall, I feel very fortunate. Now, I only have to deal with removing the software that those fibroids are embedded in. Uterus. Ovaries. Farewell to those organs that never served any other damn purpose in my life. Seriously. None.
It does seem that a large portion of my health issues are caused by those little critters in my womb–those illegitimate, evil demon-babies made of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue, that could have been used more effectively in other areas of my aging body, thank you very much.
My thoughts are now directed at the upcoming medical experience for which I have no affection–the process of ridding myself once and for all of the tumors and any of their cousins that might someday wish to attach even more dangerously to another pair of organs. As much as surgery is on my Top Five Biggest Fears, it should be done, and if I am to have the life and health I desire, it must be done. But that infamous Second-Biggest Fear is being dealt with by largely ignoring it entirely for as long as possible. No sense being stressed and panicked until I absolutely have to be. I’m sure there will be plenty of fear to go around the day of the…the…medical procedure. That’s the other thing I do. It freaks me out to call it SURGERY. So whenever I refer to it, verbally or in my mind, I say it’s the simple-procedure-which-i-get-to-sleep-through….
I won’t meet the surgeon until May 10. I’ve another lovely invasive GYN exam to dread, after the two other lovely invasive ones I already got. I usually steadfastly refuse to go to a male GYN. First, I’m very modest, and am quite ashamed of my corpulent body (at least partially caused by all this hormonal jazz, and second, I’m gay and it feels really wrong to have a man seeing my lady parts; and even worse, having his digits up in there) But the medical concern had to override my usual sensibilities.
Now that all labs have come back and there’s nothing ominous, other than the need for a total hysterectomy to solve the other issues, and getting on HRT, I turn my attention toward meeting this physician I will be turning my life over to in the operating room. On the 10th of May, I assume there will be a thorough interview and quite a lot of questions from me to him.
I have no idea when Dr. H (H for hysterectomy?) will schedule the procedure after that. It could be quickly, could be months from then. Should the prolonged waiting scenario take place, I have thought about what to do in that case; how it will affect our intention to pack up and get on the road as soon as possible, to begin our Operation Homestead, precluded by Operation Segue, where we will travel all around America with our travel trailer. I think if the procedure is scheduled too far into the future, we should not hang around, twiddling thumbs and feeling trapped, but will instead stay on our original schedule, and leave anyway. Get the new trailer as planned, store what we want to keep here, and head north, make camp. Visit Melissa’s family, a few friends all along the way, enjoy a few photography excursions, then, when the procedure draws nigh, we can hook up and head back down to an RV park near Washington Regional in Fayetteville, have the procedure, go back to the camp site to recover for a few days, and then we can head back north, and decide what the next plan is.
On the way to the dentist today we discussed that, and I suggested that if we were going to make a round trip to the Oregon coast, we might as well plot a course to see all 48 states. At our leisure. We’ll be saving money toward buying our homesteading land anyway, and we’ll be able to travel, regardless, since our expenses will be so much less. So while we’re saving for our dream,we get to live another one, and see this beautiful country of ours, and record the adventure in memoir and on our Operation Homestead YouTube channel and on my under-construction photo stock page, 2 Dollar Shots…
I’ll be able to get back to writing in earnest. No schedules, no deadlines. Just going where we want, straying how we wish, resting when we need to, and enjoying the ride.
Before all that can happen, though, I have to get most of this other stuff taken care of. Hopefully I can have the procedure BEFORE we leave. If not, it’s plan B, because we won’t delay this dream any longer, unless it’s impossible to do otherwise.
I know that this type of surgery is frequent enough for it to be commonplace, and not as ominous as I might feel it is in my fragile moments. I have a chief of surgery doing it; a highly credentialed man with 25-some-odd years of experience, and a five-star rating for both his skills and his bedside manner. I take comfort in these facts, and spend a good deal of energy deflecting irrational responses that curl up into my brain and try to take root. It seems the scariest things in life are always mired in the unknown. What we don’t know or understand, we fear. It’s a primitive response; one which I wish I could conquer once and for all.
I hope that one day soon, I will look back on it all and wonder why it frightened me so much, and the trade-off will be well worth the temporary terror. I must have courage, because it’s happening and it’s the right decision. After I face this inevitable result of the aging process, I can get back to being my old self again (no pun intended); back to enjoying the things I used to, back to regular exercise that isn’t painful, back to a healthy weight, back to writing my novels, and embracing the delicious adventure on the horizon with my precious wife.