Category Archives: Dental

Update on Dale’s Dental Saga

Dale emailed pictures of his gums along with a request for suggestions on what he should do about them to Sandy's dentist, Dr. Villafana, in Mexico. He has huge lumps and bumps and sharp protrusions on his gums everywhere. Some of them are painful to the touch.

Lumps and Bumps on Lower Jaw 2 months after oral surgery to remove teeth

             Lumps and Bumps on Lower Jaw 2 months after oral surgery to remove teeth

Two months after oral surgery to remove teeth
Lumps and Bumps on Upper Jaw 2 months after oral surgery to remove teeth

Dr. Villafana said it could take years for Dale's jawbone to "remodel" and grinding down the bone would be a quicker way to be able to wear dentures.

Gigi, Dale's dentist, said to give it six months and then she will make his dentures fit over whatever bumps are still there.

Dale has decided to ask Gigi to remove the bony protrusions if they are still there after six months (from December 22nd). He told me when she pulled his teeth she broke some of them with a tool and with others she just rocked the teeth back and forth to get them out. He thinks she broke the bone around the teeth by rocking them and that is why he has the sharp, painful protrusions.

So, he is still without teeth. He says he is hard to understand when he talks, but no one is complaining.

Update On Shirlee, Dale’s Mother, who had a Stroke January 16, 2013

Shirlee is still hanging on to life. She is losing oxygen and the visiting nurse has been here daily to give her pain medication. The nurse has increased the pain medicine every day.

A helper came and gave Shirlee a sponge bath and washed her hair, which I'm sure she appreciated (she isn't communicating anymore except to shake her head no when Dale asks her if she wants the light turned off).

Dale's dentist is calling daily asking him to come back for his dentures, but he wants his gums to be less lumpy so she doesn’t have to grind out more of the denture material. Also, he doesn't want to be away from the house anymore than a few minutes at a time.

Dale has lost 20 pounds and has stuck to his vegan diet. His blood pressure is normal and he has stopped taking blood pressure medicine (he cut down in increments until he was off of it).

We are expecting the visiting nurse to arrive any minute. Dale is back from his daily walk and all our boxes have been picked up by the mailman. I’m going to go to Whole Foods for more "plant food" that Dale can grind up in the Vitamix.

Update on Shirlee, Bonnie’s Mother-In-Law, who had a Stroke January 16, 2013

Shirlee has been gradually improving. It's been up and down. First she was sent to a rehab place and there she got a bladder infection. She was sent back to the Kaiser Hospital in two days. Then she had another mild stroke, which they saw on a CT scan. She is sleeping a lot and not eating much (she's lost 15 pounds). At the hospital she had the catheter removed but they used a scanner that showed she wasn't able to void her urine completely so they put the catheter back in. Then they put in a Pic Line to deliver her fluids as she still can't swallow liquids (the doctor said the Pic Line is safer than an IV needle in her arm). They are giving her antibiotics orally and a mild blood thinner. She was moved back to the rehab place last night. She can see with her right eye in the morning, but not very well in the afternoon. She can move her left arm to wipe her mouth but can't control either arm well enough to feed herself. She can't use her left leg at all, but she wiggles her left foot, but not when asked to. She can't keep her lower dentures in place when she falls asleep so the nurse has to pick them out of her mouth so they don't fall out. She doesn't want to have her dentures taken out but the nurse takes both upper and lower out and cleans them once a day. Yesterday she joked with the physical therapist when she had her therapy and that was a good sign. She can't hear well at all without her hearing aids and she can't put them in by herself, so she isn't using them. Her sister wanted to talk to her over the phone, but Shirlee couldn't hear her and didn't even know she was supposed to be on the phone with Joan. Joan said she could hear her talking to Dale, so that made Joan happy. At the hospital they use something on her legs that squeezes them for a few minutes everyday and that kept the fluid from building up in her feet and legs, but at the rehab place they don't do that and her feet and legs swell up. On her chart it says she is suffering from heart failure and the after effects of a series of strokes.

