January 17, 2005
Warning! This entry is not for the squeamish!
Heading into the Christmas season in 2002, gum tissue covering one of my teeth acquired a tear (which is a delicate way of saying it ripped -- ouch!) and necessitated some speedy oral surgery called a "gingiva graft". I told the gory story here on this website, and it is currently one of the most searched for sections of my public journal.
It had occurred to me as we left behind this most recent Christmas season that I ought to give an update. Interestingly enough, a visitor to the site dropped me a line at the same time asking how things have been going.
Well, funny you should ask.
I had my wisdom teeth pulled out in April this past year, and once again the procedure was effortless but the recovery was a drag. In fact, I was fine for the first day or two after the event, but then the pain level started to creep up. At the same time, I was settling into a relatively new job, and had to travel quite a bit as a result. There's nothing quite so fun as hopping the globe while recovering from oral surgery and having that slow taste of cloves (used as an anesthetic) to make all of your food taste weird.
But that, too, passed, and life went on. Then, a month ago or so, I had my biannual (did I say biannual? I meant semi-annual! Silly me... Freudian slide, I guess) dentist check-up, and my dentist said: "What the hell? Don't you floss?"
Well, no, not really.
All by way of saying, I need to floss more or my dentist will disown me (after taking all of my money and, he says, some more of my teeth). OK, that's probably more information than you really wanted to know. But despite all that... the area that had been the site of my gum graft is actually looking pretty good. It's been two years now, and it's clearly in better shape than it had been in before the tear.
But there's more to this story on a couple of different levels.
One is how the passage of time lends perspective on things. A reader stumbled upon my site and described a very similar chain of events with regard to how well their gingiva graft(s) have been going. Which is to say, they haven't been flawless, which is why another procedure is on the horizon. As my reader knows... I feel your pain.
But the reader went on to ask (in reference to some other issues I mentioned in my string of essays about the gingiva graft): "I also feel my smile is weird and different since that little thing that attaches your lip to your gum has been sliced. I can't even see it! I feel like my lip is kind of hanging freely and falls forward a bit? 'Is this normal?' I sure hope so."
Reader, nothing is normal about any of this, and you will NEVER BE THE SAME! BWAHAHAHAAAA! Your intimates may or may not notice the change in your smile -- my guess is that they won't -- because even if there is a change, it's probably very subtle. But what *will* happen is, you'll get used to how it feels. Just like you get used to how it feels when you have a tooth extracted, or braces put on or removed, or you gain or lose weight, or you get earrings, or your foot is amputated by a passing subway train, or whatever.
I'm having to reconcile myself with the sad fact that with every passing year, I look a little bit less like the guy I looked like in college. And let's make no mistake: I didn't appreciate it then, but I wasn't such a bad looking guy in college. Of course, I appreciate it now because now I'm 80 pounds heavier, my hair is *darker* (I liked being a blond, durnit!), I'm fatter, I weigh more, I have widow's peaks, and I'm much larger than I used to be. In fact, I'd have to say that if the gum graft altered my smile at all, it was nowhere near as much as my weight gain has altered my smile. :-X
So, dear reader, if you want to stop feeling self-conscious about how the gum surgery has affected your smile, do what I did: gain an average of five pounds every year.
Fortunately, ice cream is both good for your surgery recovery *and* for pursuing that weight gain.
There's another aspect of the oral surgery I wanted to mention here, with regard to what it means down the line. Two years or so have passed since the graft(s), and over half a year has passed since I had my wisdom teeth forcibly removed. I've settled into my new mouth, though, and my mouth is probably about as healthy as any typical American male my age.
But therein lies the rub. As a good friend of mine once commented (he is ten years older than me): it's all down hill from here. In a bad way. Sure, it's oral surgery today, but next year, it's getting new glasses. Or arthritis. Or mid-life crisis (more on that in a future essay). Or menopause (for half of my readers, anyway). Cancer. The flu. Knee replacement surgery. Empty Nest Syndrome. Senility. Flatulence. Halitosis. Ennui. Rigor mortis.
It's been two years since I had the procedure(s), and you've caught me in a philosophical mood: it wasn't a walk in the park, but then, walks in parks are overrated. Everything has worked out okay as far as my mouth is concerned... much to the chagrin of my waist.
April 20, 2004
A little while ago, I had this gum surgery called a "gingiva graft" because, well, a bit of a recession in my gums became a bit of a tear, and it had to be repaired.
I wrote down some of my thoughts on the whole process; enough so that I could fill up an entire "department" on this website. I told the tale from tear to repair and beyond. And, as is so often the case with me, the story was more complicated than it absolutely had to be.
