Renal Cell Live!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

"I've Fallen and ..."

Last week I was bustling around, dashing for a phone or some such nonsense; I got my feet tangled up with a small footstool and pitched sideways into a pile of knitting projects (good) and an iron-bound antique trunk (bad). My shoulder took the full force of the blow against the trunk. I saw stars, I said bad words, and then slowly got to my feet again and called Saint H in from the pasture. I couldn't feel my right hand and couldn't breathe very well.

He checked me out carefully - large swelling at point of impact accompanied by a bruise that started showing up within minutes; shaken up but otherwise okay. So far the bruising hasn't fully developed and I think it will be a doozey, and my arm protests if I try to raise it above shoulder height perpendicularly to my body, but it could have been much worse.

While I've never been exactly graceful, I've always had good balance and for the most part have managed to stay on my feet when I've lost my balance temporarily. Several times in the past few years, though, it's been quite different. If I've been in the hospital for more than a week I'm very unsteady on my feet when I get out, and I've got scars on the bridge of my nose and my upper lip to prove that, from two separate falls. I often feel very disoriented now when I fall, and I seem to be less able to save myself from falling.

I know extended stays in the hospital contribute to muscle weakness. Maybe the rest of it is age, or maybe I'm starting to get scared of falling since I've hurt myself a couple of times. I can say, based on my experiences, that I'm less likely to laugh at the cheesy Life-Alert commercial now. It's not so funny when you're down there yourself.


Friday, August 07, 2009

Kick In The Teeth

Well, crap. Last week, insurance paperwork, billings and all from the first of the year finally worked all the way through the mill and I sent off the usual $900+ check to Cleveland Clinic to settle my annual out-of-pocket requirements. Hooray, no more unknowns, just the usual copays, prescriptions and incidentals for the rest of the year.

But wait! Yesterday I went to the dentist for a regularly-scheduled cleaning, and we found yet another cracked tooth. The rear right lower molar has cracks in all four directions, plus a couple of chips, plus decay along the edge of a filling that went in about 3 years ago. That's 3 cracked teeth in the last 2 years, folks. Some of my other teeth are now developing chips on their cutting edges, too. And the remedy for a cracked tooth, of course, is another crown. Crap!!!

Vivian asked, "Do you grind your teeth?" "No, I don't think so ..." "Well, what about dry mouth from your medications?" Oh, yes, indeed - what about dry mouth?

Dr. K doesn't think that there have been any studies about the relation between dry mouth, cancer medications, and dental problems. I'm ready to believe it, though - I have always taken care of my teeth, and I'm stunned by the amount of dental work I've had to go through in the last 3 years. Saliva acts as a lubricant, and without it the teeth bang against each other - grinding without grinding, as it were.

My schedule stinks, as does my bank account; I'm going to put off getting the crown as long as I can. For now I've got a prescription toothpaste, Colgate PreviDent 5000 Dry Mouth, Biotene mouthwash samples, and strict instructions to brush and floss religiously, and chew carefully. We may look into some sort of mouthguard as well, in the meantime. And I think I'll start doing some reading up in the dental literature too. At least the toothpaste doesn't make me gag, so far.

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