Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Teeth and Needles

Okaasan is STILL going for weekly dentist visits, usually taken before work by Dear Son.
In Japan dentists seem to take forever to do various treatments, and I know she is on old lady with rotting teeth and once in a blue moon tooth brushing - but even so.
I trust this dentist, cos I've known him for years, so I don't think he is doing needless treatments and buying a condo in Guam on our monies.
Weeks and weeks of treatment now.
I mentioned to Dear Son whether it was all really necessary, after all she is in her 80s, she is able to eat now without pain. How much dentistry is necessary?
He said her old fillings have gone rotten and there is food trapped inside and, and, and....

Could we do any better with Okaasan and her tooth cleaning? She hardly ever does it, and we don't press her. Hard to see how we can change this bad routine.
In the morning she goes to the toilet herself, but usually doesn't eat breakfast and doesn't wash or brush her teeth. She stays in her pajamas and watches TV.
She usually eats midday meal alone and then sleeps or watches TV again. In the evening we eat together, but she eats so slowly that we are usually finished and clearing our plates/putting away food and she is still picking up bits of salad with chopsticks and fussing around making green tea.
We escape back upstairs to our life and she is still in the kitchen. Then she takes her tea to the TV watching and falls asleep again.
I'm not sure where in this routine we should get her to clean her teeth. It seems strange to march into her room and say cheerfully: "Okaasan! Time to brush your teeth!". I am pretty sure we won't do this, and her teeth will continue to rot.....
We could - I guess - get the dentist to write Okaasan a note TELLING her to brush her teeth every day.....and then we can hassle her about it cos do-what-the-dentist-said.

Can we be bothered?
Would it help us down the road when she doesn't even know what a toothbrush is and what to do with it? Probably.!
A person with a huge fear of needles and injections. I run away at pictures of porcupines.

This week? I had acupuncture!
30 or more needles all over my back and knee and stomach and thigh.!!!
Didn't hurt, felt a bit strange inside at muscle level. Little stingy feeling when they came out. But felt fine.

A friend took me along to an acupuncturist because I've had almost daily groin and thigh spasms/cramps. Really painful. Been going on for a few months now.
Dr Google has told me about dehydration and magnesium, or calcium shortages, and I've tried changing my diet. I take care with Cutest Baby in the World and Cutest Heavy Cats.
But still the spasms grab me. I bend over clutching my thigh and stretching and groaning. Has surprised a few students mid-class.

So, acupuncture. The guy gave me little electric cup pads all over my body first, then needles and electric cords like car jump leads, and finally a massage.
He didn't think it was a lower back problem. Maybe the right leg protesting about all the focus in recent years on the left knee and thigh, maybe calcium shortage, maybe, maybe...

It was interesting. I think I will go again.
Since the treatment 2 days ago I have had spasms again, not so bad. But I think I will go again. I believe in this stuff about body power points and inter-connections.


  1. In defense of Japanese dentists, the health insurance system in Japan has all sorts of idiotic rules about how to treat things and they require that not too much is done at once. I learned that you had to do teeth cleaning in two goes if you had health insurance, but they'd do it all at once if you paid cash - and the cost with insurance is almost the same as without!

    The main reason to look after okaasan's teeth is not the teeth or tooth pain, but the risk of infection that can spread to other areas of the body. People can develop heart problems from untreated dental pain, for example. So, even though she's okay for eating, it's probably still best to have her teeth looked after.

    Also, acupuncture works for pain relief. This is a proven fact. It deactivates pain receptors in the brain (scans have proven it). It is not known how it works, but it works, at least for certain types of pain. I don't know if your type of pain is one of them, but it is absolutely worth a try!

  2. Hi; First time writer here. Please be careful about believing too much non-scientific "healing" treatment. At best most are placebos, at worst they can be dangerous.

    Just think about it- if acupuncture was so beneficial, most people would have lived to 100 years old in the past. They largely didn't. Ancient medicine belongs in the category of ancient transportation and ancient hygiene. Charming, but irrelevant in the 21st century.

  3. just an idea about her teeth. When all the work is done, the dentist could put a sealant on all of them. I think that they usually put it on the chewing surface, but I think it could be done all over. My kids have had it done since they were small, and have only minimal cavities. It's a resin sealent. (it does wear off so you need to replace it periodically. It goes on fast though, so not a big problem Hope that yous spasms are better. Nancy in Tokyo

  4. I'm back and into my own Blog Comments....Orchid64, yes, you are heart I know this. Thankyou for being the nagging voice of reason!
    Dear Son and I have talked about this: maybe to get the dentist to write a note for Okaasan strongly advising her to clean her teeth TWICE a day, and then we can wave the note at her and say "Did you do this? He says twice, come on, come and do it now!". We have to think what time of day would be best and then plot nd plan.
    Problems in the teeth could so easily becomes problems elsewhere.
    And yes Anonymous...sealant, THAT also might be an idea. We'll see what he thinks. He already asked for Okaasan to come every two months for checks and cleaning.

    Acupuncture???? I'm going again's been better this week. Placebo or not, some kind of change.

  5. Regarding the scientific proof of acupuncture, there's a good BBC documentary showing brain scans in which pain receptors are deactivated by acupuncture:

    If the link doesn't load, you can search for it. It's called: The Science of Acupuncture | BBC Documentary

    It shows, among other things, people having open heart surgery with the only pain management being acupuncture. However, I was most convinced by the scans showing hot spots in the brain that showed less activity after treatment. It's not hoax. It's just unclear how it works and for what sort of pain it is effective with.

  6. THANKYOU for the BBC program link - I watched it last night. Very interesting...the heart surgery is amazing. I've been twice now, and the pain is changing - it was a sharp pain in one part of my thigh. Now it comes slowly, kind of building up, and is spread out thru the lower part of the leg...I can also picture my thigh muscles uncurling.

  7. ...except that the BBC has since largely retracted that series and stepped away from the results portrayed. The heart surgery was not done with just acupuncture. Large quantities of local anaesthetics and sedatives were also used. The series also failed to show that "fake" acupuncture, which convinced the patients that needles were being inserted (when in fact they weren't), worked just as well as "real" acupuncture.

    The conclusion? Well, the placebo effect is real. The human mind can do amazing things. Any form of medicine based on "chi" and "meridians" has no basis in science and cannot be proven in controlled circumstances.