Category Archives: Health

Down in the Upper Valley*

Yesterday, I had to drive down to White River Junction, Vermont, on the New Hampshire border for an appointment to get fitted for a new type of CPAP mask, since the one I have is aggravating my trigeminal neuralgia. I did get a new mask, and I just have to see how it works. There weren’t a lot of options that don’t put pressure on the right side of my head. I just can’t continue with the old mask which was causing me to go to sleep in pain and wake up in pain. I hope this helps, but there are other options if it doesn’t. I was told by my sleep doctor that I had to try the new masks before we could move onto other solutions.

While I was in that part of the state, I decided to go to the King Arthur Baking Store in Norwich, Vermont. They have a really nice kitchen store that sells much more than just King Arthur Flour. It’s expensive , but it’s fun to look. However, I got there and it was so crowded with people, I decided not to even go in to have a look around. Instead, I decided to drive across the border to Hanover, New Hampshire. Hanover, you may know, is the home of Dartmouth College. The college makes up most of the town, but it’s a beautiful little New England town. I had wanted to check out where a few restaurants I’d heard about were and see what the parking situation was, which turned out to be basically nonexistent. All I saw was a few street side metered parking spaces. Nowhere seems to have their own parking lot.

While the buildings on the campus and in the town are beautiful, the better view is of the male students. Basically, they all look like J. Crew models, and there’s a good reason for that. One of the largest retailers near the campus is J. Crew. Not only do all of the guys dress preppy, they are all pretty cute too. The women on the other hand seem to all dress like hippies. None of them look to take particular care of their appearance, but I’d venture to guess, they work really hard to have the appearance of not working hard on their appearance. In Vermont, unshaven men and women seem to be the norm, and most clothing appears to be from either vintage clothing store or if they want to dress up, L.L. Bean and their flannel collection. I am only exaggerating slightly. However, seeing Dartmouth students walking around Hanover, it’s refreshing to see guys clean shaven and dressed nicely.

In other news, my coworkers and I at the museum have been strategizing on how to best deal with the issue over the current exhibit. I’ll make sure that I update y’all tomorrow. I am not looking forward to today, but at some point we have to make a stand. I just pray, this isn’t our version of Custer’s Last Stand. All we can do is make our case and hope for the best. If it goes against us, there are back-up contingencies. I just hope we don’t have to go that route. I am looking forward to my phone interview tomorrow, and I’m going on a date Saturday afternoon. He’s a professor in Burlington, and we’re going to meet at a museum up there. Then the plan is to go back to his house for an early dinner. I’ve enjoyed my chats with him so far, and I hope it’s a pleasant experience Saturday afternoon.

*The Upper Valley straddles the Connecticut River between New Hampshire and Vermont which includes the towns of Hanover and Lebanon in New Hampshire, and White River Junction and Norwich in Vermont.


Rough Day

Yesterday, I woke with a bad headache. My trigeminal nerve is still healing and some days the pain can still be pretty bad. Yesterday was one of those days. It was compounded by a bad stomachache and some hypoglycemic episodes. Occasionally, my blood sugar does drop to between 55 and 70. Around lunchtime yesterday, my blood sugar dropped to 70. I know when it’s happening because I get very unsteady on my feet and confused. I often also feel very hungry, but that was not the case yesterday because I wasn’t hungry at all. I have glucose tabs to get my blood sugar back to where it should be, and I was able to get it back up. However, a few hours later, it dropped back down to 72. The second time it dropped, it was a little more difficult to get it back up, but it did eventually get back to normal.

Today is likely to be a very emotional day for me. Nine years ago today, my beloved Grandmama passed away. I will always miss her. Growing up, I spent as much time with her, if not more, than with my parents. She also took up for me when my sister got me into trouble or when Daddy was being particularly mean to me. I had a truly special bond with her. I never came out to her, but if she was alive today, I probably would. When I could not reason with other people in my family, I could with her. She would listen to me, and she always took my side and saw my side of things. Hell, I even convinced her to vote for Democrats. Grandmama never lived a perfect life, but she was perfect to me. I loved her so much.


Bad Weather

A heat wave, high humidity, a storm front, and a cold front all passing through Vermont over the last few days, the weather has been crazy. The heat, and I know it’s much worse elsewhere, and changes in atmospheric pressure has gotten to me. I woke yesterday with a bad migraine that plagued me all day and into the evening. I had to take a sick day from work, and I spent most of the day in bed. I pray that I wake up today feeling much better.

