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More Time with the Oral Surgeon, Thank God for Global Warming and Randy Johnson Retires

More Time with the Oral Surgeon, Thank God for Global Warming and Randy Johnson Retires

Back to the Dentist

Well I had my follow up visit with my oral surgeon today and well, it was not a routine “it’s all good go away” kind of visit.  On Saturday night or Sunday morning one of the stitches came out of the site.  I wasn’t bleeding from the site; it was a little sore so I called the resident on call who said that if it got worse to come in.  The day was uneventful although I wasn’t feeling that great and the pain got a bit worse during the day requiring Vicodin before I went to bed.  I woke up Monday not feeling too well but was behind on a bunch of things that I needed to do.  I scheduled my follow up appointment for today but by 1300 on Monday I was feeling bad enough to need more Vicodin so the boss sent me home to take it and get some rest.  I came to work not feeling a lot better and still a bit under the influence of the medication and went in to dental.  When they took me back they saw swelling and the first dentist saw puss and called the oral surgeon.  He immediately went to wore and had the site irrigated and then took me back to one of the oral surgery rooms where once again I was hooked up to monitors, and had an IV placed and was given a bolus of 250 ml normal saline prior to an infusion of IV antibiotics.  He told me that we needed to do this because if the site got infected it might necessitate removal of the implant as well as the bone graft.  After that I was given a prescription for more antibiotics and sent home with instructions to take it easy, take the antibiotics and keep the site irrigated and to return to work Thursday with a follow up appointment for early Friday morning.  It has been weird as I have been pretty wiped out physically by this but doing okay emotionally.  So we’ll see how the sequel to the “Undead Tooth of Terror” continues.  Hopefully it will be a happy ending and I will not have to have the work taken out and have to go through a bunch of time again before I can get it fixed.

Cold Enough to be Thankful for Global Warming

If anyone hasn’t noticed it has been pretty cold across the eastern 2/3rds of the United States as well as many other countries in the Northern Hemisphere.  In fact it has been like record setting cold all over the place, Europe, Asia, North America and even places like Peru.  Trains are getting buried in snow drifts in China, record snow and cold elsewhere and even the little lake in my neighborhood has ice forming on it.  There is no relief in sight.  Forecasters are saying that this could be the coldest winter in at least 245 years.  Back when I was growing up in the 1960s and 1970s climatologists were predicting a coming ice age and encouraged folks to dress warm for a long time.  Then in the late 1980s and early 1990s there came a movement saying that everything was getting warmer at an alarming rate.  This has grown into the Global Warming movement and dare I say industry.  We had a very mild summer this year and it has been cold as hell this winter.  Now I am not a climatologist but if needed cold play one on TV.  It is my ersatz climatologist persona that says that I don’t think that some of the real climatologists are telling us the whole truth.  To me it seems that the global warming thing may not be all that it is cracked up to be.  All I can say is that if there is global warming I’m glad that we have it because we would really be freezing our asses off.  Even so I will dress warm and put on my gloves.  At least the dog doesn’t mind the cold so long as it is not raining.

Randy Johnson Winning Game 300

Finally an era in baseball has passed.  Future Hall of Fame pitcher Randy Johnson officially retired from the game today.  The 46 year old Johnson pitched 22 years beginning his career at Montreal with most of the time with the Mariners and Diamondbacks but with stints with the Astros, Yankees and his last season with the Giants.  In his career he won 5 Cy Young Awards, pitched a no-hitter and a perfect game, and was a 10 time All-Star and the 2001 World Series MVP.  Over the years he pitched in 618 games, starting 603 of them. In those games he pitched a total of 4135.1 innings won 303 games and had a career 3.29 ERA and was second only to the legendary Nolan Ryan with 4875 strikeouts.  The batting average against him was only .221.  He was one of the most feared pitchers to play the game almost any hitter who had to face him would tell you that he would rather not have to face Johnson.  Johnson was known at times for his intensity a piercing gaze and at times snarling look at batters, and an at times equally icy relationship with reporters.  What is truly amazing about Johnson is that he achieved what he did against a plethora of players who have either admitted to using or highly suspected of using steroids and other performance enhancing substances.  He pitched his last season with the Giants where he got his 300th win.  The season was certainly not his best and he finished the season on the disabled list, however we saw a man who was genuinely appreciative of the game and those with who he played.  As a person who at times can be testy and give good glares and snarls I understand someone like Johnson who pushed himself hard and came back from injuries to stay competitive well past the age that most other players are ensconced in second careers or retirement. Even more so because I have played on a number of teams within the military and I am now quite a bit older than most people my rank.  Randy Johnson has had a magnificent career and I wonder if we will see another 300 game winner anytime soon.

