So, yesterday, I had my first appointment with a dentist in who knows how long. Turns out I have periodontitis (aka periodontal disease; basically an advanced form of gingivitis). As a result, I had to get an "open flap debridement," which is where they take that water drill-type thing and basically blast off the top two or three millimetres of your gums (which are filled with the bacteria Actinomyces naeslundii that causes tooth decay), so that the gums can heal and grow back onto the teeth without impediment by bacteria. I was told that I have very strong teeth but diseased gums. I go back in three weeks for a dust-off and to see how my stuff has responded to the deep gums-cleaning, and to find out if any scaling (not sure what that involves) is necessary. After that we start working on my broken front teeth, which will be very expensive indeed, even with insurance coverage, which, of course, doesn't go out of its way to cover much. I think my annual limit for dental care is about $1500. Not nearly enough to get all I need done, especially since Cigna (my dental insurance provider) covers an average of about 15% of the total for each procedure, apart from X-rays, which they seem to cover completely.

The oral hygienist was a cutie. Over six feet tall, too. Mmm, tall girls.

So now, at age 32, I'm obsessively flossing my teeth after every time I eat something, and using a chlorhexidine gluconate/hydrogen peroxide mix-based mouthwash to help my gums heal after the debridement. My teeth are now clear of calculus. (No, not the mathematical discipline; it's a dental buzzword. Look it up.)

I went a place called Taylor Made Smiles in Franklin. The people there were extremely nice, very caring and genuinely concerned with my well-being. I'd recommend them to anyone local who needs a new dentist. Their XM Satellite Radio channel selection was terrible, though; the "pop hits of the 1980s" station assailed me with Milli Vanilli, UB40, Haircut 100 and other such unspeakable horrors. Luckily, on that score, the whole time spent in the exam/oral hygiene room took only about an hour.

I'm looking at (depending on what my evil insurance company decides to cover (or not!)) either about $1500 or $2400 for the work on my broken front teeth. I hope the dentist's office has a payment plan available, and although I could probably afford $1500 all at once, it'd cramp my living expenses for a couple weeks. This is, of course, dependent on whether or not my broken teeth, which have been gradually shifting backwards into my mouth in the absence of anything to prevent them from doing so since I broke them being able to accept crowns in the first place. If they can't, some cutting and repositioning, and/or root canals for all three may be required. Eek!

Also, now that I'm seeing a psychiatrist (a very nice gay boy who's only a year younger than me), I have prescriptions for clonazepam (ah, sweet benzos; sweet sleep) and venlafaxine, which I started taking about three weeks ago, increasing the dosage from 37.5mg the first week, to 75mg the second week. This has me sporting an almost positive outlook. Suicidal thoughts are fewer and further between. My broken teeth, however, are a major block in my social confidence. So is my damned baldness, though I shave my whole head so I don't end up looking like my hairstyle is modeled after Patrick Stewart circa 1986. I probably won't be able to socialize with much of anyone until they're fixed.

I got new glasses today, too. There's a picture on my homenode of me wearing them. A no-doubt incredibly stylish pair made by Donna Karan—the DKNY DY 5566. They actually fit me right! They're the first pair I've ever owned that doesn't cock off to one side because one of my ears (the right one) is a couple millimeters higher on my head than the other one. So I've got that going for me. Which is nice.

By the way, if you're an American, and you have vision insurance through a company called VSP, I wish you good luck in finding an eye doctor who'll accept it. None of the places I called would touch VSP coverage with a ten-metre cattle prod.

Pieces I've written at this site have drawn the attention of (among others) a writer, an astronaut, a scholar writing about a recently-deceased author, a Suicide Girl, and some old acquaintances. Mostly, contact has been made through e-mail, and has included some form of plausible verification.1 Today, I received a message from a new user who claims to be Canadian footwear of note. The e-mail used to access e2 traces to Ed's official site. The comment follows:

Interesting article on Ed the Sock, and the facts (distinct from opinions) are mostly accurate. One error - Muchmusic didn't cancel Fromage, we quit Muchmusic so they lost Fromage. They launched Video on Trial because they lost Fromage. Video on Trial, under the name Video Court, is a show we pitched to Muchmusic which they decided to hijack after we left. Anyway, your article was well-written, much better than is commonly found online.
Cool. I've been subject to a cyber-stocking.

1. Not that all of these people contacted me. I was alerted by someone to a discussion among some Suicide Girls of the article in question, as one had experience with the subject.

Of course, I'm not including people I've interviewed for their write-ups or contacted regarding specific details.


Friday night was probably one of the worst days I’ve had at work since I started back in June. Nothing was right, everything was wrong, the guy I was working with was having a bad day and the customers were some of the worst I’ve ever seen. A couple of times I thought I might start crying just because the day was so bad. The guy I was working with is pretty cool. He’s fairly perceptive as well. I think he knew that something was wrong because it seemed like he made an effort to be upbeat and cheerful even though at the end of it all it was still a completely horrible day for both of us.

I wanted to change into my sandals before I went home. I didn’t want to make anyone wait so I sent the guy I had been working with home. About two minutes after he left I realized that neither of us had turned on the alarm. I went back up front to do that and to make sure we hadn’t forgotten anything else. By that time it was dark in the mall. All the other stores around me were closed. The only people around were the security guards and the late night moviegoers. My bag and purse were still sitting out. I picked them up just as I heard a knock at the door. I knew it couldn’t be anyone I worked with since there’s a key in a lockbox and everyone I work with knows the combination. I wasn’t really in the mood to deal with anyone else. I could have gone out the front but I didn’t want to do that either.

