New Tech and the Dentist – Different Types of Pain in Our Lives

Mon 25 – Sun 31 July 2022

Experiences this week have made me think how often we talk about ‘pain’ in our everyday lives. We make reference to it in comments such as ‘what a pain’. But pain takes many different forms. From mundane annoyance and inconvenience right through to acute suffering.

I don’t want to be a drama queen and I know that many people face real pain in their lives – that of loss, poverty, illness, disability, and crisis. But we all face some pain on smaller levels in many ways. Last week I had two particular instances – dealing with a change in technology and visiting the dental hygienist.

Tech for Good

I love tech but…

Regular blog readers will know I am a tech enthusiast. But I do not see myself as an expert – my attempts at learning to code haven’t really got anywhere. Obviously I keep a website but it’s not the most cutting edge. I think I worry more about the content than it’s appearance which is often fatal in terms of tech where image is, so often, everything.

…the pain of dealing with new tech

I had that horrible situation we all face when I had to upgrade some tech I had grown very used to: getting a new mobile. My old one was getting on for ancient in mobile phone terms – more than 3 years old. I actually dropped it and smashed the back long after I originally got it. Basically the case was what was holding it together. But I had got used to it and it was a wrench to finally say ‘goodbye’ as it was having problems charging.

Faced up to the pain and got my new phone. The assistant in the shop was very helpful – it’s one of those things that I feel is definitely done in person rather than online. Little things like the assistant taking out the SIM card from the old phone and putting it in the new one.

The main pain came with transferring everything from the old phone. I used an app that transferred everything using wi-fi. However, to transfer all the photos, apps, and files from my old phone would have taken 2 hours. So I did the basic transfer and used this as an opportunity to sort out which apps I really did and didn’t use, loading only those that I am using. It’s amazing (though not surprising) how many unused apps build up on your phone.

Everything works out in the end

So the pain of letting go of tech that had reached the end of its life but that felt comfortable, working out how the new phone worked, and signing in to all the apps again. It’s good now – I really like my new phone though I feel guilty about the impact on the environment of buying new tech. However, there are some advantages like the fact that it doesn’t need to be plugged in as long as the old one to charge the battery.

Surprise on the phone

Health and Efficiency

Pain at the dentist

Ironic I mentioned about mum going to the dentist in my previous blog (read it here) and it was then my turn. It’s a truism that going to the dentist normally involves pain. Perhaps this is too grand a claim though there are some very painful procedures (albeit cloaked with anaesthetic injections). Like having teeth removed which has happened to me several times. Though I understand that root canal treatment is the worst.

But I think we can say that nearly all dental procedures at the minimum feature discomfort. Tuesday afternoon I had to see the hygienist. She was very nice and I particularly liked her saying that I looked good for my age! However, she was critical of the condition of my gums in particular. There then followed the usual painful scrape and polish plus some gum bleeding.

To be fair, my teeth felt and looked better afterwards but it wasn’t without pain. Hygienist reckons I need to come back within 3 weeks to finish the work she has started. More cost but I am of the firm opinion that skimping on looking after your teeth is a false economy. I also know I need to improve the everyday care for my teeth and gums.

nice teeth smile

Gym

I suppose going to the gym is a classic example of the role of ‘good pain’. I love pushing myself so that I can feel my muscles working. And there is something really nice about the muscle ache the next day. It’s the sign that muscle has been broken down and rebuilt.

Although there is also the pain and discomfort that comes from the osteoarthritis in my knee which is not so great. The signal of ageing and deterioration which is inevitable for us all.

Great news that I got to the gym 3 times last week and 3 good workouts. On my own the first 2 times but shared with a strange person on the 3rd time. I had to share it with a man who was neurotic about wiping everything down with disinfectant wipes. Basically I steered well clear of the machines he wanted to use and he kept his distance from the stuff I was using. The world is full of weird people.

Running total: 49 gym sessions since the start of the year divided by the annual membership = £10 per session.

INR

So back to get my INR done to check if my blood is either too prone to clotting or if I’m liable to internal bleeding. Important but a pain as it is potentially going to have to be done for the rest of my life. The reading was just within range which meant warfarin dosage stays the same but back for a recheck in just 4 weeks.

warfarin tablets

Books and Reading

‘On the Plain of Snakes: A Mexican Journey’ by Paul Theroux

In my previous blog (read it here), I wrote about this as it was one of my two current reading books. It’s the one I found on the street and that was a bit of luck as it’s a really decent book. The details of this famous travel writer’s journey around Mexico just before the pandemic.

