My tooth fairy dream

I had the wonderful luxury of sleeping in the morning and I had a dream.  A bunch of women came to my house.  They were quite elderly and a bit decrepit, some white, some black, some walking, some in wheelchairs.  At first I thought they were a group of Jehovah’s Witnesses, but I was feeling social and decided to chat.  But no, they were collecting money for Big Brothers/Big Sisters.  I listened to their spiel and then told them I met my sister, Quin, through BB/BS and I told them I was working on a fundraiser for her, but I wouldn’t ask them for money because they came to me, not me to them.  Maybe later I’d knock on their doors and ask them.  Then I gave them a bit of money, but I did tell them about Quin’s fundraiser and how she lost her three front teeth when she was hit by a car when she was fifteen.  I said I thought it would be really hard to be missing so many teeth so young and that I really wanted her to have permanent teeth.  One lady grinned and started to take out a few of her front teeth!  We laughed and she said, she understood about this.  I told the women how cool Quin is.  How she provides a public service when she sees little kids doing stupid stuff on bikes or roller blades and generally acting like they are invincible.  She takes out her teeth and says, “this could happen to you!”  They run away in shock and are hopefully much more careful.  So, on their way out, these lovely ladies each gave me some money, becoming Quin’s Tooth Fairies.  Each gave what they could, some just tossing me some change, that landed on the rug. They were sweet, they were lovely, and oh so giving.

I think Quin’s fundraiser was on my mind because last night at a Chinese New Year party, a woman approached me and gave a donation – someone who has never met Quin.  Then I came home to make a transfer to Quin’s implant fund (I love to see the money adding up – over $600.00 with a big fundraising event coming in February) and noticed there was two other donations in her PayPal account.  Things have been slow and I hadn’t checked in a while.  I continue to be astonished by the generosity of people who have never met Quin and sometimes have never met either of us.  Wow.  The world is a good place.  Thank you to each and every one of Quin’s Tooth Fairies!  You mean so much to us.

If you want to be a Tooth Fairy too, you can leave a comment here or email me through the blog.  No donation is too small.

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All she wants for Christmas is her 3 front teeth

It’s been quiet here on Cavatica’s Web, but I have been blogging and busy on the Internet.  However, our immediate family of three hasn’t been the focus.  My sister, Quin, has.  Quin has been my sister since 2000, when she was 9-years-old, when we were matched through Big Brothers/Big Sisters.  She’s 20 now and she has a special Christmas wish.  It won’t happen for her this year… maybe not next.  But we know it won’t happen if we don’t start working on it. 

You see, when Quin was 15, she was it by a car.  Her injuries were to her face and head – a serious concussion (mild traumatic brain injury) and she lost three front teeth.  Many of her medical expenses were covered by the auto insurance of the woman who hit her, but this ended when she was 18.  She was unable to get permanent dental implants then because her head and face were still growing.   Instead she received a temporary denture.  It looks great, but it’s temporary and she’s outgrowing it. 

A few weeks ago, Quin and I started a fund and are saving for her to get permanent implants.  We are asking others to donate to her fund – as much or as little as you can is so much appreciated!  We’re hoping to raise $5,500.  How long that will take, we don’t know, but we do know it won’t happen if we don’t work at it.  Since beginning the campaign on Facebook about 2 weeks ago, we’ve raised over $400-!  Really.  Friends, family, and even total strangers have given to Quin’s teeth fund, becoming Tooth Fairies.  You can be a Tooth Fairy, too, by clicking and giving directly HERE.  You can also check out our blog about this fundraiser, including a video by Quin, explaining her need for teeth.  Check it all out… pass the word along… and thanks, so much!

Suffering is optional

I mentioned in a previous post that I’ve been having a difficult time with pain.  Sadly, this has continued, as the cause of my tooth pain is elusive… and expensive, but that’s another kind of pain.  I went into this expecting that a root canal was a simple thing – that is, a specialist examines your teeth, determines the problem, treats it and bada bing bada boom… the pain is gone… well, after a reasonable amount of recovery.  But no, that’s not how it’s been.  I’m learning this dentistry thing is as much an art as a science, “that’s why they call it practicing,” The Hubs points out.  Yes, well. 

There are still many questions, as the pain continues, two months after the root canal and who knows how long into the pain?  Does another tooth need a root canal?  Dr. Endodontist can’t get a consistent read on it.  It’s very sensitive to cold (ouch!) and I report bite sensitivity, but only this last visit did she get it to be bite sensitive.  Is there a crack in the root canal treated tooth?  She didn’t see one when she treated it and nothing shows up on x-ray.  Is this just a poor root canal recovery due to other pain issues (chronic headaches)?  She’s seen that with other chronic pain patients.  Is there something going on with my sinuses?  Hmmm… I do have a chronic runny nose.  Or might I just be insane… pain all in my head in the terrible imaginary sort of way?  Yes, I have had a bad night or two mulling that one over. 

