AAO (American Association of Orthodontists) annual trade show
and convention was a blast! This four-day show (the 105th
convention, believe it or not) was huge, filling up an
enormous exhibit hall at Moscone Center in San Francisco. To
give you an idea, each row was assigned a number in the
hundreds. The rows went from 100 up to 2600! This photo
doesn't even begin to show the enormity of the exhibit hall.
Anyone and everyone in the field of orthodontics was there. In
this photo you can see a large exhibit about Speed Braces on
the left. Further back (not in the photo) were huge booths for
GAC, Ormco, Align, Masel, Proctor & Gamble, Oral-B, and
many other large orthodontic manufacturers, suppliers, and
distributors from around the world. In fact, I finally got to
meet some of the people I have spoken to on the phone, and
it's always nice to put a face to a name and a voice.
exhibitor, I was busy, busy, busy! Our booth was constantly
swamped with people! I didn't have as much time as I would
have liked to attend the talks or leisurely browse the show.
The DentaKit/ArchWired booth was shared with Maggie Harris of
Harris Orthodontic Labs in Sacramento. Our booth was humble
but functional. One table displayed materials for ArchWired
and DentaKit, including a slide show for both websites which
ran on a flat screen monitor (you can see one of the ArchWired
pages on the screen to the left). The other table was devoted
to the book I Lost My Retainer, which Maggie sold at
the show, along with a really cute mini-book of lost retainer
stories. We also had a raffle for a silver iPOD 4G Mini. That
was nothing compared to the company that was raffling off a new
BMW 3 Series!
As you can
see in the photo, to our right was a booth for a facial
imaging company (from Japan). I would have liked to get
to know them, but they didn't speak English! However, candy is
the universal language. I offered them some Trader Joe's
chocolate-covered peppermint sticks, and they offered me some
Japanese caramels. Good thing my braces were off, LOL.
met orthodontists and orthodontic staff members from all over
the US, and around the world -- as far away as Japan,
Thailand, Hong Kong, Australia, South America, and Canada.
People loved the ArchWired website, and they also appreciated
the high-quality components of the DentaKit product line. In
addition, many people from various companies came up to the
booth and introduced themselves, saying things like, "I
found ArchWired on the web and I want you to know what a great
website it is! When I saw that you were going to be an
exhibitor, I had to come over and say hello!" Well
dear readers, of course that made my day -- but you know I
could never have done all this without all of YOU and all of
your support and input! You guys are the real lifeblood of
All in all,
the show was extremely positive for us, as we spread the word
about this website and all the help it has provided to people
around the world. In fact, meeting people from so many
countries reminded me that ArchWired has a shortcoming -- it
is only in English! In the coming months, I hope to get the
main pages translated into several languages. I'm also toying
with the idea of having a section of the Metal Mouth Board for
I want to
take this opportunity to congratulate Ms. Raigda Jena
of the Sierra Centre for Dental Wellness in Calgary,
Alberta Canada. She was chosen from among hundreds of
raffle entrants to win the iPOD mini! Raigda attended the
convention along with a bunch of her coworkers. They were
fortunate to see San Francisco at its sunny best (it had been
raining just days before the convention). Happy listening,
Raigda, and thanks for stopping by our booth!
really enjoying my new "finished" teeth. The bonding
is working out really well. Now I only occasionally get a
shred of food caught between my teeth, so it's quite a
relief. I would definitely recommend the bonding to
anyone who was in my position -- done with braces, but still
suffering with a few really small gaps.
had been so busy preparing for the trade show that several
things around the house took a backseat. This past weekend I
took some time to catch up. First on my list was our deck. My
boxed herb garden had gone wild, the gas grill had never been
cleaned at the end of last season because of my shoulder
surgery (yuck), and of course the deck furniture needed to be
cleaned. Now I can proudly say that house is ready for summer,
because I took care of all of that. I just need to plant a few
new herbs (basil only lasts one season, darnit). The
windchimes are back up, the hummingbird feeder is full, and
the cushions are washed. Bring on the summer! Where's my glass
of iced tea?
home improvement saga will probably continue this
summer, when we replace all the carpeting in the downstairs
portion of our house (the upstairs doesn't need it). The
carpet was here when we moved in more than 10 years ago, and
at that point I think it was already at least 10 years old.
Now that my kids are mostly out of the
barf/pee/spill-on-the-floor stage, it's a good time to do
this! Deciding which type of carpet to get is one thing --
moving 5 rooms of furniture to install the carpet is another.
