Thursday, June 27, 2013

It Was the Spring of Doctor Appointments

Earlier this year I was having problems with my salivary glands.  They were swollen and they hurt and I talked to the nurse at my endocrinologist's office, and then things seemed to get better.  And then they got worse again.

Sometime in May I realized that, now when my glands started to hurt, they were no longer swollen.  Which was actually too bad because when they were swollen the lemon drops and heat worked.  And now they no longer did.  More than that my mouth was so so so dry.  I was drinking a ton of water- especially when I was eating starchy or salty foods.  It was terribly uncomfortable.

I talked with my endocrinologist's office again.  This time, S. got me an appointment with a doctor in Shadyside who specializes in these issues.  Great, I thought.  This should take care of everything.  I've read online where people have had these problems, especially dry mouth, and they've been given medicine that stimulates their salivary glands and then life is much better after that.

The dry mouth in particular worried me.  I'm still in the process of getting an implant.  I've had three appointments- one in May and two in June.  First, they had to check my extraction site to make sure it was ok to do the implant.  Then, they had to do the implant.  then, two weeks later I had to go back to make sure that the implant looked ok.  I'll have to go back again in August to have the implant checked one more time, and then the same week I can go to my dentist's and get the crown.  Who knew it would take eight months to get an implant and crown?  Not to mention the two months prior of getting a root canal and then having it fail.  It's crazy.  This is my long way of saying I never want to fucking go through this again.  It's not painful so much as it just feels like it's taking up so much of my time, and time seems to be in short supply these days.  And I'm convinced that my salivary glands have not been working well for longer than I realized.  And that I think there is a very good chance that my salivary glands not working well and my dry mouth caused my tooth to go bad and sent me on this long, annoying journey of getting this goddamn implant.

Anyway.  I went to Dr. L.'s office two weeks ago.  He asked me a little bit about the problems I was experiencing, he asked when I had the radioactive iodine treatment, and he checked my salivary glands.  Then he told me that there was nothing he could or would do for me.

Apparently, 6-10 months post-rai is the peak time for patients to get dry mouth.  I was in month 10, and he was sure I was seeing the worst of it.  After that it should start to improve.  It can take up to three years, but he was pretty sure that things would return to normal, or almost normal, and at any rate I would be feeling better soon.  He said that there is medicine that he can prescribe, but the meds that stimulate your salivary glands also stimulate your sweat glands, and some people sweat a lot.  Like they're-guilty-of-something sweating.  And he didn't think that my glands were in such bad shape that I should need to resort to that.

In the meantime, fluids and Biotene.  Dr. L. recommends all the Biotene products, but S. seems to think the mouthwash is the only thing that works, so for right now that's all I have.  And, to be fair, my mouth has been feeling better this past week.  I still drink more when I'm eating.  But my mouth is feeling better between meals, and that's been a relief.

I've had two other routine exams this spring which went reasonably well.  And The Boy has had an appointment with an eye doctor- turns out he has eye alignment & tracking problems and it could be a reason he's having issues with reading, even though he's actually a pretty good reader.  So.  We're currently working on that with what amounts to physical therapy for his eyes.  My fingers are crossed that it works.  At any rate.  UPMC has made a nice chunk of change off my family this spring.  I feel like I'm far too young to have had this many doctor appointments within six months.  May I see less waiting rooms in the second half of this year.

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