As I was looking into having the work done, a friend of mine who had had similar work done was a great resource. A veritable font (fount?) of knowledge. She told me that she had done quite a bit of research into the subject online before she had the work done, and so she was able to give me some tips on things to watch for.
Because my site is regularly monitored by the search engines, my essays about my own experience with the gum surgery have popped up on a number of searches being conducted by other kind souls who are now investigating having the work done for themselves. From time to time, they post comments on the site, and from time to time, they send me e-mail directly.
It's an interesting phenomenon, insofar as the only expertise I really have with regard to gingiva grafts is the fact that I had one . -- well, three, depending upon how you want to count -- and now I'm being asked about this case or that case, and do I think it's normal for this or that to be happening? That's the most common question: "Is this normal?"
Do I have opinions? Sure! And I'm happy to offer them . . . although, as usual, I'm a little bit lagging in my e-mail response time. I still haven't replied to everyone who has wished me a happy birthday, and that was almost a month ago. But I'm happy to talk with anybody who wants to talk about it.
[As one friend of mine put it (in her inimitably delicate way), I have a knack for sounding like an expert even when I have very little to go on. Which I take to mean, I talk about stuff even when I don't know as much about stuff as I should.]
But, the thing is: I'm still not an expert on the whole gum surgery thing. I'm only a guy who had an experience with it as a patient. What a find really cool about the whole situation, though, is that people are posting their own experiences (in the form of comments) to this site, which means that now there's more information here than just my own blathering on the topic.
Which brings me to my point:
I'm going in on Friday to have all four of my wisdom teeth extracted. The oral surgeon is going to have me put under general anesthetic. I've never been put under general anesthetic, and I'm not looking forward to this at all. Everyone I talk to about having wisdom teeth out tells me a horror story of one sort or another; if the problem wasn't with the extraction, or the healing, it was with the billing or some other aspect.
I feel like I should be making out a will before I go in for the extractions.
Is this normal?
June 14, 2003
Another installment in my gingiva graft saga! A movie review! Existential angst! Haircuts! All this, and more, in one essay! The mind reels!
In case you haven't been following the my gum surgery story, or in case you'd like a refresher course on where we are, here is a brief summation of what has gone before:
- Around Christmas time, a recession in my gum line (lower jaw) split open, leaving two flaps of gum material just sorta hanging out at the base of one of my lower teeth. Icky.
- Saw a periodontist, who recommended a gingiva graft: take gum material from roof of mouth, insert into exposed area, and sew it all up.
- Had the procedure, but some of the gum material escaped, so I...
- Had a second procedure, in which the remaining transplanted gum material was more securely fastened. Alas, this didn't quite heal right, so I...
- Had a third procedure, in which other gum material (from upper side) was transplanted to the base of the previously exposed tooth, to act as a barrier to further decrepitude.
That third procedure was due to happen about a month ago, as I mentioned in a previous essay. Sure enough, I went in and the procedure itself went as perfectly as it can go -- just like the other two had -- but there was something very unsettling that I happened to notice as they were showing me the work after it was done.
[By the way, my stories about my gum surgery might be considered a little graphic by my readers who are a little squeamish... you have been warned.]
There was nothing wrong with the work they did. What was unsettling was that my mouth didn't look like my mouth anymore. Specifically, it was my lower lip. Most folks have some vertical tissue that connects their lower lip to their lower gums. I'm sure this has a name, but I haven't a clue as to what it is. Some people have two strands of tissue, others have one. It's funny, the things you notice after you've had gum surgery.
Anyway, I had one strand of tissue that rose up in the middle of my lip, rather high, connecting to my lower gums. Because there was a lot of tension on my lower gums (they were very tight), the periodontist kept cutting back that connective tissue, lowering it with each procedure. By the end of this third procedure, the connective tissue was so low as to be not even visible to a casual inspection of my lower mouth.
So here I am, looking into a mirror at my lower mouth, and the gum work is picture perfect. A fine looking set of gums on these ol' choppers. But it's not my mouth! That one little change -- the apparently missing connective tissue -- completely messed with my concept of what I should expect when I look into a mirror at my mouth.
This was not the first time this spring I'd looked into the mirror and seen someone else.
A couple months earlier, I'd gone in to have my hair cut. This was the second time I'd seen this particular stylist, and so we had to talk about kids and all that obligatory introductory stuff that you have to talk about when you and your hair stylist are getting to know each other. She was washing my hair (prelude to a cut) when I told her that I had a son at home, and she asked what color his hair was.