On a humorous note I had a comment to my “about” page from someone with the ID of “El Cid.”  Seems that Sid believes that I am deceived of course not providing me any help to see just what I am deceived about. His comment “You are so deceived” stuck a chord in me.  So I just had to respond.  Here is that response:

“Cool, don’t know what about but glad to get comments like this. Must be doing something right. The fact that you refer to yourself as El Cid shows me that you fancy yourself a General in the fight against the Moors or have delusions of being Charlton Heston.”

So anyway, as I take my pain meds and head off to bed I wish everyone a good night.

Peace,

Steve+

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Observations of My Oral Surgery

Today I had the initial part of my implant work done to replace the departed “Undead Tooth of Terror. This was the first time I had oral surgery vice normal dentistry.  If you have never had it the only comparison to regular dentistry is that it involves teeth.  It is real surgery, albeit not like getting your noggin or ticker opened up.  However in the weeks leading up to this surgery I experienced a fair amount of anxiety and even a couple of nightmares related to the procedure, including if something went wrong. When you prepare for something like this, or any other medical or surgical procedure you sign a consent form. These include the risks associated with the procedure as well as the anesthesia.  One of these complications or risks is death which is not on my list of things that I want to experience in the next 30 years or so.

Implant Screws

I’ve done a lot of hospital work in major teaching hospitals, mainly in critical care, ER, Medical, Surgical, Burn, Neurosurgery and Pediatric ICU’s.  I have become quite adept at learning about what goes on in those places, to include understanding something about how critical care intensivists of all types work to include a lot of the technical things that they observe with patients.  I am probably one of the few chaplains who that has a copy of The ICU Book and can read heart rhythms, understanding the relationships of blood pressure, cardiac output, oxygen saturation levels as well as a host of other cool to know things.  When the Abbess was in the Emergency Room at a local hospital I made the diagnosis of her Epiglottis before the physicians.  After that one of our attendings at my hospital told me that wasn’t too late to go back to Medical School.  The thought is intriguing but alas, even Padre Steve doesn’t want to go back to school for that long at this point in life.  However I could probably play a very convincing doctor in film or on TV if given the chance.  I will entertain offers if someone wants to shoot something like MASH.

Today was interesting.  I was taken into one of the oral and maxillofacial surgery operating rooms.  These are equipped with the kinds of monitoring equipment found in an OR or an ICU.  I have observed these on quite a few patients and can read them rather well.  Today the difference was that they were monitoring me and not another person.  So this intrigued me, I have not been to a operating room since I was 7 years old at Bremerton Naval Hospital.  Things have changed in the 42 years between visits, or at least my perspective has changed.

I was seated in what looked like a dental chair on steroids.  I was hooked up to the monitor with a 4 lead EKG and pulse oxygen monitor and had a nasal cannula. An IV was placed and I was asked a litany of questions.  With all the monitors hooked up my doctor came in and talked about the procedure and a light anesthesia ‘cocktail” of drugs including Fentanyl and a couple of others that I cannot remember right now.  A large table was placed before me with a large number surgical and dental utensils.

Normal Sinus Rhythm

I looked up at the monitor as they got things going and made final preparations.  My heart rate was in the 58-67 range in normal sinus rhythm, in fact a very nice looking rhythm. My respiratory rate ranged from 5-11 a minute and my SPO2 or oxygen saturation ranged from 96-99.  Noninvasive blood pressure was 116/71 with a mean of 86.  Not bad for someone nearly 50.  The drugs we injected through the IV access point and I entered what is called “twilight” sedation.” It is a state where you are sedated but can still follow simple commands from the surgeon if need be.  I could hear what was going on but it was like being in a dreamlike state.  Occasionally I could hear the surgeon giving directions to his resident and also the noise of the drill, which was not the normal high pitched sound of a dental drill.

When it was over they brought me up out of the sedation and I looked around, my numbers were still close to what were on the monitor to begin with so I was still alive.  I was allowed to see the x-ray with the placement of the implant mount which is actually screws into the jaw.    I was informed that a bone graft was done and that I would only be able to have liquids and soft foods for the next two weeks.  I’ll have a follow up next week, be off of work until the New Year holiday, no PT for a week and light duty, including being told “not to talk too much” to allow the implant and graft to heal.