Dale still cannot wear his dentures. The dentist wants take his dentures and drill out over nine areas where he has protruding bone so they will fit, but he says he doesn't want to ruin the dentures as in all his research it says after 10 to 12 weeks the body reabsorbs the protruding bone and then the dentures get loose and have to have goop put in them so you can eat. He paid  lot of money for the dentures and doesn't want them to be drilled out. It's been five weeks since his oral surgery so he has five to seven more weeks to go without dentures.

He is eating everything blended in the VitaMix. He has also become a Vegan (all plant foods and no animal protein -- not even dairy). This is because he wants to eventually get off the blood pressure pills and in his research being a Vegan is the best and quickest way to accomplish that.

I'm going to close now and go to the store for "plant" foods (we have discovered ready-made tamales for Vegans, Vegetarians and meat eaters and the three of us have been eating one or two a day, which has been helping to keep us fed as we rush around trying to take care of ourselves as we drive to downtown Walnut Creek and try to find parking at the hospital and rehab place so we can spend time with Shirlee every day).

Dale’s Dental Saga

On Christmas day at 7 AM I was at Walgreen's 24 hour Pharmacy picking up a prescription of antibiotics for Dale. I had not slept all night and at 6 AM he called his dentist to say he was running a fever and had chills and sweats and his face was swollen everywhere.

Yes, Dale finally had his teeth extracted on Saturday, the 22nd of December. It took nine hours to get the job done and Gigi, his Vietnamese dentist, told us it would only take 3 hours. He had extraction appointments with her twice before (December 9th and 15th) and she couldn't do anything because his blood pressure was too high. It was 200 over 107 on the 8th. He had called her to tell her his blood pressure was high. She said it should be 135 over 80 or less because extracting teeth causes your blood pressure to go up and if it was already high it could kill you. So the surgery on the 9th was canceled and Gigi advised Dale to go to Kaiser and get a prescription for Blood Pressure Lowering drugs, which he did.

For the surgery scheduled on the 9th Gigi prescribed an antibiotic to be started a few days before his appointment and to be taken for 10 days, which Dale did, but it gave him diarrhea, so he didn't want to take any more antibiotics if he could avoid it.

On the 15th of December, after taking blood pressure lowering medicine for 5 days, Dale’s BP was 160 over 90, which was still too high so Gigi sent him home with instructions to call Kaiser and get his doctor to prescribe double the amount of the BP medicine, which he did. That amount got his BP down to 140 over 85 and she said that would be good enough if she just extracted the teeth that were giving him pain (maybe three) and she asked him if that was okay, and he said yes (she ended up taking all 27 of his teeth out).

That was at noon. She kept taking out teeth and asking him if he was feeling okay to continue and he kept saying yes. He really wanted to get it over with. Every two hours she finished a quadrant and Dale would get up and walk around and drink water and go to the bathroom. Each time I thought he would say that was enough for today, but he kept going back for her to take out another quadrant. Gigi said she had to break his teeth into four parts (she had a tool to do that) to get them out. She said something funny too: "Dale doesn't have bone as good as an African man, but he has the best bone I've ever seen for a Caucasian man."

It was after 9 PM when we left Gigi's office. He did have Novocaine, which at first he didn't want. When she was done Dale hadn't eaten for 11 hours (Gigi hadn't either -- or her helper, Danny, or me), but for Dale it was not good as, after all his teeth were out, he came into the waiting room and after sitting down in a chair he said he had to lie down and got down on the floor. He stayed there for awhile and Danny, Gigi's assistant, helped to get him back up into the chair and then he passed out. He just sat there and his eyes stayed open but he was not responding to our questions. Gigi got a tube of glucose and squirted it into his mouth and he swallowed and after he took two swallows he started to answer our questions, but he didn't realize he had passed out.

