August 15, 2015

A Rare Three Hound Photo Outside

It's been over a year since the three hounds were all in the backyard together. Heidi rarely goes in the backyard. When she goes outside she hits the corner of the front yard and then she might wander along the side of the fence line .. but for some reason she rarely heads to the back.

Maybe she is feeling better, although by her skin rash, there isn't a difference from the past weeks. I see a shinier coat, it's softer with the change to Earthborn Holistic No Grain, the Plains Feast blend. I haven't made the trip to the vet to use their scales but I swear I can feel some muscle coming back around her neck and shoulders. One of the photos from today looks like she is gaining some weight, I hope so.

I wanted her to lay in the sun for a while thinking that might help her skin rash ... then again, laying in the grass may activate her allergies and make them worse. I'll check her later tonight. She didn't stay outside long. It was 82° but the iPhone weather said it felt like 89°, all three of the hounds prefer air conditioning and went running for the door after the 5 minute photo shoot.

The dental work I had last Monday seems to have worked out this week. It was nice to get back to normal, get some sleep and also not having to tolerate any pain. The week was so slow I am really not sure what I did. Looking back on the past four days, I didn't take any siestas, I didn't waste all day on the internet but I did do a lot of book reading.

Each time I looked out the kitchen window or took the hounds outside, I'd see my garden of weeds along the driveway. They were almost overtaking the driveway, like I stated in my last post. I couldn't come to grips with paying more money for weedkiller, since it never lasts as long as they say it will. In fact it seems to me, the weeds grow back stronger and faster than ever after they turn brown.

So much for that black plastic material that is buried 6" below the mulch to keep the weeds from invading your flower beds. Does anything work the way it's suppose to anymore or is that just an advertizing dream?

Weeds Up Through The Black Weed Block

It's happened that was every summer I've been here, all 18 of them. You'd think I'd come up with a different plan by now. So I asked a friend that spends a lot of time working with her yard, flowers, plants, etc. She said she pulled her weeds. Of course her long driveway is asphalt, whereas mine is gravel ... so I knew my job of pulling weeds might take a little bit longer. It was something I'd have to think about.

I know that no matter what I do, spray or pull them, the weeds will always grow back ... but maybe I can control them. Besides, the idea of pulling weeds was making me very curious ... curious enough to pull a couple of the easy crabgrass weeds out of the gravel driveway. They came out of the ground, through the gravel easy. I decided to get my gloves and the 32 gallon trash can that I use only to gather leaves, sticks and now weeds.

These gloves remind me constantly that I am the boss.

Perfect Gloves For Pulling Weeds

So Friday around 1:30pm I decided why not? Let's see if weed pulling is all it is made out to be. Of course I had wasted the best part of the day with the cooler temps in the morning. It was already after 1pm, one of those sunny 84° days that feels like 90° ... but I like sun and I like heat, so I started at the top of the driveway. I was thinking about doing only the center of the drive .. but my thought process is never like that. Everything has to be even. So I would move down the center of the driveway a little way, then to each side.

Only after an hour of work, I had this much done on the driveway and my trash can was about 3/4 of the way full. With the sun is heading toward the front yard since my house faces west, It was getting extremely hot. I decided not to quit and just move my efforts to the shady side of the house ... in back. This took no more than 30 minutes.

Pulled one weed at a time, anything from large crabgrass to small sprouts of new grass.



Not Quite 32 Gallons Of Packed Down Weeds
I had seen and felt enough so I emptied the trash can full of weeds on my burn pile for next spring and headed to the shower ... I was tired but encouraged by how much was done in less than two hours.

I had decided to start earlier this morning but due to a sleepless night and up until 4am ... I didn't get my 8am start on the weed pulling. I did start at 11:30, moving all the way down the center of the drive ... then toward the left to pull weeds over the culvert where the weeds covered my stone I installed a few summers ago. By the time I was about to move up the side of the driveway I decided it was just too hot at 1:30.

Add caption

I took a nice hour break inside drinking a lot of ice cold water. Stopping any kind of work outside is bad for me, because I lose my momentum, or I get distracted and end up doing something else. I wanted to do just a little bit more.  So I began where I started yesterday working towards the backyard. I was only going to get to where I was even with the front of the house and stop . I kept going longer.

