It is a decision every man just weeks shy of his 60th birthday has to ponder: Do I get the Mickey Mouse toothbrush or go with Winnie the Pooh or Dora the Explorer?
Finally — after an indecisive minute – I opted to go with the Mickey Mouse baby toothbrush.
Now you might wonder what brought me to Target on Tuesday to buy a baby toothbrush.
I could give you the short answer and tell you it was gout.
Given I was buying a baby toothbrush, that may not make much sense. So I’ll give the long version: I was buying a Mickey Mouse toothbrush designed for kids 2 to 4 years because I took an orange to the left side of my lower back from some jerks passing me at 65 mph in the same direction I was bicycling at 24 mph along Highway 65 heading into Lincoln some 28 years ago.
As a result of the hit my back went through some incredible spasms in the following weeks. I was still not 100 percent when I hit a loose dog while cycling downhill a few months later. I ended up getting a cut all the way done to my knee bone as well as a major pounding of my lower left backside right where the orange had hit.
The emergency room doctor said I was lucky the cut to the knee was clean. He was worried I may have bruised — or possible gotten a hairline crack — in my hip bone.
This happened about the same time my hereditary gout posed problems in my other knee.
Off and on over the course of the next 25 years the gout would flare up. I’d also have occasions when I’d have trouble standing up after sitting and would be hunched over for a bit. There also would be times of sharp, but tolerable pain, in my lower left back side. Sitting for long periods of times because something that was difficult to tolerate.
Then 14 months ago something wonderful happened. My gout after being dormant for seven years flared up at the same time I got a callous on top of one of my hammertoes. While at his office, Dr. Sain became alarmed that redness in my bunion could be the sign of an infection.
He prescribed anti-inflammation medicine for the gout — which I stopped taking after three times when the pain eased enough to reduce the pain to a steady throb. The pain was still there but I have a larger dislike of drugs than ongoing discomfort. My bigger concern was the bunion and hammertoe that Dr. Sain said were among the worst he’d ever seen.
After a consultation with a podiatrist who — after viewing the X-rays, a couple of choice pokes, and taking into account my fairly active lifestyle — said I was managing things quite well.
In the weeks between visits to Dr. Sain and the podiatrist, I did a lot of on-line research which is something I would suggest isn’t too healthy for your mental state when it comes to health issues given the worst case scenarios you will read. I stuck to sites such as the Mayo Clinic as I wasn’t too interested in “folk cures” and such. In looking at gout and other joint issues such as bursitis and arthritis — two other conditions I’ve been blessed with — the drinking of tart cheery juice kept coming up. Since it is extremely rich in antioxidants, researchers believed it flushed uric acid that leads to the buildup of pointy crystals that feel like a thousand pins poking you in your joints.
They cautioned it wasn’t an absolute certainty, that it required drinking 8 ounces every day, that it would take two or so weeks to kick in, and those people it worked for never had a relapse as long as they kept drinking the dark cherry juice.
After three weeks, the pain subsided not just in my knee but the dull pain as well in a shoulder that has a hairline fracture. I also started noticing my lower back didn’t hurt as much but never connected it to the cherry juice.
At $7 a bottle, I was quickly spending $35 a month on tart cherry juice. To be honest I can’t stand the taste but it was working. To save money I stopped drinking V-8 Fusion. But then a horrible thing happened — my vanity took over.
I noticed looking in the mirror one day that my front tooth that is recessed slightly was turning black from the cherry juice. This alarmed me because all I could think of were those old Polident commercials where dentures got stained from coffee. Even using straws, the tooth would still stain. I started worrying I was damaging my teeth so I cut back on the cherry juice significantly going to four ounces every 2 to 3 days. A few weeks later my back started hurting again.
On Monday I had a dental visit where I shared my concern about damaging my teeth with the cherry juice. After being told it wouldn’t I was relieved but had another issue — my vanity. I couldn’t help but think everybody would be looking at that “dark” tooth. So I fessed up. I admitted I had a vanity issue with it.
That’s where the suggestion for a whitening toothpaste using a baby toothbrush to reach the enamel of the recessed tooth came in.
So there I was Tuesday buying a Mickey Mouse toothbrush which, I might add, wasn’t located too far from the Depends in Target.