sábado, 15 de agosto de 2020

Version 2.103

This morning at 8 AM, I had an appointment at the periodontist to have my stitches removed. In hindsight, I should've asked the assistant that removed them how many there were, but I only remembered as she was halfway through it and it seemed like it was too late. She did say that my doctor's nickname is the stitch king and I'd say at least 20 stitches were removed.

I was then instructed to start with the FBI--Floss, Brush, and Irrigate, as for the last three weeks after surgery I was only allowed to use a disinfecting solution, which, by the way, stained my teeth and tongue like crazy. At some point, I tried to clean my teeth with Q-tips, but it did not make a difference. Luckily, with the pandemic, hardly anyone saw my mouth, but I did make the best of it and developed two different (lame)  jokes: the first one was that I felt like I belonged in a Charles Dickens' novel; the second one was that people probably thought that I stayed home and smoked cigars and drank coffee all day long. That's how bad it got.

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger or so they say. And speaking of things that could kill you, the written instructions I was given indicated that I am to make a bleach solution of one-fourth teaspoon non-scented bleach and 16 fl. oz of water (about 450 ml). For a few days, I will swish some of that around my mouth, but not drink it! Yes, they specifically said to not drink the bleach water. In a few weeks, I will start using a water pick with that solution, rather than just swish it around. And I have to scrape my tongue all the way to the back. Of course, I have a really strong gag-reflex, so that will be super-interesting.

I was surprised that to convince me of the need to scrape my tongue and irrigate my mouth, the instructions explained that the newest research indicates that the goal is not just to clean the food debris from one's mouth with flossing and brushing, but also to get rid of the bacteria that cause problems. That is the whole problem with my mouth: my oral microbiome is not very good and causes gingivitis and oral thrush and that is part of why I ended up with bone loss in my jaws. And my gut biome is also problematic, hence my food allergies and sensitivities. 

My regular dentist was the first person to tell me that I had an auto-immune disorder, long before my sensitivity to gluten and allergy to rice were discovered. If I had known what that meant at the time, that would've saved me a lot of problems and pain.

One day soon, I would not be surprised if we started to identify disease risk when we are children by analyzing our microbiomes and how they interact with our DNA profile. The way we do medicine today is outdated and our methods were developed for a time when we did not have the technology that we have today. 

It's a bit like using the normal distribution in Statistics, we rely so heavily on it because, when we started to develop Statistics, we did not have the computational power that we have today and the normal probability distribution has very nice properties that simplify calculations. But now we have computers to do all the calculations for us, so we must rethink the way we do things.

It's very easy to get comfortable in our ways and forget to question if that's still the best way of doing things.


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