RV Trip with Di, Joe, Mist, Smoke — Summer 2018 — 2

RV Trip — Part 2

I wanted to leave around 9:30 am — after rush hour — figured we’d actually leave about 11:00 am; we succeeded in setting out on our RV trip about 12:30 pm. Traffic wasn’t bad, for a Friday but it was hot. The RV’s outside thermometer gave readings of 120°F+ on the I-405 North. We threaded our way through the traffic headed to the Grapevine and the Central Valley of California. Our AC worked fine.

Di appreciated being able to smoke in the RV. When we pulled over into a rest area/stop, she could use the RV’s toilet without having to get out into the heat and I didn’t have to get out her scooter or push her in the rollator/walker. She can no longer walk any distance (more than a couple of dozen feet, and sometimes not that far) even using the rollator/walker.

Bouncy?

The RV’s ride was quite nice and stable and fairly “easy” to maneuver in traffic. The caveat being when one enters or exits a “driveway” — you know the steep/abrupt changes in levels from parking lot entry to street level. Go straight, the front tires (together) and then the back tires (together) rather than turning while entering/leaving (left front, right front, left rear, right rear) and the RV rides OK, but, if you are turning, the RV rocks and rocks.

The trip north was without incident but as the fuel gauge reached the 1/4 mark a warning light and message came on telling me to stop for fuel soonest. Yeah, there are still 4 or 5 or 6 gallons of diesel in the tank but warnings come on. Pulled into a Shell station off I-5 and fueled up (14.02 mpg).

The RV handled the Pacheco Pass well and on the other side the smell of garlic permeated the air.

A few minutes later we pulled into our friends’ driveway.

Moved the cats and our overnight gear inside. We shared some drinks, conversation and dinner with our friends; a pleasant evening before re-embarking on our journey the next morning.

To be continued . . .

RV Trip with Di, Joe, Mist, Smoke — Summer 2018

RV Trip — Part 1

It was towards the end of June and we were going to leave on our Summer Trip  in the next couple of weeks. I quite look forward to these trips except for one thing: hotel/motel reservations.

You see, we have a pair of cats, Di smokes and needs an ADA/Handicapped Accessible room — especially, the bathroom. We have to have a hotel/motel which accepts cats and where she can smoke — those are non-negotiable. The accessibility? Well, that ‘s on the “want” list.

Di does not want to make the reservations herself and I hate three-way conversations/negotiations between the hotel/motel, myself and my wife. I’ve done it (grumble, grumble, grumble) but . . .

It is getting increasingly difficult to find places that have rooms available for smokers and many allow dogs but not cats. In fact, two places we stayed at on our last few trips have converted to non-smoking and no cats. Neither Di nor I want to spend our trip in ten Motel 6 rooms across the country.

Well, to make a short story long, one morning in late June I dropped Di at Mimi’s in Fountain Valley to have a late breakfast/early lunch with one of her friends and took an hour and a half walk.

Looking

I passed by an RV dealer (Mike Thompson’s RV / https://www.mikethompson.com/) and began to browse — mistake. I looked at van-conversions/Class-B motorhomes. Something large enough to take me, Di and the two cats for a week or two or more and still small enough to drive around town and store in our driveway.

Found some nice ones built on a Mercedes (diesel) Sprinter chassis 20+ feet long. Seating for two or three up front, toilet, shower, cook-top, oven, sink, fridge, storage and a sofa/fold-out king/queen bed.

I phoned Di at the restaurant and she liked the idea so I brought her to the lot after lunch. Eventually, she picked a white Road-Trek Eco-Trek model (2018)/ (https://www.roadtrek.com/models/e-trek/) — the, of course, most expensive one. I’ll be paying for it beyond my currently expected expiration date — which I will do my best to extend.

Got it

I picked it up July 5th but: the kitchen sink leaked and they didn’t have the parts to fix it before we were going to leave — the next day. So, (dirty word, dirty word) we were without a working sink — the one in the bathroom was fine. Also, the bar which held up the engine hood was bent and needed to be replaced, but was adequate if you were careful.

That night and the next morning I stocked the RV with food, drink, luggage, the cats’ litter box, toilet paper. And Di’s rollator and Tzora battery-powered mobility scooter. It was quite crowded. Things had to be moved around to use the toilet or get to the sofa/bed in the back.

On Friday, July 6th, we set off for Minnesota — first stop, Bill and Artie’s (Artie and Bill’s) in Gilroy, California.

To be continued . . .

