My Huge Filling Is Giving Me Trouble Again

(Post 211 of 263)

Saturday night, I was having some yogurt and granola when I realised that I had a giant hole in one of my molars — the filling had fallen out and I’d presumably swallowed it!

This filling’s history could fill a long novel. I don’t know how it got started, but it probably got as bad as it was because of how I was treated by Canadian dentists, and also, of course, by the fact that dental care is such a luxury in Canada that a common mortal can’t afford it. By the time I had to get it fixed circa 2005 or 2006, it was already huge, and I was treated to a lovely one hour of getting drilled with no anesthetic because Canadian dentists a) would not believe I was not numb/thought I was just a wimp and b) are on the clock and wouldn’t stop to wait for extra anesthetic to work anyway.

By 2013, I had a big hole again, so while I was staying in Port Lavaca, Texas, I took the opportunity to drive to Nuevo Progreso, Tamaulipas, and have it repaired again. My thoughts on what dental care is changed immediately. I’d never been cared for so well.

Unfortunately, the repair didn’t last long and I had to have it done again in Mazatlán in 2015. At that time, I was told the next step is a crown.

I messaged my dentist yesterday morning, Monday, and asked for an appointment that afternoon if at all possible. They could fit me in at 4PM. After removing all of the previous filling, the dentist, one I didn’t know, said that she was pretty sure that we were beyond a standard filling. She asked a specialist (reconstructionist, I believe, is the term she used) to come and evaluate. They also took an X-ray right there and then with a portable machine.

The news was surprisingly good. While I have a huge amount of the tooth missing, the root and nerve structure is fine. I was proposed something I’d never heard of before, an “incrustation,” which I’ve since learned is an “inlay” in English. What they do is essentially create a prosthesis for the tooth to fill in the missing part — imagine someone 3D printing a chunk missing out of a turtle’s shell. This is considered a better outcome than going with a crown because the healthy part of the tooth is not covered. The lifespan of an inlay is also much longer than of a filling.

It’s a two-part process. I have to go back next week to get a mould and prep done, then they will have the inlay manufactured, then I have another appointment to install it.

The cost for my emergency visit yesterday was $400 (about 20USD) and the cost for the inlay will be $2,650 (about 150USD). I’m so glad I’m here!

First Long Bike Ride!

(Post 210 of 263)

Yesterday was Independence Day, so most of the city was in Centro watching the parade. It was cloudy and only about 26 degrees, so the perfect time to try again to do a long bike ride. I did about 20KM in about 2 hours!

Honestly, that was almost more than I should have done, though, on my first outing out — the last kilometre or two were brutal and I was very stiff when I got in! It took me a good 15 minutes more than Google thought it would to reach the Paseo Verde, so before I attempt to ride the whole length of it, I am going to work at shortening the trip there.

There were three main segments to the trip, the ride west through my neighbourhood, the ride south down Avenida Mérida 2000, and then the ride west on Avenida Jacinto Canek.

My neighbourhood was quiet and easy to ride through. Lots of pot holes and obstacles, of course, but you just have to be vigilant.

There was a brief section on a busy road to be able to turn left on to Avenida Mérida 2000 that is going to require some practice. I could not figure out how to safely turn left on a bicycle to end up in the correct bike lane. I may have to walk that intersection. But a bike lane! Avenida 2000 is a fairly new road, so it was designed with bike lanes on either side. They are in depressions so I sometimes came across lakes, but, generally, the bike lanes were in good condition.

To my surprise, Jacinto Canek also has a bike lane, but it is faintly marked and doesn’t have little “bumpers” along it to remind drivers to stay in their lane. The stretch was fine with yesterday’s traffic, but I doubt I’d want to do it at rush hour. By this point, there were signs guiding us to the Paseo Verde, so where I had to turn left/south was a well designated pedestrian crosswalk that is like a very high tope. Had to walk that one. And then, I was in nature!

The Paseo Verde felt like another world, very lush and green after all the rain we’ve had. I was already tired and the path is quite hilly, plus there were a lot of muddy gravel sections, so I didn’t get very far, maybe a quarter of the way down it before turning back.

I made one stop on the way home, for a cold drink, and discovered that because I’m rarely going to encounter a proper bike rack, I need a much longer chain.

As I said, I was really tired on the way home, but it wasn’t a slog and I enjoyed seeing my part of the city in this way. It felt much smaller than it does on foot and much more accessible than it does by car. I can’t wait to go out again! Next trip, I think I’ll be a little less ambitious and stick to my quadrant, exploring the new bike lanes in Francisco de Montejo.

I’m pretty sure I haven’t come home this muddy, exhausted, sore, and happy since my trek to Wuthering Heights!

