Monday, September 23, 2013

My mom has no teeth (part 1)

My mom is old and she is sick and as the title suggests she has no teeth (well at least not many).  I don't talk about my mom much or for that matter my family.  There was of course the exception of my dad dying and that did rate a few blog posts.  Now for the rest of my family that is still alive we are not a particularly close but that does not mean we do not care about one another.  Now lets to get on the path to try and explain the toothless smile.

When I was growing up my mother cared about her appearance and she cared about appearances.  She had clothes, jewelry and the all accessories to match.  We did not necessarily have to food to eat and by we I mean my sisters and myself but my mother always looked good.  My mother has traveled a road that is unknown to me.  It has carried her form the professional who always looked the part to my mother that could now be an extra in Deliverance the movie.  I said we were never close and I am fascinated with trying to understand how she ended up where she is now.  Now where is she exactly?

My mother now lives in a small town that is inhabited by many meth labs and the population is mostly made up of the kind of white trash that run and frequent meth labs.  Some how over time her appearance has come to match her surroundings.  My mother is in her late sixties and wears nondescript clothing that looks like it came from a Goodwill in a bad neighborhood.  Her hair has thinned and her skin looks like that of a woman twenty years her senior.  Of course last but not least in order to complete the picture her teeth are few and far between.   

My mother can not get out a chair now without assistance and sometimes it becomes near to impossible to get her out of a chair even with assistance.  She refuses to use a walker and begrudgingly uses a cane.  She does that old person shuffle and can not navigate stairs.  She recoils when anyone touches her, I have a theory on this.  I believe she has untreated diabetes that has caused nerve damage in her arms and legs that causes her the pain when she is touched.  Her eyes are dry and hurt her so much that she has been using some kind of veterinary ointment that looks like Neosporin.

Her diet consists of warm Doctor Pepper because what is left of her teeth can not stand the cold.  It is not diet Doctor Pepper to make sure that she gets enough sugar to keep the diabetes going.  The rest of her diet consists of fast food of various varieties and of course meals on wheels.  She tells me she does not need assisted living because if she fell and was unable to reach her cell phone (which has happened) the meals on wheels people would find her.  I think at this point I have painted the picture of her current state of being and to what end?

Despite my childhood of neglect and unhappiness she is my mother and for reasons that are complex and probably for the most part unknown to me (denial) I care about her and want her to be as well as possible.  To this end the traditional roles have been reversed and I call her on the phone (I live in a different state) and try and get her to take care of herself.  Mom have you gone to dentist?  Her response is there is nothing he can do because I have an autoimmune disease that is causing my teeth to fall out.  Now at this point I am fairly confident that the doctor that has diagnosed her autoimmune disease is Doctor Pepper.

Autoimmune diseases can cause a lot of damage to teeth.  Here is how it actually happens, the autoimmune disease causes dry mouth which allows plaque to grow crazy and cause more tooth damage.  The treatment, drink water to keep your mouth moist and go to the dentist more often.  Now of course my mother is lying about going to the dentist and of course she also lies about going to the doctor but you can take a horse to water but not to the doctor?

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