On the way to the dentist this morning mom told me about gum tenderness and bleeding she was experiencing on her upper left, and that a filling had fallen out of her upper right back tooth. She assured me neither were infected. This dentist has a slick check-in procedure where you check the patient information (that I’d provided them a month ago), and then sign multiple times electronically. We were ushered back, and mom took the big chair. The Doc came in and listened to mom’s slightly different explainations of her concerns, mainly that a secondary filling had fallen out, and she rinsed her mouth with hydrogen peroxide for the bleeding after she brushed her teeth. The doc didn’t seem concerned about mom’s choice of rising agent. After x-rays were taken, the following results were revealed:

  • The upper right back tooth probably needs to be extracted as the decay is so bad the tooth is likely unrepairable, and the nerve is likely dead. There is a slim chance a root canal and crown might save it, for a retail price of $2500.00. Insurance would cover some amount of this. Mom is talking extraction, and I know it’s because of the expense rather than anything else. I am very concerned about her ability to care for her mouth after an extraction.
  • She needs a crown on her upper right bicuspid. 
  • She needs two fillings on her upper left.
  • The upper left gum irritation is caused due to bad inflammation, which is caused by tartar buildup. I asked the doc if this was indicative of her teeth possibly having been cleaned longer ago than 2016. He said, “Oh, definitely.”
  • The doc discovered a crown that had, ot one point, been re-adhered. .
Mom obviously doesn’t brush the top of her mouth adequately.
This leaves me, again, agog at what didn’t happen during the almost four years mom lived on her own after dad died, just as much as what did happen. We were trembling about immediate worries (driving), while vital things like dental cleaning (Super Important for ones overall health) simply didn’t happen, even though repairs did. And I doubt cleanings would have happened, even with reminders, unless I’d been there to escort her to the appointments.
Other snippets and observations:
  • Mom said she was dizzy as we walked back to the car, and blamed it on having been reclined in the dentist’s chair. She seemed OK, and didn’t act impaired otherwise.
  • Mom asked if my daughter had a spare room in her house, to which I replied, “Not one she isn’t using.” Mom then continued, “If I can’t stay with you, or her, staying at a motel for a few days is a lot less expensive than this place (meaning the AL community).” I don’t know what event she thinks is going to require her to stay close to us for a few days, but make it inconvenient to return to the community. This came up twice. 
  • She brought up selling the Mainland house, and actually spoke fairly coherently about the ‘burden of its costs given my circumstances.’ Just then the waitress brought our food, and I thought I was off the hook. Mom jumped right back on board, but at a different angle. She asked what houses rented for in the neighborhood, and then asked what the mortgage was. I let this play out. It ended with her agreeing that leasing the house was a good idea, as the house is a good investment (yes, I know we’ve been down this path before, but both mom and I have come a long way…). She said she’d like me to look into it. Next time it comes up, I’ll tell her the house is leased, just like she wanted. 
  • She asked if I’d met her cat.
  • Mom asked, “You have a birthday coming up, don’t you?” I sure do. It’s tomorrow. I’m glad she had it in her sights. I told her we’d all get together and celebrate after my daughter stops traveling for work. She cycled on this a few times… “When are we getting together?’ “All of us?” “Where?” It’s more involved than my kid’s work schedule… It’s also our travel schedule, but I’m not tossing the fact we’ll be out of town into the blender yet. She said she had a present for me upstairs, but it was unwrapped. She didn’t remember this, and I didn’t remind her.
  • As I stood up from lunch, needed to head out, mom uttered, “I want to get home.” I said, “I know.”
  • As we walked out through the dining room, she introduced me to her ‘friend’ and her friend’s husband. As much as she wants to go home, she has her people where she lives now.
  • I ended up needing to drive my coupe to run the morning’s errands (picking up glasses, and the drug store too) with mom as my husband’s car was running rough, and flashing its ‘check engine’ light at me. Mom navigated getting in and out pretty well, and the universe provided me with parking spaces where she could let the heavy door fly, if necessary, without it hitting anything! This may sound trivial, but it’s actually kinda huge, and I’m thankful.

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