At first Gigi wanted to call an ambulance and get the paramedics to help, but I told her he just had low blood sugar. He had been trying to help lower his blood pressure for two weeks by eating like a vegetarian (no animal protein or fat -- which is not what I would have done) and having small meals often, which meant he didn't have enough reserves in his system after not eating for eleven hours and having oral surgery for nine of the eleven. That's when Gigi disappeared and came back with the glucose.

There was a great explanation for why he passed out in our Contra Costa Times newspaper yesterday. Here's the link:

Anyway, the three of us got him into my car and I called Gary to meet us in the driveway when we got home and he was waiting for us and walked beside Dale into the house in case he passed out again. Sandy had made him a chocolate milk shake in the Vitamix, which he drank right away, and we used the Vitamix again to whip him up a meal made of chicken enchiladas mixed with my famous vegetable broth (that's what he requested). And he's been drinking his meals (4 ounces each) every three hours ever since. He has been having chicken because he likes the chicken enchiladas that Sandy made without salt and that we had frozen in squares. (He temporarily stopped being a vegetarian.)

On Sunday (the day after the surgery) Dale's face began to swell up and he looked like a chipmunk, which we all thought was normal as when our wisdom teeth were extracted our faces swelled up. But it was probably more than that. By Monday night the whole house smelled like infection. I mean it was wicked. I couldn't go into our bedroom when he was sleeping because the smell was so strong. He couldn't sleep long at a time because his face hurt everywhere and he can't sleep on his back (he turns onto his side as soon as he falls asleep). So, when he woke up in the middle of the night I told him he had to call Gigi and get antibiotics because he had a raging infection. He agreed and called her at 6 AM and woke her up (on the 25th, Christmas day). She prescribed some strong stuff because after the first tablet the smell diminished considerably and by the 27th the swelling of his face had gone down everywhere except in one place. However, since Christmas night he has been sleeping in his Lazy-boy chair in the front room because his face was/is too painful to sleep on his side.

Gigi had his dentures all ready to go and wanted him to wear them right away on the 22nd, but his gums were so swollen and painful that he couldn't wear them. He saw her on the 27th and she said he should wait another week and she will adjust his dentures to fit then. She also said he was healing nicely and in a week all the stitches will have dissolved and the skin will be nice and pink (it's white in spots now).

That night (Thursday, the 27th) he started having diarrhea again and was planning to call Kaiser and get a phone appointment with his doctor to discuss what he should about it but by yesterday (the 28th) the diarrhea had stopped and his bowels started acting normal again. He has been taking a lot of probiotics between the times he takes the antibiotic. The antibiotic is very strong and he is supposed to take it for 10 days so we will see how it goes.

He is also still taking the blood pressure medicine at the stronger dose as it is the only thing that has helped keep his blood pressure at near normal levels (it goes up and down, but doesn't go as high as it did on December 8th).

Sandy has been cooking dinner every night for all of us. Gary helps with lunch by making Shirlee sandwiches like the ones he makes for himself out of leftover roast beef, chicken or ham. Shirlee loves Gary and Sandy. She gives Sandy big hugs whenever she sees her cooking in the kitchen. The Vitamix has been in use constantly and Sandy even made a mixture of ham hocks, beans and corn bread muffins (she soaked the beans overnight and then cooked them and the ham slowly for 24 hours) that turned out great -- or so Dale says. I can't eat beans and the Gerber-like food he is eating all looks, smells and tastes the same to me.

Well, this is all for now. I slept 13 hours straight Thursday night. Until then I had been only sleeping for five hours at a time and I skipped sleeping at all Wednesday night. So now I'm trying to catch up with making my broth -- I haven't had any for three days because we used it up making meals for Dale in the Vitamix and I didn't have time to make it again until now.

I've been doing dishes and laundry (Dale only missed one day of not unloading the dishwasher for me) and I've been able to keep up shipping orders and Dale has even been talking to customers even though it's hard to understand him with no teeth!

Sandy went nine months without teeth so he is soldiering on and nobody seems to care that they have to ask him to repeat himself a couple of times.