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Archive for "Life"

Experimenting with Drugs

Posted on April 23, 2024 by under Health, Life.    

Have you ever experimented with drugs? Well, that was me this weekend because I couldn’t figure out what was going on with my right knee.

Here’s what I learned… There are various over-the-counter pain meds you can take but they’re not all the same. Some pain meds are better for certain symptoms and issues.

I’ve never been a pill popper. I hate taking pills with a passion and I didn’t really start taking any pain meds for headaches or cramps until the last couple of years. In fact, when I had my thyroidectomy 12 years ago, I didn’t touch the Lortabs that I was prescribed. I took 2 Tylenol and that was it for my recovery.

Anyway, I’d been mostly taking Advil vs. Tylenol because I learned that Ibuprofen is better for treating inflammation but my knee pain was so bad on Tuesday that I had to get Hideki Fields to cover my Wednesday night class at West Y. Took a break from doing any kind of activity (no Zumba or pickleball) until Saturday morning when I had to cover Alisha Mickelson’s Saturday morning class at North Y and then I had a 3 PM at West Y that same afternoon (for the winner of the silent auction basket from the West YMCA Strong Community Campaign fundraising we did). I kept telling myself, I just need to get through the 3 PM class and then I can rest and maybe feel better tomorrow.

My knee was super sore that night and the next morning it was even worse. I could barely walk on Sunday and I scrambled to get my classes covered because there was no way I was dancing. I couldn’t even stand! We actually had to cancel the Sunday class because there was no one to sub it (everyone was at the Zumba event in Tulsa). So sorry, Andrea Burk! I put a post on FB but she didn’t see it and went only to find out class was canceled.

Here’s the experimentation comes in… My knee is sore and stiff and I can barely bend it so I was like, “Maybe I need Naproxen?” Anyway, my mom and dad who I saw in between my two commitments on Saturday gave me these blue pills (basically generic version of Aleve). They were like, “Yeah, we take these before bed and feel great in the morning.” I took one before bed on Saturday night and woke up and there was no difference – my knee actually felt worse. I’m like, “Maybe I need more?” So I took another around 8 AM and it was no help.

What I learned… Naproxen is good for joint pain caused by Arthritis so I’m guessing I do not have Arthritis because it did not work. However, I couldn’t go back to taking Advil immediately because you cannot mix Ibuprofen and Naproxen. I had to wait at least 12 hours for the Naproxen to be out of my system before I could take Advil. So Sunday night, before bed, I finally took 2 Advil. Woke up in the morning and my knee felt a little bit better. I took 2 Advil again at 8 AM and 12 PM and before bed yesterday. It seems to be helping. But I really need to know what’s wrong with my knee so I called our family physician’s office first thing yesterday morning to schedule an appointment. I wanted to get in on Monday but the first appointment they have available is today at 3:30 PM.

Advil seems to be helping but I don’t want to be completely dependent on it. And what if the 2 pills don’t work anymore. I need to figure out what’s wrong with me because I can’t live like this. Mom and dad suggested I find hobbies that don’t require physical activity. I can’t. Dancing is my life. Pickleball is my life. If I can’t dance or play pickleball I will be so depressed and then I’ll be needing other pills.

Anyway, here is a helpful chart to help you determine what to take for your pains and aches. I found it super helpful so I hope it helps you too.

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Source: marshfieldclinic.org

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Goodbye, Grandma

Posted on April 5, 2024 by under Family, Life.    

Brian picked up grandma’s ashes from the funeral home yesterday. It reminded me of how I haven’t written about her passing. Honestly, it feels weird writing on here knowing she won’t be reading it. Grandma was literally the only person who ever read this blog. At least until the last year or so when Brian decided it wasn’t worth fixing her computer anymore each time she messed it up because she couldn’t see, anyway. I actually think that’s why her computer would get messed up. Brian had set it up so she had large icons on the desktop that she could just click on and easily open things like her email and our blog, etc. I think it got to the point where she could barely see and was clicking on the wrong things and then she would get lost and couldn’t figure out how to get back to where she needed to be. Every time this happened, she would call Brian in a panic because she thinks she’s “broken” her computer. Brian would be there almost every other day just resetting everything back to normal so he finally was just like that’s it – time to let the computer go. He was like, “I’m just going to tell her it’s broken to the point it can’t be fixed.”