Overall, my headaches have been getting better, but the damage done to my trigeminal nerve by that infected tooth is going to take some time to heal. My doctor told me it would likely be slow to heal. I am on medicine to calm the nerve pain, but major changes in the weather still trigger headaches.


Weather Changes

Since my dental work healed, I have not been experiencing as many headaches. In fact, some days I have been completely headache free. Yesterday was not one of those days. I woke yesterday feeling pretty good, though a bit sore (the good kind) from my previous night’s activities. It was a warm and beautifully cloudless day. Neither of those things lasted very long. By the middle of the afternoon, a storm front began moving through chilling the temperature a bit. Yesterday’s high was 88 degrees; today’s high is expected to be 66. With the weather changes, I developed a headache. It wasn’t too bad at first, but by early evening, it was a pretty bad one. I went to bed before 9 pm. I was not the only person I know who was affected. Two ladies I work with both developed migraines as the storm front moved through the area. When I woke up for a bit around 11 pm, my headache was mostly gone, enough that I could write this blog post. I hope it will be better today.


Benefits of Being Fully Vaccinated

I debated whether or not I wanted to write a blog post about this particular subject, but then I decided, why not? Before the pandemic, I had met a guy that I got along with very well. We had a lot of the same interests in science fiction and enjoyed each other’s company. We would occasionally get together for a bit of fun (if you know what I mean), and sometimes, we’d watch a movie, usually we did more than just watch a movie. It was always a lot of fun. I have not been able to see him since the pandemic began. He has some health problems that didn’t allow him to even take the slimmest chance of getting COVID. We have talked a few times over the course of the pandemic, and we always said we would get together again when all of this was over or when we were both fully vaccinated.

Last week, he texted me to tell me that he was fully vaccinated, and I was able to tell him that I too was fully vaccinated. He suggested that we get together last night. Of course, I am writing this before I went over there, but I am anticipating we will have a fun time catching up and maybe even making up for lost time. It feels like things are beginning to get back to normal as more and more people are getting vaccinated. There is light at the end of the tunnel and Vermont is thankfully leading the way.

Vermont leads the nation in vaccines with 52.7 percent of the state’s population being fully vaccinated. We have 69.7 percent of the state’s population with at least one dose of the vaccine. New England has done remarkably well, with only Rhode Island and New Hampshire having less than 50 percent of their populations fully vaccinated. Rhode Island is close with 49.9 percent, but New Hampshire appears to be a bit of an anomaly in New England with only 35.6 percent being fully vaccinated. Vermont, Maine, Connecticut, and Massachusetts are the top four states for vaccinations, respectively. Rhode Island is fifth, but New Hampshire is twenty-third.  New Jersey, Hawaii, New Mexico, Maryland, and New York round out the top ten. All of the top ten are Democratic-leaning states. 

In contrast, South Carolina, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, Tennessee, Georgia, Louisiana, Arkansas, Alabama, and Mississippi make up the bottom ten states with Mississippi having the lowest vaccination rates. The fact is the U.S. vaccination map looks a lot like a map of how states vote in presidential elections, with most blue states vaccinating at levels well above the national average and GOP states bringing up the rear. Sadly, the politics of COVID-19 have been partisan from almost the onset of the pandemic, and polls consistently show that Republicans, particularly men, are more hesitant than Democrats to get vaccinated.


Hope

Last night, president Biden gave his first speech before a joint session of Congress, even if it was a smaller crowd than usual. Since Biden became the nominee, I have seen hope in him. While I still wish Pete Buttigieg had been the nominee and was now president, I fully support President Biden. I believe in him. He’s not a perfect man and he admits that, but I do believe he is a genuinely good man. I’ve never felt this way about a president before in my 43 years on this earth. I think there have been presidents who were good men, but I’ve never felt a real hope in a president before Biden. I often find myself getting emotional when I hear him speak. He is what we need in this moment. I hope that parts of this speech will go down in history. I found it one of the most inspirational speeches I’ve heard in American political history. It was a speech of hope, unity, and progress.

The only faltering in my hope is members of the Republican Party. They know what needs to be done, but because it’s not their idea nor their administration, they oppose nearly all of Biden’s agenda. Most Republicans also have no issue with lying, which Senator Tim Scott did numerous times during his rebuttal. Scott claimed America is not racist, that Democrats blocked justice reform, and that Republicans have made voting easier in Georgia. These are so untrue, and it continues to show that Republicans have divorced themselves from truth and reality. It bothers me how much they want to block progress and freedom. In contrast to Biden’s speech, Scott’s speech was one of lies, division, and regression.

