Thursday, August 28, 2008


Did any of you watch the DNC tonight with Obama's speech?

All I can say is, all of Obama's supporters have bad teeth! No wonder they are voting for the man selling universal health care!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Burger woes

Abraham just returned from Malibu, California. Yes, he was gone for another trip, this time to help his brother get moved and situated before he starts law school at Pepperdine.

I was glad he was able to go, if for no other reason than to use up some complimentary In'N'Out Burger coupons that I have had for over 5 years. This is how I got 7 free meals to my favorite burger joint...

We were on a lacrosse trip for a tournament in Santa Barbara, California. We left straight from school with a van full of my teammates. I drove the entire way from Provo to SB. Upon our arrival, the host family we were staying with suggest we go to the nearby In and Out since that would "be fun for us." I was starving after a long and stressful drive through the deserts of Utah and Arizona and Cali traffic. I eagerly ordered a burger.

After half way through my meal I noticed that my hamburger was pink inside. Upon questioning, 4-5 out of the 7 of us had pink burgers. We wondered if this was okay until one teammate approached the counter and a burger maker yelled, "We've got pink burgers!" The manager got very mad at this...we figured this wasn't okay. She got a replacement sandwhich so we all expected to get one, as well. They ignored us until they finally, one by one, replaced everyone's burger but mine (after many attempts of asking, waiting, etc). I was furious I had spent the money for food when I was very hungry and had nothing to eat. We left the restaurant with me very frustrated by the lack of customer service and a very hungry belly. I wasn't about to order another "E. coli burger" like my dad would have called it.

The morning we were set the leave the tournament I woke up about 4 am with exquisite belly pain. Food poisoning! We left soon after for our long drive home. I chugged on a bottle of pepto-bismol and drove in agony for the next 14 hours. At one point through the windy canyons and desolation of Arizona, I begged to be let out to relieve myself over the cliff side if necessary. To my great relief and what I still consider a miracle, we pulled over where a random port-o-potty just happened to be, in the middle of nowhere. Thank goodness!

I had the worst of it, although another 2 girls who had more pink burgers were ill on the way home as well. What a horrible 14 hours!

My feelings of being wronged prompted me to contact the corporate offices and complain. They were very happy to give me 7 complimentary meal passes. I explained the closest In and Out was over 4 hours away and that I was not sure I wanted to return, considering my great experience. They told me the coupons do not expire and that was the only compensation they could give.

So...five years later, at least my husband got a few free meals out of it. Maybe with inflation, it was worth it.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Iowa Real Estate

After logging about 400 miles on my bike I feel I am finally beginning to get the hang of it. I no longer feel the pain of my tiny seat or fear coming to a stop and forgetting to clip out of my pedals. I have survived a near miss car/bike love tap and road ragers and 10 miles seems like nothing.

Iowa is a great place for bikers. It must be because they seem to be everywhere. We went on a nice Saturday morning ride last week with the Sheffields and a friend. I love that just a few minutes from our house we can be on beautiful country roads flanked by cornfields, quaint white farm houses, and pretty red barns. And, I am learning to appreciate Iowa's rolling hills. Contrary to popular belief, Iowa (at least Eastern Iowa) is not flat. It is a series of continuous rolling hills. That makes any ride anywhere from occasionally tiring to extremely exhausting. It makes for good exercise and high speed downhills.

Iowa should also probably be known for its great housing market. Abe and I made a real find, it's probably right up our alley with what we can afford with what we currently have to our name (about -$200K). This "fixer-upper" even comes with its own bus! and is only a short commute to the University of Iowa, nearby shopping, and beautiful parks.

Iowa may not be the first thing that pops into your mind when you think of travel, but the heartland of America is something everyone should experience. Luckily, this summer has had amazing weather in the 70-80's without the humidity. Feel free to drop by any time!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Important thoughts on dental insurance and neglect!

Warning: long but very important thoughts on oral health care! recently featured a video I found disturbing. A young woman without dental insurance crossed the border into Mexico in order to receive more affordable care. While I have heard horror stories and seen a bit first hand some of this "more affordable dentistry" (until you have to repay to have it done) the thing that really disturbed me was the fact that the lack of insurance was keeping her from receiving care. This is a problem I see at school with practically every patient.

