January 08, 2003
As I mentioned in a recent post, I had some oral surgery a few weeks ago called a "gingiva graft."
If you are easily grossed out and if you do not wish to be grossed out, don't read the rest of this post.
Anyway, one of the first things they tell you not to do right after the surgery is pull out your lower lip to look at your gums. Naturally, the patient's first inclination is to do exactly that, and having a warning label that says "Don't Do It" only makes the draw that much stronger. I resisted... for a little while. But there is a minor loophole. You are still expected to brush the rest of your teeth (ie, the teeth not immediately next to where the graft took place), so while brushing my teeth that first evening I took a peek as a natural part of my routine and, well, it didn't look good.
I don't mean it looked nasty (and, believe me, it *did* look nasty), but rather, it looked like it wasn't right. Like certain parts weren't properly attached to certain other parts.
A few days later I called the periodontist's office and mentioned my concerns. Apparently, this must be a common situation. "Just come in at your first scheduled check-up, and we'll determine the situation then," I was told in a calm, practiced voice. (Or, words to that effect.)
I went in for my first scheduled check-up. Turns out, certain parts weren't properly attached to certain other parts.
Ready for the gross part?
As you'll recall from my earlier post, what the periodonist did was to cut out some gum material from the roof of my mouth and graft it onto the gums at the base of my teeth on my lower jaw. Grafting, in this case, involves making an incision to form a pocket where the new gum material can go, then pulling up the outer later to make a pouch that holds it all in. This is all then sewn up with stiches to hold everything in place.
As the periodontist's able assistant (the assistant is more than a traditional dental hygenist, insofar as she was an active part of the surgical team, but I don't know what the correct term is these days for periodontal assistants) worded it, some of the gum material "squirted up out of the pocket." Without being held in the warm, protective glow of the outer layer, these exposed transplanted gum parts just... died.
She clipped away the lumpy, white, dead tissue, leaving behind a lumpy, purplish mass of gums behind that still didn't look quite right to me. "Well," she said, "We'll see how that heals up. You might have enough material still there, and it looks like there's still a recession, but that might heal up." (Or words to that effect.)
Now, the healing process is mildly annoying. There are certain foods I can't eat (I am not supposed to chew with my front teeth, which means if I want pizza or a sandwich, I have to cut it with a fork and knife, etc.) and then there's the mild achy pain, and so on. But that was all simply a matter of inconvenience to me. I had my drugs, and I had my ice cream, so I was prepared to cope with all that. The worst part was me worrying about whether this surgery was all going to work out, or if it would have to be redone. In short, the worst part was not the actual healing or anything *real*, but only imagined possible outcomes.
As you might expect, things were not as bad as I'd imagined, nor as perfect as I might have hoped. After I went in for my second check-up (three weeks after the surgery, and two weeks after that first check-up), I was told that it looked like we would have excellent coverage (Yippee) but that there were a couple of tears ("clefts") that would have to be repaired.
This is my favorite part of the story:
Repairing the clefts involves something that the periodontist's assisstant called "freshening." I love that term. "Freshening."
To "freshen" the edges of the clefts means to take a diamond-tipped drill/grinder and scrape/cut the ends that need to be joined. Once these parts are freshly gaping wounds, they are then stitched to each other in the expectation that they will heal together instead of to themselves. Much as the original surgery should have worked.
I love it because it sounds so dramatic. The reality, I expect, will be much like the reality of the first procedure. They'll numb up my mouth with novacaine (sp?), drill and sew, and a half hour to an hour later, I'll walk out of there, drive to Dairy Queen and get my prescribed milkshake, and life will continue.
I will, however, follow the periodontist's advice this time and take the day off. I don't want to risk doing *anything* to jeopardize the success of this second round of surgery.
I just wanted to post a quick note about Alexander, for those of you interested in how things are going with him.
He remains the Cutest Baby In The World, although he's quickly outgrowing that title... because he's growing so *big*. He's noticeably (sp?) taller than he was even at Christmas time, and we've just now moved him up to 9mo to 12mo clothes.