I wasn't in the mood to wash the Mini Cooper, so I decided to go along the front of the carport, double arms length. I would have finished what was left, all the way to the yard but in the last 15 minutes of working, the bugs, and gnats decided to come out to bother me ... so I called it a day. I was still amazed how much I was getting done in a short period of time.


After Saturday

Granted, it would be much faster to walk around spraying chemicals to kill the weeds but this week I am not in the mood to waste money. Maybe paying the dental bill put me in shock, i don't know ... but I don't feel like spending ... unless I go to Dairy Queen.

So tomorrow I plan on continuing my weed pulling. I'll finish up the end of the section I was working on, but I also want to finish each side of the driveway ... I'll do that first before the sun moves over the tops of the trees making that front side very hot. Once this end of the top section is finished and both sides of the driveway, I'll decide from there if I want to keep working or move to the top of the driveway on Monday.

I am pulling out by the roots, anything that is green .. large or small. In fact I doubt that I have missed very many small sprouts. So far I have 5-1/2 hours of labor. This little tool I found in a drawer this morning made things easier on Saturday. It was mouse tested, with some signs of chewing on the handle.

Another 30+ gallons of packed down weeds on Day 2.

Day 2

If you made it reading this far I'm surprised, it just shows you how slow life is sometimes in "the tropics" of Southern Indiana. I don't lead a thrilling life ... I mean this week after the dental work, pulling these weeds have been the highlight of the week. I have watched a couple of NFL preseason games on Thursday and Friday night ... will watch some more tonight. Then I flip back to the Cincinnati Reds - LA Dodger game in Los Angeles during the football game commercials or vice versa. The Reds games don't start until 10pm local time.

The hounds and I hang out mostly and take each day as it comes. I find it interesting that this is what I am blogging about publicly ... so I guess it was this topic or another day of no posting. At least there were some new photos of the hounds.

I will say I was amazed how sore my hamstrings were this morning after only an hour and a half of bending over to pull the weeds out of the ground.

I may fall off my diet wagon for an hour ... I have a strong strong urge for a Hawaiian Blizzard from Dairy Queen. That isn't all bad is it?? It has pineapple and coconut in it ... LOL

August 11, 2015

No Hound Photos But A Dental Update

There will not be any hound photos in this post, this is just an update to my dental situation. I hope to take some new photos of all the hounds later this afternoon since I am finally feeling much better today, with just a little soreness in my jaw.

I am sitting here Tuesday after two cups of coffee and only a sore jaw away from being painless after approximately 25 days. I slide into the dental chair about 11:10am anxious to find out what my problem was and what would be required for a cure.

Was it a vertical fracture, an abscess, just a cavity or a problem with an old old filling? The dental assistant started the analysis and even gave me a prognosis. About the time I am wondering what's going on and if the dental assistant was the one to determine my future ... she said "I'll get the dentist to check my work and diagnosis".

I was hesitant and told her so, when she had a small thin piece of something to slide in between my teeth that was a nerve away from flying through the ceiling if I bit down ... she was asking me to bite down ... but I did bite down enough for her to see if I had a vertical fracture or not.

I did not have that. It was a different problem. She was predicting a root canal and crown were needed. My friend that is a semi-retired dentist predicted the same thing after talking to him over the weekend .. after he heard I had 24 hours of intense pain on Wednesday. At first he had predicted a possible vertical fracture but after he heard what I had on Wednesday, he changed his estimate ... that a root canal would be needed.

I found out that I had a cavity in the back of the tooth, below the old large filling. A root canal was needed to remove the dying nerve and the tooth needed to be replaced. An antibiotic script was written and I was expecting a couple of weeks delay in fitting into his schedule.

Right before getting out of the chair, the assistant checked the schedules on the monitor behind my chair and said "we have a 2 hour slot available today at 3pm if you want to do everything today.

My mind instantly flashed to "pain or no pain" by the end of the afternoon. Although my friend had always suggested a second opinion from an endodontist and having them do the root canal work. I trusted my dentist though based on his emergency work in 2006 when I had a tooth/filing fall apart one Saturday morning while brushing my teeth.

