A New Experience – Finally

For those reading this blog, you have read about my experience with the complete removal of my top teeth back in January to February. Today, I had the last appointment walking out with my new upper denture. This is going to be a new experience for me.

Like my mother, we both had problems with dental hygiene because of our smoking and coffee drinking. Back in 2000, most of my front teeth were crowned to prevent further decay. However, in 2018, it was determined the crown were failing, I had some loose teeth and it would be best to just pull them and get a full upper plate.

After a series of oral survey appointments, I sat down for my impression for my upper plate. Then COVID-19 struck. I was left with no upper teeth. I thought I would be embarrassed having a hard time eating, talking, etc. In reality, I had to change my diet a little (soft foods only) but managed as best I could day by day.

After a series of more appointments when the office recently opened, I finally received my upper dentures today. As mentioned by the dentist, I have to learn how to eat, how to speak, etc. I can’t even say my last name without slurring the words *chuckle*. One nice thing about these dentures is they aren’t like the old dentures requiring any adhesive. I just put them in, swallow and they’re in. I took them out to sleep and I won’t wear them at work just yet. I should only have to wear them periodically until my gums get use to them otherwise I may get sores.

So now this chapter in my life is closed. Honestly I’m not sure if I’ll return (except for adjustments) to the dentist for further work. He appears to be like others who treat managed care recipients one to do extreme work when its not necessary. But that’s another story.

I’m just glad this whole affair is over, yet a new one begins.

Gratitude for a Second Chance

At fifteen months of sobriety, I didn’t imagine I would be still living in a chemical dependency residential program. One would think by now, I would have moved on. But this just isn’t the case. Matter for fact, I will be here for a couple more months as I continue to take care of some dental issues.

Living one day at a time and practicing patience with the process can be difficult at times. Yet, I continue to believe I am here for a reason. Therefore I’m grateful for the continued support I receive while I go through this process, as frustrating and difficult as it may be at times.

Back in August, I finally stepped in a dental office to take care of some plaguing dental issues. I went through two surgeries, ten teeth extractions to remove “problem” teeth. I thought I was in the clear to move on with a partial denture and the rest of my life. Again, this wasn’t so. After going back to my regular dentist, they decided it would be best just to have the rest of my upper teeth all removed and a full denture placed. Back to the oral surgeon I went to schedule two more surgeries.

Monday, the first surgery was completed. Yesterday, I went for a follow up. I was surprised I was in no pain and cleared for the last surgery to be scheduled on November 20th or sooner (I’m on the cancellation list). Immediately after my appointment I got a call from the dentist to schedule the impression for my full upper denture in early January. There is a four to six week healing period after the last surgery. It’s my understanding after the impression is taken, again there is another lengthy period of time before the actual placement of the upper full denture. So, reality sets in as I may not be moving on until February or March of 2020. Despite this, I’m okay with it.

During this whole time I have seen a lot of people come and go for various reasons. Many leave on their own accord, only to relapse because they thought they were ready. They did what they wanted to do and they failed. I don’t want to be that person – again. As someone reminds me in meetings, “[this program] is the last house on the block for me. Either I stick with this time around or I may not be back and probably end up dead”.

I am not squandering this second change of changing my life, as this may be the last chance. I am grateful I developed “a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty”. I have learned, “Living on Life’s Terms” can be difficult at times. I don’t want to be here, I want to move on. Yet, I have to remember I’m here for a reason. Perhaps there are life lessons I’m getting a chance to refine before moving on. So, every day as I review my day I ask, “What lesson(s) did I learn today?”

The point I am trying to make is, no matter what life may throw at me, I have the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, a Higher Power, a Sponsor and a network of sober people to help me stay sober every day. Without these things in place, I know I would be dead or living a miserable existence. Instead, today I’m grateful to be alive and sober.