Grandma loved sending (and receiving) emails. And she enjoyed reading this blog. Her face would be an inch away from the screen just to read the text but she did it anyway. She liked to keep up with what Brian and I were doing – what fancy parties (before COVID) we were attending, what food we were eating at various restaurants – and I think it helped her stay connected with the outside world given that, due to her age and frailty, we couldn’t just take her out to a restaurant on a whim. We could only take her out on special occasions. And, when I would post her pictures and write about things we did together, she really enjoyed reading those recaps. When I get completely immersed in pickleball and mostly wrote about tournaments and games and other pickleball-related things, she would tell Brian that she felt that I played pickleball too much. Grandma was never one to beat around the bush and she always would tell you what she was thinking.

Every year since grandpa passed away, there would be whispers of “I think this might be grandma’s last Christmas with us” or “we need to make this X-holiday special because it might be her last one” and every year she would prove us wrong and make it to another holiday and another. This last year was a little different, though. Grandma fell and hurt herself around Thanksgiving and spent the weeks leading up to Christmas in rehab. Her only goal was to recover in time so she could spend Christmas at our house. While she achieved this goal, we were all very concerned that this would be her last Christmas with us – more so than ever. She barely had enough strength to hold herself up in the chair while we exchanged gifts. Brian and his dad struggled to get her in and out of the car when they picked her up from the home to bring her to our house. In fact, they both made a point to say that we wouldn’t be taking grandma out anymore. Instead, we would come to her for the holidays so she wouldn’t have to be transported (which proved to be quite an ordeal, specially this last time).

Our next holiday would have been Easter. I was already thinking of how we would bring Easter to grandma this year instead of our usual brunch buffet at YaYa’s. Alas, it was not meant to be.

A few weeks before Easter Sunday, Brian got a call from Victoria Falls requesting hospice care. They said grandma was fine but they just didn’t have the staffing to fully provide the care she needed. Hospice would provide that additional assistance (to move her from the bed to her chair and bathe her stuff like that).

When Brian went to visit grandma on St. Patty’s Day, she was still talking and everything. On Monday hospice told Brian that grandma didn’t get out of bed so they requested that a medical bed be ordered so she could be moved to it instead. The medical bed was delivered on Wednesday and Brian went over there on his lunch hour to get the bed situated. At that point, grandma could no longer form words or communicate. Brian said hospice told him she hasn’t been able to speak to anyone since Monday.

On March 21, Thursday, hospice called and asked us to come because they didn’t think grandma would make it through the night. So we skipped dinner and spent most of the evening there. The soonest Brian’s dad could come up is Saturday so I told Brian I hoped that grandma would be able to hang in there at least until his dad could say goodbye.

The next day, I asked Brian for an update and he said there was no change to her vitals. Later that day, the hospice nurses said she started talking again. It was the darnedest thing. I was thinking, wow — she really is hanging in there, waiting for Brian’s dad to come. On Saturday afternoon, March 23, at around 1 pm, we got a call that she was gone.

Grandma would have been 102 had she made it to her birthday in June this year. It feels so strange now that she’s gone. She used to asked me to end all my posts with GNG for “Good Night, Grandma” and I don’t know if you’ve noticed that I hadn’t been doing that of late. I stopped shortly after Brian took her computer away so you won’t see GNGs at the end of posts going forward. She’s no longer here to say good night to, so I guess it’s time to bid her farewell. Goodbye, grandma.

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National Margarita Day

Posted on March 10, 2024 by under Life.    