So with a few hours between appointments to think of my options and what my friend was telling me, I had time to make a firm decision. I found a couple of people that had root canals done by him. I also talked to the dentist with new questions before any work was started ... I decided to bite the bullet and have him do the root canal and new crown in the same 2-1/2 hour setting. The assistant said one time I had actually fallen asleep and they had to wake me.

I heard a lot, saw very little, and felt zero pain through the process. Of course my left jaw is sore today from being open for 2-1/2 hours, thanks to the help of that great invention, a curved plastic piece slide between my teeth on the opposite side of the dental work. Also it's normal soreness after that area is the point of receiving all the pain killer shots.

Some payment discounts were negotiated but it was still a hit to my budget, more than I expected. I had not planned on the root canal when I did my cost estimate. At least the problem is fixed and in a few days I should be feeling normal again after 25 days of feeling bad at times.

Before I go ... an interesting dog story. In between appointments I stopped in to see a friend that has the car dealership where I have bought a lot of vehicles the past 5 years. He had a 8 month old pup running around wanting me to play fetch. He looked like a bulldog but had the wrong color for an English Bulldog.

The pup was a hybrid breed ... an English Bulldog and Beagle mix. Sorry I didn't get a picture nor can I remember the name of the breed. The dog was bought from a beagle breeder.

August 08, 2015

A Beautiful Saturday That Starts Out Strange

For some reason last night I was wide awake until 3am. I shut everything off and attempted to get some sleep but no luck. I was back up at the refrigerator drinking a lot of ice cold water. I was still wide awake but finally tried to get some sleep at 5am.

That sleep lasted until 6:15am when Winston started his hound dog howling letting me know he needed to go out ASAP, if not immediately. I was wide awake and even took a few photos at 6:15am ... but a little mystified why I didn't feel tired after no sleep?

The morning even had a strange look to it as you can see by the first two photos taken at 6:15am.

I also had zero pain last night, so teeth and jaw pain was not the reason for lack of sleep.

I felt so good even after an hour of sleep, that I decided to head about 20 miles south for a Breakfast Buffet ... bad tooth and all. No problems in the pain area, was able to keep the meal on the right side of my mouth and have a few plates of food without injury.

I knew eventually I'd need some sleep sometime, after all the first NFL pre-season game of the year is on tonight at 8pm .. The Hall of Fame game. I know it's only a pre-season game and the regular starters will play about 1 series of downs that could be no more than 3 plays ... but when you are a football addict ... football in August is like Christmas morning.

Yes ... I even watch the Canadian Pro Football League that is on tv now. I like some of their different rules and styles of play.

So with the cool temps and the sun breaking through the early morning fog ... I was able to get some quality sleep from 8:30am till 1pm. I felt so good when I woke up I got some house cleaning finished and was able to take the hounds outside mid afternoon to enjoy the weather and take some photos.

Heidi once again refused to go outside and instead chose to take perfectly folded washed blankets on the floor and make a pile of them to sleep on in the nice cool air conditioned living room. She was going to get a bath and manicure this morning but my schedule changed a little. So her bath has been moved to Sunday morning, and the kind of shampoo to use is still being determined. Her nails will be cut back as much as possible and those ears will be smelling like baby wipes after I am done.

So the two hounds that love to go outside whenever I ask decided to check some smells out. Winston has found something in the grass/weed area that he likes to eat, so he had a meal of that. He eats there every morning. Sadie was pretty sure something had been around her house recently and was curious enough to press her nose into the side of the house to further investigate the potential intruder.

When I was snapping photos of trees, the sky, weeds and things other than hounds ... the two hounds decided they would stroll down the driveway in a direction they are not allowed to go. Due to the highway at the bottom of the hill, they are not allowed past the front of the house and they follow that rule 99.9% of the time ... sometimes they just get adventurous.

Of course when I yelled their names, since they are hound dogs, they ignored me the first time like they are suppose to do, it's in their DNA. After a couple of more times of yelling their names, they acknowledged they had been caught and started their slow stroll back up the driveway towards me, looking at me as if they were innocent and had never left the backyard.

They are a funny pair and a good pair of hounds.

As you see as a result of the record amount of rain in the month of June, everything is green and all those weeds in the driveway and along the bank that I had killed with expensive weed killer last month ... grew back 4x as fast and 4x as tall. I have something else planned for their elimination but I'll have to go to a farm store to buy it.

