Drawing A Line In The Enamel With A 7.2 Blood Sugar Level

“Everybody pauses and stares at me, these two teeth are gone as you can see. I don’t know just who to blame for this catastrophe! But my one wish on Christmas Eve is as plain as it can be. All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth, my two front teeth, see my two front teeth.”
“All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth”; Kraig Hohf, 1944.

Tooth enamel is the hardest and most highly mineralized substance of the body…
“Tooth Enamel”; Wikipedia

“I spent half my life thinking dying was the most important thing I could do… or — at least — that dying was my most likely accomplishment. What the fuck did I care about what shape my teeth were in? Who knew, ten years ago or fifteen years ago that I’d be here ten years later or fifteen years later needing to have a tooth pulled so my jaw doesn’t get infected which will require even more surgery?”
“When You Spend 6570 Consecutive Days Wanting To Kill Yourself The Little Things Get Neglected… Like Dental Hygiene”; Me, June 13, 2007

“This morning it also felt as though the swelling had pushed the tooth up a little. So I found a way to the emergency room so I could get some antibiotics. The last time something like this happened I waited a week before getting to see a doctor and I ended up losing the tooth. This one doesn’t feel as severe as I remember the last one being, but I don’t have enough teeth left to be dicking around anymore.”
“Searching For A Better Tooth”; Me, November 30, 2008

I’m keeping my tooth. This was not the plan. At some point in the next few months it will probably have to come out, and it still wobbles like a Weeble but it’s still in my head where it’s supposed to be.

The plan was to have it pulled, but the plan was made three weeks ago when I was popping Extra Strength Tylenol, and then ES Advil, like Smarties. All because another one of my lower molars had loosened and become infected.

It was almost like the tooth had been pushed upwards by the infected gum, so when I bit or chewed anything I was driving it down into the sore. Then I upgraded to prescription strength acetaminophen and clindamycin for the infection. And as the infection subsided the tooth slid back down to where it’s meant to be.

When I made the decision I was actually sitting in the dentists chair, with that paper bib chained around my neck, waiting for the freezing to kick in. I kept thinking “yeah, it’s still tender, and the roots are so close to the surface there’s a definite issue with heat and cold… but fuck it, I want my tooth.”

.

This would have been the fourth one in less than two years, so I don’t think the dentist was entirely surprised I was rebelling. She agreed keeping it wouldn’t be a bad idea as long as it wasn’t infected or painful.

I still, however, have periodontitis, which is the underlying problem (the root as it were). Which means the tooth which got the reprieve is still irreparably damaged, and there’s still the possibility more teeth will become infected.

Canadian Academy of Periodontology: In almost all cases, periodontitis starts with gingivitis. In susceptible patients, plaque and tartar will cause irritation of the gums and bone loss. Bone loss means the support of the tooth is reduced. Uncontrolled continuation of bone loss leads to tooth loss. When periodontitis is present:

1. Pocket depth increases due to swelling and bone loss.
2. The gums may bleed more easily when touched.
3. The supporting bone level is reduced around the tooth.

Uncontrolled periodontal disease is a common cause of tooth loss in the adult population.

According to my dentist and my family doctor there’s basically only one way to prevent my mouth from looking like I’ve spent ten years cooking methamphetamines in a trailer out in the woods. Brush, floss and brush again using a paste made from baking soda and hydrogen peroxide… which, ironically, is also a primary ingredient in meth.

So basically what I’ve been doing for the past few months, and should have been doing for the past thirty-eight years.

…trying to do for the past few months would be more accurate. I haven’t gotten the whole schedule down quite yet.

[A] person with periodontitis can experience significant destruction of tooth-supporting bone, ultimately resulting in tooth loss. Poorly controlled diabetes is an important risk factor for periodontitis, and gingivitis and periodontitis are sometimes the first sign that a patient has diabetes. [I]t is important that patients with diabetes practise good oral hygiene and have regular dental check-ups so that problems can be detected quickly.

And that’s where I finally drew the line. The diabetes I’ve left untreated for so long, the disease which has been eating away at my heart and my mouth and everything else… the disease which could have taken my feet, my hands and my life… is finally under control.

That’s right. My Type Two Diabetes is under control. Moth. Er. Fuck. Er. I got a 7.2 reading on my metre today. A seven point fucking two. Three weeks ago I was bouncing between 12 and 18. Three weeks before that I couldn’t get below 24. Six months ago I was trapped between 26 and 33+. Eight years ago I was an eighteen.

Today I’m a seven point two.