As I was collecting myself  I saw the corpsmen disposing of trash and “hazardous waste from the room.  In clear container, actually a container that is used for suctioned fluids from the mouth, was something that looked like a strawberry daiquiri, it was the blood and water suctioned from my mouth during the procedure and was about half full.  I commented to the corpsmen what I thought it looked like which caused them to laugh in agreement and said that I was a beer drinker.  I was wheeled out of the hospital in a wheelchair to the Abbess waited for me in my trusty 2001 Honda CR-V. I can’t drive through tomorrow and am to take it pretty easy.

The pain has been manageable and has been a far cry from the agony I went through during the summer with the Undead Tooth of Terror, something for which I can definitely thank the Deity Herself.

This has given me a small glimpse at the perspective of one of the patients that I see every day, so it has been worthwhile in a number of ways, and not just as a means to better dental health.  I remember Henri Nouwen’s book Beyond the Mirror which recounts his experience as a patient following being hit by the mirror of a truck alongside a road.  Such experiences are important for those who provide any kind of care, especially pastoral care.  For me the almost surreal experience was to borrow a phrase from Star Trek’s Mr. Spock simply “fascinating.”

All I can say is that at least beer is a soft food and though I have an implant I will never look like Mariel Hemingway.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Oral Passes, Tiger Crashes, Baseball Dances and Odd Thoughts

A few thoughts for the mid-week…

First an Icon of American Religious life passed away yesterday.  Oral Roberts died at the age of 91.  Regardless of one’s views of his ministry, theology or lifestyle Reverend Roberts was a trendsetter. For better or worse he was a major influence on American religious life. Roberts in his television ministry, crusades and university helped to bring Pentecostalism into the mainstream of American life.  His positive message of “Something good is going to happen to you” inspired many who were not Pentecostals.   The University that bears his will likely be his legacy in merging his beliefs with an institution that became regionally accredited breaking out of the simple unaccredited Bible College tradition that was a hallmark of Pentecostalism and Evangelicalism.  There are some that loved him and some that loathed him but one cannot deny his influence on the American religious life and culture.  His departure from the scene leaves Billy Graham, Pat Robertson and Paul Crouch from the pioneers of modern Christian media.  While Roberts was controversial in terms of some of his pleas for financial support and criticism of his lifestyle, he never seemed to me to have the angry edge of other early televangelists including Jimmy Swaggart, Jerry Fallwell (in his early ministry) and others.  Having worked in a television ministry while I was in seminary back in the early 1990s I am not a big fan of  television ministries from the standpoint of the huge amounts of money involved and potential for abuse.  However one cannot deny the impact that Oral Roberts had on the American religious scene.

Tiger Woods has crashed hard and I pray that for the sake of him and his family that he will be reconciled with his wife and make amends.  I have no double that he will return to greatness on the PGA Tour but for now I hope that he is able to reclaim his life.  As much as his actions speak poorly of him as a person I am disappointed with the media which has used every opportunity to take him down further.  Of course this was aided by his media advisers who let him be a target and did not pre-empt  things that they obviously knew would come to light.  Can anyone say Bill Clinton or Richard Nixon?  I hope that the media frenzy around Tiger dies down so he and his wife can attempt to salvage their marriage if it is even possible now.

The Phillies, Blue Jays and Mariners deal to bring Roy Halliday to Philly and send Cliff Lee to Seattle looks to me like a bad deal for the Phillies, Halliday is a great pitcher but unproven in the post-season and the Phillies gave up their best pitcher and top pitching prospect to get him.  The addition of John Lackey to the Red Sox makes their rotation very strong.  The departure of Hideki Matsui for the Yankees to the Angels helps the Halos who had lost Chone Figgens and Lackey.  The Angels will need to find a good starter to replace Lackey.  The Yankees picked up Curtis Granderson from the Tigers at very little expense to them.  The Giants have not done much as of yet and the Orioles acquired starting pitcher Kevin Millwood from the Rangers and came to terms with Matt Albers and Cla Meredith.  The Orioles could use some power in their offensive lineup.

