Mary Beth Writes


My teeth again. Argh. This past week I’ve had a jaw ache/toothache that got worse instead of better. Today my dentist said I need a crown but also that’s not the thing that is causing the swelling and infection and ache. I now have an Rx for an antibiotic and an appointment for that crown and an appointment with an endodontist to get an Xray worthy of NASA.

Over the weekend I also called my sister-in-law who is an RN. Everything hurt and ibuprofen worked great but not for six hours. Emilie said to alternate ibuprofen and acetaminophen every three to four hours. And to drink a lot of water.

Her advice alleviated the pain. She didn’t charge anything.

What with covid subvariants multiplying like drunken bunnies and flight delays headlining the news, Len and I can just stay in the living room and say this was the plan all long.

I know I’m not the only person up against their own dang crumbling health. Len and I keep saying we are in good health, but actually, in this coming month, between the two of us, we have eight medical and dental appointment.  

When Len and I first started dating, we managed to do about two things per week.

I guess this is like that.


Last week (before my head fell apart) I took my two young friends on a nature hike. They are the wonderful girls I met via tutoring at the neighborhood school. I’m lucky to have them in my life.

They’d never been on a nature hike other than short ones with their school classes. We drove out to the park and I pulled into the small parking lot. We got out of the car, it was quiet and breezy and we were the only people there.

One of the girls looked up at the tall trees blowing in the wind and said, “Look at all those leaves just fluttering in the wind. It looks like a million green butterflies.”

What’s going right in your world lately?

Len went fishing last night with our son at Cherokee Marsh in Madison. You can't see it, but the outboard motor is a 1971 Mercury that Len worked on for a year - and fixed! If you look closely, you will see that there are reeds painted on the boat. Our son did that.  


Ugg to teeth and doctor appts. The pictures are gorgeous. M looks so much like Len.

I'm not in any pain except in the pocketbook. Today I went to my dentist to have a new crown put on a back tooth. During the process of removing the temporary crown my dentist knocked off the old filling by accident. It was a very old filling and it was by accident I need a root canal to build it up properly for the new crown. I see the dollars blowing out the window as I sit here in the living room contemplating how some people never get cavities. I think crappy, painful, expensive things happen and we have to enjoy the good times in between. Best of luck to you and Len with those upcoming appointments.
Mary Beth's picture

Argh! If the dentist damaged the old filling - one would think he would partially pay for the root canal. But then, the stolidly solidly moneyed folks seem to have ways to keep their cash and take ours. Yesterday, after the appt with the dentist, while waiting for Len to finish having his cleaning and checkup - I was talking to myself.. "Breathe, relax, it's just numbers. Money is just numbers." We all know this isn't 100% true, but when one has to have an unexpected root canal, better to believe money is just numbers.

We don’t have it. It seems like it costs a lot and doesn’t cover much. Does anyone have any strong opinions on buying dental insurance?

My husband and I, retired Postal workers, have a plan through the P.O. for which we still have to pay roughly $150 per month. It covers cleanings and check ups and around 40% of other work. Although it's expensive we keep it due to the ever emerging issues with our dental work from years ago (we're both in our 60s). Some years we come out ahead, other years we barely use it aside from cleanings.
Mary Beth's picture

Thank you for this. We talk about it but the one year we had it, it barely covered anything. It's helpful to hear your experience.

I spend a lot of time outside in my yard, mainly doing yard work. When I am feeling discouraged for whatever reason, I look around at the many butterflies, bees, iguanas , Ospreys; and most recently, a Hawk that visit my place, I am renewed. My goal was to provide "sanctuary," I think I have. That is going right in my world. My daughter finding a wonderful OT therapist for my grandson ( third attempt) has encouraged all of us. I hope you feel better soon. Patricia
Mary Beth's picture

... wrote to me last night. She said, "This was such a beautiful thing to read. Me and the girls love you guys so much, you're a blessing and we're so grateful to have you in our lives. Thank you for always spending time with the girls." To which I, MB, reply, "Those blessings and that gratitude goes both ways. Thanks, Friend."


We have it but my husband says paying the premiums is the same as prepaying for the services we get. Ours covers two cleanings and one checkup each per year. I once had a filing paid for! But not roots canals or crowns or appts with endodontists! It might pay a for something we have not yet experienced but I think I will pass on the experience.
Mary Beth's picture

Thanks. Yesterday the receptionist was scheduling my crown and said she couldn't finalize it until the 'preauthorization' was back, so probably I would need to wait a month. I reminded her I pay at the time of service so she scheduled me for two weeks out. I realized not having dental insurance has this weird (extremely expensive) perk - I don't have to wait for an insurance person to okay a procedure for which they would likely pay much less than half.

I think your Chinese fortune cookie would say: You are forever an optimist.
Mary Beth's picture

Made me laugh.. Thanks!

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Happy Birthday to Len


Today is Len’s birthday. I told him this morning I might write about him but I would let him read whatever I said first. He said not to run it past him, he’d like the surprise of reading it when you all do. Let’s see what I come up with.

1. This is cute. Len was born in Chicago’s Passavant Memorial Hospital which was the grandparent hospital to Northwestern’s Prentice Women’s Hospital - where two of our grandkids were born.

Stories, Q Club, Us

The photo is not by Len or me, its from I Love Canada on FB. I've seen a sky like that just once. 


Last week I read two books about young people who left their homes. They experienced some good and too many rough experiences and they couldn’t go back until they figured out how to not be who they used to be. Both novels knocked my socks off.

The People You Keep by Allison Larkin

Covid Diary #979 - Still Paying Attention?


Yes, it’s been 979 days since Friday the 13th, March 2020, when everything changed.

Last Saturday one of our kids visited for several hours with their kids. It was fun though our kid looked tired. They said they’d taken a Covid test that morning and it was negative. They figured it was the wine and rich foods they’d shared the evening before with friends at the end of a very busy week.

Next Day - What Are You Seeing?


It was a late night last night, wasn’t it? Len worked at a polling place 6:30 AM until 10:30 PM. He said the actual experience is a lot like working retail (which he has not done since he was 22). Stand up most of the time, pleasantly say the same thing over and over. Wonder if lunch is soon.  

Professional reporters and pundits are talking a lot about “what just happened”, but heck, we are noticing interesting things, too.  Let’s talk about what We The People saw and heard and are watching now.

Here are some things catching my attention.

Election Day


So many times I’ve thought things were going to be okay, and then they weren’t. My dad had that heart attack and the kid who was MB back then told herself to not overthink the drama because things always turn out more or less okay. Then the next day he died.

We lost a pregnancy far enough along that we had a name picked out and a crib in which to put that child. For a week I had all the misery and cramps that go with miscarrying and I still thought somehow it was going to work out okay.

That Beep-Beep-Beeping Moment.

In spring Len got a $100 traffic ticket when he turned right at a corner we’ve been turning right at for seven years. However, construction had started and there were orange barrels and cones everywhere – plus a small sign NOT facing the street Len was on, telling drivers to not turn there.

Len went back later that day and took photos. Len called the city to mention that if they posted a sign that actually faced the traffic, the city could save the cost of the cop parked there ticketing drivers.

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