My god Mitchel, what a horror story told with surprising good humor. Not
sure how you do that.
Can you take a break for a bit and just care for yourself? I hope so. The
revolution will take place even if you are absent for a bit. ;)
On 12/31/10 7:10 PM, "Mitchel Cohen" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Wishing you a very Merry MarXmas and a Happy New Era!
> Here's a report on my health situ (feel free not to read it). Today I feel
> fine, there is no pain at all from the 3 teeth extracted yesterday. The
> bleeding stopped after 10 hours or so last night (I went to the hospital).
> Doctor said "didn't your dentist know not to pull teeth when you're taking
> Plavix (an anti-coagulant needed for the stents in my heart, for one year)"?
> It was a tradeoff -- the infection in my gums was worsening dramatically. The
> pain last week was excruciating. And it likely had something to do with my
> heart attack 10 years ago and, I think, my high blood pressure.
> I also thank very much Alex Steinberg, who came with me to the hospital at
> midnight and stayed until 3 a.m. when we both left. And -- ta-dum -- I learned
> that Alex is absolutely appalled by the sight of blood (go figure!). When I
> asked him to take a picture of a giant mouse-size and equally thick blood clot
> that I pulled out of my mouth to ≥encourage≤ the doctors to jump the line and
> take a look (or else they wouldn't have seen me until 6 a.m.). Alex turned
> pale as a ghost -- some revolutionary Trotskyist! -- and refused to take the
> picture of proud Mitchel holding my "marlin".
> Anyway, here's what I wrote last night. Forgot to post it here ä (Just as
> well, probably).
> Again, thanx to all for caring. I seem to be fine, now, except for my back
> (see below).
> Friday 4 a.m.
> Hi all,
> Just got home from the hospital. The bleeding finally stopped and I threw up
> all the blood I swallowed in the course of the day (ugh! Disgusting!). It was
> at least a pint, amazingly.
> But I seem to be OK on that score. Also, no pain in the teeth.
> Unfortunately, on the way out the door to go to the hospital Cathryn's
> landlord forgot to salt the steps, and I slipped and crashed into the bricks,
> fortunately not banging my head. Cathryn's away in Arizona, flight was
> canceled (she returns tonight). Her upstairs housemate, Dia, was there at the
> bottom of the brick stairs and was scared out of her wits (so was I, at
> first), understandably, as I was slow getting up, having wrenched my back and
> Another few trips to the chiropractor are in store....
> The good news is that they took my blood pressure in the hospital and it was
> close to normal! (I'm thinking that my high blood pressure is partly due to my
> teeth, which have needed work since the late 80s (but I neglected them, having
> had no insurance and having had a terrible experience at NYU Dental School
> from which I had to be escorted out by security guards). As I told Howard B.,
> 25 years of doing nothing about them ≠ a pretty good run!
> Well, that's not exactly true. I went to a very good dentist in January 2001
> and had my heart attack 2 days later. Coincidence? Maybe.
> Thanx everyone for calling and your good wishes!
> Thursday 7 pm
> So, yesterday I went to a great oral hygienist -- Luz Zelaya -- connected with
> a dentist (Dr. Kim), on Howard Brandstein's recommendation. She spent a lot of
> time with me, gave me a serious discount (not covered by Medicaid or
> HealthFirst, so it's still expensive for me), and lots of excellent long-term
> recommendations for supplements. But she concurred with the other 2 dentists
> I'd gone to that I'd have to have some of my teeth pulled, to end the longterm
> (25 years!) infection in my gums and jawbone. (Cut directly to the end to find
> out what's happening right now, please.)
> Ah, yes, the "other" dentists. First I called 3 or 4 dentists listed by
> HealthFirst. There was something wrong with each one: On vacation in India; No
> appointments until mid-January; If your pain is excruciating we can set up an
> appointment for 2 weeks; I know the message says office hours are 3x per week,
> but we've changed -- the doctor is in only every other Sunday. (At least she
> had the decency to call me.)
> First one that had an opening that day was Dr. Gerstein, in Bath Beach, near
> my apartment. He had a picture of Bruce Springsteen on his wall so I figured
> he must be OK -- hmmm. He actually didn't see me at all (amazing!), but will
> undoubtedly be billing Medicaid for his "treatment" of me. Not if I can help
> it! His assistant (accredidation?) looked at my teeth and cleaned some, took
> some Xrays, and then said that I had to have all my teeth pulled and needed to
> go to an oral surgeon. "Why didn't you tell me that right off the bat?" Ach.
> So I asked for the Xrays -- "no can do" -- and went in search of a holistic
> I found one, Dr. Rosenthal -- the only holistic dentist listed -- in Brooklyn
> and set up an appointment that same day. I borrowed some money from mom (I
> thought $80 for a consult was quite reasonable). Rosenthal said to make sure
> to bring the X-rays. Right! So back to Gersein's office I went, argued with
> the staff there. "I TOLD you I needed the X-rays, please give them to me right
> now." They made a copy and handed them to me. Caught the bus to Rosenthal's,
> whose office on Ocean Parkway was lovely, lots of good reading material -- I
> actually got there early and so read an entire book on gum disease -- and she
> spent a lot of time with me, until she got tired at the end of the day and
> started short-cutting it.