He's been turning over a lot lately. As of yesterday morning, he even sleeps on his tummy, despite the fact that we keep putting him down on his back. Did I just type "tummy?" Guess I'm becoming a parent.
He remains a happy, healthy, beautiful baby boy. And yes, I'll post more pictures soon. :-)
January 11, 2003
It's been months since I've mentioned anything here about my various writing projects, but that doesn't mean nothing's happening.
Regarding the novel, it alternates between two different working titles as I send it out to different prospects. After the television series that recently began airing with the same title as the original working title of my novel, I'm a little hesitant to post the title until the book finds some traction with either an editor or an agent. Hmmm. I wonder if I could have worked the word "title" in that sentence a few more times. Anyway, I've sent it (the novel, not just the title) out to three agents so far, none of whom are interested in representing the project. I must send it out again, and will do so within the next two weeks. When I send it out, it'll go to at least an agent and an editor at the same time. Industry norms frown upon submitting to multiple agents or multiple editors at the same time, but the long lead time in getting a response seems unreasonable to perform the search for representation or publication serially.
I've had a few short stories out for consideration in 2002, and while none of them were picked up, the responses have generally been encouraging. I haven't sent anything out in the past month or so, and yesterday I just received the last story that was "in play" back with a rejection letter. The next week or two will involve me sending out each of the stories that have been in play back out for consideration, plus one more story that's almost ready.
It's frustrating to keep sending out stories and getting back rejection letters. I know many other writers who are more talented and prolific than I am who have been at this for decades with few, if any, publications to show for it, and that does little to take the sting out of my own lack of success (so far), even after only a year or so at it.
The most recent two projects I've completed were collaborations with a friend of mine who I met during my days at Amazon.com. As with all of the good collaborations I've enjoyed in the past, my work with James Osborne has helped to bring out the best of my abilities while downplaying those areas where I'm not so strong.
One of these projects is a television series "bible," outline, and pilot script. We completed the project just in time to submit it to a Hollywood scriptwriting contest, and we should hear back from that one in February. Initial feedback from James' friends in LA is favorable, and we'll be seeking representation for our scriptwriting talents soon.
I'm excited by the idea for the television series not only because it has been a fun collaborative effort, but also because it's given me a chance to explore possibilities with story telling that are not available in novel or short story writing. In many ways, it's a more compressed method of story telling that allows, to some extent, greater sweep.
The other project is a one minute parody commercial that Jamie came up with. While I contributed a few lines here and there to the script, the real collaboration was in the production of the commercial. James was the director, while I had a chance to perform on screen. In many ways, working on this project was like working on a number of collaborative parodies I did for radio back at WVBR in that it was synergistic and fun. Jamie has finished the post-production work on it; now we're preparing a corresponding web site around the concept. I'll be posting a link to the finished product here within a couple of weeks.
Hmmm. I keep saying "in a couple of weeks." Maybe I should check some of this stuff off of my list of "things to do" this weekend....
January 16, 2003
Some days, I feel great. Or, at least, pretty good. Other days, I feel awful... well, at least not that great. Perhaps you've had this happen to you.
A couple of days ago, I had a most amazingly productive day, and I was on top of the world. Gettin' stuff done, bringing home the bacon, feeling like everything was just peachy. Today is not one of those days.
I wrote a song about it. Would you like to hear it? I call it:
The Not Feeling Productive Today Blues
Woke up this mornin'
To the sound of my baby cryin'
Said I woke up this mornin'
To the sound of my baby cryin'
It's the routine
Well I changed his diaper, gave him to his mom for feedin'
Then realized I hadn't set my alarm and, gee, look at the time.
