The pain, or, thankfully my uterus doesn’t have teeth

I put my second set of Invisalign trays in last night, and was surprised at how difficult it was to get them over my teeth. I didn’t hear that familiar noise of them popping on, and I actually felt like I was going to tear my jaw off with all the pulling and pressing to get them on. But I took 800mg of Motrin and went to bed, and when I woke up they felt tight but not painful, like they did when they first went on.

So here I am in the morning, and when I took them out to brush my teeth, they went back on with that familiar popping noise. So maybe they have to sort of form to your teeth a little more? I mean, they’re already formed from my teeth, but whatever. I don’t know.

Anyway, they’re hurting quite nicely now, but it’s a pressure-hurt, not a stabbing-hurt, so I think I can deal with that. I mean, hell, I’ve had cramps that rival this pain. Thank god my uterus doesn’t have teeth, that’s all I’m sayin’. That would be too much.

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Old pictures!



Me and my sisters at my aunt’s house in Las Vegas

Originally uploaded by Megan_G.

I went thru some old photo albums today and uncovered a lot of old pictures, mainly from my early years in college at MTSU. Because this weekend is my 10 year anniversary of living here in Murfreesboro, Tenn., I thought it would be appropriate to upload some of the pictures to my Flickr site. So check out the nostalgia collection here to see me in my early days of living in Tennessee (and some of my last days living in Chicago).

For reference of how old they are (since I’m not sure on some), I’m now 28, my middle sister is 24 and my baby sister is 15, soon to be 16. God, I feel old looking back.

And he says my life is sad?

Look what I’m dealing with here, people. Seriously.

(Read the comments. The fourth one, specifically.)

I’m not taking to heart any comments left by someone whose Flickr groups have names like “cumshots” and “London Bukkake.” Though the “Not Gettin’ Any” group is one he should probably stick with.

Update: mapman left me an apology on Flickr, which was nice, yet unexpected. He did delete his original comment, though, which I kinda wish he didn’t do.

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The good, the bad and the ugly

The good
I stopped biting my nails. The aligners require fingernails to get them off my teeth, which I knew, and I was so afraid that I wouldn’t be able to get them off and therefore starve that I quit biting my nails two weeks before my aligners came in. I’ve been trying to quit since I was a kid, and never really did. I’ve stopped twice—once when I busted my mouth all up on the steering wheel of a car I totaled and again last year when I had my surgery (I was afraid I might not wake up from anesthesia and didn’t want people coming to my funeral to see what crappy shape my nails were in)—but it never took. I’ve got at least six months in these braces. Let’s hope it takes this time.

The bad
The aligners make my mouth dry. Really dry. My lips are cracked and I’m a freaking cotton mouth. Without the high that usually precedes those side effects.

Also, see my last post. No candy. Boo.

The ugly
I really don’t like the way my filed teeth look. I go back in a month for a routine cleaning and a progress check-up, and the first thing I’m going to ask my dentist is if he plans on reshaping those filed teeth when this is all done. At no extra charge.

Oh, and the strange (Yay a bonus!)
Yesterday my teeth hurt like hell. While they’re still sore today, I find the aligners bring me a strange comfort. Snug and secure. A bit sore, but a soreness brought on by progression.

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Junkie

I barely lasted two days.

The second-biggest thing I was worried about when preparing to get Invisaligned was the fact that I would have to basically stop eating candy. See, the thing with Invisalign is that you have to take them out to eat. And when you’re done eating, you brush your teeth and then put the aligner trays back on. For most people, the candy-cessation would not have to occur. They wouldn’t have to worry about cutting back, because they didn’t eat that much candy. Normal people could just pop a piece after their lunch, go brush, and then be happy.

Not me.