I'm NOT looking forward to it. Of course, the carpet company
will do the moving. But then we'll have to put all the books
back on the shelves, yada yada yada....I'm getting tired just
thinking about it. I think we might also re-tile the entryway
(make way for the sledgehammers and mounds of dust....).
had wanted to replace the carpet two years ago when we did all
that other stuff, but Hubby wouldn't get behind the idea (I
think he had a case of HISS -- Home Improvement Sticker
Shock). Now he realizes how far gone the carpet really it is
(it is actually disintegrating on a few spots; how embarrassing!)
Nevertheless, I am REALLY REALLY REALLY looking forward to new
carpet. No matter how often (or how well) you clean carpet
that old, it never looks very good. And I know my kids will be
able to repeat the following mantra in their sleep: "No,
you can't eat it in there, you must eat it in the
preparation for this, for the past several seeks I have been
getting rid of a lot of stuff we don't need anymore. It's just
less stuff to put back on the shelves. I donated a ton of
books, videos, and young child software to my daughter's
school and to the local thrift store. Not to mention outgrown
clothing. It feels so good to get rid of stuff you don't need!
Of course I saved certain things that have sentimental value
-- but the rest -- outta here!
older daughter had a tooth pulled a couple of weeks ago -- a
baby molar that wasn't falling out. She is getting her final
set of adult molars, and although the new tooth was beneath
it, the old tooth wouldn't budge. She was in some pain, and we
were hoping that the tooth would fall out, but instead it just
cracked and stayed in place. My daughter was understandably
nervous about getting the baby tooth pulled, but her dentist
(a pediatric dentist) did a great job. She never even felt the
my younger daughter is thrilled that her cross bite is gone
and her new teeth are growing in straighter (she had the
biggest toothless grin you can imagine, but she hated it, the
poor kid). She's overjoyed that her front teeth have grown in
enough that she can bite into an apple again. And of course,
Mom is all for the kids eating those healthy snacks...
to add to our family dental saga, my husband is having trouble
with food getting caught between a new crown and the molar
next to it. He's going to the dentist to see what can be done
-- maybe some bonding similar to mine would help him. It's so
funny: he told me that he has trouble between meals keeping
that spot free of debris, and asked if I had a product that
could help him. Well DUH, of course I do! I think he's new
convert to the Pick-a-Dent Lover's Club. It helps to have a
wife "in the business"! ;-)
just up to our eyeballs in teeth in my family, LOL!
What a crazy month June was.
Between all the end-of-year stuff at my kids' schools,
running my business, and having several health problems, the
month just really got away from me.
My health problems aren't anything
serious, but they are annoying and inconvenient, all the same. I
won't go into a lot of details, but suffice to say that a woman
my age (44) often begins to have various hormonal issues. So
that's what I'm dealing with. And along the way, an unpleasant
surprise, when I discover that my thyroid is acting up after
years of cooperating. So I've been on a medication rollercoaster
and going to see this doctor and that doctor, and haven't felt
so good in the past couple of weeks. And after all the hoops I
jumped through with my skin, it's breaking out again, which
makes me want to scream! Hopefully adjustments in my
medication will get it all back in line. No doubt, the thyroid
problems caused the hormonal problems -- it's all a very
"chicken-and-egg" sort of thing. My husband playfully says I'm
like a finely tuned Swiss watch -- it doesn't take much to throw
me off kilter. You men are so lucky that you don't have to deal
with this sort of stuff.
However, added to all this
unpleasantness, I managed to hurt my back again. It's all my own
fault -- I should have listened to my body more closely when
things started to ache -- but I was busy and just pushed through
several chores -- then a few days later I was practically having
spasms. Dammit, dammit, dammit. I've been taking truckloads of
anti-inflammatories to calm down the irritation, and laying down
and resting a lot. Fortunately, my doc says that I didn't do
anything to the discs, it's just muscular and things are a bit
out of alignment. Who knows, maybe all the other health problems
predisposed me to this injury. Anyway, that kickboxing class, of
course, is put on hold indefinitely. Maybe I'll start that up
again in the Fall or later this summer when I'm stronger.
So now folks, I'm back in
Physical Therapy, this time for my back. I swear, I'm just
beside myself about this. My kids are in camp and I had wanted
to do so many things that do NOT involve spending hours in
Physical Therapy. But it's necessary, and hopefully it will be
the last time in a LONG TIME that I'll be back in that place (no
reflection on my therapist, who is a rare jewel). I know all the
exercises, so hopefully once we get things back in alignment,
I'll just be able to do them at home.