Implant — A Dental Story — Part 2

Bcckground to the Implant

Several years ago I experienced a sharp pain in the upper left portion of my mouth and face. My first thought was a cracked tooth. Went to a dentist recommended by a friend — I had different, less extensive, insurance coverage than my wife had. X-rays were taken and there was no evidence of a cracked tooth or anything else wrong in my mouth.

I saw a neurologist (who also thought it was probably a cracked tooth) and she gave me some medicine for a nerve problem. The meds worked, to a degree, and got me through the summer.

When we got back from vacation, I went back to the dentist (not my current dentist) and this time the X-rays showed a crack in my upper left back molar. We could really see the difference in the pictures. And the tooth was quickly extracted.

Fast forward to about four years ago and another cracked tooth (#19 — lower left) and now there is a problem. There is a gap in my lower teeth; it needs to be filled. Well, for one reason and another it didn’t get done . . . till now.

After all of the necessary preliminaries, last Tuesday was the day.

Implant Day

Before leaving home, an hour prior to the appointment time, I took the four Amoxicillin (which I’ve had before) capsules as directed.

I arrived on time. The receptionist (clerk/office manager/office lady?) asked whether I was being given a local or general anesthetic. I replied, “local” and she said I had just saved myself a lot of money.

Yeah, there was a significant difference between what I was billed that day and the estimate I had been given previously.

The prep work didn’t take long and almost before I knew it my gums were being swabbed and I was then shot full of “local” — with some more a couple of minutes later after the first had taken effect. My mouth was propped open and he went to work.

I felt no pain — literally, no pain. Weird. I know he’s cutting the skin away from the bone in my jaw. He’s using an electric drill to create a hole in the bone. I can feel the vibrations of the drill and the pressure he’s exerting on it. But pain? It does not exist. Well, except for some where his hand is pressing my lower lip into my lower front teeth, but this is of little concern when someone is using drills, torque wrenches and screwdrivers in your mouth.

Twenty minutes later, maybe only fifteen, he’s done. No pain, no bleeding — time for an X-ray. Interesting.

Post-op

We go back to the surgical room, look at the picture and go over my instructions for the next week.

Take one Amoxicillin that evening and the rest of the bottle as directed.
Don’t brush in the area of the implant.
No regular mouthwash for two weeks.
Don’t use your Waterpick around the implant.
Don’t chew over the implant and no “hard” foods.     OK, no problem.

I make my appointment for my follow-up in seven days and I’m gone. Less than one hour from the time I arrived to my departure.

I generally have a rather high pain tolerance and do not bother to fill my narcotic pain med prescription; ibuprofen and acetaminophen will be just fine.

The surgeon calls me a bit before six that evening to see how I’m doing. As far as I’m concerned — everything is hunky-dory.

For dinner I have two burritos — soft and easy to chew on the right side of my mouth. I go to bed later that evening feeling fine.

Implant Day Plus 1 — Wednesday

I feel fine until about 4:00 pm and then all heck breaks out. Massive headache and nausea. What’s wrong? The area around my implant feels normal — no pain, no swelling, nada.

What’s wrong? Food poisoning, bad burritos? Seems that way to me. Wednesday night, Thursday, Thursday night, Friday morning and I am miserable. My guts heave and I can’t even keep saliva down. I can’t sleep; have no energy. I spend time on the bathroom rug because I don’t want to be too far away when the next heave comes.

The cats are worried; they curl up with me on the bathroom floor (at least they can sleep.)

Thursday evening and I can again keep some liquids down. I suck on ice cubes and sip a bit of coke. After all, I haven’t had any caffeine since Wednesday morning.

Friday, saltines. Friday night — sleep, real sleep.

Sunday, except for my energy level and an almost continuous low-grade headache, I’m back to normal; at least as normal as I get.

Implant Day Plus 7

Today’s follow-up appointment went well. No problems surface and in three months I’ll see him again. Soon thereafter, I’ll have my new tooth — yee-hah!


The follow-up exam goes fine — everything looks and sounds, OK.

No Waterpick near the implant as it can force stuph down — which is not something to be desire.

Keep my electric toothbrush away from the implant — the vibrations may loosen the screw.

Three month — another follow-up.


If any of you are interested:

Oral Surgeon
David A. Hochwald, DDS
7677 Center Avenue, Suite 206
Huntington Beach, CA 92647

Current Dentist
Kenneth R.Barrett, D.D.S.
7677 Center Avenue, Suite 305
Huntington Beach, CA 92647

Implant — A Dental Story — Part 1

Implant. What sorts of images does that word conjure up for you?

