Wednesday, September 17, 2014

40 Years . . .

My 40 year high school reunion is in two weeks. There will be a gathering.  It's highly unlikely that I will attend.  High school . . .   I would not go back to that time for all the tea in China.

I made it through all four years, and I was a good student.  I sang all four years and got into the Concert Choir when I was still a Junior.  I solo'd in the V-Show (annual variety show) Junior and Senior years. I learned to speak French.  And I got to study photography Senior year - I entered two of my photos in a local show, and they were both accepted, winning a third place and an honorable mention (pretty thrilling back in the day - and no one else got two photos in the show  :-) ).  I had one date in high school, so not a popular girl. I never went to a dance or a prom.

When I say I made it through all four years, I mean that I was able to go to the same school.  We moved often as I was growing up.  We even moved once during high school, but it was only a block away, so I stayed in the same school district.

I was bullied in both junior high and high school.  We didn't call it bullying back then - bullies were big cowardly guys who used their fists.  No, it was more being made fun of.  So easy to do to the homely new girl who wore glasses and was not stick insect thin.  I wasn't a jock, I wasn't a nerd, I wasn't a greaser, I wasn't a stoner - I didn't have a clique to fit in with.  I was just an average kid - but a new kid.  I cannot imagine being in high school now - it was hard enough back in the 70s without texting or FaceBook.

The school I went to was huge - there were more than 1,000 people in my graduating class.  I didn't know most of them.  Most of the friends I made were through music, and through the youth group at church.  However, I had very little in common with most of the kids I went to school with, and most of their friendships had been forged in elementary school - kids who had known each other pretty much all their lives.  I think it's pretty telling that I have only one friend from those days with whom I remain in touch.  We are actually very dear friends and it is nice to have a friend who has known me for so long.

My mom was a single parent, and she worked.  This was not common in the affluent suburb in which we lived - where she had moved so I could go to a great school.  I had wanted to be in the annual school musical every year, but I never got in (and one year the school choir director told me not to bother because I was "too fat" for the bare midriff costumes)  - it was also very, very political, and the choir director at church (who was in the know about these things) told my mom that I never would be in the musical because my mom was not wealthy.  So, I had to be content with solos in the V-show.  I liked V-Show.  A lot.  :-)  The Thespian Society did a short play every year, and my Senior year they did Winnie the Pooh - it was presented at local grade schools.  I was Pooh.  That's the closest I ever got to any theater before I majored in it in college.

All told, high school is not something I have any interest in revisiting - no glory days on the athletic field, no wondering about old boyfriends.  I've never gone to a reunion.  I do like seeing photos, though - I confess that I take guilty pleasure in seeing how some of the classmates I recognize have aged . . . most of them didn't get the memo about good sunscreen and a hat  ;-)  Interestingly enough, I got the worst sunburn of my life on a youth group visit to the Michigan Dunes.  It was the 70s.  We were all trying to get tan.  Never mind that I was NEVER going to get tan.  Baby oil was the tanning accelerant of choice back then . . . my friends put a peace sign on my stomach with sunscreen . . . not only did I have second degree burns (with the blisters) over my entire body, I had a white peace sign for a really long time . . .  I'm lucky my face didn't scar.  My entire body peeled - I'm actually surprised I didn't have to go to the hospital.  I did have to spend the rest of the summer in jeans and long sleeved clothing, because just being in sunlight was painful - through my clothes.  I'm sure that little event will come home to roost at some point at a dermatologist visit, but I digress.

There is a small gathering of theatre people the same night as the reunion, in the same location.  I have been personally invited to that, and there is a part of me that is considering going.  But I probably won't.  A combination of wishing I looked better than I do (common, I believe  ;-) ) and the anxiousness of revisiting a time in my life that was supremely difficult. We'll see . . .

In a year that produced some truly awful music ("You're Having My Baby," by Paul Anka.  I rest my case.), 1974 gave us what is probably of my all-time favorites:

Enjoy.  And get up and dance, will you? :-)

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Cautiously Hopeful . . .

I went back to the special sleep dentist on Wednesday August 20th to pick up my newly adjusted dental appliance.  I was worried that it wasn't going to work.  But it is.

This time around, it was set to 4 instead of 6, and I was to wear it for a week without making any changes in the setting at all.  If you to go this page, you can see what my appliance looks like.  It's the Flex - the first one on the left.  You can see that there is a little metal gear box on the upper jaw piece - that's the part that is adjustable (on both sides).  You slowly move those gears to adjust the device.  Those fangs on the bottom jaw piece rest against the little gear box piece, and that's what keeps your jaw and tongue from falling backwards and obstructing your airway.

Like I said, I was worried that it wouldn't work.  The two weeks without it were worse than ever in terms of quality and quantity of sleep.  I asked the dentist about this and she advised that that was normal.  I'd had a taste of good sleep the first time around, and even though I was in pain, at least I was sleeping well.  Losing the appliance for two weeks was awful. 

Anyway, I was cautious.  The first night went OK.  My SnoreLab score dropped immediately from the 40s-70's down to 12.  That was encouraging.  By Friday morning I was still fine.  No headache.  No earache.  This was the point the first time where I was already in substantial pain, so I was further encouraged.  I made it through the first week without incident, and my SnoreLab score stayed in the 10-12 range.  I did an email check in with the sleep dentist and told her that unless she objected, I was going to make two turns on the device and see how it went.  She said that was fine.

So, I made two turns on each side, and hoped for the best.  Four days later, I made two more.  And with that second set of adjustments, I really began to feel the effects of better sleep.  :-)  I saw my regular dentist on September 3rd for a cleaning, and then had another follow up visit with the special sleep dentist the following day. 

I have not had the headache this time, and although I have had a small amount of sensitivity in my right ear, it's minor and not a patch on what was happening at the initial setting.

To get back to the initial setting I started with on the device, it will take 14-15 turns on each side, and where before she wanted me to make 3-4 turns every 3-4 days, this time we're going for 1 turn every 4 days.  This is much less aggressive, and so far, it's working really well.  I learned a little more about the device and how to take the best daily care of it - there's a lot to learn all at once  :-)  and now I also have a special toothpaste that I have to use at night that helps keep my teeth strong being covered by the appliance all night now. 

So - no headache, only occasional and very minor ear sensitivity, and my lower jaw is moving back into position in the mornings much more easily, which means that the inflammation is at bay.

The only downside to all this is that I felt so much better after a couple of weeks of better sleep that I had enough energy to start walking again in the mornings.  Why is this a bad thing?  Well, I got on the treadmill for 40 minutes.  I know I should have done 15 or 20 at the most.  But I did 40.  And it caused a flare up of plantar fasciitis in my left foot. 


That happened this past Wednesday.  I knew what it was right away this time, and started on my anti-inflammatory and iced it.  I did cancel a trip to Colorado this weekend because I knew I wasn't going to be able to be as mobile as I had planned, so that sucked, but I can tell that I caught it right away this time.  The pain is gone, and the majority of the swelling has gone done, but I can tell it's not 100% so I'm taking it very easy. 

Walking outside or on a track - way better than the treadmill that keeps me at a constant steady pace, forcing a repetitive motion and heel strike that just isn't ok for me.  I'm hoping to find a way around that at some point, but for now, while it's still nice out, I'll be walking in the great outdoors or at the club on the track. 

So, I'm cautiously hopeful about pretty much everything today  :-)

And I'm going to leave you with some Bowie today - one of my favorites of his catalog.  We are our own heroes . . . (and in case you don't know, the wall he refers to was the Berlin Wall . . .)