I know National Margarita Day was a few weeks ago so this is a super late post. Most people usually go for Mexican food on National Margarita Day — because tequila — but my favorite stop is Chicken N Pickle because they have these super cute margarita flights on pickleball paddles that’s available one day only — on National Margarita Day.

Margarita Flight

However, friends had other plans this year so I didn’t get to have my annual margarita flight. First stop was a meet up with my Leadership Wichita classmates at Social Tap, also one of my favorite spots in general. Our Leadership Wichita class celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. I love how many of us from the 2014 class still get together ten years later.

Leadership Wichita Meetup at Social Tap

Next stop was the West side El Agave to meet some pickleball pals.

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It’s always fun celebrating drinking holidays. Fun times!

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Dental Adventures from Brian’s Perspective

Posted on March 5, 2024 by under Health, Life.    

Now that you have read about my adventure from Ching’s point of view, I think you’ll want to hear it from the horse’s mouth… so to speak!

So, all of what Ching said is true. It’s my own fault that I’m in the situation that I’m in and, had I just pushed my anger down, and attempted to speak to the management at Wichita Endodontics I wouldn’t be in the situation I am currently in.

At the end of 2019, I was informed by my dentist that I had a small infection above my left front tooth. I was told that I needed to have a specialist take care of it due to the nature of the infection and the potential for further treatment that may be needed. It was just outside of the scope of what my dentist could tackle. Back then I was not as busy at work and taking the time to deal with these things was fairly simple. I was referred to Wichita Endodontics. Back then, they were at their old office. I went to my appointment, paid my $160 (a fee that was not able to be absorbed by insurance), and got all of my x-rays and images needed to get the procedure done. I was given two different methods that would take care of the problem and given the percentage of success for each. One was a root canal method. The other was a small incision over my tooth. The incision had a greater chance of success. I chose the root canal method because it was less expensive, less invasive, and I just really didn’t like the idea of being cut open. All was decided. I explained everything to Ching (which she has forgotten) and she was all for it. We had a few things going on, so I scheduled my procedure for about 2 months later. Well, as Luck would have it, this is when Wichita finally decided to shut down — literally 4 days before my procedure. So, I get a call from the endo telling me that they are going to have to cancel for now, and they will call once everything is sorted and they are able to see patients again. I understood completely, given everything that was going on I figured that there would be something like this and I was already mentally prepared for this.

Fast forward, it’s now almost the end of 2020. I get a call from the endo — they are ready to reschedule my appointment and get the procedure done. I was thinking, this means pick up where they left off. No! The person that called stated “Oh, by the way, we will need to do the scans again and you will need to pay the fee again.” I asked if she was sure and she said, “Unfortunately, yes.” I replied with “Well, unfortunately… No!” and hung up the phone. Was this the right thing to do? Not at all. I should have requested to speak to someone, work out the details, and see if they would just do the new scans given that I already paid. I know now (in hindsight) that this could have been resolved right then and I would not be in the situation I am in.

I proceeded on with life, not thinking about the growing infection in my mouth. I was not in any pain. My life went on as normal. I was reminded every year when I saw the dentist that I needed to get this taken care of and every year I reminded him of why I didn’t want to speak to them and on more than one occasion I was advised, in a very professional way, to grow up.

Now we come to my most recent appointment. My dentist takes the x-rays, comes to me and the first thing he says, “You really need to get this taken care of.” I shrug my shoulders and the doc says, “No, we’re getting this fixed.” He gives the details to the hygienist and she takes me to the appointment desk. She hands the business card to the lady behind the desk and proceeds to tell her “Brian is having an issue making an appointment. Can you call and get something scheduled for him?” And she does just that. I don’t blame them for treating me like a child as I was acting like one — an old, grumpy child. Shortly after my appointment was made is when the fistula appeared. Since I had the appointment, I toughed it out. I was told that the fistula is a result of the infection spreading and that if I didn’t get this take care of it would only get worse, and there is a chance that it already is, and I may still need oral surgery by this time next year.