No Biking Adventures Yet

(Post 209 of 263)

I was so disappointed on Sunday morning that I had gotten up early, slapped on sunscreen, packed a bag, and was ready to head out for a ride around 7:30 only to discover I had a flat tire!!!

Monday, I knew I had to sort this out ASAP by finding myself a local bike repair place. Thankfully, there was one just around the corner from me, a 3-minute bike ride! I figured that I could pump my tire and it would stay inflated just long enough to get me there. Just!

When you arrive at a business in Mexico, you should greet everyone, which I did. A waiting customer said hi back, but the owner just looked up to acknowledge that he knew I was there and then ignored me while he finished what he was doing. Once the previous customer had been sent on his way, I finally got a pretty rough, “What do you want?” I explained (ineloquently) that I thought I had a flat tire. He said he could look at it right away, promptly flipped the bike over, and got to work!

I love seeing experts at work. He released and was checking the inner tube in no time, finding the leak quickly by running the inner tube through water and looking for bubbles. He said it was just a pinhole and he could patch it. As he worked, I started to engage him, knowing that he’d get warmer once I knew I was a pretty long-time resident of the neighbourhood and would be a repeat customer. It worked! Before long we were chatting and joking pleasantly.

He had me back on the road in 15 minutes for 30 pesos!

Queen Elizabeth II Has Died

(Post 208 of 263)

I’m surprised by how upset I was by the news that Canada’s head of state, Queen Elizabeth II, died peacefully today at her beloved Balmoral Castle. It is not necessarily her I mourn, but what her death signifies, the true end of a world and way of life that has been in death throes for nearly two decades now.

I thought I would share my memory of the Queen. June 27th, 1998, I was in Edinburgh, Scotland, and about to climb Arthur’s Seat when I turned back to look at the commotion at Holyrood Palace only to see a tiny familiar person dressed in bright colours climb into a car! I changed my plans and ended up getting pretty lost following the royal procession.

(I can’t believe my journal doesn’t say what colour she was wearing. I was such a crappy journaller back then!)

Here is the Queen at Uxmal, Yucatán, in 1975 (I could not find a photo credit):

Back in the (Other) Saddle!

(Post 207 of 263)

I really miss biking. I gave it up 10 years ago because it was just too painful because of my bad leg and knees. I just wasn’t getting enough use out of a bike to make it worth lugging one around anymore.

I’ve been thinking for some time now that I should try again now that Pilates has done miracles on said bad leg. Now that Bonita is gone and I don’t feel tied to the house anymore, plus we are getting into the cool season, it seemed like the perfect time to try biking again. The goal of this was not to start commuting around town on a bike — Mérida is not bike-friendly, no matter what the governor likes to brag about, and I don’t want to start showing up for appointments a sweaty mess. No, this is more for pleasure and to spend less of my free time sitting, to cycle the minimum amount of time on city streets needed to get to the dozens of kilometres of bike paths the city has to offer. That’s what the governor is actually bragging about, conflating having plenty of safe spaces to recreationally bike with having a bike-friendly city. The fact is that getting to these safe spaces is dangerous and there is almost never a place to park and lock a bike along the way if you want to run errands (I’ve already started telling my favourite businesses that it would be great if they could come up with a place to lock a bike).

Anyway, as it turns out, if I meander my way west through my neighbourhood for about 15 minutes, I will hit a series of bike paths that go from one end of the periférico to the other, north to south and back again, a total of nearly 20KM roundtrip. This is my most accessible and “bang for my buck” cycling destination. Other destinations, like the Paseo de Montejo, are too short to make the dangerous trip there worthwhile. My goal is to do a two-hour cycle trip one quiet morning a week, probably Sunday, as that’s when there will be the least traffic and the weather won’t be too hot. Forget evenings as it is getting dark very early already.

Now, I had to find a bike. I wanted a vintagey/retro city cruiser-type with handlebar brakes, a basket in the front, and a luggage rack in the back. I ideally needed 28″ wheels, but with women here being so small, that put me into men’s bike territory, so I compromised with a 26″ model. I finally found one that looked promising. A small local bike shop was selling it for $3,880 delivered (with a dent in the mud guard) and Coppel had it for $5,200 delivered! Sold! It’s not as retro as some of the models I was drooling over, but this one has much more comfortable handlebars, several speeds (a nice bonus!), and hand brakes. I’m thrilled with it.

Soon as I knew the bike was incoming on Monday, I put in an Amazon order for a helmet, lock, and bell. They arrived yesterday while I was at the dentist, so when I got back, I was able to head out to do a quick loop and get the tires pumped with air. I was rather amazed that it didn’t take long for my Watch to ask me if I wanted it to record a bike ride!

How was my first ride?

I can’t wait to head out again, but a few twinges this morning have reminded me I need to ease into long rides. I’m thinking maybe tomorrow late afternoon, like I did yesterday.