As you see that clear and burned off fence line in April is over 6' tall in growth. Even those green tall stalks where Winston was eating was burned to the ground in April. There is one thing consistent with everyone of them. Hopefully some readers that have landscaping experience can chime in some helpful suggestions.

When those 6' plants were small I took a leaf of theirs inside and searched on google images to see what I was dealing with. I'm serious when I say everything you see is the same plant/tree sapling. My best guess from the type of leaf, the one pictured below .. they are all Sassafras saplings.

Now the thing is I don't mind that the are filing in the fence line and I don't care that they are trees. I use to have a fence line full of trees until the straight line wind damage in 2008, that blew them down or tore them out of the ground. I burned everything in April to get rid of a lot weeds, horse grass and while berry bushes.

Still, I don't want to have any trees in a spot that is about 2/3 of the way down the drive because they would eventually grow tall enough where they would be a problem for the reception from my DirecTv and Exede Satellite Internet dishes. Due to my house location I have no other choices for tv and an internet provider, plus I like both services as they have worked out fantastic.

I have had DirecTv since the late 90's when they bought out a company called Prime Star that was my tv service provider back then. As far as using Verizon here at home like people do on the road .. price is about the same but no comparison in "speed". Plus I get 15Gb per month but the difference from other companies, between midnight and 5am I get free unlimited data.

So let the trees grow but I will be cutting them next spring in that one spot to keep my satellite dishes receiving good reception from space. If anyone knows or thinks they know what is growing based on those photos, let me know.

Since we are talking plants, trees, green etc .. this next photo is interesting. You might think that I have taken this photo out in the hay field in back but I am disappointed to say it was taken in my backyard. It's disappointing because of all the time and money spent .. buying and applying grass fertilizer, some Scott's Weed & Feed, extra watering before the rains came in June .. only to see a photo of this one section of yard that has very little grass, some clover, some weeds and a lot of nothing when it comes to a yard.

That is the spot where all the grass was killed last year due to the Class C Coachmen that was parked their from September to March 2014. It was reseeded with grass and even more grass seed was added this year. Compared to Winston's photo up above where you can see he is in a yard of good green grass and no weeds, this spot is pretty different.

I gave up on the war against yard moles years ago when I found nothing worked. I tried everything over the 18 years I've been here. I was even desperate enough one year to actually buy those electronic sensors that took about 3 D cell batteries, that would send out different unheard tones to keep the moles away. Luckily I used my 90 day return policy at Walmart and got a refund. The most fun I've ever had fighting the war against yard moles ... was digging out their holes just a little for more access, pouring gasoline into the mole track and following that with a lit match.

People were calling me Bill Murray from his movie Caddie Shack.

There were enough out of control underground explosions that I had to stop since I was becoming concerned about my house foundation and any underground water pipes. So a few years ago I let the moles know they had won and if 1/2 of my back yard feels like walking on a sponge while I mow ... then so be it.

As you can tell it was a pretty lazy Saturday here in "the tropics" ... but someone has to do it. Isn't that what retirement is all about? For those thinking they might retire and might get bored ... I can say as an ex workaholic ... retirement is beautiful and I have loved every day of it ... you can do anything you want, when you want.

What's a meeting? It was great to escape all of those.

Now, the big test will be with football season around the corner ... will I stay on my diet of no grain, no Pepsi, no chips ... all that food normally consumed while watching football games hour after hour?

My experience says no ... but we will see.

August 07, 2015

Another Week In The Tropics Of Southern Indiana

Well I am feeling better at least this morning, I feel like writing, so this might be fairly long blog post covering a lot of different things. I'll explain later but I have not been to the dentist yet, I do have an appointment for Monday morning. The pain has ranged from zero to extreme, not every day. I'll explain after the hound photos why it took so long for an appointment.

But first before I get started, you might like the 'visitor' we had the other day in back eating the green grass that is growing back in the hay field. I had let the dogs out and had just finished hooking Sadie up to her 80' anchored rope. Glancing up I saw something out in the field but couldn't tell what it was without my glasses on.

I ran back inside to not only get my camera but swap out lenses to the 55-200mm. I took a lot more than those posted  here but these have the best focus, my arms must have been shaking when I didn't know it. I was surprised she was by herself but she was having a good time.