In other more personal news, today I am fully vaccinated. It has been two weeks since my second COVID vaccine. I will continue to wear my mask and social distance, but it feels like we are nearing the end of this horrible year. We are still at least several months away from something resembling a return to normalcy. I think it will be at least 2022 before we see real normalcy. If Biden’s opponent had won the election, I don’t think we’d be able to see a light at the end of the tunnel. With Biden, we are seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

Also, I am having times of relatively no pain. I’m not totally pain-free yet, but I am seeing some improvement. For most of the day yesterday, I was feeling pretty good (even though I woke with a headache, it did get better), but by the evening, I was in pain again. I have hope that I am getting better. There is still some swelling that is still aggravating my trigeminal nerve, but the tooth socket is not hurting nearly as much. As I’ve said before, time will tell, but I am hopeful.

My virtual program for the museum yesterday seemed to go as well as could be expected. There was a bit of fumbling with the technology, but it was quickly fixed and things went smoothly. We did run over by about twenty minutes, but people seemed to have enjoyed it. Some even asked for more programs similar to what was presented yesterday, and I do have two in the works for fall. Hopefully, they will be hybrid virtual/in-person programs. Again, time will tell.


Programming Wednesday

Today is my last public program at the museum for this academic year. It’s a virtual program, which I hope will be one of the last of my virtual programs. I hope in the fall we can get back to in person programming, but we’ll just have to wait and see. I have a record number of people signed up for this program, so I hope it turns out well and without the technical issues of the last one. It will be a fun one like the last time, but I do plan for it to be a bit more structured than before. I’ve worked really hard to fix the issues we had last time, and I’m praying that I’ll be successful in presenting a smooth program.

In other news, I was feeling much better yesterday. Monday threw me for a loop, but the Tylenol seems to be helping with the pain. The headaches haven’t been as intense, but as I was going to bed last night, I did have a moderately bad headache. I just hope I’m feeling good today, and it all goes as planned. I really want this program to be a success, and I fear it won’t be if I am not feeling well.

Right now, my biggest dilemma is what to wear. I want to look nice, which would usually be dark colors for me, but I wore dark colors for the last program and I was told it made the setting too dark and I needed to wear something lighter or maybe more vibrant. After I get up this morning, I’ll figure out what I’m going to wear and hopefully it will show up good on camera. The lighting should be a bit better this time, so I’m hoping what I wear won’t matter as much. We’ll see. I know I obsess way too much about every little detail, but I just want things to go right and be able to anticipate any issues beforehand.


Shopping with Eye Candy

Saturday, I had to make a trip to Burlington. Last weekend, I had bought two shirts to be picked up at Kohl’s. When I ordered them last weekend, both shirts were supposed available for same-day pick-up. However, when I got the notice that one of the shirts was available, the other was being shipped to the store. I was already in Burlington when I found out the other one was not actually available to be picked up. I was annoyed, but there wasn’t much I could do. I picked up the first shirt and had to wait until this last Saturday to pick up the other one. I had really not planned on going to Burlington this weekend, but when I woke up Saturday, I was feeling a little better even if my mouth was still sore, so I decided to head to Burlington and get lunch, pick up my shirt, and get a few other things that I needed from the “big city.”

I decided to have lunch at Chii’s because I wanted to eat soup because of my mouth, and I really like their chicken enchilada soup. I was pleasantly surprised to see a hot young gay man as the host stand. Following him to my table let me get a good lock at his tight little butt. Even more of a pleasant surprise was that he sat me where I had a perfect view of his backside as he stood at the host stand. He was such a cutie, but too young for me. However, it made my lunch much more pleasant, especially considering I had to have gotten one of the worst waitresses there. So, I had lunch and then headed to Kohl’s.

It seemed like all day as I was out and about, there were hot guys everywhere. Some of you may have experienced this, but it’s fairly rare in Vermont. The guy who brought out my Kohl’s order to my car was cute. Then there was a guy walking his dog at the mall who was hot and muscular. When I went into Target for a few things, it seemed like I was surrounded by hot guys everywhere. Basically, all the cute guys were out in full force Saturday. With all that eye candy, I’m surprised that my blood sugar didn’t go up. Other things were up instead. Maybe I was just horny.

Some of you may also be wondering how I am feeling. My mouth is still very sore, and the tooth socket still continues to bleed a little here and there. The inner gum is much sorer than the outer gum. The swelling is still causing nerve pain on the right side of my head. Otherwise, I guess I am feeling okay. I do still believe that as the swelling goes down, I will have less nerve pain since the pressure on my trigeminal nerve should be relieved.

