Friday, October 10, 2014


Crunch, crunch, CRUNCH!  Aaaah, my tooth! It was one of my molars... actually, two molars. Since moving back to the desert, this has happened more than once.  And, yes, twice is way too many times. Also, if you count the fact that this happened on two separate areas of the same tooth, well.  What is this this I'm going on about?  Hear me out, because I'd love to share my favorite crunchy foods, and maybe compare notes, but first this.

First of all, keep in mind that I've always feared going to the dentist.  I'm old... 50, so consider the fact that when I was having a mouthful of cavities filled as a little kid things were a bit... hmmm, creepy.  The dentist - a heavy smoker and coffee drinker, therefore gross smelling with horrendous breath; his waiting room - painted orange, green & really orange; the examination chair - designed for grown ups, not tiny third graders; the giant overhead lamps - that left me walking around with spots in front of my eyes on the bus rides home; the entire ball of wax, made for a miserable day.  To make matters worse, my 3rd grade teacher (she'll be mentioned again in the "crunchy" part of this post) even kept my appointments marked for every other Wednesday on the class calendar.  Wednesdays were spelling test days, and I'm pretty sure I was the best speller in class.  That calendar was directly over my desk. Fun, right?

So, there's that. Now, super-fast forward... "huuuuh".  That's supposed to be me quietly moaning. I'm in Colorado.  My family's dental needs are in the best of hands... until insurance benefits cease as a result of husband's job loss in 2007. Oh, and again when money was super tight in 2010 - long story.  It was during those rough periods that my body decided to have some sort of intolerably painful episode every now and then.  Twice it was my mouth causing the problem, but nothing a super expensive emergency extraction at the hands of a competent oral surgeon couldn't fix. Two separate occasions; two different doctors, and that was that.

Fast forward again. This time to 2012.  News junkie that I am, I have CNN on while I waste the evening away on Twitter.  Just like now, but not really; I used to follow a lot more news outlets. So this was me one night:  Hey, Jeremy Jojola from 9News Denver is tweeting story about some guy and his evil, despicable (my words) dental practices."  Hmmm, name sounds familiar. Oh, god!  What did he do?  When!  I've been to that guy's office.  He pulled my tooth!  He's done what?  A few days later: A letter.  Heart sinks. Something about if I'd been to this doctor during such and such time, I may have been exposed to HIV, HepB and/or HepC. Get tested. Call here for more info.  Me, furious; frightened.  Did I mention furious.  I was so glad I followed 9News and Jeremy, and vise versa.  I was able to have a reliable ear at a moment's notice. Everyone at the news station was great keeping me posted on what was happening with the investigation into allegations that this terrible person was putting patients at risk of infection due to the practice of reusing syringe needles... which cost only cents!  Eight hundred people received the same letter that I did. At that point we were reeling from nearly two-year long joblessness and a short few months away from losing our home, and all I could think was how was I supposed to pay for whatever cost might result from the whole thing.  Depression hit an all-time low. At least the County waived most of cost to get tested.  A week later; all clear. Whew! Fun, right?  NOT

Next jump in this timeline.  October: Can you spare a room, or two?  Our family, homeless. And for me, a hospital stay; thirteen days.  What did I do the entire stay? I munched on cup after styrofoam cup of crushed ice.

Another jump.  February: A house... The Place.  My family was together again after having been taken in by relatives.  All I wanted was to find some sort of normalcy now that my husband was working and we were okay.  One thing I wanted to do as soon as possible was to re-establish healthy eating habits.  What was I eating? Frozen fruit with yogurt every morning. Munch, munch, munch. Mmmm. CRUNCH! "huuuuh."  Whew! Only a piece of cracked molar that was more filling than tooth.  Still no dental benefits; I had to hope sensitivity in the area would be minimal. It was fine; I could tolerate it. Months later, tacos! Crunch, crunch, crunch, CRACK! Aaaaghhh... PAIN! I weeded through a mouthful of spit-out crispy chicken taco to discover a huge chunk of broken off filling and enamely bits.  Still no dental insurance, all I could do was be as careful as possible to keep from chewing food on the left side of my mouth.  That took some getting used to - both the pain, and chewing on the right side. Not too long after that incident,  mmmm... chewy steak. (Remind me to never again order steak at Applebee's, okay?). Chew, chew, chew, chew... crunch. Spit. Wow! A gaping hole with sharp edges at gum line. Yep, there went the other half of the molar on the left. *sigh*