Pain?
Money/Expense?
An electric drill in your mouth?
Torque wrenches?
Screwdrivers?
Novocain or other local anesthetic?
General anesthetic/being put to sleep?

Maybe, YES to all of the above?

History

We weren’t poor growing up, but we did without a lot because any extra went to tuition to put my brother and I through Catholic schools (EL-HI). Orthodontia? No way! Regular exams? Of, course.

My left – upper – canine came in behind its predecessor and pushed it out of the way. All we could afford at the time was a quick visit to, I believe it was a “Dr. Beauchamp” dentist-in-the-box. A quick local injection, extraction and out of there. Braces? Not an option. And that tooth is still there and occasionally almost putting a hole in my tongue. Could I have it fixed today? Yes. Will I? No, I’m too thrifty/cheap to spend the money on something I’ve dealt with for fifty-plus years with few problems — other than all of those pictures in which you see me smiling but not showing any teeth.

Oooowww . . .

A year or two after I started teaching in Orange I needed my two lower wisdom teeth removed — the uppers had been removed without incident previously.

I went to my appointment about 4:00 pm. The oral surgeon said the operation — under local anesthetic — would take about twenty minutes total. Twenty minutes later he had the first, left, tooth out in pieces. An hour plus later he had the other out in a dozen or more pieces. Also, several additional shots of local — I can still here his voice through the haze of pain and time saying: “Local.” And the nurse replying: “What? Again?”

As some of my friends might tell you, I do not always do the sensible thing, but what I usually do or just want to do. With dry sockets and pain pills I went directly from the dentist to the YMCA and played in my volleyball league. I went home and slept and got up and went to work the next day.

A day off just because I was in pain? Surely, you jest.

Did this experience affect me?

Well, it was thirty years before I again went to the dentist.

It’s almost time to visit the dentist who did last week’s implant surgery and see how things are actually going on in my mouth. I’ll continue my implant story on the morrow, or perhaps later this week.

Oh, yeah — today’s the primary election here in SoCal and polls are open to 8:00 pm. If you want to have your voice counted, VOTE!

(to be continued — tomorrow: The Implant)

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Tuesday — I was hoping today’s scheduled rain would appear but, so far at least, nothing other than a little mist early this morning. And, now, the sun is shining.

Got up a little before seven as the cats were moving about. Fed said cats, went out to get the newspapers, warmed water for Charlie’s tea (Lapsang Souchong) and made myself a pot of coffee.

Coffee finished, I was taking my cup to the front room to enjoy and read the papers while the house was still quiet, i.e., Charlie hasn’t turned on the TV in her room. While entering the living room, and about to have my first sip, I heard Charlie asking for help getting out of bed. Ah, well . . .

So, I helped her to her room, opened her windows, turned on her heater and humidifier, got her tea and her morning meds. Then I popped my cooling coffee cup in the microwave — I like hot coffee — and sat down to read (back to front — starting with the comics and ending with the news) my papers.

After finishing my coffee and the papers, I moved to our exercise room (spare bedroom) and sat on the exercise bike for my usual 100 minutes. Nexfilx and Fullmetal Alchemist were on the TV (muted), the iPad was playing music and I was re-reading Walter Jon Williams’ Angel Station.

I finished on the bike, fixed another cup of coffee for myself and another cup of tea (Earl Grey) for Charlie and warmed her morning muffin (banana and chocolate chip).

I was reading my email with KTLA Morning News on in the background and “breaking news” we had another car chase. The doorbell rang — our cleaners had arrived (every two weeks). I helped Charlie move into the living room while they first cleaned her sunroom and then moved with her back into the sunroom while the cleaners did the rest of the house.

Puzzle

The car chase ended with the good guys capturing the bad guy and no one getting hurt. Charlie went back to watching her animal shows and I started in on my puzzles. The cats decided to infest my lap and hinder my puzzling but I persevered. I enjoyed today’s puns and Charlie just groaned at me when I read them to her:

  • 20 — “Explore Alaska it’s  _____.” — morethanjuneau
  • 33 — “Writers and photographers will find Michigan a great place for _____.” — freelansing
  • 39 — “Blow into Maine on _____” — augustawind
  • 50 — “I was afraid to ski, but in New Hampshire I _____” — concordmyfears

Sorry ’bout that folks, but I couldn’t resist — Tuesday does that to me.