Day #231 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…Home grown dental care…

Tom checked in at the reception desk at the dental office while we waited outside with no indoor seating areas. The dental office was located on the hospital grounds.

Today’s photos are from this date while living in Savusavu, Fiji on the island of Vanua Levu For the story and more photos from this date, please click here.

Today’s historical photos put a smile on our faces. What an unusual experience we had on the day in Fiji when Tom had a raging abscessed tooth requiring immediate attention! Our landlord explained there was a dental office located across from the hospital parking lot. Otherwise, it would have required a four-hour round trip drive to the next closest dentist.

Tom was his usual cheerful self even under these worrisome circumstances. 

Appointments weren’t required. We contacted Rasnesh, our usual driver, to take us the short distance to the hospital grounds where the dental office was located. Rasnesh explained he had been seeing this same dentist since he was a child and was happy with the care he’d received, giving us peace of mind.

As it turned out, Tom did indeed have a bad abscess revealed on the x-ray, and the doctor recommended either pulling three teeth in that area or Tom taking antibiotics. In three months, we’d be in New Zealand, where he could be treated as needed. The dentist gave him three prescriptions; two antibiotics and one for high dose Paracetamol (Tylenol).

The treatment room was spacious and seemingly well equipped.

When we proceeded to pay the dental bill, we couldn’t stop giggling. The x-ray, exams, and the time with the dentist came to a total of US $2.76, INR 204! We walked across the parking lot to the hospital’s pharmacy to discover the prescriptions were “free.” In both cases, we offered to pay more explaining we were tourists, but due to their national health care system which included visitors, they refused payment, handing over the neatly wrapped medications. Wow!

Within three to four days, the pain was gone, but once more he needed a round of antibiotics two months later when the pain returned while we were waiting to board a cruise in Sydney, Australia, (see that post here) ending in New Zealand, where finally, he had the one abscessed molar pulled (see that post here).

We could only hope for sanitary conditions.

We both had a cleaning appointment scheduled before we left South Africa in 2019, but after my open-heart surgery, the dentist refused to work on my teeth due to the risk of infection, possible after heart surgery. Thus, I haven’t seen a dentist since 2018. Tom kept his cleaning appointment in South Africa in 2019. Once we return, we’ll both head to our wonderful dentist in Komatipoort, 20 minutes from Marloth Park.

While in lockdown I had an abscess which seems to have resolved after taking the same antibiotics Tom had taken for his. No prescription is required in India for non-narcotic prescriptions. Hopefully, it doesn’t return, allowing me to have it treated when we get to South Africa, whenever that will be.

Luckily, he didn’t have one of these dreaded injections.

In the interim, we are being very careful with our teeth, brushing frequently with our Braun battery-operated toothbrushes, using baking soda and hydrogen peroxide every few days, continuing with our usual regime of “oil pulling” using organic unrefined coconut oil. Here’s a US scientific study on some of the health benefits of oil pulling using coconut oil.

In addition, we both floss after each meal using brush picks and dental floss. Hopefully, these preventive procedures will help us make it to our dentist in Komatipoort in many months to come. Of course, there’s no substitute for quality dental care by a licensed professional. For now, as with everything else, we do the best we can.

The used sponge on the sink could instill a degree of concern for sanitation. Then again, we Americans may be overly concerned about germs.

On a side note, at the end of yesterday’s post, two of our kind readers wrote, “Why don’t we live in a holiday/vacation home in Mumbai as opposed to staying in this hotel?” For their comments and our responses, please click here and scroll to the bottom of the page.

We certainly appreciate the comments and questions and fully understand the basis of such questions. But, in reviewing our responses, you’ll see how staying put in this hotel makes more sense for us right now. In the interim, all those wedding guests cluttering the corridors without face masks yesterday have since checked out. I was able to walk without issue this morning, much to my relief. Yesterday, I stopped walking halfway through my daily goal when there were countless guests not wearing face masks.

The bill for the dentist visit was surprising at FJD $6, USD $2.76, INR 204!

At the moment Tom is watching the Minnesota Vikings football game that was played yesterday in the US. We’ll see how that goes!

Find comfort in the small things.

