Friday, August 26, 2011

Bizzy Backson.

(Does anybody else remember that bit from "The Tao of Pooh"? I can't believe parts of that book are still taking up space in my memory.)

Today I have an appointment with Dr. Crane. I'm not sure what, exactly, is going to happen, except that I'll get my sinuses scoped (ohboy) and probably get an appointment set for yet another MRI and PET scan later on in the fall. No matter how big a pain in the ass being a CANSUH patient is, the follow-up is a bigger pain in the neck.

Speaking of pains in the neck, Dr. Elf started the molding process for The Final Bug yesterday. Here's what happens when you're having a Bug molded to the Giant Hole in your head:

First, the doctor will inspect your teeth and decide that, like a large farm animal, you need to have bits ground off of some of them. This will make it easier to hitch the wires on the prosthetic to your teeth later. If you're like me, with a relatively good set of teeth, the doc will have to grind quite a bit (WHEEEEEEZZZZ goes the dremel tool) to make the wire grooves. It doesn't hurt, but it is annoying, and leaves you feeling like you have bits of things stuck in your teeth. It also takes a surprisingly long time to do, as he's going micrometer by micrometer.

After that, as you're still in the comfy dentist's chair, you relax--until you hear the doctor say "We're going to need rope. Lots of rope." You wonder what "rope" is, and why they'd need a lot of it, and are relieved to find out that it's wax rope, meant to take impressions of your teeth for the obturator mold.

The rope goes into a metal widget that's shaped like a horseshoe, but hollow. That gets shoved into your trap and held there for a few seconds, so that your teeth can make a good impression.

Then comes the alginate molding. This is the truly annoying part of the process. Alginate is this pink stuff that's made, I think, of seaweed. It's sticky as hell, has to be very, very cold when it goes in (in order to hold a clean impression), gets *everywhere*, and tastes foul. Seriously: I had it in my ears before they were done.

The doctor cranks the chair back until you're lying feet up, head down at about a 25-degree angle, then instructs you to tip your head back as far as possible. Then he goops alginate all over the front and back sides of your teeth (mmph) and shoves another horseshoe thing into your mouth, full of a shockingly huge amount of alginate. This is meant to take an impression of The Defect.

The effect is like being gagged with Play-Doh. Luckily, the surgery left me without much of a gag reflex, so I was able to lie there without panicking and meditate on the wonders of medical technology. Once Dr. Elf waggledwiggledyanked the the mold out of my mouth, I was much happier.

Dr. Elf showed me on a plaster mold what he wants to do with the final, definitive obturator. In order to cut down on the bulk, he wants to make the front of the thing metal, and smallify it by about two thirds. He'll do that by leaving the area immediately behind my front teeth free of obturator: I'll have a sort of hourglass-on-its-side bit of metal that hooks to my back teeth with the speech bulb attached.

This is good for three reasons: First and most importantly, the whole contraption will be lighter. It won't fall down on the back of my tongue and make me sound like a retainer-wearing kid with a bad cold. Secondly, it'll take up less space and thus theoretically be more comfortable to wear for long periods of time. And third--and more important to him than to me--it'll be hooked to teeth further back, so nobody will be able to see the wires unless they're really looking. I don't mind the wires, but he wants a good aesthetic result as well as a good functional one. *shrug* Whatever, dude. You're the perfectionist.

Dr. Elf also sprang what could be a fun thing or a wearing thing on me: He's giving a talk to some otolaryngologists later this fall and wants me to come be a show-and-tell for people without palates. I told him I'd be happy to sit up straight, mind my manners, and let doctors shine lights into my mouth. He said he'd let me know when and where this thing is happening.

So! Three weeks until the TerminatorMouth comes back from the molding company, then more fittings and filings and grindings of plastic. I was a little disappointed that I won't get a glittery My Little Pony Palate, but TerminatorMouth is a good second choice.

5 comments:

Lioness said...

Behave! Don't bite the nice people.

messymimi said...

Read the Tao of Pooh in college, but it's been too long; i do remember the original line in Milne, though.

Hope your final obturator does all the doc and you expect, with no glitches.

bobbie said...

Isn't "Bizzy Backson" from "The Te of Piglet"?

Anywhooo ~ the rest sounds like a barrel of fun. Not. YAY for you for persevering!!

Lynda Halliger-Otvos said...

The fortitude you possess makes an amazing role model for other patients who have to walk this path.

wv cultra culture with a feminine bent

Mary said...

Bizzy Backson is from old school Milne... not sure which, but it's a memory from childhood, and we weren't hip enough to have 'Tao' or 'Te' of anything...

My brother used Bizzy Backson as his character when we played Botticelli last summer, the bastard. (Botticelli, if you're not familiar, is the ultimate summer family game for nerds like us, and I think you would kick ass at it - which I mean as a highest compliment!)

Good to hear things are still moving forward Jo, and thanks as always for your incredible humor and honesty. Wish Hallmark made a card for "congratulations that the thing in your mouth will be smaller soon."

xo, Mary (aka not so eloquent anon)