Monday, November 30, 2009

Message From Accent

I thought my jaw-surgery adventure was over. After all, I had my jaws broken last summer. And though the healing process took several weeks, by the time my braces were removed, I celebrated the finale by posting goofy pictures on this blog.

The End....right?

Not exactly. One random morning while having breakfast, Sean asked if I had opened my mail. I hadn't, so he picked up some letters while I continued to eat. There were the usual credit card solicitations, which I generally ignore. But there was an unfamiliar letter in the pile. The return address stated the company was called Accent. "What's this?," Sean asked. I had no idea, so I opened it with curiosity. It was a bill from Anthem, my former insurance company, that came to me via Accent, a bill-collecting agency. There wasn't a letter to explain the charge. It simply stated that Anthem over-covered me last year for my surgery, and that I am to pay them $4,575 for the difference in their clerical mistake.

What a shocking, unpleasant surprise. Must I state the obvious in that I always pay my bills on time? Why am I being hounded by a debt collecting agency? How can an insurance company cover a person and then renege on their obligations a year later?

There are so many questions. I had 30 days to respond to this claim. I called Accent, but didn't hear from them, so I wrote a letter rejecting the validity of their claim and sent it through certified mail.

This is a blundering mistake on their part, and I will not be paying for their errors. I am not sure how this process will develop, but it's certainly not the end of my jaw-surgery adventure.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Sean's last word

Of course, it wouldn't be fair for me to leave without posting at least one great final picture I took at Dr. Wong's office today. This is Michelle spreading her smile for all to see how nice her new grill is.

I remember when Michelle first had these braces installed in two years ago. I remember her going through anguish when her gums were torn and worn raw from the metal in her mouth, the pain in her teeth after each tightening of the wires in preparation for the surgery, and the apprehension she experienced in the weeks and days leading up to the hospitalization. I remember visiting her in the recovery room after her surgery, watching her recovery over the course of the past year, and now the moment arrived for this ordeal to be over, and for us to move on to the next challenge life throws our way. Glad this is one is finally behind!

I have to thank Dr. Wong and Dr. Asdell for their professional medical and dental skills - they treated Michelle beyond well, and I can't imagine her being in better or safer hands. Anyone living in the South Bend vicinity would be wise to seek their expertise if you are about to go through what Michelle had to go through these last two years.

Well, I'd write more, but I think I'd rather spend the time with Michelle's new smile! It's begging for kissies!

Good luck to all of those facing jaw surgery, and to your loved ones and friends as well.


Finally Brace Free!!

The impossible has finally happened - my braces were removed today!!! It feels positively glorious to have a new and improved smile. And eating food is a real treat now. No more fighting with food in my brackets or having to worry about my lips going over the wires. I feel like I crossed the finish line, and it feels great. Now, time for the glamour-shot photos!

This is how I looked this morning.

Taking braces off one's teeth is a little complicated.

But this is a walk in the park compared to what I've been through this past year! And now, time for the happy ending - a picture with Dr. Wong!

Monday, April 13, 2009


I'm probably jinxing tomorrow's ortho appointment, but last month Dr. Wong said that he's pretty much done making adjustments. He said that he's happy with the results and the latest activation would basically "seal the deal."

So I interpreted that cryptic message as him saying that he would be taking my braces off in April. And tomorrow's my appointment, so maybe I'll get super lucky with some good news. Maybe...but I am also known for totally jinxing myself, so I probably just cursed myself for another two months.

We shall appointment is at 10am sharp. If I get these darn braces off tomorrow, I'll be sure to post a quick update. If you don't hear from me tomorrow, well, you'll be able to figure out that I jinxed myself. Fingers crossed for good news, though!!!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Scalene Triangles and Three-Week Intervals

Today I had another ortho appointment, and learned a couple of things: First, I'm now sporting two scalene triangles in my mouth. Dr. Wong can do wonders with rubber bands! I actually never knew what a scalene triangle was, but apparently it refers to triangles that have uneven sides. It was nice to review my geometry!

Second, and most important, Dr. Wong wants to start seeing me in three-week intervals. So I'm really getting towards the end of my orthognathic journey. I am so encouraged and giddy about this closure. Yes, I'm a broken record - I can't wait to be brace free!

And another thing - I told Dr. Wong about my lower jaw. I don't know why, but I can move my lower jaw to the left, but I can't move it to the right. So when I'm not sporting my cool scalene triangles, I'm supposed to be exercising my lower jaw so that I'll be able to move it the right. If I don't, Dr. Wong said that it will affect how I bite. Which means I'm doing my jaw exercises while blogging! :0)

Monday, January 26, 2009

At the Finishing Wires

If this were a race to the end, I'd be losing. Rachel would have gotten first place, and Kam would have come in second. Me, I haven't even crossed the finishing line yet. Boo hoo!

The good news is that I'm now sporting a set of finishing wires, so I must be at the home stretch. I'm still wearing bands, and Dr. Wong has me wearing heavy-duty bands on my left side, which hurts so much. My mouth is basically clamped shut, which is great when I don't have to teach. But on Tuesdays and Thursdays, there's no way I can have those things in my mouth. I've already had several near accidents with my front-row students. I had a student last week get nearly hit in the face with one of my bands that popped out. That's so not cool!

Even though I know that I'll be getting my braces off this semester, I've given up asking Dr. Wong when exactly that date will be. I'm getting antsy, though, that's for sure. I can't wait to be brace free!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Somehow, three months flew right off the calendar. The last time I blogged, it was the start of the semester. At that time, I was worried about my voice not sounding back to normal, and my face was still slightly swollen from the surgery.

