I started to write this as an update for Burning Mouth in the Time of COVID 19, but I realized it would be too long. Feel free to read that previous post since it lays out my thinking about checkups in a pandemic! Many doctors and specialists are moving to a mix of virtual and live appointments and for the most part, I think that may very well be the way of the future. However, if you have something they need to see, test, or feel to diagnose, don’t hesitate to press for an in-person appointment. They have protocols and PPE and are doing a great job of keeping everyone safe. Ask ahead what the procedures are, and you will either be reassured or decide to switch doctors!
That said, here is my update and what I experienced as I tried to catch up on my checkups.
The Annual Physical was protected and easy, and I was so glad I went in person (We have done a virtual follow up appointment.) because the little itchy, burning rash I had developed on my gluteus was not prickly heat. It was shingles! It was so mild because I had taken the Shingrex vaccine, but it gave me a hint of how extremely painful that could be.
I got tested for all the basic blood panels and a couple of extras. I found out I was low on D in spite of taking a D3 supplement (Did you know caffeine can reduce its effectiveness? I didn’t, but now I take my D3 at dinner when I have no caffeinated beverages.) I ended up with a tiny dose of statins for the cholesterol level that has climbed over the years and has now gone from over 200 to 150. A minimal dose of a diuretic, and blood pressure that had been climbing over time now averages 110/77. I still have much to work on physically, but I feel very encouraged.
We have our first grandchild coming in January and so I asked for an MMR titer to see if I needed a booster shot. Measles and Rubella were fine but there was no immunity whatsoever for Mumps. I got the first of two boosters immediately and will follow up in a month with the second.
My doctor recommended a mammogram and bone density screening since those had been put off and my experience with the radiology clinic was protected and safe. Everything came out normal, including my gradual bone density decline. Again, Vitamin D-3 and Calcium work together, and I had unknowingly been sabotaging my own supplements with my morning coffee. No more!
Dental exam – Again, all precautions were taken and I felt safe and well taken care of. Good news, that amazing floss I found is doing a great job and I had little tartar or gum recession. Bad news – one crown on my upper molar was splitting down the middle and my very old gold crown had developed a hole with a cavity under it. I needed to replace both, and fairly quickly since if that first crown actually came apart, it would be quite painful.
If you have read this blog at all, you know that I suspect dental procedures for starting my Burning Mouth Journey and dental work is not a happy place for me. In the past, a dental procedure as benign as cleaning could flare me for weeks or months, and actual dental procedures like root canals increased my burning for years. I was quite apprehensive on many levels.
I arrived for my crown preparation already sweating from stress and my dentist’s office put me at ease with their safety procedures, isolation from other patients, and explanation of the dentist’s personal safety procedures, and when we started the actual preparation, I asked for nitrous gas. You may or may not like nitrous, but for me, it keeps me from being as tense as a board and covered in sweat from the stress of being in the chair that long. The dentist gave one anesthetic shot after numbing the area first and I barely felt it. Then I felt no pain at all during the entire process.
I braced myself for the coming flare of burning mouth pain as the anesthetic wore off and although there was a little aching in my jaw…it didn’t happen. Seriously! No flare in my pain, no additional meds, and when I got my new crowns yesterday, although the teeth were sensitive that lessened as soon as the new crowns were set.
Unfortunately, I have been experiencing sensitivity and aching in my lower jaw on the same side, so I will be seeing an Endodontist to see what might be going on there. As you get older, it becomes more important to take care of your teeth if you possibly can.
Eye Exam – Sorry, still haven’t gotten to that, but it was definitely lower on my list of priorities!
How about you? Have you caught up at all on your yearly checkups? I hope so and wish you the very best!