I was runnin' late
Made some chocolate milk and I
And I took a vitamin pill
That's my breffast
Came down to my office and I
And I read through my e-mail
Classic work avoidance
Well I'm supposed to get two hours between 8 and 10 just for workin'
But it's already 9:30, and lookit all the time I killed
not very productive
Now let me tell ya:
I was born in the middle class
Stainless steel spoon in my mouth
Got tired of the snow in the northeast
But my wife didn't want to move south
Now I'm living in the suburbs
'Neath Seattle's partly-cloudy skies
I work from home in the basement
I don't have to wear no ties
But I got the bluuuuuuuues real bad
Or, at least, I'm dissatisfied
Got to be more to life than this
Think I'll hop in my mini-van and ride
January 22, 2003
Alexander Benjamin turned six months old yesterday. To celebrate, we took him to the doctor's and had him shot.
Which is to say, he had his regular visit to the doctor, who gave him four different immunization shots. Ouch! Poor guy. (When I say "poor guy," I mean the kid, not the doctor. The doctor is a woman.) His next visit, in three months, will be his first visit to the doctor's office that won't involve shots. Hopefully, he won't have developed a negative association with doctors' offices by then.
Wait a minute... what am I saying? How can one *not* have a negative association with doctors' offices? I mean, when he gets older, he'll still only see a doctor when he's sick, right? The only reason *I* don't have a negative association with this particular doctor's office is because it's not my doctor! (Sorry, Adrien. Sorry, Frank. :-)
The doctor reports that Alexander is still gaining weight and height at an appropriate pace and that he seems to be adjusting well. He currently weighs just under 19 pounds, so he is almost out of the official range that his car seat is intended to support. Alas, he is also 28" long, which *is* out of the range that the car seat says it will support. Rats. We'll have to install a new car seat.
The doctor also gave us tips on feeding the little guy solid foods, a process that we had begun a mere few days before.
By solid foods, it turns out we're talking about "rice cereal", which is runnier than cream of wheat and hardly solid at all. In fact, it's pretty much just milk with a few tiny rice flakes in it. Solid food? Semantics.
Did you know that rice cereal can have a mildly constipating effect? Did you know that pears and prunes can have the opposite effect? Allow me to be the first to observe that pears and prunes both start with 'p' and end with 'poo.'
But anyway, I digress. As usual.
The doctor is under the impression that he's likely to retain his blue eyes, as opposed to his eyes turning green. Both of his parents have green eyes, but both of his grandfathers have blue eyes. Hence, the recessive trait had a one in four chance of making it to him. His eyes have varied in color, but have tended to remain a shade of blue, and the doctor thinks that is probably going to remain the case.
It's been a while since I've posted any pictures of Alex, but that doesn't mean he hasn't changed. Sure, he's taller (longer?) and his hair is looking fuller (and, I think there's still a chance he'll turn out blond like his dear old dad), but there are other changes, as well. He sits. He stands in his exersaucer and jumps up and down. He turns over from back to front to back again, and raises his head and flails his arms. Just like a turtle. Not that I'd know.
He still can't manage to get past the "Flood" level of Halo on our XBox game system, but he keeps trying. It's just a hand-eye coordination thing, I'm sure, and he's bound to figure it out sooner or later.
Not much else to report on the little guy. He keeps eating and growing, learning and laughing. I love his smile. Maybe, when he turns one year old, we'll be kind enough not to schedule four immunization shots on the same day as his birthday.
January 23, 2003
I'm taking the day off. This morning, I'm going in for gum surgery, and when I'm done with that, my schedule is wiiiide open. Not going to work. Not going to talk on the phone. Maybe I'll catch a movie. Maybe I'll catch a nap. Maybe I'll catch up on my reading. Or writing. Or my e-mail. Or... maybe not.
Ah. A day off. And all I had to do to get my day off is go in to the periodontist to have her "freshen up" my gums with a diamond-bit drill and sew what's left back together. Sounds like a fair trade to me.
Copyright (c)1998 - 2010 by Allan Rousselle. All rights reserved, all wrongs reversed, all reservations righted, all right, already.
Click here to send me mail.