The difference comes from a pill called “metformin”, which I take 1500mgs per day along with 20mgs of glyburide… actually the difference comes from me taking it, and taking it properly. And months of no crappy sugar infested foods.

Seven point two. You know what that is? That’s fucking normal. I haven’t had a normal blood sugar reading in… ever.

Left untreated the manic depression made it impossible for me to care about, or care for, my teeth or my body in general. Left untreated I was unable to make enough money for a proper diet, so I was left with fructose, glucose, processed white flour, fake juice and Slushies.

Left untreated the diabetes tore into my body, left untreated my gums weakened and became infected and then diseased. Left untreated I didn’t give a fuck about any of it because I was so busy believing I would be dead soon.

Funny thing about leaving problems untreated… when you finally start to treat the problems they get better. It might take a year, or four, to slow the damage to a crawl. Then another year, or four, to reverse the effects. But taking another step after the last one gets you that much closer to where you want to go.

Four years. That’s how long I’ve been treating the manic depression. I finally gained the insight and ability to start taking care of myself physically two years ago, including getting my teeth cleaned and checked regularly. One year ago I started treating the out-of-control diabetes.

And now, after losing three teeth in a year to a disease left untreated for at least a decade, my gums are healing and the diabetes is under control, so the chances of me losing any more is dropping every freaking day.

So Merry Christmas to me. I’ve got all the teeth in my face tonight I woke up with, and I’m a 7.2… seven point two.

.

.

About Gabriel...

...diagnosed with manic depression in 1989, for the next 14-years I lived without treatment or a recovery plan. I've been homeless, one time I graduated college, I've won awards for reporting on Internet privacy issues, and a weekly humour column. In 2002 I finally hit bottom and found help. I have an 8-year old son, and a 4-year old son... I’m usually about six feet tall, and I'm pretty sure I screwed up my book deal. I mostly blog at saltedlithium.com....
This entry was posted in BiPolar Christmas, Bipolar Disease, Bipolar Disorder, crazy people with no pants, Diabetes, Health, Living With Depression, Living With Manic Depression, Manic Depression, Punk. Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Drawing A Line In The Enamel With A 7.2 Blood Sugar Level

  1. exactscience says:

    That’s great news about the glucose level.
    Keep on getting better.

  2. Gabriel... says:

    Great news? Maybe I should’ve used all caps…

    Dude, anything higher than a ten for a prolonged time is at least taking time off your life span, and at worst basically a slow death. Diabetes kills people… like totally dead. I was in the twenties for at least a year, probably/definitely a lot more. The inflammation of my gums thanks to the periodontal disease causes heart disease. Combine those two with the health problems I’ll also have from the 18+/- years of chronic and sustained depressions and I will die sooner rather than the later I was hoping for.

    A large chunk of the depressions I’ve been facing this year have been due to the diabetes and the teeth being pulled from my head. And now I’m seeing daylight for the first time in a long, long time.

    Because the clinical and random depressions are under control, the diabetes is now under control and the mouth stuff is getting under control. And with all of them under control my body can begin to heal from all that damage. So maybe I do get to live a little longer than I thought just a few weeks ago.

    This isn’t just great news… this is the GREATESTFUCKINGNEWSI’VEEVERHAD. JEREMIAHWASABULLFROGANDHESANG JOYTOTHEMOTHERFUCKINGWORLD. FUCKYEAH.

  3. nursemyra says:

    FANTASTIC news Gabe. and I’m amazed that you don’t have any fillings at all in your teeth. if I took a photo of my mouth open like that you would get an eyeful of amalgam – all my molars have fillings in them and I take good care of my teeth!
    admittedly they were all done when I was a child but every so often a filling falls out and I have to get a crown to replace it. Crowns cost $1000.00 here in australia and I’ve got three of them.
    enough about my teeth – delighted about your blood sugar count FANTASTIC fucking news

  4. Gabriel... says:

    Thanks Nurse Myra, and thanks Scott. I hope it didn’t read like I didn’t appreciate your comment.

    I actually took the photo in the bathroom at the dentist office. It was meant to be my last goodbye to the tooth, the idea being I’d take an after shot of the gaping wound in my face. Would’ve been cool.

    Most of my fillings are on the edges, and on the top. I actually have one on the top back left that’s basically just a filling. But the dentists I’ve been using for the past couple of years use a material that basically looks like the tooth, so there could be thirty fillings in the photo and we’d never know where.

    The first tooth to come out of my head last year had a crown on it… it cost about the same, but thank God work covered it.