Fundamentally, it looks at Mexico in four parts: the wild borderland, sprawling metropolis Mexico City, traditional Oaxaca province, and Chiapas run by the Zapatista revolutionaries. There’s crime, poverty and inequality with lots of people living very painful lives.

But it’s a nation with history and distinctive cultures. Indeed, a lot of life is based on spiritual factors and not just the Catholic Church. There are also lots of ‘saints’ who people integrate into their lives including those specifically linked to the darker side such as Santa Muerte – the death saint with her own cult.

It’s still a country I would like to visit. But I suppose there are lots of places in the world I would still like to visit. Someone once said ‘old men should be explorers’ and that’s true in that time is running out plus what is there to lose?

Illness - death heads

My current reading books

Still reading ‘Four Thousand Weeks. Time Management for Mortals’ by Oliver Burkeman on my kindle. Basically the message is we live for 4,000 weeks on average so decide what you want to do with your precious time. Causing me some mental pain in that I’ve only got about 1,000 weeks left before I die – a real eye opener in terms of how little time is left.

Started reading ‘The Grove of the Caesars’ by Linsdey Davis. A contemporary historical fiction author I love who has written a series of books about crime in Ancient Rome. I love catching up with her books and this is the latest one in the series that I haven’t yet read. Wonderfully atmospheric.

be grateful for books

Family and Friends

Dave at the Commonwealth Games

Big news of last week was Dave going off to see bits of the Commonwealth Games. Birmingham is a city we both enjoy visiting and I’m pleased that the Games appear to be giving the city (and the West Midlands in general) a boost. Looking forward to going back to visit once the Games are over.

Dave was at the opening ceremony. I watched it on TV and it was good though slightly weird. But he had a great time particularly meeting people from previous Games he has been involved with. Dave loves all that small talk and hobnobbing with old contacts.

He stayed over and the next day managed to see some of the swimming and gymnastics before travelling back to London. Then on Sunday he was off to the velodrome in the Olympic Park in east London to catch up with the cycling.

Sustainability

The grass is gone

Unless we make progress on getting closer to Net Zero then we ain’t gonna tackle Climate Change and the pain we feel in everyday life through a warming world is going to get a lot worse. The current problem is the lack of rain in London. The grass is yellow not green and in many places it has been totally burnt away. So no lawns but rather just stretches of dry dirt.

The joy of just sitting in nature

Still one of the reasons I am keen on sustainability is because I recover from everyday pain well in nature. And that is currently showing itself by me spending time in nearby ‘green’ spaces to just sit and read my book. I also like to people watch and appreciate the wildlife though I’m definitely seeing more rats and mice than is normal.

Art and Culture

Farewell Love Island

Art and culture gives us respite from the pain, suffering, and drudgery of our everyday existence. Which is why I want more of it in my life. Sadly, last week didn’t feature much.

However, it was the final week of Love Island which has got me through low points during the last few weeks. But it’s feeling a bit of an anti-climax. Primarily because all the most recent entrants have been kicked out. This was mainly because viewers hadn’t got as used to them as they have with the ‘older’ people.

That leaves us with 5 established couples who are a bit dull now as we know them so well. Though tis funny to see the fragility of some of these relationships. And how you know they are not going to last once removed from the safe zone of the programme.

Personal Development

I can’t deny that sometimes I find keeping to my daily Duolingo language lesson a bit of a pain. It’s important to make key things in your life into routines so that you can easily keep to them. But we all become bored and contemptuous with routines at some point. Albeit hopefully that is temporary and we soon fall back into the routine.

But the promise of being fluent in another language keeps me going. Not least to help when I have increased time to travel. Managed to get a lesson done in Spanish just about every day last week. However, German took more of a backseat.

The Week Ahead

  • Hopefully it’s a week of less pain than the one gone. Indeed, I’m wanting it to just be a quiet one.
  • Will be spending time with my mum and next weekend me and Dave are off ‘up north’ to see his mum
  • My colleague Jeantine is away so I’m on my own at work. Will be OK and I should also be able to get to the gym on each of my non-work week days.
  • Meeting up with my old friend Stephen Twigg on Monday lunchtime – be nice to chew the cud and reflect on where our lives have taken us
  • Aim is to finish both of my current reading books
  • Dave’s off to more of the Games and with Patrick to Portsmouth on Wednesday
  • Other things to do: spend time just sitting in nature, find something to replace Love Island, do my daily language learning on Duolingo

And Finally…

Words explaining the link between design and waste

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