How did my hound do? You know the one with the best nose of all canine's? Sadie didn't even know about the deer, smell or glanced at the 'visitor'.  In the past when deer have been in the field she has taken off in a sprint for a long long aerobic exercise, and coming back home a very happy and proud bloodhound. Winston? All he did was lay in the grass and enjoy the sunshine.

Just another day in the life of a basset hound
Here's our visitor on Wednesday taken with my 200mm lens.

Since we are talking about hounds, I am a little surprised in the food change for Heidi. It's been two weeks tomorrow and her skin issues have gotten worse this week. With improvement in her coat and stools, I think her skin issues are due to environmental allergies. I do not think the change in Heidi's skin is due to the new dog food. I like the Earthborn food and will probably continue to feed it to her. Her coat has always been soft and shiny but the new food has made it softer and shinier. That tells me the ingredients are being used. Her stools are normal now. I THINK I can feel some fat (bulk) coming back in a possible weight gain but will not know until I use the vet scales this weekend.

What is disappointing are her skin issues but I know that it will take almost 4 months before there is any possible changes to her skin, after making a change in her dog food. Regular blog readers will remember this quest for a skin rash solution started last October. Her last steroid shot for allergies lasted only a week before the next hot spot showed up from her chewing her feet in September 2014. Since last October 2014 we have tried the following:

  • 2 different vet offices, 2 different ideas, treatments ... no solutions
  • October thru December - first new vet. Tried Atopica pills. After more reading, found the side effects to be too much. She was constantly lethargic. Had the best improvement. Once the pills were cut from daily to every other day ... skin condition went back to bad.
  • January - changed to Merricks no grain food .. pork and sweet potato. Tried a baby diaper cream with zinc oxide.
  • February - a new vet where based on his studies felt it was more of environmental allergies instead of food allergies. Still he suggested no grain food as duck, sweet potato or venison, sweet potato as the next choice. He gave me a bottle of Zinc Oxide liquid with a couple of his own additions.
  • February thru April - Weekly shots of RESPIT, developed based on your specific location and environmental allergies. Slight improvement, then Heidi would have a flare up to go back to the original bad condition.
  • May - stopped all medications, shots and no grain food. I went back to food with one protein source basic formula. Improved skin but was continuing to lose weight and had an UTI.
  • June - One week of traveling, skin rash about the same but no raw spots. Digestive system having problems, loose stools. Had lost 13 pounds since September 2014 and 7 of those 13 pounds were lost from April to middle of June, after the trip.
  • July - blood in stool. Changed food by vet recommendation back to no grain food. The vet and Fromm Dog Food had found that chicken and grains to be the leading causes of dog food allergies. Currently eating Earthborn Great Plains Feast with bison and lamb meal ... no potatoes.

As of yesterday her skin issues are no different than last October when I took her to a new vet. There has been improvement since March where hair is growing back in places the 3rd vet said the skin was so damaged that hair would not come back. He was surprised and happy to see that hair was growing in those spots in June.

New hair continues to grow back but as of Wednesday these are her latest photos of her problem areas. The only thing that has changed in her environment is the hay field in back was cut and baled plus any summertime pollens. She went on 3 different walks through that field for the first time in many many months.

So like I have asked myself before ... is it a food allergy or an environmental allergy?

These are photos from last Wednesday. Her skin was showing improvement but this flared up in just one day. Looking back through her photo file "Heidi's Skin", where photos are dated as their title ... there is very little difference from October 2014.

A few weeks ago I finally found an old friend I had looked for off and on for the past 20 years. I found out later he had been doing the same, looking for me. I found him by searching on Facebook and since he has an uncommon last name, plus spelled differently than others with that last name, he showed up on Facebook on my first search. I don't know why it took me so long to decide to use Facebook as a search.

Anyway he knew I was a fan of hounds and always had a basset since 1987, he asked "how many hounds to you have now" ... Long story short, he has a Mastiff from a rescue service that had skin problems much like Heidi's. He sent me a small tub of K9 Klear Up to try. He said it worked great for his Mastiff's skin problems. Yesterday was day one of the trial.

Here is what we are trying for Heidi ... K9 Klear UP

In the meantime the temps have dropped to the mid 80's, sunny every day except a day full of rain yesterday. It doesn't matter ... Winston continues to sleep his day away, he has always been a hog of the couch and won't move.