    FANTASTIC fucking news… yes. TOTALLYFANTASTICNEWS… UNBELIEVEABLYFANTASTICNEWS… IT‘SABEAUTIFULDAYNEWS.

  5. XUP says:

    Awesome! I hate teeth. I’ve had tons of teeth issues, too. One thing after another. Last night a big chunk of the inside of a molar chipped off so who know what costly reconstruction is involved in fixing that. But, yes…no matter how much we abuse our body, it is always eager and willing to repair itself with a little diligence from us. It’s a Christmas miracle, really!

  6. Ain’t it the tooth!

    And Fangs for the memories!

  7. Immi says:

    YAY!!!!
    I hadn’t thought about it but getting treatment for bipolar and actually starting to care for my teeth happened right about the same time. I’m still in the cleaning up stage and need another crown, but it’s better. I had my teeth cleaned last week and for the first time in like forever I only had one pocket in my gums. Woo hoo!
    So I can totally relate to the whole concept. YAY for you!!!!

  8. dame says:

    Congrats across the board. Each step up has you climbing flights. Atta boy. You inspire lots of peeps.

    Happy holidays. (No sugary Bailey’s, though.)

  9. CONGRATS ON THE 7.2!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    (now, considering someone who only writes in small caps – you know I’m yelling that one to ya!)

    Actually, regarding the sugar – I, like most people, did the high protein – low carb thing awhile back and it forced me not to eat anything sugary. Surprising thing was, my taste buds just stopped craving it. Period. Now, when I think about eating something sugary, my mouth starts to salivate, but not in a good way.
    Like caffeine though, there’s a huge withdrawal at first, but it gets better.
    But mmmm, I do miss those 7-eleven Mountain Dew and Coke Slurpees….
    Keep up the good work – and watch out for the Christmas cravings!

  10. Gabriel... says:

    FREAKINGRIGHT… HAPPYHAPPYJOYJOY… I just took it again and it’s 7.3… SEVENPOINTFREAKINGTHREE… HOLYCRAP. And I just had a bacon and egg burrito like ninety minutes ago… BACON… HOLYCRAP. It really is a Christmas miracle… BACON=7.3. YAY.

  11. bromac says:

    It’s really nice to see you so overjoyed. I am very happy for you.

  12. Congrats on the normal blood sugar levels. Also- kudos to having the courage and confidence to put a picture up of your mouth..lol..very brave indeed!

  13. Gabriel... says:

    Thanks TDR… I think I should have taken a few extra seconds with the clippers though. And thanks for the link, I think I’ll put it in my blogroll.

    I don’t know exactly how I feel bromac. Honestly. I haven’t told anyone in the real world yet, just here. For a long, long time it has felt like every time I start seeing some light, someone adds another twenty miles to the tunnel.

    Just in the past four years… as the manic depression became controlled, the clinical stuff started popping out, then the diabetes diagnosis, then the teeth started falling out of my head… so I haven’t been living with a whole lot of hope for a very, very long time. I honestly think I’m in shock right now.

    Just yesterday, before I got the 7.2 reading (7.2!!) I was still believing my life span was limited at best. I think my reaction to this is going to crystallize when I start telling my family peeps. I really think, at this moment, my life has changed with that reading. Strange. But still… SEVENPOINTFREAKINGTHREE… HOLYCRAP. AND I’M KEEPING MY FREAKING TOOTH…

  14. Hella Stella says:

    GO GABRIEL!!!! That is awesome news!!!

    Whew, that was a lot of exclamation marks…. I’m exhausted.

  15. Gabriel... says:

    Hi Claudia… MONKEYS ARE TOTALLY AWESOME.

    Hello Hella, and Clare and not-dame-anymore and Justin and XUP and Immi… it’s definitely exhausting using all-caps and exclamation marks, BUTSOTOTALLYWORTHIT… RAISEALITTLEHELL. Thanks for all the congratulations.

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  17. Oh! Oh! Oh!

    A) That top picture is now the front page on “unshavenguyswiththeirmouthsopen.com”!

    B) I thought this was a MENTAL health blog, not a DENTAL health blog!

    (sad.trombone)

  18. Gabriel... says:

    a. that domain is available. Count me surprised.

    b. don’t tell the judges, but I don’t even consider this to be a “Health Blog”. It’s my “Recovery Blog”. Which leaves it a little more open to a variety of topics… like beaver, death, hockey, Bettie Page, my hairline.

    sad trombone: whan, whan, whan, whaaan.

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