What to do; what to do?  There’s the obvious… keep seeking medical answers, which I’m doing, but it’s crazy expensive, as we have no dental insurance, which certainly adds stress.  And there’s the daily management of life.  I went into work one day a few weeks ago after a few days off after just realizing a second root canal wasn’t the answer, scared to death.  Every so often someone said to me, “how are you?”  You know, the standard, polite “how are you?” and I wanted to rant, let venom spew forth, and on a few occasions probably did.  Very quickly I realized, I am NOT nice!  I might hurt, but I don’t want to be like this.  And I made a quick decision that I needed to develop a “sunny disposition” and quickly.  Yes, sunny.  It’s silly, it’s goofy, it’s a little dumb.  But if I could be sunny or close to it, I would not be able to spew venom and that’s what I was looking for.  I also knew that I might need to make this decision over and over again, as it’s easy to lose one’s sunniness in the face of pain, but that I would remake the decision as many times as was necessary.  I have come to believe with other aspects of my life that “fake it ’till you make it” does work, and it can work for being happy.  I may not be able to make the pain go away, and I also recognize that I need a little down time to deal with it too, but choosing to be happy works.  I can be happy and in pain.  Sometimes I invite the pain along to whatever I’m doing, because it avoids a fight and more pain.  Long ago, when just dealing with headaches, I came up with “suffering is optional” and that is the gist of this.

So, in order to be a better therapist, wife, mom, friend, human, I invite you, Pain, along with me.  Let’s go about our day smiling and just a little bit silly.  ‘Cause I like silly.

Family reunion & catching up

Train ride

Train ride

Driving

The Hubs’ family had their annual summer family reunion last weekend.  There are now 19 kids under the age of 8 in the gang.  The grandparents were all there and a great grandmother (great grandfather couldn’t make it).  It is a big clan.  Bing-Bing started off a little shy, but quickly got into the fun, including train rides, riding bikes and motorized cars and bikes (with help from older cousins), water games…  Yeah, it was a good time. 

In other news, Bing-Bing has been to the eye doctor as we continue to monitor all of that.  As long-time readers know, Bing-Bing’s right eye is smaller than her left.  She was born that way.  The doctor says things are status from her last visit, 6 months ago.  He does think there is extra boney tissue around they eye and you can feel a sharpness under that eye.  Now that she’s a busy toddler she is prone to black eyes, as it bruises more easily, so you may see some shiners on The Bing, if you haven’t noticed them already, but isn’t because she’s taken up boxing!  We’re sticking with swimming for now.  She does have astigmatism in the right eye due to this bone malformation, as it pushes on the eye causing pressure.  So we’re watching that, but the doc thinks she can see well.  I do remember him telling us, on a previous visit, that this could have been caused in the womb by her face being pressed against her birth mother’s pelvis for an extended period.  I’m fascinated by that.

What else?  Bing-Bing is finishing her first week in the toddler room at The Academy.  Part of her new curriculum includes time to sit on the toilet.  At 18-months, she’s probably a little young to really take off with this, but I’m glad for the exposure.  The toddler room and the next most advanced room share a bathroom, so she will see older kids using the toilet, getting some good modeling.  Of course she gets that at home, too, but I think seeing it from peers is better and probably more motivating.

Speaking of 18-months, she turned 18-months-old yesterday!  Yowza!  She’s chatting and signing up a storm.  We have 2 Baby Signing Time videos with a third on the way.  She loves them!  She doesn’t watch much TV and I’ve read that there is no such thing as educational TV for the under-2 set, but I think these are.  She watches them and she is learning language from them, so I’m okay with these.  She augments her speech with the sign, which helps, as her speech isn’t the best yet. 

Anyway, she’s growing, developing, and changing like a weed.  It’s hard to keep up!

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Medical Exam

We went for Snowflake’s medical exam today.  It was a zoo, but she did great!  We went to the adoption physical area and it was crowded and chaotic, but she just watched in fascination.  Mom, we have another people-watcher among us!  We went to three stations – Ear, Nose, & Throat, Medical-Surgical (no surgery, thank you very much), and Weight, Length, and Temperature.  Most of the kids were screaming, but Snowflake was very interested.  She schmoozed with the doctors.  The one doctor was very impressed because when Hubs undressed her and discovered a wet diaper, HE changed it!  I said, “Baba hen hao. (Daddy very good).”  She agreed and was impressed with his speed as well. 

Daddy also spent the morning in conference filling out paperwork for Snowflake’s visa.  We had her visa photo taken yesterday.  Tomorrow we’ll make sure everything’s okay with the paperwork.  So far, so good.  Also, I’m going to the pearl market.

Snowflake is doing great!  She is looking to us more and more and is less likely to want to go to strangers.  A week ago she would, as we were as strange as the next, I guess.  Now she is very interested in others and will smile and giggle for others, but she seems to want to be with us.  She also looks to us and initiates the smiles and giggles — and what a smile!  She has the cutest crooked smile, but when she breaks into a full giggle it’s open and round.  I keep telling her I searched far and wide for the best smile ever and I had to come to China to find it.  She just giggles.  She seems to think I’m silly.

We are meeting families from all over.  There is a Mennonite family from Arkansas, which draws a lot of attention.  “Are they Amish?  They adopt?”  Somehow we’ve become experts on the Amish and Mennonites.  Hmmm.  One family overheard us complaining about the loaner stroller killing our backs because the handles are too low and we can’t stand straight.  They offered us their old one.  They have two kids – one boy adopted awhile back and a new little girl.  The girl won’t use a stroller and their son likes the new one they got.  The old one has been all over.  They bought it during their first China adoption trip, took it home to the states, to China. It’s a little worn, but works great and is much better for us — they are a tall couple!  We plan to pay it forward by giving it to a family in our group who is staying in China awhile longer to visit family, but will need to return their loaner stroller.  Who knows where it will go next?  Northern China anyway.

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