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The Dime
The bathroom is a mess - the damage isn't as nearly as bad as we thought, but the cost sure is, as will be the cost to get it back together.

My automatic-transmission doesn't want to shift out of first if it's too cold. Acceleration is horrid, even after the car warms up. The whirling noise when I'm pushing 30 is scary.

The snow blower isn't working again. It's a seasonal ritual, apparently. So I get to bring that it and wait for the news, and then wait for the reimbursement from the association.

I'm pretty sure there's something wrong with my body, but in true Scandinavian fashion, I'm putting up a tough front because I don't want to go to the doctor and be told that my body is failing me. Or I fucked it up somehow. That I've fucked up a lot.

I've got to find time, money and inspiration to get my Xmas shopping done.

I'm grinding my teeth to nubs, per my dentist. I need a $900 nightly mouth guard because my problem is that bad. I don't have that money, insurance won't cover it, and plus I'm a little on edge all day long trying to make sure I'm not grinding while I'm awake.

My computer at home crashes about three times a day, depending on what sites I dare go to, or programs I try to run. Pandora, youtube, any map site, they're all out of the question.

But I need to remember that I have stable employment. A raise even, you selfish prick! I have a place to live that I can afford at the moment. I have a family to back me up if I fall on my face, and friends to help me forget that things seem to be crashing around my ears at the moment.

Still, I get stressed.

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Why don't you just get two athletic mouthguards (total cost about 20 dollars) and mold those to your teeth. Might not be pretty, but is prettier than 900 dollars.

Actually, you only need one. My occlusal guard only clips over my top teeth -- it's just to put a layer between your teeth so they don't damage each other. You'll eventually chew through a soft guard, but it's definitely better than nothing.

Would a cheaper guard also keep my teeth from drifting? I've got some twising of my front teeth as well (my original concern), and I wanted a nightly retainer just to keep it from getting worse, but they said that I would chew through it in mere months.

Sadly, no. A soft guard won't do anything to hold your teeth in place -- for that you need a fitted retainer.

$900 seems a little steep to me; I just got a quote from my dentist for a new one, and they told me $500. If you do decide to get one, it might be worth shopping around. My detist also mentioned that even if dental insurance won't cover it, medical sometimes does (it's a treatment for TMJ). You might call your health insurance and see if they could help you out.

Here's at least one thing that might help.

The colors, children! The colors!

It's an option. I just can't imagine why my dentist would suggest something for $900 if something cheaper would work - I've been seeing him since I had teeth.

Also? Go to the god-damned doctor.

Think of it this way -- bad news is bad news, but an undiagnosed, untreated problem will fuck you up just as badly, if not worse, than one that you're dealing with. There's not much that can't be treated well these days; not much that can't be managed.

(If you want someone to come and hold your hand, let me know. I'm available most weekdays; I know what scary trips to the doctor can be like.)

I really appreciate the hand-holding offer. Really, really appreciate it. I think that it's all in making the appointment, though, so once I'm through that, I can get myself there and lay it all out on the table. Thank you.

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