The EOY health report for 2023

The benefits of root canal

Sign by LP Green, 2021

Here’s the EOY health report for 2023:

Vision: I went for my eye exam on December 7. My doctor noted that, eventually, I’m going to need cataract surgery for both eyes, especially the left one.  I’m going to get a diabetic eye exam in six months. Why not at the time of my last visit? Because my eye insurance paid for one service, and my medical insurance will cover the other, I couldn’t do both simultaneously.

Meanwhile, I recognize I need more illumination. I couldn’t read the name of the third movie playing at the Madison Theatre from the Mobil station, which was far away. But it was after 4 pm, and the sun was on its descent.

Likewise, I was ordering a watch for my wife for Christmas because her extant timepiece ceased working. I could read the word TIMEX on her current item but not Indiglo below it. Well, not until morning, when the natural light from outdoors aided me. 

My wife told me that the last time she ordered glasses for our daughter at the same optometrist’s office, the spectacles were ready that day. Mine didn’t even start to be processed until the 13th, and it wasn’t ready on the 22nd when I called. I did not get them until after Christmas.

Heart: that thing is okay for another six months. No open-heart surgery THIS year. Yay. 

No children were harmed.

Knees: My always achy left knee has been particularly aggravating me. At church a couple of weeks ago, I was heading towards the loo when some small human unexpectedly zigzagged toward me. It was all I could do to avoid falling on top of said small human. That would have a headline: “Fat old man falls, crushes small child in front of church bathroom.” But not falling, I pulled something, not only in my knee but my left ankle.

I actively avoid falls. My insane cat, Midnight, runs in front of me into the kitchen two hours before he is scheduled to be fed. I don’t want a dead feline on my conscience, either.

Last week, my neighbors allowed a garbage can to be filled with water. Then they tipped it over, with some water puddling in front of our house, and then freezing. Fortunately, my wife put down rock salt. 

I’ve avoided getting a cortisone shot, determining that it only masks pain rather than truly treating it. But masking the pain may be the way to go if the discomfort continues into the new year.

Teeth: I had a cavity filled in November. When I went to the appointment, I misremembered it and thought it was just for a cleaning. The oddly comforting thing is that it didn’t hurt much after having a root canal in the area a few years ago. 

Thus endeth the report. 

The fair; the niece; the funeral

A Shade of Jade

In a five-day period last week, I had three medical appointments, went to the county fair, saw my eldest niece sing, and sang at a funeral.

Tues, Aug 15: I went to the dentist for a crown at around 10:20 a.m. This treatment was delayed twice, once by the dentist’s office in March or April because of a dentist leaving the practice.  Then I postponed it because I realized it was five days before going to France, and I would likely have mouth pain.

While waiting in the office – they were running late -I received a phone call from my gastroenterologist’s office, telling me there was an opening for a follow-up appointment today at 3 pm, so I took it.

I hate talking on the phone in public, as it feels rude. So I was speaking so softly that the GI office caller couldn’t hear me.

Because I have had a root canal where the crown is being put on, the novocaine injection didn’t hurt much. I had to remember to only eat on my left side. And by Friday, the pain required OTC pain medicine and Orajel.

I went downtown to the library talk, which was interesting but long, and the subject of its own post.

Among other things, my gastroenterologist’s office took a blood sample. This later revealed that my iron count was fine and good enough to donate blood, but my hemoglobin count was slightly low. More spinach!

After dinner, my wife and I went to the movies, which is its own story.

Le deluge

Wed, Aug 16: It was a lovely morning as my wife and I sat on the porch of a fellow choir member who would be speaking at Gladys’ funeral.

We went to the Altamont Fair, the county fair for Albany, Schenectady, and Greene Counties. It’s free on Wednesdays for seniors like me.

As we approached one Farm Equipment building, it began to rain. Then it began to pour. For about 20 minutes, we stayed in the building, listening to the torrent struck the metal roof. The operators in that building closed three of the four doors because the wind was bringing the water inside.

I’ve been attending events at the Fairground for over 40 years, and never have I seen the infield turned into such a sea of mud. There were six feet wide streams in some parts for a time and even more severe flooding elsewhere. Water got inside some structures. The equestrian events were canceled.