The key to oral health really is prevention. Regular check ups and cleanings (called prophys) hand in hand with home care such as brushing and flossing really are the best way to achieve optimal oral health. If you are a perfect brusher and flosser, with no genetic disposition for problems, you may be okay on your own...but most people are not. When people choose to put these important visits off, they are often costing themselves more money in the future. Here is a common scenario:

Patient Y was laid off and consequently lost her dental insurance 5 years ago. Feeling unable to pay, she has not followed up with her dentist since then. Her x rays from her last appointment reveal the beginnings of cavities in multiple teeth, something her doctor felt could be reversed or arrested with proper oral hygiene and flouride treatments. However, going unmonitored by her dentist, these cavities have grown. When she finally arrives at the office for a tooth that has been bothering her, her dentist finds that these cavities are very large and have even created very large holes in a few of her teeth. When regular fluoride treatments, x rays, and exams will cost about $100 a visit, and some minor fillings can be done for about $100 each, she now has to pay to have RCT and crowns (probably about $1200-$1500 per tooth) or possibly extractions with replacements such as dentures, implants, or bridges (all likely costing over $1000-multiple $1000s).

But perhaps you say, I never get cavities...Scenario 2:

Patient Z feels that going to the dentist is a waste of time and money. "That greedy dentist is just trying to get his new car payed off, with my money! I will only go to the dentist every 2 years." However, Z is prone to periodontitis, or gum disease. At is last visit, Z was on the borderline of developing periodontitis with a few areas his dentist is watching for further problems. However, without attention and proper instruction and reminders on brushing and flossing, Z returns with large deposits of tartar (hardened plaque) on his teeth and deep pockets between his gums and teeth. Now, he has periodontitis of which the treatment is scaling and root planing (deep cleaning of the teeth with instruments that scrape off any deposits under the gums) which costs even at the dental school $80 per quadrant (and likely more than double that in private practice). Additionally, he is now on a 3 month recall schedule instead of a 6 month schedule and may need surgery to correct some areas that continue to develop problems. If you want to become your dentist's best friend, develop gum disease!

I'm telling you these scenarios to illustrate just how priceless regular care can be. I see this every single day, patients who have put off the prevention aspect of their care only to have thousand dollar treatment plans when they finally decide to come in (and at the dental school, where the cost is 1/3 to 1/2 the cost!). Teeth that would easily have seen saveable are left to heroics and hundreds of dollars to save. Perio disease that was managed has progressed to severe levels, meaning extensive time and money as well as possible lost teeth. Even people in their 20's having all of their teeth removed for dentures.

Dental insurance really isn't insurance. It is not like your home insurance that will pay for a distaster. Most insurance plans only pay a fraction of the cost of any procedure and max out at at about $1000. Even if you can only afford to go once a year, this may be cheaper than not. A $100 cleaning will be much cheaper than periodontal therapy. Two $100 fillings may be cheaper than crowns or bridges. Your insurance payment may be more than this, anyway.

Finally, if nothing else, oral cancer is a real problem. The survival rate for oral cancer is extremely low and not increasing. The best way to fight it is early discovery. Your dentist should be doing an oral cancer screening every time you visit. I have met people who have found out within the same week that they have a huge growing oral cancer in their mouth and that even with the radical surgeries to remove the cancer, they are unlikely to live for long. Please, please, please, become familiar with your mouths. Take a look in the mirror, see if anything looks unusual and see your dentist regularly who is trained to look for these changes. Hopefully, if you see him regularly you can catch something developing before it becomes a problem.

Happy brushing!

Thursday, August 21, 2008


I just finished the last of the Twilight series. I was making some comments to a friend about what I thought of the book...maybe I am a party pooper or something but while I obviously liked the books enough to read all 4 of them, I have some criticisms.

One, I hate many of the names SM chooses for her characters. Not just dislike, but actually quite hate them, esp Renesmee (ugh). I find Bella's character quite pitiful until the last book. The fourth book I felt was rather sexual for a "young adult" = teen book, and I just don't see Edward as that loveable. He seems too controlling or something for me to find him interesting, romantically. The vampire story was much more intriguing to me than any of the relationship drama.

Maybe it all stems back to my lack of an imagination. I remember as a child fretting to my mom about how I didn't have that all too important imagination stressed in all PBS children's broadcasting. She never argued much with me.

To illustrate my point, I really have no interest in Harry Potter. Abe conned me into reading it by buying me the first book. Really didn't get anything out of it.

Am I just an ornery old critic?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


The two so-called discoverers of BIGFOOT have admitted it was a hoax...a frozen rubber costume. Who would have thought they made it all up, and for money?