"Blond," I said. "Like mine."
"What do you mean, 'Like yours?'"
"What do you mean, 'What do I mean?'"
"You're not blond."
Well, my hair was wet, so certainly it must have been darker than when it's dry, but when I sat down in the chair for my haircut, I noticed that, well... my hair was brown. She cut my hair, and it continued to dry. It stayed brown. I got home, and looked in the mirror. Nice haircut. Brown hair.
Now, the area where I live happens to enjoy rather short days during the fall and winter (and early spring). Shorter days than anywhere else in the US, except for Alaska. Plus, the area where I live tends to be overcast for much of the winter, which is the rainy season. (Winter forecast: drizzle, 45 degrees. Every day. Summer forecast: partly sunny, 75 degrees. Every day.) Like many blonds, my hair tends to get lighter with exposure to sunlight; darker without.
Okay, okay, but this was ridiculous. My blonditude was in doubt, which meant my entire self-concept was in doubt. Who am I? Hair color isn't just about hair color. It's about identity. You identify people by their appearance, and that includes hair. How long their hair is, how it is styled, whether it's curly or straight... and what color it is. I began to understand why there is such a big money industry surrounding hair-loss products for men and hair styling products in general. When we look in the mirror, we want to see ourselves looking back. That, or we want to see a *better* ourselves looking back. This is why some people dye their hair, because doing so changes their identity to something they'd prefer. This is why they fight baldness, because they want to retain the identity they've grown accustomed to.
When my hair-line receded at the temples ("widows peaks" is the term for this kind of AWOL hair, but I don't know why), it didn't bother me all that much because it had happened gradually, and it was minor. I still had hair and, hey, I was still a blond.
I have an uncle who is a cop. One week, while his wife was out of town, he and his fellow cops did what cops whose wives are out of town are wont to do: they got drunk, and they shaved their heads. My uncle used to have (thinning) red hair. Very Irish. When he shaved his head, he looked, well, like a cop. A tough cop.
Then his wife came home. For the sake of this story, let us say that she was not amused. He let his hair grow back. It grew back brown. No kidding.
(For the record, let me state that I have considered the "shaving your head to change your image" idea, but it wouldn't work for me. There is a photo of me after a skiing session where I'd worked up a sweat, and my hair was all matted down so as to make me look bald. I looked like Uncle Fester, of the Addams Family. Not the image I'd want to adopt. [shudder])
So. Throughout the months of March and April, I felt my identity slipping away. I wasn't a blond anymore. Who was this stranger looking back at me in the mirror? I don't know. Somebody with brown hair. Maybe, like my uncle, the change was permanent. For my birthday, Paulette got me a card in which she had written, "You'll always be blond to me." I'm not sure if I was supposed to find that reassuring.
I've gained a few pounds over the years. Let me rephrase that. Every year since college, I've gained a few pounds. I graduated 13 years ago. A few pounds every year means... oh, brother.
And now, the inside of my mouth is completely different from what I'd become accustomed to over the last twenty years or so. Who the hell is this fat, brown-haired guy with the unfamiliar gums?
If you've read about my first two gum surgery experiences, you know that it's important to take some time off and relax just after you've had the procedure. For me, this means staying away from home, since Paulette and I work from home, and the kid is an added distraction (and he *is* work). So after my third procedure, I went to see a movie and sipped on a big gulp of Sprite. Tried to forget about my mouth for a little while. What movie did I go see?
In the movie, ten people are stranded at a hotel during a rainstorm. The roads are out, the phones are out, and one by one, people start dying. At the same time, a convicted killer is being considered for clemency by the men who put him away. The movie aspires to be Hitchcockian, and it comes close. The acting is superb, and the direction is well done. There are some very nice touches, especially surrounding how the two stories relate to each other (for example, the weather in one story line is always the same as the other story line, which is a very nice detail). Both stories are self-contained and interrelated at the same time. This is part of what makes the movie work, but it is also part of why the movie didn't quite realize its aspirations for me. I'll explain why below, so that you can skip that part if you don't want to see spoilers about the movie.
The key to the movie, to nobody's surprise, is the title. The movie isn't just about the identity of the killer, it's about the killer's Identity writ large. It's about *each* character's identity. Anyone who has seen the Twilight Zone as many times as I have will figure out the mystery before the movie reveals it, but that doesn't detract from the mystery as it unfolds.
As distractions from physical discomfort go, this film was a fine way to spend the first couple hours of recuperation from my most recent gum surgery. But spending a couple of hours in the Twilight Zone of someone else's imagination did nothing to rescue me from my own private Twilight Zone.