Over the past 10 years, I’ve developed an addiction to candy. It started out, as most addictions do, through boredom and availability, I suppose. I was working at CVS (Revco, when I began there in 1997), surrounded by aisles and aisles of snacks. I’d always had a sweet tooth, but CVS made me, quite literally, a kid in a candy store. My habit grew as I moved on to my next jobs—desk jobs, making it easy to sit and munch all day. I never gained enough weight from it to grow concerned (I’ve probably only gained about 15 pounds in the last 10 years, really. Unfortunately, it’s pretty much all gone to my ass and middle. Not cool.), so I never felt guilty or wrong about my habit.

Before this week, I probably spent about $5-$10 a week on candy. That doesn’t sound like much, but you can buy a lot of candy with that. I love what a co-worker once referred to as “retro candy”: Pez, Sour Patch Kids, gumballs… pretty much the fun candy that kids eat. I like chocolate, but find it too filling. My favorite thing was to bring in Tootsie Rolls or assorted mint candies–mint Mike and Ikes were my latest obsession–because they were cheap and plentiful. And I didn’t eat all my candy myself. I shared generously with my co-workers (even when they shit-talked my choice for the day.)

It was a habit. I was an addict. I guess I still am.

Like a dope addict trying to kick, I was faced with my first wave of withdrawal today after lunch. I’ve only been clean since Monday, but it’s hit me hard.

I ate a banana this morning before brushing and putting my aligners in, and for lunch I had a turkey and swiss cheese sandwich. Many days I don’t even eat breakfast, so I figured I was doing well, eating a little more than usual to help cope with the lack of candy.

My body didn’t appreciate the trickery.

After I finished my sandwich, I felt a little shaky. “Maybe I waited too long to eat,” I thought, remembering seeing 11:45 a.m. on my computer screen as I ate, knowing I was eating almost a full hour before usual. I brushed and put my aligners on, hoping the feeling would subside as soon as the turkey could work its magic.

Well, the only magic it worked was making me fucking sleepy (they don’t lie, turkey is some tryptophan-voodoo shit for real). An hour passed, and I was starting to feel like passing out. I was really shaking now. I had a headache. I was lightheaded. Nauseated.

“Fuck,” I thought, “I’ve already brushed and put my aligners back in!” But passing out at work was not an option. I knew what I had to do.

I slunk up front to the candy bowl at the front desk and grabbed three pieces of smack: One tootsie roll and two strawberry chews. Back at my desk, I removed the aligners and proceeded to slowly eat the three candies.

A few minutes later I stopped shaking and wasn’t afraid of hitting the floor anymore. My headache had lessened, and I became more sure that I wasn’t going to see my lunch appear in the garbage can next to my desk.

So, the moral of the story is that this isn’t going to be easy. I didn’t think it would be, but I didn’t exactly envision physical withdrawals, either. I figured the mental addiction would be harder to break, but apparently my mind is a little more held together than I thought. HA!

I guess I’m going to have to take it slow, maybe eat a piece or two of candy after lunch before I put the aligners back in, until I feel stabilized enough to go completely without.

You know, I’m glad I never took up cigarettes. Or crack.

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Changes Part I

It makes me so sad to see all of the changes going on at [insert name of Murfreesboro hospital here], the place I worked from 2003 to 2005 (as both a certified pharmacy tech and then marketing coordinator).

I know two years doesn’t seem like a long time on paper, but it sure as hell felt like I was there forever. But in a good way. I made so many friends there; friends that I still know today. I knew that hospital like the back of my hand, and the people I worked with became like family in a sense. I gained such a unique perspective there, having started on the clinical side, getting to know all the deep dark secrets the stairwells and other ways-less-traveled held, and then moving on to the business side, working with the big wigs and seeing just exactly how a hospital was run. (Note: It’s not glamorous like on TV. Not on the clinical or the business side.)

And while the changes I notice every now and then now don’t sound so bad on paper (so-and-so named chief nursing officer, so-and-so named head of radiology, etc.), I remember who used to be there. I remember working with those people side by side, whether it was filling an order for a patient or interviewing them for a story. And now they’re gone. They were jumping like rats from a sinking ship when I was there, and they’re still dropping like flies. A year and a half after I left.

And I know in my heart the ones that left on their own accord did so for one of the same reasons I did: They were afraid.