Still, we saw much of the event. I learned how to make lip balm: two parts beeswax to one part coconut oil, and one part shea butter. (BTW, Congrats, Chuck Miller.)

Salt City

Thurs, Aug 17: I went to my podiatrist while my wife had breakfast with former work colleagues.

Then my wife, daughter, and I traveled to Syracuse the attend the final Jazz in the City event. We go to the hotel of the performer, named Rebecca Jade, who I may have mentioned on these pages. We went to eat at the Salt City Market, a marvelous concept of several small food vendors under one roof. After dropping off RJ, we checked into a nearby hotel.

We drove the short distance to the lovely Thornden Park. Jazz in the City is a series of free public health events, so the vendors did blood pressure screenings, gave away COVID tests, dental products, etc. The opening act involved women dancing to funky tunes for their health.

Then Rebecca hit the stage. She was singing with a pickup band (keyboard, guitar, bass, drums, and occasional sax) she had met only the day before. The two 50-minute sets combined cover songs with original songs from her latest album, A Shade of Jade.

It would be perceived as avuncular bias if I were to gush about how good and professional she was. I will note she sold some albums to people who were NOT related to her.

We bought Jazz in the City T-shirts because Rebecca’s name and visage appeared thereon.

Afterward, she, a couple of organizers, and one of the musicians went to the bar of RJ’s hotel for a drink, and Rebecca also ate. One of the folks was taking her back to the airport for her 6:15 a.m. flight to San Diego via Charlotte. (Coincidentally, she’ll perform in the Queen City on September 22.)

Going home

Fri, Aug 18: My family went home. The day before, the eastbound traffic was at a standstill in two locations on the Thruway, but it was smooth traveling this day except for the mouth pain from visiting the dentist three days earlier.

Sat, Aug 19: I went to church to sing at the funeral of Gladys Crowder. There were 30 in the choir; 10 were former choir members who came back, one driving from Auburn, NY, 173 miles (248 km) to be there. Three current choir members had never sung with Gladys, but they were there because that’s just what choir people do. Everyone said the music was great,  and the service was lovely.

Afterward, I talked with folks I knew from Trinity, the former church of Gladys, Tim, my wife, and me, as well as current and former First Pres folk.

My wife and I went home and took naps.


It was the 4th of August

consult your tax advisor

keysAll of these events took place on the 4th of August. Or maybe one was on the 3rd. I’m retired, so the days blur…

I went to my dentists’ new office, inconveniently (for me) located in Loudonville, which is a suburb of Albany. The previous office was in downtown Albany, which required me to walk one block, take the #10 Western Avenue bus, then walk another block. Getting to the new place involved a bike ride, a bus ride (#125) to avoid the I-90 interchange, then a ride on Osborne Road, which is uphill almost all the way.

Alternatively, one could take the bus to frickin’ Corporate Woods (#737), but it runs at rush hour, but sparsely during the day.

I find the place – I THINK it’s the place, as the signage is unclear – but there’s the familiar receptionist. My dental hygenist took pictures of my teeth, which showed deterioration from the films taken 18 months ago. My former dentist was going to take some ameliorating actions in March or April of 2020, but then COVID. Then he retired. Bottom line, I’m blaming my cavity on the pandemic.

Klyuch is “key” in Russian

My daughter found a pair of keys. A tag from a fitness center less than a mile away was attached to the ring. So I rode my bike over to return them.

At the light, just before my destination, I heard a bunch of motorcycles, colorful, relatively lightweight ones. Four of them to my left in the two lanes, waiting, as I was, for the light.No big deal. But then another rider passed me on the right, and a compatriot rode in front of me then stopped, as the light changed.

I’m more puzzled than nervous. Then another rider flicked their hand, which was apparently a signal to let me pass. Hmm. Another dozen or more rode by me, many of them doing wheelies.

I return the keys to the center, which the guy at the desk, appreciated, and I went home. Should I have been nervous about the bikers? Did I get a pass because I’m an old black man? I dunno.

For the love of money

I’m rich, I tell you, rich! I received this email:

Google Plus Profile Litigation has sent you $2.15 USD.