As we entered the hospital’s pharmacy. We only waited a moment for service. The medications he received were already packaged and ready to go. Only the label was added with Tom’s name and instructions. 

Photo from one year ago today, November 9, 2019:

There was no post on this date, one year ago. We had just arrived in Minnesota to be with family and we spent a very busy day.

Dealing with life’s everyday challenged while traveling the world…

A billy goat tied to a tree.

Finally, Tom is on the mend. After considerable research, we speculate that the abscessed tooth he had pulled may have resulted in the gastrointestinal infection that began to plague him 48 hours after the extraction, lasting for almost a week.

He suffered from severe gastric symptoms, fever, chills, body aches, and weakness. He took over-the-counter medications to alleviate the fever every four to six hours for the first few days until the fever subsided, sleeping most of the day on the sofa in the living room.

A bubbling brook.

The simple fact is that pulling the tooth released bacteria from the abscess in his bloodstream and stomach, resulting in what appeared similar to the bacterial infection I had in Marrakesh, Morocco after eating raw vegetables in a restaurant the first day of our arrival. 

After traveling for 17 months at that point, I should have known better. Now, we’re more cautious than ever in less developed countries. I had waited three weeks before succumbing to a three-day dose of Cipro which we’d brought along for exactly this reason.

Recently, we read a study that discovered the depth of the intellect of horses and their innate ability to connect with humans, even reacting to expressions on a human face.

Within hours I began to feel relief. In Tom’s case, we didn’t want him to take antibiotics a third time since his first dose for the abscess was in November, the second in January, on two occasions when the abscess flared up. Thus, he waited.

It wasn’t until he started feeling better yesterday that we conducted research to make the connection to the abscessed tooth extraction and the gastric. Had we suspected this earlier, calling the dentist to inquire, most likely he’d have recommended antibiotics, which we didn’t want Tom to take once again unless it continued for more than a week.

A creek we encountered on a drive.

Its in these types of scenarios that not having a “regular” doctor and dentist puts us in a tough position. In our old lives, if we were sick for more than five days we’d make an appointment to see the doctor often having tests and leaving with a few prescriptions. 

We don’t have this luxury now, 40 months after leaving Minnesota. For those family members and friends who are reading today…please don’t worry…if one of us exhibits life-threatening symptoms, we’ll immediately find our way to an urgent care facility or hospital. 

Even on cloudy days, the countryside has a special charm.

It may seem as if we’re often sick as we share the details of our daily lives. Most likely it’s no more than most of our readers. The difference is that few document each virus, infection, injury, and days of being under the weather. Most likely, twice a year we experience a malady of one sort or another.

After considerable discussion, we’ve come to the conclusion that moving from one location, one country to another, we have little time to build an immunity to local viruses than those who live in one location occasionally traveling who seem to build an immunity.

Stopping to admire cloud-covered Mount Taranaki.

On cruises, passengers are exposed to a variety of illnesses from living in tight quarters for a few weeks.  Luckily, we’ve never had Norovirus even during periods when there’s been an outbreak.

Although on four of our past cruises either one or both of us has developed the common “cruise cough,” the worst of which was on the cruise from Hawaii to Sydney with horrible symptoms lasting three weeks after the cruise ended. By far, that was the worst illness either of us has experienced since we left the US. 

Horses we encounter are animated and friendly.  Check out the cute pink spot on his nose.

When the ship disembarked we were so sick with a fever and a cough neither of us hardly recalls the time we spent picking up the rental car at the Cairns airport and finding the house in Trinity Beach.

We caught this awful virus toward the end of the cruise when a woman coughed on me in the elevator which, once my symptoms manifested, Tom was infected developing into the same whirlwind of awful symptoms.  

We each spent the last few days of the cruise in the cabin (it was an 18-day cruise) in an attempt to avoid infecting others. Otherwise, this was one of the most enjoyable of our 12 cruises to date, making many new friends with whom we’ve continued to stay in touch.

Another creek we crossed on a drive.

Most recently with Tom’s abscessed tooth, we ask ourselves what we may have done differently once the symptoms manifested. We were living in a remote area of Fiji. We visited a dentist within days of the first symptoms, taking antibiotics as prescribed. 