I did tell the doctor of my issue in the past and why I didn’t do this sooner. He informed me that had I just come and spoke to someone then this could have been resolved very easily and I would not be in the mess I am in now. Reconfirming that this is really all my fault! On the plus side, the doctor did make it right, even after all these years, and he really didn’t have to. I mean seriously, ultimately, it was me that made the decision to just blow the whole thing off.

Well, we move to the day of my procedure. I can say with absolute certainty that they mean what they say. It was the first root canal that I have ever had done that I didn’t feel anything. Even after the numbing wore off, I only had a slight tingle in my upper gum and tooth and that’s it. I did take an Advil that night, mainly for inflammation (it was highly suggested in the follow up paperwork) and then a Tylenol the next morning — more as a precaution than anything, I didn’t really need it, but I had to go back to work, and I didn’t want to risk feeling any pain as the day progressed.

Now I have to wait. The first thing I have to wait for is the fistula to go away. They said I had to wait about four weeks and, if it’s not gone by then, I have to let them know. They advised it may flare up before it goes away (I think that happened this weekend, at least I’m hoping that’s what happened) and, if it doesn’t go away in that four weeks, I have to call them back for another appointment and it may mean oral surgery for sure. If the fistula does go away, then I have to wait another six months. They are going to call me in 5 to schedule an appointment. This will be to see if the infection is going away, if the infection is going away on its own, then I’m in the clear (meaning – no surgery). If not, then I will have surgery by this time next year.

I have to say that several lessons have been learned from this adventure.

  1. Stay on top of your brushing, make sure that you brush at least twice a day, at a minimum. I personally have also started to use medicated mouth wash as well, mainly because I still suck at flossing. But my oral hygiene has improved due to this.
  2. If something needs to be done, don’t wait. Do it, get it done. You have no idea how bad things can get if you put it off. There are just some things that your body will not fix on its own.
  3. Don’t let your emotions govern how you take care of yourself. Had I just spoke to someone and worked it out, I wouldn’t be in this situation. I could potentially lose several of my teeth because I let my emotions get the better of me. Unfortunately, this is a family trait.
  4. Finally, all things can be resolved through communication. I should have known this, my wife an I practice this. We believe that communication is key, not only in a relationship, but in life in general. If you’re having an issue, work it out like adults and have a discussion. Had I just spoke to someone other than the attendant that called me, I could have gotten all of this resolved and not be in the situation I’m in.

In the end, I’m grateful for my wife Ching. She is always there for me. She takes care of me when I need it and tells me how bad I’ve screwed up when I need to hear it. I don’t know where I’d be without her. Probably toothless.

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Brian’s Dental Adventures

Posted on March 4, 2024 by under Health, Life.    

I asked Brian to write about his experience as a warning to everyone out there not taking care of teeth but he’s not going to write about it so I’m going to do my best to tell this story from my perspective. I’m probably going to mess up parts of it but that’s what you get from hearing about what happened second hand(ish).

Last year Brian told me he needed to get some dental work done. He had this tooth that was bothering him and it had caused an infection of some sort. I urged him to get it done at the end of the year because, at my last dental appointment, our dentist’s office told me we had “unused benefits” for the year. In my brain, I’m thinking “We better spend it!” However, I didn’t need anything further done beyond the fillings which I actually got done last year because, for the first time ever in several years, I had cavities. Well, Brian always drags his feet to do things so he didn’t get the treatment needed before the year ended.

Fast forward to the beginning of the year, when the infection was finally causing him significant pain and discomfort and finally needed to be dealt with… Even then, though, he probably still wouldn’t have scheduled an appointment with the endodontist. Yes, a specialist had to deal with this situation because the problem had gotten so bad that it was far beyond what our regular dentist is capable of handling. Anyway, at the end of his last dental appointment, they actually called the endodontist office and scheduled his appointment for him because they didn’t trust that he would do it. I had no idea that this problem actually went as far back as before the pandemic (more on that in minute) but, considering how long he had been putting this off, I wouldn’t trust him to deal with it either.