Barry Bonds agent Jeff Borris stated last week that Barry Bonds would not return to playing baseball.  Bonds has not played the last two season but not retired.  His name will be forever linked to the steroids controversy and his reputation tainted for years to come.  I do not know if he will get in the Hall of Fame, but if the players from the 1940s and 1950s who used amphetamines can be admitted and Gaylord Perry who admitted using the spit-ball, which was illegal can be in the club I see no reason not to admit Bonds.  Many players have been named in the scandal but only Bonds has been pursued by investigators and prosecutors who have spent millions of dollars of our tax money over the past number of years to attempt to catch Bonds.  However, their misconduct of investigators and prosecutors themselves who violated the law in attempt to gather evidence to convict Bonds is shameful and their inability to get charges to stick shows the weakness of their case.  It is time for the investigation of Bonds and the others to end. Let baseball fans, writers and players determine their future.

The Most Valuable Network which I had been invited on in the summer to write The View From 102 went Tango Uniform last week.  I had been unable to post as they had been going through a transition that did not work out. I am contacting media outlets who are taking writers from MVN to relaunch the View from 102.

The Navy released the promotion zone message for FY 2011.  I am right in the middle of the zone for consideration to the grade of Commander.  I hope that I make it.

My Bishop for the Armed Services visited this week for a trip to the USS Carl Vinson.  We had a nice time with him and I deeply appreciate him.  Bishop Woodall is a dear friend.

I am looking at a couple of writing projects for actual books.  As they develop you may see snippets of them here.

I watched two of my favorite Christmas movies last night Scrooged and Christmas Vacation. They are classic albeit a bit twisted.  Would you expect anything else from me?

In less than two weeks I will have oral surgery to emplace my implant where the Undead Tooth of Terror used to live. While I look forward to getting something back into the empty slot were the Undead Tooth of Terror lived, thrived and survived I am not looking forward to the surgery, the anesthesia or the excavation and drilling process.

Christmas is coming and I am nowhere near ready.  Maybe I should move my celebration to January 6th, the Russian Orthodox Christmas…more time plus post Christmas sales….hmmm….

I have duty tomorrow, get to stay in house at the medical center.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Padre Steve’s MLB Divisional Playoff Picks

steve on top of the rockLooking Forward to the Playoffs

Well sports fans it is October and with the exception of the 163d game in the AL Central between the Twinkies and the Pussy Cats we are ready for the playoffs to begin. Tomorrow’s one game playoff in the soon to be history Hubert H Humphrey Metrosexual Dome should be a pretty good game that hopefully will go longer than the 2005 NL Divisional series game between the Braves and Astros that lasted 18 inning.  If it goes that long the winner will be the Yankees.  Wait, that’s when they play whoever wins between the Twins and the Tigers.  My guess on this is that the Twins take them down hard in the inhospitable confines of the Metro Dome and go on to the playoffs where they will lose to the Yankees in 4.

With that in mind let’s take a look at the divisional series.  First the National League:

Cardinals vs. Dodgers: Cardinals in 4

The Evil LA Dodger’s (95-67) have the best record in the National League backed into the playoffs after starting like they owned the world.  Manny has been cold as a Boston night and the starting pitching has been suspect.  I like St Joe Torre but I don’t think that the Evil Dodgers have the Schlitz this year.  They will be playing the St Louis Cardinals (91-71) skippered by St Anthony La Russa who have some awesome hitting with Matt Halliday and Albert Pujols. The Cards are stacked with great pitching and I think that they will take the Dodgers in 4.  Now to be fair under St Thomas of Lasorda the Dodgers pulled off some pretty amazing playoff wins, however I don’t think this is the year for that. If it happens I owe my nephew Joe the Dodgers fan dinner next time I’m in San Diego.

Phillies v. Rockies: Phillies in 5

The Rockies (92-70) had an amazing season, going from worst to almost first in the National League West and taking the Wild Card berth. Everything has been working for them and Manager Jim Tracy is attempting to become St James of Denver.  They could potentially win this series but I am going to go with the Phillies (93-69) because I like their offense.  When the series moves to Coors Light Field I think that Ryan Howard’s wrecking crew’s bats light up the cool Rocky Mountain High nights when they get out there.  The Phillies pitching has not been as good in the past few weeks and closer Brad Lidge is seeking redemption after a miserable season which followed last year’s phenomenal performance.  As for the Rockies I think that Cinderella departs from the ball early.