I've since gotten used to all the gaping holes in my mouth, both from the extracted molars and the ones that have bits broken off.  And every now and then I will enjoy a yummy, crunchy snack, as well as make crispy crunchy tacos or nachos.  Here are some of my best memories of crunchy favorites.
  • Once in elementary school, my 3rd grade teacher took a bunch of us "smart" kids to the Griffith Park Observatory (otherwise known, in my book, as the best field trip ever), but before that she had us over for dinner.  I don't remember anything that was served that evening, except one thing - celery.  Fancy celery. It was cut in four-inch length sticks, and the curved well was filled with some sort of creamy stuff and that was topped with raisins.  All of us little inner-city Mexican children were at a loss.  I'm pretty sure we all tried the fancy celery; I'm pretty sure we all hated the fancy celery too.  Nonetheless, that was a very fun day.
  • I'm not a fan of apples. Don't hate me, please.  Truth: I wasn't a fan of apples... until I had a Honeycrisp apple.  I try to buy a few anytime I find them in a grocery store produce section; kinda expensive, but totally worth it.  So good out of the refrigerator... crispy & crunchy. Yum!
  • I can't resist a delicious corn tortilla taco shell that's been filled with shredded chicken or beef. I even made a terribly produced taco-making video that I posted on my YouTube channel.  Tacos were great; video, not so much.  I'll have to remember to brush my hair and wear tinted lip balm at the very least next time.  But I won't make any promises.

I now try to keep from eating, therefore enjoying, kettle-cooked potato chips, granola topping on my yogurt, Almond Roca candy, and  assorted crunchy foods. But the major bummer - mostly because I'm pretty sure it's the reason why the structural integrity of tooth enamel was compromised - is that I can no longer mindlessly munch on refreshingly crunchy ice for hours on end.

September 28, 2015:
... And the saga continues. Still no dental insurance means still dealing with crumbling teeth issues. Oh, and this time with pain and sensitivity while eating... anything. Well, actually, I just finished a cup of cream of wheat without much discomfort. I just hope there isn't another E.R. visit. End of Summer I had to wake up the husband at 2am to let him know I was leaving to go to emergency room due to unbearable pain. He decide it was best that he drive me because, after all, I was on the verge of passing out from pain with the slightest of movement. Apparently, according to my husband, some hunky t.v. doctor attended me. When you are in the pain I was in that morning, it could have been Thor and I would not have noticed. Go, IV antibiotics and demerol!


  1. Ouch. And double ouch. Dental problems are the worst, and to have to worry about your health - hearing about it on the local news. I feel for you. And we do have something in common - our love of Honey crisp apples. The apple growers know it, too. Local farm - all apples 99 cents/lb except Honeycrisp - $2.99 lb. And it isn't just them! That's why I switched to a related variety, Autumn Crisp, so I didn't have to pay the premium. Alana

    1. Yes, they are expensive, but if I'm lucky enough to find them in stock I'll buy a couple of lbs. Funny thing is, I thought there would be better buys in So Cal... most fruit can be grown here, right? I discovered Honeycrisps in Colorado and thought they were a bit costly, but a lot of fruit was. I thought that CA prices, not to mention quality and quantity, would be an improvement due to proximity & availability, but not so much. I've not heard of Autumn Crisp; will look for them next shopping trip. Thanks for your comment and for reading my blog, Alana.