From the time he was huddled with his litter mates, to riding on the VW Bus bench seat in front, laying on a blanket or laying on the couch ... he HAS to be in the CENTER of it when laying down to sleep.

Center Of The Basket

Center of the Couch

Center in The Winter

Not Left or Right of The Rope ... Center

Center Of The Carport

Center Of The Tent

Center Of The Tent II
As you all know I am addicted to Excel spreadsheets. I lived with them for my job but I also had many of them for life outside of work. They range from dog food analysis, electric usage, tracking every penny I spend and where it goes, even one comparing trailers. Really anytime I have a problem or am trying to make a decision it usually ends up with a spreadsheet. I can see all the information in front of me, a better visual of facts.

So after blogging last Saturday a few things happened concerning my dental problem. I finally made contact with my old friend from college who is the semi-retired dentist. A friend stopped by with some great books and ideas to help with the pain in my jaw ... both of them explained why that pain was occurring and what I could do when it flared up. The 3rd thing that happened "paintracker.xlsx" was made.

After implementing some things my friend gave me ... UNrefined Salt mixed in water 2x per day, and the pressure technique to the jaw vortex to relieve that muscle spasm ... I spent 4 straight days with little to no pain. I DID find out the culprit. By accident I bit down on a baby carrot on that lower left molar ... the carrot was suppose to be on the right side of my mouth ... how it got to the left side I don't know but I had pain like a knife blade, where you feel yourself elevating through the roof of your house, not just your mouth.

The next night by accident I bit down on a soft fresh cherry ... on that tooth again, same result. Monday night I decided to test that tooth. I intentionally placed some crab meat on that tooth and bit down slowly ... same intense paint, instantly like a knife. After the pain went away I spent the rest of the night sleeping without interruption. Yet, I can brush my teeth on top and each side of that tooth with no pain. When I swish mouth wash afterward in that area, no pain.

Those days and nights of no pain continued until Wednesday at 1am ... when I woke up with severe pain in my jaw and lower teeth. After some ibuprofen, some Orajel and an ice pack to my jaw ... the pain subsided and I slept the rest of the night with no pain.

I had little to no pain, unless it was self inflicted, Saturday thru Tuesday.

By Wednesday at 9am ... that no pain theory disappeared and severe pain blew in with a fury ... I spent the next 24 hours in what I called "severe jaw and teeth pain". No meds, no pressure points, no ice packs, no warm packs ... nothing worked.  I finally get to sleep around 3am on Thursday, spent all day and night yesterday with no pain but some soreness in my jaw.

I sit here this morning after two cups of hot coffee with zero pain ... go figure.

When I talked to my friend, the dentist, on Saturday .. I told him everything that had gone on, everything that I had either taken or done to relieve the pain. Now remember he is doing this diagnosis as a friend over the phone ... nothing official. He did say he would like to see the xray later on. He told me no matter what an xray would be needed before the dentist would go to the next step. He also said it will not be a quick fix as they might have to do the same process I am doing, "process by elimination".

Still, by my description, he feels I might have a "vertical partial fracture". It will not show up on a normal xray. Also, it will not cause more damage than what is already there and I could live with this for 4-6 months if I needed to ... but I can't handle this for 4-6 months.

He said he had the exact same thing but due to his circumstances at the time he could not fix his for almost 4 months. He also said a good dentist will be able to figure out that it is a vertical fracture and will probably put on a crown instead of an easier root canal.

I have a good dentist ... one that I do not want to leave. The problem is, when I retired I bought my own dental insurance where my dentist was listed AT THAT TIME .. this past week he was not listed. So while my pain subsided earlier in the week ... not only did I look at all of the different dental plans for people that didn't have a plan through their employer ... but I also READ THE FINE PRINT this time.

I was amazed what that fine print would not pay for. I'll not go into it but basically if my issue is what my friend described, most insurance companies will not pay for the type of crown material he suggested. Some companies will not even pay for a porcelain crown. I realized the fine print was the reason I spent months and months fighting over the phone with Delta Dental in 2008 trying to get my dentist bill paid after an emergency on that 2008 Saturday morning.