The American League looks like a whole lot of the same with the exception of the Central.  What I would do to see the Orioles and the A’s back in the series like in the 1970s and 1980s.  The teams in the American League playoffs, at least the ones currently in and not the Central Division Champs regardless of who that is, are outstanding teams all with a decent shot of advancing to the ALCS.  First I’ll look out to Anaheim.

Angels vs. Red Sox: Angels in 5

Most experts are picking the Red Sox to once again knock the Angels out in the first round. The “Wild Card” Red Sox (95-67) have owned the Angels every year in recent memory that they have matched up in the ALDS.  However that being said this year’s team is not the Red Sox we have known the past few years.  They still have a lot of good players but they are showing signs of age and just don’t seem to have the same ability they did in past years despite their great record.  They were eaten up by the Yankees in their last two series with them and took a while to secure the Wild Card.   The Angels (97-65) played in a weaker division but still have done very well.  Unfortunately with the exception of 2002 they have regularly choked in the playoffs.  This year there seems to be something different about the Halo’s and I think it is related to the commitment of the team and dedication of the season to rookie pitcher Nick Adenhart who was killed by a drunk driver after pitching his first Major League start.  I think it will be a tight series but the Angles end the Red Sox dominance of this series.  I go Angels in 5.

Yankees vs. Central Division Champs: Yankees in 4 (Twins) or 3 (Tigers)

The Yankees (103-59) are my odds on pick to win it all.  This team is deep at every level and playing with an attitude after missing the playoffs for the first time since 1995.  They will face either the Twins or the Tigers either of which will be 87-76 when they win Tuesday night.  The Twins are the hotter of the two teams and their playoff run has been outstanding but helped by the ineptitude of the Tigers.  However I do not think that either does well against the Yankees who seem to be healthy and hitting on all cylinders.  Yankee haters may not like it but the Yankees are a solid team and a middle relief corps that is home grown and not bought.  I think the Twins might steal one game but expect that the Tigers should they win Tuesday will go down faster than Apollo Creed in Rocky 4.

So we’ll see how I do as compared to guys who make a living at this.

Odds and Ends

A couple of notes on the personal side my job focus is shifting more to our Pastoral Care Residency program and out of the ICU.  I will be functioning in some manner like an attending pnhysician for our residents on all of their wards.  Likewise I will be working more on training for the entire department and more work with the ethics committee and the Special Psychiatric Response Intervention Team (SPRINT).  I will be moving my office back to the main pastoral care department offices this week.  I still have the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.

I started the preparations for my comprehensive exams for my Military History Masters at American Military University.  It is an eight week course which is finished off with the actual exam.  I want to finish with the highest marks on the exam “Passed with Distinction” to cap my perfect record in my classes.

I had the undead tooth show its ugly face again.  Well not the tooth itself, it is dead but it still haunts me.  I was notified on Friday that I was on what we call a “Dink” list for Dental.  This is not good, the Naval Dental Corps is like the Gestapo in tracking down Sailors and Marines who miss appointments or regular screenings. When you get “dink’d” you are skylined, an open target with you name hanging out for the command to see.  You don’t want to be a “dink.” Those who have been reading this website since the summer know all about The Undead Tooth of Terror. See my post Killing off the Undead Tooth of Terror https://padresteve.wordpress.com/2009/07/16/killing-off-the-undead-tooth/

As a result of the Undead Tooth of Terror I spent much of the summer in the Dental Department or with the Oral Surgeons who I get to see again tomorrow.  I was told that I needed to take care of the problem with personnel.  After several perplexed looks by disbelieving personnel specialists I was directed to a back office and the young corpsman there looked me up and was able to tell me that I was “dink’d” but couldn’t say why.  So I went to Dental after another meeting where a young corpsman and I think that they are all young assisted me.  He told me that the computer said that I was delinquent on a root canal. Well, not only had I had the root canal, but when it failed I lost the tooth as well.  Informing the polite young man that said tooth was no longer in my head he looked for an explanation.  When I mentioned that I was being evaluated for an implant he told me that he would be right back.  He came back quickly with my record which had never been returned to records and was sitting on the Oral Surgeon’s desk.  He removed the “dink” from my records and the world is right again.

Tomorrow I have a couple of ideas as I have been working on an article about the first US Navy Aircraft Carriers, one on the Congregation of the Church of Baseball at Harbor Park and some reflections on the 2009 baseball season.

Peace,

Padre Steve+

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