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Here are some pics that I took at the endodontist’s office when we were there for this procedure a couple of weeks ago. I have almost 30 days of vacation time (and no pickleball tournaments to travel to) this year so I have a crap ton of time to burn. I decided to use one of my three personal days offs (I think most people just get one PTO bucket but our work gives us three “personal” days in addition to our vacation time and we can use those “personal” days however we wish) to “take care” of him. I was mostly just there for moral support. He didn’t really need much caring for but I’m glad I got to keep him company. I always appreciate the days we get to spend together.

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I had never been to the old Wichita Endodontics office but Brian was there a few years ago (when he should have dealt with this problem and didn’t) and he says the new office is much nicer. The waiting area is comfortable and decorated beautifully. Their furniture and decor reminds me of the decor at the Belmont — like 60s modern. Anyway, I also appreciate that there is free public WiFi in the lobby.

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I went with Brian because he wasn’t sure if they would knock him out for the procedure and he would be too groggy to drive home. He wasn’t knocked out so he was totally fine but I think he was grateful to have me there. Besides being there for support, and in case he needed a driver, part of me was hoping they would let me livestream the whole thing – lol. No such luck. They wouldn’t let me back there with him so I was glad I planned ahead and brought my book to read. Shift is book two of the Silo series. I can tell you more about it in another post rather than hijacking this one.

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Here are some pictures of Brian’s mouth x-rays from his pre-op appointment. So back in 2019-2020 time frame, the infection was only the size of a pea (left). He didn’t do anything for several years so it grew to the size of a ping pong ball and eventually a fistula formed. Don’t look that up. It’s gross.

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I didn’t even know about the problem back then or, if he mentioned it to me, I had forgotten about it. The first time I’d caught wind of this issue was last year and, even then, I encouraged him to take care of it immediately. You’re probably wondering what happened in 2020 and why he didn’t take care of it then. I wondered the same. Well, the pandemic happened.

Here’s the story that Brian told me: The dentist discovered the problem in 2019 and referred him to Wichita Endodontics. He went for his pre-op, got x-rays done, and paid whatever amount it was he needed to pay for all of that pre-work. Then everything was shut down because of the pandemic so the operation that was scheduled and set to go got canceled. Months later when everything reopened and people figured out a way to continue with life in the midst of a raging pandemic, he contacted them to try and get the procedure done. However, they wanted to do all the pre-op stuff again. Fair, because it had been months and the situation in his mouth may have changed (things could have shifted and so forth) and so they wanted to do all new x-rays and stuff. Brian felt that it wasn’t his fault that they canceled his operation and was pissed off at this whole situation so he was like, fuck that — I guess I’m not going through with the operation. He was thinking he was punishing them by not giving them any more money but in reality he was really just punishing himself by not dealing with this infection thing. Anyway, rather than talking to them about the whole thing and telling them exactly why he is angry, he pretty much was like, “Okay. Never mind. Thank you.”

Dr. Hoffman at Wichita Endodontics was great to work with. Brian told me that after he told the doctor what happened, the doctor told him he should have said something to them instead of just suffering in silence all these years because they would have made it right. I mean, they actually did make it right. They gave Brian credit for what he originally paid for because the original operation never happened. Anyway, here are some more x-rays of Brian’s teeth:

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They had to do a double root canal, which was the first step to clearing up that infection. Brian has a follow up appointment this week to see if the infection has drained itself and has pretty much healed. If things look good then he won’t have to go through oral surgery. If the root canals didn’t solve the problem then he has another operation to look forward to because this time they’ll have to do actual surgery remove the infection.

Let’s hope and pray that the infection is gone because all of this dental stuff has not been fun for Brian. Kudos to Wichita Endodontics and Dr. Hoffman for being awesome. May we not have to see you all again. LOL.

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