Because of the continued pain, I wish I did not have such a busy week. Today, I have a virtual museum tour for one of our alumni groups. I will spend tomorrow preparing the final touches for my presentation on Wednesday. Thursday I have to get my weekly COVID test, and thankfully, I am off on Friday. The good thing is that I will be fully vaccinated on Thursday. If I can just make it through this week, then hopefully, the tooth socket will have healed a bit more, and I will begin feeling better.

UPDATE: My day has not gone as planned. I woke up with a really bad headache with the right side of my head pounding. I took my headache medicine and went to work, hoping that it would get better. It only got worse. I got in touch with my boss and told him I needed to go home sick today because I was in too much pain. Therefore, the museum is closed today, and I am back home. My boss is going to come in and do the virtual tour then leave. He was supposed to be off today as was everyone but me.

I called my oral surgeon’s office because my aunt who’s a dental assistant told me I should not still be in pain and I might have a dry socket. oral surgeon’s nurse told me to take some Tylenol, and if the pain didn’t improve today they’d have me come in tomorrow morning. I know a lot of people misuse prescription pain medicines, especially opioids, but dammit, sometimes they are needed. If my Anaprox isn’t helping, what the fuck do they think Tylenol will do? It just pisses me off that I have to remain in excruciating pain because people can’t take medication responsibly. I’ve never abused prescription painkillers, and I don’t plan to, even if I could get them prescribed.


Still Recovering

I am still recovering from my tooth extraction. It’s just as painful as I expected it to be. My face is swollen, and the whole right side of my face hurts. I took yesterday as a sick day because I knew I wouldn’t do any work because of the pain I was in. I just needed a day to relax, and I was able to relax yesterday morning. However, the afternoon was a different story. I had to go to the store, get gas, go to the pharmacy, and get my weekly COVID test for the university. After doing all that, I got home basically in time to leave again for my neurology appointment. 

My neurologist was happy that they were able to extract the tooth. She told me that it would take some time to heal, and that time would tell if this was the issue or not. The swelling has to go down before I will know if the pressure on my trigeminal nerve is relieved or not. So, time will tell.


The Call

On Monday, I called the oral surgeon to give them the information my dentist told me, which he believed might allow them to forgo the consultation. It worked, and they gave me an earlier appointment for June 17 (the original had been July 20). When I talked to the receptionist, I told her that all I needed was 20 minutes to get there, so last-minute cancellations were okay. I told her that my boss would understand. She said there were some possibilities, but she’d have to get back to me.

Yesterday morning around 10 am, the oral surgeon’s office called and asked if I could be there at 11:45 am. She barely got out the question when I said, “I’ll take it.” I quickly took a shower, got dressed, and drove over there for the appointment. I was so relieved that they were taking out this tooth. I hate to lose a tooth, but there was no other option.

They brought me back and injected me with an anesthetic, and gave it ten minutes to work. He had to add more anesthesia to my palate, but he got me numbed up. My dentist had been afraid that the tooth would break if he tried to pull it and that the roots would be difficult to remove, especially since one root was curved. Sure enough, as soon as he rocked the tooth back and forth a few times and pulled, I heard a loud crack. The tooth broke. It didn’t faze the oral surgeon. He just reached in and removed the roots one by one, except for the curved root. That took a few minutes more, but he used some type of tool that he said caused the tooth to “roll,” and out it came. He packed it with gauze and sent me on my way.

He told me that it should not be too painful and that my usual pain medicine would take care of any pain. That has mostly been true. He also said that there should be no need for an antibiotic as everything came out cleanly, and there was no sign of infection there. I had a bit of trouble getting the site to stop bleeding. I changed the gauze and even used a tea bag (One of the main components of tea is tannic acid which aids in the forming blood clots, thus making tea bags an effective technique to stop bleeding.), but nothing seemed to help. I called the oral surgeon, and they said I shouldn’t worry. What I described didn’t seem too bad because there was no pooling of blood. It was most likely that each time I removed the gauze or tea bag, the clotting came out too. She said, relax and leave it alone. I did as I was told, and it finally stopped bleeding.

I really hope that this helps with the headaches. I am seeing my neurologist this afternoon. I had been scheduled last week, but she had a family emergency and had to reschedule the appointment for today. We will discuss the headaches and the tooth. I suspect she will have me monitor the headaches for a while, and then if this does relieve the pressure on my trigeminal nerve, she will take me off the medicines she has me on for trigeminal neuralgia. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this six-month nightmare is almost over.