Note from Google Plus Profile Litigation:

“This is your settlement payment as a Class Member in the Google Plus Profile Litigation, held in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose Division. This settlement payment has been calculated in accordance with the terms of the Settlement Agreement and Order Granting Final Approval of Class Settlement, Awarding Reasonable Attorneys’ Fees, Costs and Service Awards; and Entering Final Judgment which are located on the settlement website

“If you have questions regarding this payment, you may contact the Settlement Administrator at If your questions are regarding the tax treatment of this distribution, please consult your tax advisor. We cannot provide individual tax advice regarding this distribution.”

Oh, geez. It hadn’t occurred to me the tax implications of this payment, which I received via PayPal. I’d better contact my accountant right away, and sock some money into an escrow account.

August health report: root canal

I was pretty uncomfortable, living on antibiotics and extra-strength pain relievers, which provided only a modicum of actual relief.

On Wednesday, August 16, I had a scheduled appointment with my dentist first thing in the morning to fix a chipped tooth. But a couple nights earlier, I started to experience severe pain elsewhere, in tooth 19, for those of you keeping score.

So my dentist called an audible and had X-rays done. He saw nothing. I mean, he saw the tooth, but he couldn’t see anything wrong. So his office set me up to see an endodontist at 2:40 p.m. to fix it, find more info here.

At 12:20 p.m., I got a call from the orthodontist’s office office asking if I could come in earlier, say 1:10. And I could have caught a 12:25 bus and gotten there. But I said “no” because I wanted to finish the reference question I started, and instead kept the original appointment.

Unfortunately, they were running late. While there was time to take the pictures of my tooth, with much more detail – think an MRI, though that’s technically incorrect – there wasn’t time to do the necessary root canal. And the next opening wasn’t until August 31.

So I was pretty uncomfortable, living on antibiotics and extra-strength pain relievers, which provided only a modicum of actual relief. I muddled through work and a five-day vacation in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts.

What I discovered is that some food was OK – the obvious soft foods such as apple sauce and eggs. Cheese and sliced tomatoes were OK, if I ate them on the other side of my mouth. But some foods, such as broccoli and lettuce and raisin bran had the annoying habit of drifting to the wrong side of the mouth. MISERY!

Finally, the day of the procedure came. It’s not nearly as painful as it apparently was a generation ago. And while I was tired afterwards, and the mouth was sore from the manipulation, pain from the infection went away almost instantly. I still need to go back to my primary dentist to get the tooth capped. Visit this site if you have dental problems.

I’ll admit I now regret my customer service orientation at work that, as it turned out, cost me two weeks of unnecessary pain.

Family health report, July 2017: hammer toes

You start to feel better and you inevitably overdo.

The big story this summer is that the wife had surgery on the three middle toes on July 5. She had hammer toes. She didn’t have to do it now, but eventually, without being corrected, it might impact her mobility as she gets older.

The surgery was very successful. Her response, in terms of limited swelling, et al, was very good, her doctor told her at every followup visit.

One of the things we have both discovered, with my hernia surgery a couple years ago and her recent surgery, is that the cycle of pain is quite fascinating. Right after the surgery, when you get home, you feel really great. The anesthetic has not yet worn off.

Then the pain starts to creep in, and you better start taking that opiod right way, because if you decide to tough it out, it will take longer to get relief. But the prescription lasts only a couple days. It’s less than what you want, and you start taking the over-the-counter stuff, and for longer that you think, hopefully without ruining your liver.

You start to feel better and you inevitably overdo. The Wife is even worse in this regard than I. When she walked too much, and didn’t put her foot up, she is surprised how much it still hurts three or four weeks on.

Meanwhile, I chipped a tooth, for which I’m getting a filling on August 13. More significantly, both in terms of time, pain, and money, I’m getting a crown on September 13.

The Daughter noticed a mark in the whites of my right eye at the end of the month. It was a vertical red line that looks as though someone had drawn it with a Sharpie. The very next day, I went to my ophthalmologist, who said it was a broken blood vessel, and that it would resolve itself. It looked much worse than it felt.

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