I pulled the door open and as soon as it clicked behind him I knew why he was there and how the night would end. I almost always bring extra clothes to change into after work. Tonight I hadn’t felt like putting any of it on so there I was stuck in my dirty grubby work clothes while he looked nice and fresh and crisp. I don’t remember backing up but I must have because pretty soon I felt the edge of table pressing into my back. When someone visits you late at night after the lights have gone out it’s not too difficult to figure out what they want. Even as I leaned forward to kiss him I could feel tears burning behind my eyes. This isn’t what I really want. He isn’t who I want either. We’re both standing there. The silence is awkward. It’s now an uncertain night on top of a hideous day and I can’t take it anymore.

One of my signature moves has to be crying in front of people I hardly know and once I start it’s hard to stop. I knew the guy in front of me didn’t really want me. He thought he could get something for nothing but once I started crying he was nice about it. He pulled the chair by my desk out to sit down. I kept wiping my eyes and finally he asked if I wanted to sit down too. I dropped my purse and my bag. I sat down on the floor and for a minute I thought I was going to be okay. That’s when he shoved the chair back and sat down next to me. He put his arm around me. It had started off with me crying about my bad day but pretty soon I’m thinking about what’s really upsetting me. His arm is warm on my back and shoulder. Now I’m thinking about men and crying. I’m crying for all the times I’ve believed men when they’ve lied to me. I’m crying for all the times I’ve invested emotionally when they haven’t. I’m crying because people have taken advantage of me and it makes me cry even harder when I realize that I invited these random people to walk right over top of me.

Thinking and crying takes my mind back to some old therapy sessions. I’ve been in therapy a couple of times for various reasons. One of the things a therapist I particularly liked asked me to do was to describe myself and the way I felt. I told her I felt like a little girl standing inside the house watching all of the other kids play outside. It’s damp and cold and rainy and I’m inside when everyone else is outside having fun. The therapist asked me what I would say to that girl if I could talk to her. I had no idea what to say or how to say it because there isn’t anything you can say to someone who doesn’t know how other people should fit into their life. The conversation went on. I was telling the therapist about myself and my family. She said it sounded like I wanted someone like myself in my life and I take better care of others than I do of myself. I don’t treat myself very well. I’m hard on myself and I don’t believe the good things that people tell me about myself.

Indulging yourself isn’t the same thing as really taking good care of yourself. The older I get the more I realize that I never learned how to take care of myself. I give in to the wrong things, I’m attracted to the wrong men at the wrong time and you wouldn’t believe some of the things I’ve done just because I wanted some affection and attention. There’s no A for effort in life. There’s no guarantee that the people you love are going to love you and that hurts like very few other things do. Life can be flat. It can be stale. Most of the times it isn’t dramatic and exciting but it’s life and you have to cope with that in a mature and healthy way.

I did something the other day that was incredibly hard to do. I walked away from a situation I knew wasn’t good. I made the decision to start rebuilding my life because if you don’t take care of yourself you’re not going to be able to help anyone else. I give so much to random strangers and almost nothing to the real people in my life. The computer is my escape. I write to escape. It’s therapeutic for me but anything carried to an extreme interferes with that harmonious balance I want to have. This is another one of those no one learned anything, because there was nothing to learn writeups. I won’t apologize for anything because you didn’t have to read this and the people I wish would read this won’t but I can’t do anything about that either so there’s no use sitting and crying over that even though that’s most of what I’m doing at four this morning as I write this.

To go back to me and the guy on the floor and how that all ended, like most things in my life it was messy and complicated. I had been crying so hard my nose started bleeding. I get bad nosebleeds and I get sick from all the blood pooling in my stomach. The guy I was with was really nice about everything. He offered to go get me something to eat. I have problems with hypoglycemia so I started feeling dizzy and light-headed but I was too stubborn and upset to take him up on his offer. I put my blood soaked shirt in my bag. I put my clean one on and said goodbye to Kyle. He offered to walk me out to my car but I refused that as well. I was kind of rotten to him but I hate it when people see my vulnerable side and he had seen it all that night. He really had just stopped by to see how things were going. On another occasion he had asked if I wanted to go out for a drink but I’m not a kid anymore. I don’t want to sit in a smoky bar with a bunch of kids that are half my age. I wanted to go home so that’s what I did.

I left Kyle in the hall, he kept asking me if I was going to be okay. I think all that blood scared him and I was a physical, emotional and mental wreck that night. I wear my hair back when I have to work but as I walked out into the night I pulled my barrette out because I wanted to be free from everything that reminded me of work. I sat down on the edge of a planter. I put on my watch, my jewelry and my headphones. It’s about a five minute walk to where my car is parked and for those five minutes I wanted some music in my life. I was just about to my car when I heard some guys yelling at me. Some day maybe I’ll write about those guys and what they mean to me but for now all you need to know is they’re my friends. They care about me and they would have taken me out for the night but I just wasn’t up for it.

I smiled into their smiling faces. I walked all the way down to the end of the parking lot to where my car was. I unlocked my car. I put my bag and purse inside. I took my headphones off. I started the engine and nighttime is my time. It’s my time to think but that night the only thing I was thinking was that I have a new message for people who only want one thing from me. I hand my heart out to just about anyone who walks by. I fall apart at unexpected times but I have a lot of love to give and I give it freely and generously even to people who don’t deserve it. Until now. So if you’re not going to worship me, get the fuck out of my bed. I don’t need people like that in my life.

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