It's a big ol' world, and there are a lot of nasty things going on. Just a couple days ago, NBC News showed me, during the dinner hour, a man in Louisiana getting shot fifteen times by police. The guy f'ing *died* right in front of me while Tom Brokow blathered on about the investigation. In the grand scheme of things, changes in hair color or how my lip is attached to my gums is hardly Earth-shattering. I'm fortunate enough to be in a position where I can afford the luxury of a minor identity crisis.
Which is all by way of saying, the shock of seeing a different mouth in the mirror has worn off. It's still weird, but not shocking. I'm more sensitive than ever to my hair color (strange, but true), but as the days have been getting longer (longer than anywhere else in the US, outside of Alaska) and I've been taking Alexander on daily strolls through the neighborhood, I see encouraging signs that my blondness is returning. Whew.
Trivial concerns? Absolutely. But that doesn't make them any less real. I'm surprised that I would even react this way to things as minor as these cosmetic changes. But as I mentioned earlier, an entire industry is doing booming business because of these very concerns. Even you, dear reader, have been concerned about your appearance once or twice in your life. Before this little episode, though, I hadn't been so overtly aware of how much I have invested in my appearance, sloppy though it has always been. That investment includes a piece of my very identity.MORE...
April 30, 2003
I've been receiving posts from people who have found my site because they were looking for information regarding gingiva grafts. I guess the search engines must love me, because they parse each of my essays and make such phrases easy to follow to my site.
Well, it turns out my gingiva graft story is not complete. As I posted previously (and, if you follow the links back in each of my prior posts on the subject, you'll get the complete chronology), I've had two procedures so far. The first one took gum material from the roof of my mouth and inserted it into a little pocket at the base of one of my front teeth. The roof healed fine, but the new pocket didn't quite heal up right. There was still a bit of a cleft, and some of the gum material escaped, which meant there wasn't much coverage. Hence, a second procedure was performed to "freshen up" the edges of the cleft and sew 'em together, in the hope of getting at least a uniform pocket.
That second procedure was a nominal success. Things look a little better, insofar as the cleft is repaired and I have more coverage now than I did before... but the gums never quite healed right. They still look agitated. My periodontist recommends, therefore, a third session. Here, gum material will be taken from yet another portion of my mouth and inserted below the gum line in my lower jaw to create a sort of barrier against further deterioration. My periodontist says this is an older technique, which has enjoyed a very high success rate. But I'm starting to have second thoughts.
Nobody can figure out why my gums haven't healed properly. They continue to look like they are in an agitated, newly transplanted state. Is it really such a wise idea to have them do more surgery in that area of my mouth if they don't know why the previous surgery hasn't done well?
I'm scheduled to go in tomorrow for the third procedure. I'm facing a dilemma, insofar as I want to make sure that I prolong the life of my teeth, but continuing to do a bunch of surgeries surely can't be a good thing. At what point do I draw the line and say what's done is going to have to be good enough?
Everybody I know who has had this kind of work done before has come through it all smiles and with only one procedure. Clearly, my case isn't typical (for all you folks who are researching gingiva grafts out there). But that's no comfort to me at this moment. My mouth feels fine, but that one part of my gums still looks agitated. If I let it go, things might get bad again. Or they might not. If I have the third procedure, I'm doubly protected against further degradation. This procedure, I'm told, has a 99 percent success rate. What worries me, of course, is whether I'm at risk for having the new site also not heal properly.
February 11, 2003
A kind reader recently e-mailed to ask how my recent gum surgery went. Rather than reply off-line, I thought I'd share the news with the world.
This second surgery was much quicker than the first. Of course, they didn't have to transplant any material, they only had to traumatize (sorry, "freshen") my gums and re-sew them this time. The recovery was also much less of an issue than it was the first time: I needed no painkillers at all (not even my favorite stand-by, Advil) after the surgery.
I did everything I was told to do -- I took it easy for a couple of days, I went to see a movie, I ate soft foods. I didn't pull my lip to look at the surgery site. I was a very good boy.
The results? Well, the jury is still out. I went back to the periodontist's office two weeks after the surgery. They removed the sutures and cleaned everything up. The clefts were all healed, which was very good news. However... the coverage didn't end up being as perfect as it had once looked like it would be. That is to say, there were early indications that the final results would be *perfect* coverage, and now it looks like there may end up being a recession of about 2 mm. Maybe. We'll check back in a couple weeks to see. Originally, there was a tear (less likely to happen now) and a 4mm recession, so the result appears to be progress, but just not perfection.
