“We’re Making Progress Now”

Before retiring from the Air Force in 1998, I was sent to the base Dental Clinic to receive my end-of-service check-up and treatment. It included replacing all seven of my crowns with gold ones, because “these should last you for the next 20 years.” Ten years later the crown on tooth #19 came off. Fortunately, I was able to simply pop it back into place, and babied it while chewing, flossing, and brushing. As it happened, we were visiting the Gomez family in Hollywood, FL, so Michael recommended his current dentist, and off I went. His dentist replaced it with a new porcelain crown but warned me that it probably wouldn’t last very long because there wasn’t much left of the tooth beneath. Great!

During the summer of 2022, I began to feel the porcelain crown rocking and quickly reverted to my well-honed babying techniques. Mostly, I simply chewed on the right side. Since, we planned on wintering in Carrollton, TX, I figured I’d have the tooth examined during my annual check-up. Son Jon recommended his dentist, and off I went. In addition to the rocking crown, x-rays showed there was decay on the tooth and the dentist recommended either of these two options: pull the crown, fix the decay, and place a new crown; or pull the crown, extract the tooth, and insert an implant before placing a new crown. She said the correct option couldn’t be determined until she could see the condition of #19.

Unfortunately, further dental work was temporarily delayed because I had shoulder surgery. During post-surgery physical therapy, I aggravated the stenosis of my cervical disks and began suffering from dibilitating nerve pain. Another surgery was required. Because neck surgery wasn’t scheduled until later that winter, I returned to the dentist to have the crown pulled and determine how to proceed with #19. Alas, the nerve pain had gotten so bad I couldn’t sit comfortably long enough for her to pull it. Oh, and believe me she tried! At that point, she recommended I let the crown rock and roll until I was fully healed from the neck surgery, then try again. By that time; however, we were back on the road.

Jump ahead to September 2023. We were back in Carrollton for two weeks, and I contacted the dentist to hear if anything could be done. Unfortunately, her answer was nothing, because regardless of which option was necessary, we weren’t in town long enough to complete either one. Okay, no big deal. In November, once we were settled in Washington for the winter, I researched local dentists and based on their high rating picked “425 Dental,” and off I went.

I had my annual prophy done first and really thought the treatment and staff were top notch. Drs. Oleg and Nikole Shvartsur (lovely husband and wife team) examined me and made the same recommendation for the rocking crown as the Carrollton dentist. This increased my confidence level. They referred me to their on-staff, board-certified oral surgeon, who only four days ago extracted #19 and inserted an immediate implant. MFI recommended I try “laughing gas” in addition to the local numbing shots, since the procedure was shcedule for 90 minutes. She said I wouldn’t feel any different really, just wouldn’t care what was happening. So I did!

During the surgery, they stopped the procedure to give me a rest. I was surprised at how talkative I became. I told the surgeon that no less than three times already he’d exclaimed, “We’re making progress now“! He laughed and said he didn’t want me to think he was just drilling in there for fun. I told him I was definitely going to be blogging about this and hoped it was alright to quote him. He immediately reminded me, “That’s Doctor Paul Chang.”

And some on-the-road philosophy.

We all have our favorites where we live: dentisits, restaurants, coffee shops, grocery stores, hardware stores, gas stations, drug stores, eye doctors, hair salons, barbers, and the list goes on. We choose them based on the quality of the service and products they provide and the relationships we develop with the people involved. Having these reliable favorites provide our lives with comfort, stability, less stress, and sometimes even joy. However for us, “where we live” changes as often as every 3 days. Thus, we’ve found it difficult to develop favorites. As a result, we’ve had good and not so good experiences in almost every retail category.

Here’s a recent example of the not so good. We frequently passed a restaurant called Cafè Mimee in Snoqualmie, WA and wanted to try it. After four failed attempts, because the posted hours were not being honored (despite the OPEN sign always being displayed), we finally caught them open for lunch. While our sandwich was excellent, the coffee and service were not. We ordered macaroons for dessert from the incredible assortment on display, but they tasted stale and flavorless. We agreed on not having to dine there ever again. But at least we tried it, right?

The Cafe is circled in the middle of this photo, historic downtown Snoqualmie with Si Mountain in the background. (Photo courtesy of a local photographer.)

On the flip side, we recently had a good experience at one of our go-to Starbucks in Klahanie, WA. We befriended two baristas, Nick and KC, and frequented the store often enough that Nick showed off by reciting our order without our input. Sadly, we heard the store is scheduled to close in a couple weeks. While enjoying our coffee yesterday, Nick approached and gave us each a $25 gift card and thanked us for being loyal customers. Completely unexpected.

Klahanie Starbucks sign and roof with impending rain/snow storm looming.

The key for us has been to stay flexible, learn from the not-so-good experiences, revel over the good ones, and look forward to what the next stop will bring. To do otherwise would likely drive us crazy.

Male member of the BunMack team. Happy to be Ms Fix It's lovely assistant on past and future projects. Maybe I'll learn some skills along the way. 69 years old when this adventure began, with expectations to help family and friends with their projects, see great sights along the way, and enjoy our life together.

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