It's amazing what a semester can do to a person, though. I found myself reemerged into the academic lifestyle: teaching three classes, publishing research, participating in service. I advised students on what classes they should take, attended a research conference to present my current projects, and wrote letters of recommendation for three students who aspire to continue their studies. And it's still not over! I have a paper deadline on Monday, as well as more committee work so that we may hire a new dean for the College of Arts and Sciences.

And somewhere in that mix, I received a very endearing note from Kam to "come baaaack". I'm sorry it's taken me a week to respond. I just finished posting final grades this afternoon. So phew! Maybe now I can try shaking the cobwebs off this old blog of mine!

Of course, as promised, I checked out everyone's blog from time to time. It seems like almost everyone has gotten fancy with their blog decor! I was relieved to find out that Holly is recovering well from her second surgery. And I was green with envy when I heard that Rachel and Lotti are getting their braces off soon. I had made the mistake by asking my ortho about my "big day." He seemed fairly annoyed by the question, and he told me it would take an additional six months. Doing the math now, I think that puts me into March since I asked him that dreadful question.

But all is well with me, thank goodness. I'm happy to report that I sound completely normal. The swelling is mostly gone, although I don't think it's entirely gone. I don't experience anymore muscle spasms, but on rare occasions, I do feel a slight tingle in my lower jaw muscles. And sometimes my jaw is a little tight in opening up. But these are all minor incidences. I really do feel blessed for having a successful orthognathic experience!

So, okay, I feel obligated to post a photograph. Now, granted, I look a mess. I guess this is what happens to academics who are so focused on their work, they forget to take care of themselves! My other excuse is that because I'm a nerdy professor, I can hide behind that lofty title. Professors are nerdy, right?!!?

Ok, enough joshing. I hope you enjoy the picture of me and my little kitty, Claudio!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Back to the Grind

This is totally predicable - now that school's in session, I'm utterly consumed by my teaching, research, and service duties. Such is the life of an academic. At least, this is my excuse for not blogging recently.

Last week I had an appointment with Dr. Asdell. He said my recovery is going so smoothly that he doesn't need to see me again until my braces are off once and for all. I still don't know when that's going to be (I'm too chicken to ask Dr. Wong).

So, I've been thinking about what to do with this blog. I never meant to blog about having braces. I guess that's because it's a boring story to tell: Have an adjustment, experience some pain and discomfort the first few days, and notice your teeth have moved a little bit. Repeat story line. Of course, I'm only speaking for myself here and I don't mean to offend anyone who wants to blog about having braces. It's just not a story I want to tell.

Long story short, I'm signing off for now. But I'm not saying goodbye just yet. I still read everyone's blogs!! And I'm always available online if you ever want to leave a comment. You can also email me at

I figure that I'll write one last post when my braces come off. And I promise to be in all my toothy glory, sans braces! :0)

Monday, August 25, 2008

First Day of Class!

Today was the first day of the semester. It was such a blast meeting my students today! I'm really looking forward to teaching them all about psychological research and statistics. I know that I must sound like a geek for having this enthusiasm - a lot of folks tell me how much they loathe statistics, but I absolutely love it. At least I found a profession that fosters this zany passion of mine! :0)

I was concerned today, though. I worried about having to speak for nearly 4 hours. You see, I teach 3 classes on Mondays and Wednesdays that are each 75 minutes long. I haven't had to speak for this long since before my surgery. Of course, I told my students I had jaw surgery this summer and explained to them that I have random muscle spasms and shooting pains, which I affectionally call "face aches". They were shocked to hear this, but also sympathetic. So that was helpful because the other worry I had was with my voice. The pitch is no longer so high, but my old voice...well, that may be a thing of the past. Some of my former students commented on how I sound different. Not bad, but different. Oh well, there's nothing I can do about this.

But other than my voice, I have to say that I don't look much different than before the surgery. The swelling has gone down considerably. It's not 100% gone (I can feel it especially when I do my facial exercises), but it's certainly not as bad as it used to be.

For posterity, I took a couple photos:

After I took that photo, it occurred to me that every single photo I've posted on the blog has been of me with my hair pulled up. I just couldn't be asked to deal with it over the summer. And plus, it's been since May since I've had a haircut!! So before I changed my mind, I took another photo, but this time with my hair down:

Argh! I need a haircut before people start mistaking me for Cousin It!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Humble Pie, Anyone?

I'm having withdrawal symptoms from all my blogging friends. I took a quick trip to Philly this week so I could visit Sean before the school year officially begins on Monday. It's been fun spending time with him and his family. I also like hanging out in a big city - there's so much good food over here, it's ridiculous. But of course, I'm still having my egg sandwiches for breakfast. Sean thinks he's becoming a short-order cook for me. That's really not a bad idea...

So food has been a central theme for me out here. I've made a clear distinction between public vs. private eating. It can be awkward sometimes when we're dining at a restaurant. Nope, I can't have crunchy french fries. And the only thing I could eat at Sean's family dinner was a slice of bread, a few roasted potatoes, and a large helping of ice cream. No kabobs for me just yet! It has been a bit humbling to have a restricted diet. I hate feeling like I'm imposing on others just because I still can't chew proper foods.

But that's okay, especially when I put everything in perspective. When we're not planning soft-food meals, we've been painting pictures of dogs and hanging out with his friends. Reality is starting to sink in, though. Sean's attending a thesis defense this morning and I've got a lecture that I need to finalize. I miss you guys, though! I hope everyone is doing well!!!