> She took one look at the X-rays and said, "Where are the missing ones?" Seems
> like a bunch were just not there. Then she went through tooth by tooth -- pull
> this, this can't be saved, etc. Then she began lecturing me about whole-body
> approaches to disease, which I already know pretty much (and agree with), but
> when she got to diet -- her main theme -- and assumed I was eating sugars (I'm
> not, although I do eat carbs when I'm hungry, which is often I guess) she told
> me not to do so. Great -- I don't mind the advice -- Luz would give me the
> same advice, and in much more detail -- but I hate hearing about not eating
> carbs from someone who is ... um ... "chunky" to put it kindly. Am I to trust
> this person.
> Then I spent a few days at the cardiologist, a very nice man from Egypt
> prescribing me all sorts of medications that I told him I'm simply not going
> to take (Beta-Blockers, statins, the works). He said that Beta Blockers
> interfere with adrenalin, and lowering adrenalin reduces stress on the heart.
> (Duh.) I said, "How about meditation and yoga?" He agreed that those could be
> effective. I asked about Amino Acids for increasing flexibility of arteries
> and veins, and he said "None of that is proven." Of course not, they won't run
> the tests! Doesn't mean that they should be disregarded, though. Then I
> brought up Niacin -- I'm the one who brought this up -- and suddenly we were
> in synch, somewhat. He said the 250 mg of Niacin I was taking was nowhere near
> enough, that 1,500 mg per day would be needed to lower cholesterol. We spent a
> bit of time talking about the different formulas.
> In the middle of all this, every day I had to go to Cathryn's house 2x/day to
> feed her 5 cats, as she was stuck in Arizona with Jet Blue canceling her
> flight, due to the blizzard. She returns (I hope) Friday late night.
> So, after seeing Luz (the one great teeth-related expert, in my book, in all
> this), and after she concurred that I had to have some of (not all) the teeth
> removed, and as my prescription for antibiotics was on its last day (and thus
> the excruciating pain would return), I hopped on the F train to go to a clinic
> that Dr. Rosenthal recommended. I of course called first, told them my
> insurance carrier, and they said if I get there before noon the Oral Surgeon
> could take me. So I canceled my Park Slope Coop shift at the last minute and
> hopped the F train. After sitting there for 20 minutes, the clerk informed me
> that they don't take HealthFirst -- even though both Rosenthal and the
> telephone-answerer said they did! -- and I had to find another. So I started
> walking to Sheepshead Bay to the other Oral Surgeon recommended by Gerstein's
> office. Around 1/2-way there I decided to call them from the one payphone I
> could find -- good thing! They're closed for 2 weeks. I hopped on the Avenue U
> bus -- finally working -- to make the normally 20-minute trip back home -- it
> took 90 minutes in the unplowed streets -- and regroup. Then called
> HealthFirst, got the names of some other places, and made an emergency
> appointment at a clinic right near where I just had been (go figure).
> The only glitch was that they wanted a referral from my dentist. But Gerstein
> didn't even see me, let alone give me an official referral. On the way out,
> his staff gave me a form with the other address of the other clinic that was
> closed until mid-January. So, after negotiating a bit, I remembered I had the
> referral elsewhere from Dr. Rosenthal (the holistic, off the coverage
> dentist). So I gave that to them, and that was the magic trick even though
> neither the dentist nor the surgeon she referred me to was covered by
> HealthFirst. So be it.
> This oral surgeon, Dr. Matuza, didn't crack a smile once. I tried to say
> "hello" and he didn't recognize any communication, other than to review my
> list of heart-related ailments and allergy to penicillin. He then got down to
> work, novacaine, and within 20 minutes extracted my 3 lower left corner teeth
> -- which was pretty complicated as they were broken, partly locked into their
> sockets, etc. He used different clamps, "Marathon Man" came to mind, and
> pliars, and got them out, blood all over the place. (His technician gasped.)
> He then gave me a prescription for antibiotics and codeine, and sent me on my
> way with instructions not to remove the gauze from my mouth for at least a few
> hours, as my blood is not clotting properly due to the plavix for the stents,
> and the aspirin.
> But it doesn't end there. I took the B train to Church Avenue to buy catfood
> -- 5 cats is a bit of an expense, Cathryn really needs to give away 2 of the
> cats, at least -- and to fill the prescriptions. But Rite-Aid said there's a
> change in Medicaid's codes and my card is 10 years old and some codes are
> wrong. They said they couldn't fill the prescriptions (as I stood there blood
> leaking out of my mouth every time I opened it to argue). Fuck them. I then
> crossed Church Avenue and found a small family-run pharmacy who filled the
> prescriptions and told me the number to call at Medicaid to have them send a
> new card. Big deal!
> So here I sit, having fed the cats tonight, spoke with Howard B. and Linda Z.
> on the phone, hoping to get the bleeding to stop. We'll find out shortly, as I
> haven't yet taken out the original soaked gauze 'cuz the doctor said not to --
> the clot gets ruined every time you change the gauze. So I haven't taken the
> codeine either just in case I need to be able to think and act clearly if
> there's an emergency. Fortunately, Alex (via Linda) -- who lives around the
> corner -- offered to drive to a hospital if I need it. And I'm waiting for the
> clot (oh Samuel Beckett) to form so I can take my Plavix to ensure that my
> stents WON'T clog up.
> And so it goes.
> Phone here at Cathryn's is 718-499-3497, though it's hard for me to talk. (Mom
> just called with all sorts of irrelevant "advice", like "be sure to protect
> your thyroid when getting X-rayed." I mean, it's good advice for that time,
> but I have no X-ray machine here at Cathryn's.
> Anyway, thanx for paying at least some attention ....