I'm told that in the next couple of weeks, because the gum tissue is still healing, it very well could end up rebounding and shrinking that recession. So the jury is still out. If we fall short of perfection though, my preference is to avoid further surgery. Perfection would be nice, but I can live with "better than it was." We'll see what the periodontist recommends.
Ah, but I had said this would be a tale of two teeth in the title of this missive, did I not? This isn't just about the gum surgery in front of one of my lower teeth. Oh, no. Someone else has a lower tooth of note, as well.
Baby Alexander, who turns seven months old in a week, is just now sporting his first tooth. It appears to have broken through the gums a day or two ago. Not quite visible enough to see unless you're up-close-and-personal, but I'll post pictures when there's something to see.
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.
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.
December 14, 2002
On the morning of Friday the 13th, I had the pleasure of undergoing some rather urgent oral surgery. I'll spare you the gruesome the details, other than to say it was a "gum graft" to transplant some of the gum material from my upper palette to the front of my lower jaw where my gums had sustained a nasty injury.
Now, I say I had "the pleasure" of having this surgery done because, quite frankly, I'm glad I had the opportunity to have it done. Dental surgery is much less unpleasant these days than it was when I was younger, and I consider myself fortunate to have this sudden problem addressed with such a quick and relatively painless procedure. Perhaps its the echoes of Thanksgiving Day still rolling around in my head, but I'm not taking such things for granted.
While the procedure itself was relatively painless, the recovery is a bit uncomfortable. Talking is uncomfortable (and if you know me, you know what a drag that must be), and eating is even more so. The periodontist prescribed sleep, milk shakes to wash down the pain medication, and restful activity for a day or two while I get over the worst of it. "Watch a movie at home," she said. "Definitely don't go to work if you can at all avoid it."
Well, I work from home. And as it so happens, I had a major deadline for one of my projects on Friday. While I found it necessary to avoid talking on the phone on Friday (as a part of my job), other work still had to be attended to. So, other than the prescribed milkshake and meds, plus a soft dinner (pasta in creme sauce), I didn't really follow doctor's orders. I worked long hours, got to bed by around 1 in the morning, and then got up at 5 in the morning in order to prepare for an annual meeting that I very much wanted to be a part of.
There is a short list of what I am advised to eat while I'm recovering, and three of the eight listed items are ice cream. I'm not kidding. Here's the menu:
1) Broth and soup
2) Baby foods (no thank you!)
3) Milk Shakes (ice cream number one)
4) Custards (ice cream number two)
6) Ice Cream (ahem)
7) Chopped or ground meats (how finely chopped?)
I was also told that overcooked pasta might work out well, but that I should also eat sauces or soups lukewarm for the first couple days, as warmer foods would expand the blood vessels, which could lead to bleeding, yadda, yadda, yadda.
The doctor says I must eat. "Maintaining an adequate diet after surgery is essential," says my little instruction booklet they gave me. After a couple of days, I'll start reintroducing real food. In the meantime, though, ice cream can get a little boring after a while.
After my meeting this morning (which lasted until two in the afternoon, or so), I finally had a chance to rest. I was to meet Paulette and Alexander at the home of friends, but I wasn't up to it. I napped. I ate lukewarm soup. And then, finally, I followed the other advice of my periodontist and went to see a movie.
The cool thing about getting lost in a film is that it's possible to forget one's physical ailments. In this case, I even managed to stop constantly feeling for the stitches in my mouth with my tongue.
The movie I went to see was Die Another Day.
It had possibly the darkest montage at the beginning of any James Bond film. In fact, it was thematically about as dark as any Bond film has ever managed. There were some cool stunts, and the absolute best fight sequences were the fencing scenes throughout the movie. One of the babes in the film ("Mirand Frost") was perfectly cast, and the other ("Jinx") was a decent choice, as well. The plot was the most outlandish we've seen since Brosnon took over the series, and many of the special effects were downright awful. Bond's escape from the glacier looked more fake than footage from a video game would have. But the fight scenes were fun, as I mentioned, and there were unusually nice touches with the permanent cast (Q, Moneypenny, M).
How's this for outrageous: North Korea has enough money to develop a super weapon that nobody in the West suspects. A weapon that works flawlessly the first time. Oh, and the bad North Koreans drive cars that are as well equipped as Bond's. It's hard enough to imagine that Britain still has any sort of real espionage capabilities as it is, let alone trying to imagine North Korea as a military superpower.
Having had a nap, some food, and a distracting movie, I'm feeling much better. It was just what the doctor ordered.
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