I know how it works in corporations: A new CEO comes in, fires everyone below him and starts replacing them with his friends. I don’t know why I thought a hospital would be different. I guess because this was the first time I was directly affected.

Invisalign: Day 1

After spending a little more than a half a day in my new Invisalign braces, I wanted to relay some first impressions.

The scariest thing for me happened at the dentist’s office. He’d warned me that I’d probably need to get some filing done between a few of my teeth, but for some reason I just assumed that meant in the back where you’d never notice. Um, no. He filed in between my two front teeth, and then between the eye tooth and the tooth right next to the front tooth. (WITH NO NOVOCAINE!! Ok, I didn’t really need it, but damn. It felt weird.)

Granted, it’s only a fraction of a mm, and you can’t tell when the tray is on. But when I took them off to eat something today, it felt weird. It looks just like you’d expect a filed tooth to look: smooth and straight on one side, normal and tooth-like on the other. When I was eating my pizza, my tongue kept brushing by the filed parts and getting hung up a bit. I hope I get used to that. Also, I hope that when my teeth are in their straightened position he can round out the two that are filed out a little. Because this shit does not look normal right now. [Note: I am probably making a big deal out of this. I made a girl at work look at my filed teeth and she said she couldn’t see what the hell I was talking about, and wouldn’t have even thought to look if I hadn’t made her. But still, I don’t want any gaps between my teeth!]

They didn’t hurt in the first few hours I had them on, but it’s 7:30 p.m. and they hurt. Even after two Advils taken around 3 or 4 p.m.

The first time I took the trays out (to eat lunch), it felt good to put them back in. The second time I took them out (when I got home to show Ian my freaky filed teeth), it hurt like a son of a bitch when I put them back on. But only for a few minutes. Then it went back to a “this is fucking annoying” level of pain.

Some cool news: The time I am supposed to wear them has been cut down, too! The dentist estimated nine months on top and 12 months on the bottom, but told me that Invisalign comes up with the exact wear time. I got 12 trays, which means just six months!!! I called back to confirm this, and they told me that yes, six months is probably all, but I’ll be evaluated after six months to see if I need additional trays. The good news on that is that any additional trays are included in the flat fee that I’ve paid. The bad news is that I still have to pay the same price, even though I’ll be wearing them for less time as originally thought. :(

These are not cheap, but they really aren’t much more than what I’d pay for those clear/ceramic braces. Just a few hundred more, I was told. And sorry, I’m self-conscious enough. Fuck some metal-ass braces on my teeth, even if the part you could see were clear or tooth-colored. The lack of pain, ease of use AND that you can’t even see them (I’ve been showing everyone in my office, and everyone says you can hardly see them. My boss even had to put his glasses on to be able to see them on my teeth!!) makes it totally worth the money, for me at least. I go back and forth about whether I should say how much I am paying for them (I don’t know if it’s rude to talk about stuff like that), but if you want to know e-mail me and I’ll tell you. All I can say is 18 months no interest was the deal-sealer. I just hope it’s worth it in the end!

Note: I really like this dentist/orthodontist who’s doing the treatment. He is one of the top Invisalign providers in the Middle Tennessee area (No. 2 as far as number of cases go), and the one thing I read on forums and Web sites was it’s important to get someone with lots of experience with these. His name is Brad Jolly, and he’s in Brentwood. If he had a Web site I’d link to it, but I haven’t been able to find one for him. His office staff is really nice, too, and has been good so far at calming my braces-related fears.)

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Nerd Alert

As if I weren’t dorky enough, today I get my Invisalign braces on. As silly as it sounds, I am pretty excited. If I had to pick the one thing I hate most about my body, it would be my teeth, and this is one step toward fixing that. I just wish self-love didn’t cost so much. I mean, DAMN!

Anyway, that’s what I’m happy about today. We’ll see if I still feel that way later on after I get them on. Right now my biggest fear is not being able to take them off, thus not being able to eat, thus starving to death and eventually dying a horrible, brace-faced death. Riiiiight.

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