Saturday, June 07, 2014

A somewhat stressful day

So some of you might recall that I had an encounter with jaw pain back in January. Wearing a night guard - a bit used to prevent teeth grinding - took some of the pressure off my jaw, and the pain eventually dwindled, but the source of it always seemed to be a molar on my lower jaw with a big gold crown on it, and that tooth never really got better, even as the jaw pain subsided. It had seemed to be the starting point of the discomfort back then, but because the dentist could find nothing wrong with it - by tapping on it, etc. - he concluded that what had likely happened was I had traumatized my tooth and that it just needed time to heal, through rest and such. It seemed a likely theory: I had spent a week before the onset of the pain snacking freely from a big plastic tub of mixed nuts, and it is quite possible that I bit down on a couple of hard ones the wrong way. Trouble is, even though he could find nothing wrong with the tooth, it hasn't felt since that time like it sat right in my mouth; six months later, and it still feels tender, and when I try to close my jaw, seems too high, too big, not right. Chewing is uncomfortable and occasionally if I bite down wrong I get a sharp pain, right in that one tooth.

Last night I noticed that there was also tenderness and swelling around the adjacent gums. Uh-oh. I had been snacking on nothing hard, nothing crunchy; it had to be connected to the tooth. I took an Advil, and resolved to phone the dentist in the morning if the pain persisted. It did, so I did, and he managed to see me more or less right away. His X-rays revealed this time that the tooth, indeed, is being pushed upwards by an infection, and needs a root canal, which will run about $1000 that I do not have. I'm on a course of antibiotics, but the root canal's not scheduled until mid-July; hopefully I can raise most of the money I need by that time, though it won't help that Mom elected to take all of her free cash and go to the casino with it tonight. Here's hoping she has some left when she gets home - she may well not. I mean, it's her money, but we have outstanding bills to pay, nevermind the dentist, and she's going to need groceries during the rest of the month. And she's got no way of getting cash, so that's going to fall on me. She doesn't really understand about money any more since her stroke, but she knows for sure that she wants to go to the casino tonight...
Plus here's this: I've been trying to experiment with a new shelving unit I bought on the cheap the other day. Assembling the Expedit's given to me by a friend is too complex for this apartment - they're waiting for a larger space that my girl and I hope to eventually share together - but I found a small shelving unit that I *thought* would work for my LPs for a mere $20 at a second-hand store run by a Korean couple, just down the street. They lent me a dolly to get the shelves home, and I've spent the last two hours re-arranging my records so that I have my jazz, blues, funk, reggae, country, Celtic and old-timey on it. Just as it was starting to look okay, while I was trying to make home for a couple of stragglers (a few slabs of vinyl by the hip hop band New Kingdom, which make up the whole of my hip hop vinyl). the middle shelf collapsed. As I tried to fix it, the top shelf collapsed too. I re-stacked the records on my floor and tried again, and had another collapse or two in the process. The little plugs that hold the shelves in place are the problem, it seems; though the particle board is bowing in the centre, it is so far bearing up the weight okay, but the little plugs keep popping out from their housings, twisting and then tilting and falling. Plus the back doesn't seem to want to stay on - it's just a thin sheet held in place by skinny nails driven into the particle board, but it seems to play some sort of structural role back there; the back coming undone seems to allow the sides to pooch out a bit which is what leads to the shelf-plugs twisting out of place and/or popping out. I may have to reinforce those nails a bit... So far I've got the shelves back in place and the records on them, and it seems to be holding out okay, but as I type this, I keep waiting to hear a thud of collapse and spilled records from the other room. Given my day, it will probably wait until I'm asleep to do that, or at least deeply engaged in some writing... I'm regretting having bought the shelves, but it was so much work re-organizing my records to fill them up that I really don't want to have to undo it all again.

And that's where I sit. I'm exhausted, sweaty, sneezing from the dust that I've stirred up, and I might also have some sort of urinary tract infection, because it burns a little when I pee, and I want to pee all too often, even when there's no pee in me. Plus I'm really hungry and can't chew much. Time for a nice liquid dinner, I guess - a smoothie with yoghurt to replenish my gut flora seems in order... but first I'm going to go check my shelves and see how they're holding up. I'm scared to take records off to listen to them!

Update: from bad to worse... I decided to spin one of my favourite New Model Army albums, No Rest for the Wicked, to reward myself for my hard work, only to discover that when I flipped it over, there's a warp that makes the first song on side two - the title track and the first song of theirs I ever heard - skip all over the place. Aaargh! Either I never spun that side before or else, God help me, the album got exposed to enough sunlight from my window to warp it. I hope not!

Good news, though: Mom made it back from the casino with more money than she left with! And the shelves haven't collapsed yet. I even took a record off to listen to it. Bold moves, here. 

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