Coffee heat rising

Where were we?

Or, one could ask, where are we?

Damned if I know.

Past few weeks, I’ve been too comatose to write much for Funny about Money. When I’m not running from pillar to post between doctors, orthodontists, and physical therapists, I’m so tired I can’t move.

Nothing much, though, is new here in the Valley of the We-Do-Mean-Sun. The weather is starting to warm up, though more gradually than normal. By the end of May, it should be hotter than a two-dollar cookstove, but in fact temperatures are fairly moderate. I haven’t been back to choir, partly because I’m just too damn scared to be exposed to The Disease — vaccine or no vaccine — and mostly because I’m so distracted by all the niggling little harassments I don’t even know what day of the week it is. Sunday could be Wednesday, Wednesday could be Monday…who knows?

Oh, indeed, LO! It is Wednesday: here’s Pool Dude.

Who’d’ve thunk it?

About every second day I’m trotting to a doctor or a dentist. Today I have to waste the afternoon at the orthodontist’s office. He wants to check the progress of the treatment he inflicted, which is supposed to kill off the infection that caused my regular dentist and orthodontist to want to pull the tooth. This is next to the tooth that has already been pulled and mightily f*cked up and that hurts all the time.

Complicating that matter, my beloved common-sense dentist looks like he’s about to quit his practice. He had some surgery that screwed up his body, and it appears that he’s just not going to be able to continue working. That is extremely bad news on several fronts: on his, obviously; but also on mine, because it is extremely difficult to score an excellent dentist in this city. There’s lots of dentistoids…every one of whom wants to carve up your mouth to the tune of God only knows how many gerzillions of dollars. About 99.6% of this suggested work turns out to be unnecessary when you go ask a second doc about it.

Always. Get. A. Second. Opinion.

Which of course doubles the number of traipses to doctors’ and dentists’ offices…

Still generally feeling miserable. The tooth hurts, but so much less so than the busted shoulder and the bunged wrist and elbow as to be almost unnoticeable. The shoulder, after thousands of dollars’ worth of physical therapy (most of it covered by Medicare/Medigap), is verrreeeee slowly getting better.

A friend down at the church — actually, the church’s financial officer — did a similar job on herself, only with more skill: she actually snapped the femur in two. Not bad, eh?

She said her doctor told her it would take eight to twelve months to heal as much as it’s gonna heal. Mayo Orthopod says mine will take eight to twelve weeks…but I believe it’s been about that long already. Unclear whether this is something that can even be expected to heal: it may be as good as it’s gonna get right now. If that’s the case, “as good” ain’t “very” good!

Latest discovery in micro-medical science: the daily multiple doses of aspirin have been making me sick. I’ve been dropping three or four aspirins a day, with the result that one well-known side effect — shortness of breath, a horrifying sense that you can’t get enough air into your lungs to sustain life — has kicked right in.

The cannabis dispensed through gumdrops does not seem to do that. They do cut the pain considerably, but…if I take enough to really work, they make me too sleepy to drive. And if you live in Phoenix, you drive or you don’t survive. A quarter of a candy will do the job, but I would really, seriously hesitate to get behind a steering wheel with a quarter of one of those things in my system. A half will keep me asleep through the usual 3 a.m. wake-up call, a bit of a Godsend. But of course, that suggests that a whole cannabis-laced gumdrop would send you straight to La-La-Land.

Meanwhile, we now suspect that the screaming crazy-making buzz and tingle in the lips and gums is peripheral neuropathy occasioned by the metal implant we put in the busted tooth, which has never been crowned. The dentist is hammering at Death’s Door, and that tooth has hurt me enough that I haven’t wanted to complicate matters with a crown that I suspect will have to be removed. Plus there’s an infection in the tooth right next to it.

So by and large, that’s how my days have been going: day of general misery followed by night of general misery followed by day of general misery followed by… It’s getting mighty tedious.

There doesn’t seem to be much to be done about it, either.

I finally talked MayoDoc into ordering tests for metallosis — sensitivity to implanted metals such as the titanium in the goddamned dental implant. That occurs at the end of this month. If we are all surprised and this test comes back positive, THEN the next step will be to have the orthodontist or an oral surgeon remove the implant. Doesn’t THAT sound fun?

Well, no: it sounds like another day of acute misery followed by another week or ten days of dragged-out misery. But if it works to stop this neuropathy horror, it’ll be worth it. But it’s a long shot: MayoDoc does not think the PN is caused by metal sensitivity. She thinks I’m a lush and that that the neuropathy is caused by drinking. I argue that one or at the outside maybe two glasses of wine with the large meal of the day (which is a lot of food!) alcoholism does not make. But of course she thinks that because I must be an alcoholic, my reports that I do not drink that much and I never drink without food are just excuses I’m making up.

If she’s right — that the neuropathy is caused by long-term alcohol abuse — then there’s not a thing we can do about it. That is a permanent condition caused by damage to nerves that will not grow back. I don’t happen to think she is right — because if she were, every Frenchwoman on the Continent would be spending her nights tingling and burning — but I’m not a doctor. Nor did I grow up in a household of Christian Scientists, as MayoDoc did…

Still, I persist in hoping that the neuropathy, which started suspiciously at about the time of the dental work, is a reaction to the metal implant.

Ironically enough, the condition that is forcing my beloved Old Dentist out of practice is exactly that: a reaction to a metal hip implant. And that reaction is…? Yep: peripheral neuropathy. He can barely walk for the buzzing and tingling in his legs and feet. When they diagnosed this, first he asked why the hell didn’t you warn me about this, and of course received no sensible answer. To what are we gonna do about it? he was told that the treatment is to remove the metal implant and replace it with a ceramic implant…which will require three more major surgeries!!!!!

He said thank you very much, but no thanks.

So now he’s crippled, nonfunctional, miserable, and is about to lose his livelihood.

One can only ask: Why the fuck didn’t they check for metal sensitivities before they stuck a metal hip replacement in his body???

How hard is this?

Not very, it develops: you get patch tests that will determine whether you’re likely to have a negative reaction. Given that they have such a thing as ceramic implants, wouldn’t you think they would run those tests routinely before ever doing any kind of bone replacement implant?

Why, indeed?

Clearly, if such a thing as “metallosis” or sensitivity to metal implants exists at all, they should be testing EVERYONE for that kind of sensitivity before they insert titanium. stainless steel, or cobalt/chromium alloys. How hard is this?

Certainly no harder than having to perform three(!!) extra surgeries to remove a fake hip and replace it with some other product. Certainly no harder than having to figure out what is causing some weird symptom, blaming the patient, and finally getting around to testing for an allergy. A chore that will absorb an entire day this week…

Wherever we are, it sure as hell isn’t Kansas, Toto!