Saturday, May 31, 2014

A trip to the dentist leads down memory lane

My local dentist, Dr. D, seems to feel protective about my teeth, saying at my last visit that he didn't understand the point of me seeing the Brigham and Women's dentist specializing in transplant patients, because he didn't know what else that dentist could tell me.

I like my local dentist, and he is in the process of giving me a very nice bridge. But Dr. Alyea really wanted me to check in with Dr. Treister, so that is what I did yesterday. He turned Dr. D's theory on its head. My problems are not due to prednisone (here I have been blaming it all along) but rather on salivary gland changes during chemotherapy that resulted in a dry mouth.

It is a moot point now, because Dr. Treister said my mouth and my remaining teeth look OK. He also said the area on my tongue where pre-cancerous cells were removed looks fine. But he did prescribe a fluoride gel to apply at bed and also yet another cream for my burning lips.

The local vs. Boston complex brought to mind a time when I went to Holyoke Medical Center by ambulance after falling backwards onto a sidewalk. (This was not a trip-and-fall. It resulted from dehydration and unbalanced electrolytes.) The doctor in Holyoke didn't even want to check in with Dr. Alyea at Dana-Farber, but after I insisted and the call was made, all of a sudden I found myself in an ambulance headed for Boston.

I had a little extra time yesterday, so I went up to the sixth floor to see if any of my nurses from 6A
were around. I always pause in front of the sign to the unit, which is for transplant patients needing the most care. Do I really want to go in? But I take a deep breath and proceed.

They always say the same thing: "We don't recognize you with hair"!

But yesterday there were hugs and smile all around. I am buoyed by the memory of their kindness. And I figure they like seeing the result of their good work.

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