Dentists and Headaches

[Aside: Glad I bought my Leonard Cohen ticket when I did – they are all sold out as of today.]

The two topics of the title are not meant to be associated. Really. They just happened to be things of note lately.

I had a surprise visit to the dentist yesterday. It was surprise because I had not planned on going yesterday – I called to book an appointment and they had a cancellation for that afternoon and as the free next appointment was two weeks away, I took it. Perhaps it is a good thing to have little warning for a visit to the dentist so that one does not need to live in fear and trepidation of the visit.

This visit, however, reminded me of why I don’t like going. Last time I went to the dentist my teeth and gums got a regular work-over which left my gums sore for a week. A week. Regular flossing? I was struggling to even brush. When I mentioned that this time they told me I should floss more regularly to avoid it. My response: I do floss regularly, I just try to leave my teeth and gums acquainted with each other at the end of the session.

In the end, I managed to convince the hygienist that my teeth are hard to floss and that the spots of fluorosis are not my fault. I had my first fluoride in over 10 years and was reminded of why I used to hate it. Having to wait to eat after the appointment was pretty bad too. I did leave with a cool rubber “gum massager” (it is supposed to help me clean around my wisdom teeth, which, incidentally, are staying), a new toothbrush and a new thing of floss which supposedly will be better than the crap I’m currently using. As long as it doesn’t molest my gums, I’m okay with it.

Yesterday was also day two of my experiment to discover the source of my headaches. Starting the middle of last week, I have had a headache for at least part of every day. It was always in full swing when I went to bed each night (which made studying fun) and was frequently still there in the morning. Being the nerd that I am, I isolated a number of variables that could be causing them: lack of sleep, dehydration, too much coffee and/or sugar in my diet lately, a fairly rubbish diet otherwise, and so on. I didn’t get around to grocery shopping last week, so I was living on random stuff and not as much fresh fruits and veggies as I’d like.

Being the good psych student that I was, I know that the proper way to conduct an experiment is to investigate one variable at a time so as to eliminate interference, blah blah blah. Accordingly, I tested them all at once. Starting Monday, I ingested no coffee (actually, that accidentally started on Sunday) or extra sugars (cookies and stuff like that which I don’t need). Apparently I am giving up something for Lent. I also increased my veggie intake once again and tried to drink more water; I have a 1L cup that follows me everywhere at home. I have not had a headache since the one that enveloped my head mid-day on Monday. The headache was gone Tuesday when I woke up and has not been heard from since.

While I could attribute it to all of the above variables being modified, I am pretty sure I can narrow it to one in particular: sleep. Monday night I had great intentions of going to a Lenten prayer workshop at church led by a couple who are psychologists/spiritual directors. It sounded great and I may still be able to go in coming weeks. I got home Monday night, had some food, went to change into some more comfortable clothes for studying and fell asleep. Right there, on my bed, at 7 pm. Woke up briefly a couple of times, during the second at 10:30, I decided to change into my pjs and just go to bed. Next sign of life was when the alarm went of at 7 am, apparently I was tired.

Currently, I am procrastinating from the same studying I should have been doing on Monday. I am actually trying to get ahead because I intend to relax and enjoy the upcoming weekend at camp and don’t anticipate having time to study before the test next week. But sleep is so inviting, and, after all, is good for me.


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