May 25th

We set sail for Ningbo and expected to arrive about 1600 tomorrow. That is roughly a 36-hour run up the coast. The wind made an appearance today and make a nice chop on the water. We are sailing into the wind and up the swell so this made it actually feel like a boat, I was stoked to feel it. The boat is huge and has some deflection so it lets you know what is going on outside for sure.

Despite the wind and the chop, the ride is pleasant and the sun is hidden behind the hazy offshore cloud cover. Which makes me think of China. Blue skies are rare in China, between the horrific air pollution and the mountains that block it all in, there are precious few clear days in China. At least the China I know, I am sure somewhere in China it is glorious but all the populated areas are not where it is. So, it looks like China but I am offshore and pushing through the Taiwan Strait. I have looked out at this water for years in Taiwan and never really thought about being out on it but here I am. To me this is an achievement. A small one but still an achievement.

My mouth is bugging me today and causing concern, the front tooth is noticeably loose and the material that was inserted into my gum and jaw is spongy and loose. I was advised this is “normal” but what the heck is normal about having your buckle and palette rebuilt. The story goes something like this;

I had an implant about 15 years ago in the tooth just next to my front teeth on the top. Now, I should know all the terminology and the correct numeric callout for this tooth but I do not. The implant was great, then 2 years ago while we were remodeling our Newbury Park house I walked full speed into the sliding glass door. The impact was a direct hit on the implant. The force was so great that the implant bent and created a nice little bubble on my gum right where it meets the top of your mouth. It hurt like the dickens. My dentist and my periodontist asked “does it hurt”? Duh. It hurt but you see I have this high tolerance for pain so I took some Advil and a week later the pain subsided. End of story? NO.

So, last February and I am eating some crusty bread and this implant suddenly shifts the other way, it hurt like the dickens. It started to bleed and the whole darn thing was loose. This is a titanium screw in your jaw and it was loose. Not good. I drive home from Phoenix and go to the periodontist. X rays, inspection and several “oohs and ahhs” later it was revealed that when I walked into the door I traumatized the whole front of my mouth. I needed a root canal on the front tooth and implant had to be removed. Ok, so we do the root canal and then cut out the implant. Next is a bone graft to try and get some bone in the jaw so we can replace the implant. A bone graft is packed in your jaw with a membrane to hold it in place, sutured up and then in about 10-12 weeks you have bone. Well, my membrane gave way about 5 weeks into the process. When it failed, my mouth went to hell. The gum tissue fell away and the gum line collapsed in the front and in the back. I had this cavity where a tooth used to be and it was nasty.

My periodontist, who is a stud, did a major reconstruction of my mouth with some tissue that is supposed to be like gum tissue. They had a technical term that of course I should know but I do not. The idea is that this tissue will create enough material so we can try the bone graft all over again. I am looking at 12-16 weeks of this. However, I am not familiar with this stuff, it is gooey, mushy, and looks just terrible. The gum has receded on the front tooth and it is loose since there is no tooth next to it and the bone is gone. So, I am sensitive and nervous each time I eat or drink and hell to look at it……….oh man. That kind of puts me over the edge.

They all say I will be fine. I go through good and bad but it feels strange and un natural, I am sure it is not a good thing going on in there. Today it is freaking me out.

OK, so now we are up to speed on the medical concern.

Lunch was deviled eggs, potatoes au gratin and a fabulous duck brochette in mushroom and tarragon sauce. Dessert was fresh pineapple and banana whipped cream. For anyone who has been over here, the pineapple and the watermelon is just without reproach, the best in the world.

I took some photos of the mouth and sent them to Dianna and my periodontist. If it looks wrong I need to know tomorrow. Tomorrow we arrive in Ningbo, this is the last chance to exit before we make the run to Shanghai, Pusan and then Seattle. I of course do not want to get off, that in itself would be a major cluster to navigate. On the other hand, I cannot be a burden to this ship or crew, there are no doctors and limited first aid. If this thing falls apart I am toast. So, I hope I can be informed properly within this time frame.

There is a fine line between being adventurous and being foolish. I am not too old that I could not restart this journey another time. However, I would be at peace with it either way. After all, we have a wedding to get ready for, can’t exactly do that if I end up in a hospital.

So today will be called my day for Drama. My “chicken little day”.

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