Mary Beth Writes


My teeth again. Argh. This past week I’ve had a jaw ache/toothache that got worse instead of better. Today my dentist said I need a crown but also that’s not the thing that is causing the swelling and infection and ache. I now have an Rx for an antibiotic and an appointment for that crown and an appointment with an endodontist to get an Xray worthy of NASA.

Over the weekend I also called my sister-in-law who is an RN. Everything hurt and ibuprofen worked great but not for six hours. Emilie said to alternate ibuprofen and acetaminophen every three to four hours. And to drink a lot of water.

Her advice alleviated the pain. She didn’t charge anything.

What with covid subvariants multiplying like drunken bunnies and flight delays headlining the news, Len and I can just stay in the living room and say this was the plan all long.

I know I’m not the only person up against their own dang crumbling health. Len and I keep saying we are in good health, but actually, in this coming month, between the two of us, we have eight medical and dental appointment.  

When Len and I first started dating, we managed to do about two things per week.

I guess this is like that.


Last week (before my head fell apart) I took my two young friends on a nature hike. They are the wonderful girls I met via tutoring at the neighborhood school. I’m lucky to have them in my life.

They’d never been on a nature hike other than short ones with their school classes. We drove out to the park and I pulled into the small parking lot. We got out of the car, it was quiet and breezy and we were the only people there.

One of the girls looked up at the tall trees blowing in the wind and said, “Look at all those leaves just fluttering in the wind. It looks like a million green butterflies.”

What’s going right in your world lately?

Len went fishing last night with our son at Cherokee Marsh in Madison. You can't see it, but the outboard motor is a 1971 Mercury that Len worked on for a year - and fixed! If you look closely, you will see that there are reeds painted on the boat. Our son did that.  


Ugg to teeth and doctor appts. The pictures are gorgeous. M looks so much like Len.

I'm not in any pain except in the pocketbook. Today I went to my dentist to have a new crown put on a back tooth. During the process of removing the temporary crown my dentist knocked off the old filling by accident. It was a very old filling and it was by accident I need a root canal to build it up properly for the new crown. I see the dollars blowing out the window as I sit here in the living room contemplating how some people never get cavities. I think crappy, painful, expensive things happen and we have to enjoy the good times in between. Best of luck to you and Len with those upcoming appointments.
Mary Beth's picture

Argh! If the dentist damaged the old filling - one would think he would partially pay for the root canal. But then, the stolidly solidly moneyed folks seem to have ways to keep their cash and take ours. Yesterday, after the appt with the dentist, while waiting for Len to finish having his cleaning and checkup - I was talking to myself.. "Breathe, relax, it's just numbers. Money is just numbers." We all know this isn't 100% true, but when one has to have an unexpected root canal, better to believe money is just numbers.

We don’t have it. It seems like it costs a lot and doesn’t cover much. Does anyone have any strong opinions on buying dental insurance?

My husband and I, retired Postal workers, have a plan through the P.O. for which we still have to pay roughly $150 per month. It covers cleanings and check ups and around 40% of other work. Although it's expensive we keep it due to the ever emerging issues with our dental work from years ago (we're both in our 60s). Some years we come out ahead, other years we barely use it aside from cleanings.
Mary Beth's picture

Thank you for this. We talk about it but the one year we had it, it barely covered anything. It's helpful to hear your experience.

I spend a lot of time outside in my yard, mainly doing yard work. When I am feeling discouraged for whatever reason, I look around at the many butterflies, bees, iguanas , Ospreys; and most recently, a Hawk that visit my place, I am renewed. My goal was to provide "sanctuary," I think I have. That is going right in my world. My daughter finding a wonderful OT therapist for my grandson ( third attempt) has encouraged all of us. I hope you feel better soon. Patricia
Mary Beth's picture

... wrote to me last night. She said, "This was such a beautiful thing to read. Me and the girls love you guys so much, you're a blessing and we're so grateful to have you in our lives. Thank you for always spending time with the girls." To which I, MB, reply, "Those blessings and that gratitude goes both ways. Thanks, Friend."


We have it but my husband says paying the premiums is the same as prepaying for the services we get. Ours covers two cleanings and one checkup each per year. I once had a filing paid for! But not roots canals or crowns or appts with endodontists! It might pay a for something we have not yet experienced but I think I will pass on the experience.
Mary Beth's picture

Thanks. Yesterday the receptionist was scheduling my crown and said she couldn't finalize it until the 'preauthorization' was back, so probably I would need to wait a month. I reminded her I pay at the time of service so she scheduled me for two weeks out. I realized not having dental insurance has this weird (extremely expensive) perk - I don't have to wait for an insurance person to okay a procedure for which they would likely pay much less than half.

I think your Chinese fortune cookie would say: You are forever an optimist.
Mary Beth's picture

Made me laugh.. Thanks!

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My step-grandmother Ricky ate an apple every night. She’d sit on her bed, lean against the headboard, then chomp the apple after which she would remove her false teeth and lay down to sleep.

I haven’t really thought about Ricky in years but this week for no identifiable reason (because we were talking about unsung aspects of our lives?) I dreamed about her. I awoke one morning seeing her face as she stood in her dining room chatting with my mom and me. Ergo, I started thinking about her.

What's Ordinary in Your World?

This train photo is not cribbed from anywhere. It's a Genuine Leonardo. 


Hello and how are you? I am writing less and less as Len and I meander around to doctors, specialists, dentists, and that way-too-early appointment at the endodontist. (So far, we are fine.) The irony being that most of what we are attending to are the side effects of medications prescribed for stuff that didn’t hurt and we didn’t even know we had.

A Quiet Week

The cat in the picture is my daughter's cat, Nancy. Sometimes we all just need a quiet place to slow down and think.


Memory & Consequences


To remember hard stories truthfully requires bravery.


The picture is our wedding cake, made by my friend Karen, who drove it from Indiana to Chicago on the hottest day of that year. It was in the back seat so their two little boys had to ride in front (remember when kids could ride in front?). They got lost in the city but I didn't know that for years because Karen and her husband start early and had time to get lost and then figure it out. Sometimes wedded bliss is a lot of work. 

The following story and recipe is not about the wedding cake, but it is the photo I have...



How Do We Remember What We Remember?


The Jan 6 Hearings, huh? This is an amazing moment in US history and I’m trying to understand our incredibly intense response. Four of 10 voters have watched at least some of the hearings, which is 20,000,000 people. It’s not just me that can’t look away.

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