Luckily his office was only blocks from the IU football stadium, he was not only a season ticket holder and wanted to see the game I was on the way to see ... but he is also the team dentist for the university athletic teams and coaching staff. It was actually my best experience ever in a dental chair. That is the reason I do not want to change dentist. I'll change insurance first.

That leads to a "waiting period" that most insurance companies have for major dental work. They do that so when people like me sign up needing immediate major dental work done, will cancel their policy after the insurance company pays for only part of the bill. So, some companies will have a 6-12 month waiting period before they cover major dental work. Yes, some will waive that waiting period but I had missed the cut off date to use a waiver.

What did that lead to ???  LOL ... you're right ... if you have read this far ... the "DentalPlanAnalysis.xlsx spreadsheet. I listed many different companies, sorted them by total cost which included deductibles, all the different kinds of dental work for a total cost. After that I did an estimate of the type of work my friend thinks might take place, plus the exam, xrays and cleaning.

The sad thing is ... unless you have constant, like annual MAJOR dental work, the premiums paid are either the same or more than what it would cost to do a one time major dental procedure. In some cases the "free" preventive maintenance like exams, xays, cleanings and fillings would cost less than the premium they would require. Like the insurance companies I have had to work with the past 5 years ... they LOVE your premium payments but HATE paying your bills when needed.

Anyway .. in summary. I have a dental appointment on Monday morning. I can decide at their office what kind of insurance I want if I change my mind and sign up on their iPad before I sit in the dental chair. I still do not have any pain to deal with today but I know it can rise up at a moments notice. When it happens, thanks to my friends, I know the causes and what to do to relieve the pain.

BTW ... my spreadsheet showed that my intense pain took place most of the time between 1am-4am fop the past 6 days. Only Wednesday is when I had severe pain all day and night ... I rarely had any pain after 12 noon on those other 5 days. I was able to mow the yard this week, no pain. I was able to drink coffee every morning except Monday and Wednesday mornings. I was able to sleep thru the night uninterrupted 3 out of the last 6 nights.

I know this may be a weird topic (dental) to blog about but it's just "another week in the tropics of southern Indiana".

August 01, 2015

Another Reason Also Prevented Travel .. Me

There was another reason why I couldn't travel besides waiting to see how Heidi would improve the next 30 days after her vet trip. During the week I was waiting for the blood work to come back from the vet, I woke up one morning with some intense pain in my lower left jaw. At first I just thought I had slept in a bad position but I soon found the pain was coming from a tooth.

That should be an easy quick fix. Most likely an old filling was in need of repair or replacement. The problem was as the day moved on, the pain increased and moved up to my cheekbone and below my chin along the side of my neck.

I will say from the start that I do not go to doctors unless I am barely surviving. Luckily I have had very few health problems in my life that led me to a doctor, I've been lucky. As far as dentists, I go annually to get a checkup and cleaning and that is about all it amounts to.

I can usually find the solution or a fix by researching on the internet and I can say that 99.9% of the time, what I read about does fix the health issue. For example, the issue I had with acid reflux almost had me going to the doctor and even suspecting possible heart issues with a family history to make it a concern.

I found out by changing my diet, which I am still following and starting my 4th month today, fixed the acid reflux problem ... I haven't had any, zip, nada since that time. Plus no trip to the doctor to be told what the cause was.

So when I felt the pain move to a different part of my head, I thought it might be more than just a possible cavity or a filling that needed replaced. From my past accidents I realized it could be not dental at all but more of a muscle or joint problem.

I actually thought and I still think it might be, a problem I had from a car wreck in my 1963 VW Bus I had at the time in 1979. Friends and I use to spend a lot of weekends at the Rosarita Beach Hotel in Baja. Cervezas and Tequila were consumed in large portions and sad to say, driving did take place.

To make a very long story short, since that wreck in 1979, dental x-rays have always picked up an object that looked like a cavity, with it being in my cheek area and not on a tooth. It confused them until I would tell them the reason for that "spec" looking similar to a cavity on x-rays. Over the years that piece had moved down my jaw to just above my left upper tooth line from the corner of my left eye.

The dental techs or dentists were always freaked out when they saw the x-rays and would ask for the history of my head. I'd then tell them the story on what that was and how it got there. They were not concerned about any future damage. That accident like many other past accidents happened on a full-moon.

