Sunday, April 7, 2013
The tooth, the whole tooth, and nothing but the tooth
One of the interesting side effects of CFS is dry mouth. Dry mouth leads to tooth decay. Unfortunately, by the time someone told me that there's a mouthwash/mouth spray specifically for dry mouth, my teeth were too far gone. (But I'm telling you, so you can do something before it's too late. RiteAid's house brand is called "oral care dry mouth spray", and there are name brand ones as well.)
To further complicate matters, for a couple years the first thing I did every morning was throw up, often before I even got out of bed. The quacks tried to tell me I was binging/purging, or so stupid that I eat things I'm allergic to, so that they didn't need to spend the time looking for the real cause. I finally talked to a doctor who asked questions instead of leaping to conclusions, who fixed the problem. But there again, too late -- like any teenage bulimic, that daily bath in stomach acid took its toll on my teeth.
Last month, I had the remaining teeth on top extracted (we'll do the bottom teeth later; most of those can probably be saved for a few more years). One spot still hurt even at the second post-op appointment, so the dentist guessed (apparently correctly) that there was an infection she couldn't see and gave me antibiotics. Even if she guessed wrong, ABX tend to help some of my other symptoms, so I'm happy to take them.
Within 24 hours, I had Herxheimer symptoms. Wasn't sure if it was the mouth or the CFS, but Herx-ing is a good sign either way. At this point, the mouth is almost pain-free, so apparently the dentist guessed correctly.
It hurts too much to have the denture in, so although I do have the pretty new teeth, they've been sitting in their container, and I've been eating things that don't require chewing: soup (obviously), pudding, yogurt (which isn't allowed with antibiotics), Jell-O... Ensure/SlimFast are problematic for me because they contain soy protein and more than 1 bottle a day is enough soy to activate my allergy. With a little creativity, I realized that if I start with flaked tuna, I don't need to chew tuna salad; same thing if you make your egg salad in the blender so there are no chunks. Melt lots of cheese into mashed potatoes. Yesterday I had refried beans with lots of cheese.
Since I haven't been anywhere close to the RDA of fruits and vegetables the past 2 weeks (I tried a can of vegetable soup, but the pieces of veggies were too large to swallow without chewing), I tried some raisins in my Cream of Wheat this morning -- and discovered that there's no flavor on the outside of raisins; if you can't bite into them they're tasteless. Fortunately, there was plenty of flavor in the cinnamon in the Cream of Wheat.
Today I'm going to make lentil stew. I'll have to run the carrots through the blender first. I flavor my lentils German-style, with vinegar. So that's a different flavor to keep the food choices as interesting as possible. For lunch I'm thinking of licking Nutella and peanut butter off a spoon. Again, just to mix up the flavors, because I'm getting really tired of soup and pudding.
A friend who was on the "mush diet" last year commented that she cooked normal food for the family and just ran her portion through the blender -- it "looked awful but it tasted good".
Of course, you could always eat baby food.....