We have decided to put off getting new
carpet because it would just be too stressful, so maybe that
will happen sometime in the future. Somehow the thought of
schlepping drawers and cartons of stuff around the house doesn't
appeal to me right now.
And, as if things could get any
more Erma-Bombeckian, our 10-year-old refrigerator started
acting strange. The ice maker (inside the freezer) wouldn't stop
making ice, then when I (thought I had) turned it off, it
somehow leaked a quarter-inch of water all over the freezer. I
had to throw out a bunch of stuff that had been sitting in cold
water, defrosting for a day or two unbeknownst to me. What a
mess. So I'm waiting for my back to feel better so I can go
shopping for a new refrigerator. And THIS one won't have an ice
maker inside (what a pain in the butt that thing has been --
I've never liked it). I think we'll get the side-by-side kind
with the ice maker in the door.
Well anyway, there is a carrot
at the end of the stick for me. My family and I are going on
vacation to Hawaii in a few weeks. I'm being very careful so my
vacation isn't screwed up by any additional back pain. Boy am I looking
forward to Hawaii! I'm NOT taking a computer with me -- I am
completely unplugging. I hope it doesn't sound weird saying this
myself, but -- I deserve a total vacation! Hubby will have his
Treo, so unless there is an emergency, I'll be totally tuned
Well folks, my back is still
not better. It has been quite a rollercoaster ride of pain and
discomfort all these weeks. Much to my disappointment, I was
even in pain in Hawaii (on and off, despite taking maximum RX
NSAIDs and icing/heating/taking it easy). I still had a nice
time in Hawaii -- it just wasn't the "total relaxation great
time" I had hoped to have.
Every time I think it's getting
better, it starts hurting again -- for seemingly no reason --
and I'm back to square one. I must say, I've never experienced
this before. I've hurt my back many times in the past, and
usually some physical therapy, avoiding certain positions or
activities, or doing certain exercises cures it in a number of
weeks. Gradually it gets better and better until the pain is
gone. But now it has been more than 7 weeks since the back pain
began, and I'm only a little bit better.
Before I went to Hawaii I got
an MRI of my spine. I wasn't surprised to find out that I have a
moderate herniation of a disc (I think it's somewhere around L2
or L3). My orthopedist suggested that I get a cortisone shot.
Actually, a series of them -- probably 3 shots, done several
weeks apart, at the hospital. It's an outpatient procedure. The
first one is scheduled for early next week.
I've had cortisone shots in my
shoulder. And I've had epidural anesthesia (twice for childbirth
and once for foot surgery). But I've never had a cortisone
injection in my spine. Quite frankly, it kinda scares the shit
out of me. I know the risks are slim (and my doctor is very
skilled -- he will do this with the aid of a fluoroscope), but
still...there's always that "what if..." in the back of your
mind when you go in for something like this.
Nevertheless, here's what's
pushing me to say "yes." Before going to Hawaii my back seemed
to be getting better. I was really careful on the flight (I
stood almost the entire time and didn't carry a thing). But
despite that, I woke up the next morning in pain. It took 3 days
for me to be able to sit without pain. Then it got better. And
then out of the blue it got worse again. Then I got home and it
was bearable. Then it got worse. Today it's better. Who knows
how I'll feel tomorrow! I'm ready to get off this rollercoaster,
and if cortisone shots will calm down the nerve, then I have to
try them. Obviously nothing else is working very well. Sometimes
the physical therapy exercises help me...and sometimes they seem
to hurt me. It's very confusing.
I see my summer slipping away.
All the things I had wanted to do are on hold. I'm quite
inactive and feel bad about that, because I'm used to being in
shape and doing things -- I hate just lying around. Sometimes when I'm driving down the
street taking my kids to camp, I see people on their bicycles
or playing tennis and it takes all my composure not to break down and start
crying....because I want to ride my bike but I'm afraid it will
make me hurt worse. And playing tennis is out of the question.
I won't lie to you, folks, this
pain and limitation is really getting to me. So maybe it's worth
the tiny risks to get these cortisone shots. From what I have
read, it's not a "total cure," but it will probably calm down
the nerves enough to allow me to exercise and strengthen the
muscles, etc. And that alone might be enough to make this
If you've had a cortisone shot
in your back and want to
share your story with me, I'd be delighted to read it. So
far most of what I've researched is fairly positive.
Well anyway, with all this in
mind, please understand that ArchWired won't be updated very
promptly for August. I will probably only do a minimum of things
necessary for the site until I feel better.