As I write this I have another tooth for the first time in the past few weeks now feels like it's the culprit of my pain. (Referral pain??) I know it's not, but the pain has moved today. I am also trying to sip a cup of coffee that I am craving due to my lack of caffeine and lack of sleep these past weeks, hoping that drinking that will not send me through the ceiling if that hot liquid happens to touch my lower left jaw area.

So where was I ... oh, the different pains. Some are intense, at all hours of the day or night. Until last night I have been sleeping in 45-60 minute intervals depending on when the pain wakes me up. Yes, I've been living on ibuprofen, aspirin, cold presses, hot damp wash cloths, face massages, "icy hot" cream on my cheek ... and starting this past Thursday morning I started using Orajel.

The meds not at the same time of course. Some times they work very well as all the other things I use, some times they seem like they are not there.

About the time I decide to go to a dentist or a doctor, on two separate occasions I have woke up after a couple of hours of solid sleep and there is zero amount of pain ... like it never happened. I've gone as long as 3 days straight feeling normal and out of nowhere the pain comes back ... always on the left side, lower jaw area and at times along the left side of my throat.

Through all of this I can brush my teeth over those same teeth suspected of giving me the problem, without any pain reflex. I can floss between those teeth that are painful with no problems. I would think if I had a cavity needed fixed or a filling needing replaced that brushing and flossing would let me know from the pain that is where the problem is.

So since mid-July sometime, after the vet trip for Heidi, I've been living with what I have described. Some times at 2am or 4am walking around the house in pain I have told myself there was no way I could be traveling right now and camping with my 3 hounds.

I have been playing phone tag with my old friend of 45 years that is a semi-retired dentist, hoping he can shed some light on the situation about what it could possibly be. Of course I imagine he will say I should have been in a dentist office weeks ago.

I mentioned heart issues in this blog. I don't have those but I did double check all the information I could find on the signs of cardiac problems with pain in the left jaw as a warning sign. From all the information I have read on medical sites, I don't find this being a cardiac warning.

So to end all of the rambling ... yesterday afternoon I was hit with the pain strike intense enough that it almost had me in on the floor on my hands and knees. Sadie took that as a sign that I wanted to play with her and she started by running and chest bumping me from the side ... lol

By midnight last night there was zero pain ... NONE whatsoever!!! Yet, ten minutes after laying down to sleep, intense pain. I get up and fall asleep sitting up in a big comfortable chair in the living room and sleep for a solid 4 hours. At 6:15am I get up to let the dogs out.

At that time the pain feels like it does AFTER you get work done at the dentist and the Novocain is wearing off. I go back to sleep for another 5 hours of solid sleep ... waking up with only a slight numb feeling in my jaw.

I just finished a cup of hot coffee and there was no change in the pain level.

So ... I was also a reason that traveling had been put on hold.

In the meantime some photos of the hounds. Winston is finding out that he likes air conditioning as much as he does the heaters in the winter ... thus this is his favorite position ... when not eating.

"I don't care about global warming ... I can sleep anywhere, anytime"
Of course Sadie doesn't care about how cold or hot it is, she likes it outside. With being a bloodhound and its hot temps along with sticky humidity ... that produces more drool ... lol

"Don't worry ... my owner will wipe it off"
Usually around 7:30 we head out just to sit outside or take a walk through the field. Sometimes Sadie lets me know by her look that sitting is not good enough, that she wants the daily walk ... whereas Winston is more than happy to sit in the shade in "his" soft grass.

"Lets go for a walk"

"It's great ... I'm not going anywhere"
As you can see, my project in April of digging up wild bushes, vine roots and cleaning out the area before I planted grass seems to be looking pretty good for a non-professional job after 3 months. Add in a historic month of rain in June breaking all rain records since 1865 in Indiana, I have a good amount of grass.

On a closing note ... before I could finish this post my dentist friend called me back about my jaw/tooth issue. I'll not go into it in detail but it will not be a quick fix. Once an dental x-ray is taken, there could be many steps in finding the source of the problem by dentists, endodontist or oral surgeons.

It was good to hear from him, what I have been doing with my self-treatment is good stuff.

I hope the issues Heidi and I are having will be fixed by the cooler temps of September where we can head west. That is the plan anyway.