To think I gave them added advertising by posting about it on my blog. I was such a fool.

Saturday, August 16, 2008


Did you hear? They found big foot, Mr. Sasquatch himself. Two men were hiking "very deep in the forest" when their "luck" struck and they found the remains of our hairy friend next to a river. They were also followed by 3 other creatures. They had a video camera but could only manage to get some fuzzy pics of one of the creatures.

Now, they have joined with another big foot hunter and joined his corporation. Somehow their accidental find has turned them into experts, the "" They are also so environmentally friendly that they don't want to reveal the location so they can keep the creatures safe. In fact, they want to keep them so safe that they plan to capture a live one for themselves in the near future. Thanks guys! These very elusive creatures who have never been captured or photographed (reliably) before will definately need the protection of these great environmentalists.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Workout plan

It is amazing how just writing things down can make such a big difference in goal setting. I have really been trying to motivate myself to exercise more but with little luck on following through consistently. I made a calendar last week to write down my accomplishments and it worked...There is something about checking things off a list that compels me to do it. In fact, sometimes I write things down after the fact, just so I can cross it off.

So, to prove my point, on top of my normal routine of walking to/from school, etc, I also did:

235 minutes of cardio (including 37 miles of biking), 2 hours of tennis (Abe is teaching me), and 2 hours of weight lifting, all in 6 days.

I am thinking of incoporating a real goal into this, something like for every mile I bike I get $0.10 and equivalent for other activities to save up for some big treat (we've been thinking about a Nintendo Wii). You could even go as far as to deduct cents for treats, etc. I'm excited mostly to have a plan that will seem motivating once the novelty of my calendar wears off.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

School again

I've been a pretty lame-o blogger the past week or so (or maybe can decide). This has been a bit of a crazy week. Abraham finally got home from a research conference in Bar Harbor, Maine. Two weeks at home all by myself after a long week in Tennessee and youth conference, meaning all of about 3 days together in July. I never said anything because I didn't want to advertise to any blog stalkers that I was home all alone...

Anyway, I am back at school seeing patients again. I am LOVING it. I feel much more like I know what is going on and love the independence (a little surprising to me, actually). However, I am still feeling pretty puzzled about about half of my patients who all seem to be missing the same front tooth. If nothing else, I should be an expert at restoring tooth #7, the right lateral incisor (the one just right of you big central incisor in front).

I have set a lot of new school year goals for myself. I even cleaned my spare bedroom so you can see the floor and walk and open all of the doors! I am excited about this new year and the opportunity to make the last preparations toward becoming a doctor and professional both academically and in my personal life...

...even if my family is in Belize without me.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Trimming back

I always swore I would never be one of those girls who gained weight when she married. I used to wonder what changed that would cause such drastic changes in a girl's waist line. Well, now I know...a lot. I have noticed that some of my pants are fitting tighter and that I am a little softer around the middle than the day I married last year. Some of the contributing factors? I can't say for sure, but here are some guesses: I used to eat really unusual meals at times. For example, I love canned spinach (gasp!). Probably 3 times a week I would have a can of spinach and a salad or other vegetables for dinner. As a married woman who actually loves her husband, I don't think I could submit Abraham to that kind of dinner. The problem is, the food is often so good I eat more OR the things I make are probably higher in fat than the throw together meals I used to make. Not to mention, Abe is an amazing cook who loves making desserts! Secondly, there is a lot of stress that comes into marriage and starting a new life together --the wedding, moving in, establishing your sock drawer and a routine, etc. Not to say it has been bad, but big life changes mean big stress.

So, I have decided to improve upon my waist line once again through a bigger emphasis on health. This week we bought over $20 in produce (I hope we can eat it all before it goes bad). I even bought a jicama to expand the variety. I am now looking for healthy meal alternatives. Any ideas? Today I made a split pea soup and some bread bowls but I need more ideas for lower-fat, lower-cal, more veggie diets. Please share your ideas. You may have noticed that Abe's cooking blog, IronSheff, contains mostly yummy treats!

Saturday, August 2, 2008


The new Twilight book came out today. It seems all of my friends have been counting down the days. I guess even my mom pre-ordered the book. Kind of surprised me! Are you reading the book today?

I would like to read it eventually. I think I can wait a few days to borrow someone else's copy. My big question is, will Bella become a vampire or not? I'm not sure I want her to...too many questions in the air...would she really be happy, could she control her appetites, give up her family?