His second bout of symptoms occurred on the day we boarded this last cruise from Sydney to Auckland. The only solution was another round of the same antibiotics. As required in the case of antibiotics he continued with the full course of the medication. 

Once we arrived in New Plymouth, within two weeks of arrival, we were in the dentist’s office when at that time, no new symptoms were present. We feel we did everything we could. Then, he developed the awful gastrointestinal infection plaguing him for almost a week. 

A winding country road.

Now, he’s able to eat again, is feeling well and life will continue on as always, always, stress-free, filled with simple daily pleasures and the comforts of living in the countryside in this beautiful country. Soon, we’ll head back out to tour more of this exquisite location, sharing new photos along the way.

We feel blessed and grateful for each and every day of our lives. But, no one “said” life of world travel would always be easy.  It’s not. And, it’s the times it’s not easy that make us appreciate greater periods of good health and simple pleasures. Overall, we were very fortunate during these last 40 months.

Thanks to all of our readers for sharing this journey with us during periods of both excitement and the mundane events of daily life.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, February 13, 2015:

Thousands of feral chickens populate the island of Kauai. It is speculated that Hurricane Iniki in 1991 blew away hundreds of chicken coops, letting them loose to proliferate. It’s quite a sight to see! For more Kauai photos, please click here.

Dentist and kangaroos…Another g’day in Australia!



The dental office is easy to find.  Its outside the main entrance to Smithfield Mall on the nearest to Woolworth’s  Grocery store.

Visiting a dentist has always been a dreaded experience for me.  As many of you, from time to time I had less than ideal experiences leaving an indelible mark on my psyche.  These experiences left me with a degree of dental phobia and/or dental anxiety which is more common than we can imagine.

As a matter of fact there is such a thing as the “Dental Anxiety Network” specifically for dentists to ensure they are well educated in dealing with anxious patients.

I’ll admit to becoming anxious when I have to have anything other than a cleaning which causes little apprehension.  Its the fillings, crowns and surgeries that incite a sense of fear.  Some reports state that as many of 80% of patients have some degree of dental phobia.

The professional, clean and organized dental office, 1300 Smiles at Smithfield Mall made us both feel at ease.

As a result I didn’t feel apprehensive when our intent for yesterday’s two appointments was singular:  clean our teeth, no x-rays.  With neither of us experiencing any pain or apparent difficulty with our teeth, we hoped for good results.

Both of our appointments transpired at exactly the same time, 1:00 pm on Thursday, with a plan to shop when done.  The dental clinic, 1300 Smiles, is located  in the Smithfield Mall around the corner  from the meat market, the produce mart, the pharmacy and the grocery store, definitely a convenient location for the four additional stops I needed to make when we were done at the dentist.

Much to my surprise the dentist, Dr. Neil McElvanna, did my cleaning as opposed to a dental hygienist which is the usual procedure in the US.  Most hygienists in the US (our only experience until now) provide excellent service often after many years of experience.



The treatment rooms were spotless and were equipped with the most up-to-date equipment from what we could determine.

After my painless procedure was completed with positive comments as to the condition of my teeth and gums after almost three years without a professional cleaning (we don’t recommend waiting this long), Dr. Neil and I had a chance to talk.

After inquiring as to our life of travel, we discussed the recent pointless slaughter of Cecil, the lion.  Dr. Neil, with tongue in cheek, commented, “Too bad he’s a dentist.”  I then commented, “Too bad he was from Minnesota from whence we came.”  Immediately, we had something, however sad, in common.

We proceeded to discuss my way of eating which may have a beneficial effect on dental health which he said was evident in my lack of periodontal disease.  Sure, I had a degree of plaque which he readily removed that no matter how often I cleaned my teeth, I couldn’t entirely eradicate.  But, I had no inflamed or swollen gums or areas of concern.

Lounging in the grass.

In the old life, both of us had to visit a periodontist on a few occasions.  That was while we were still consuming vast amounts of sugar in various forms.  However, our good results aren’t entirely a result of not having sugar floating around our mouths.  It’s also a result of the systemic production of stomach acids, good gut bacteria and general good health from consuming a healthy low carb, grain, starch and sugar free ketogenic diet for the past almost four years.  


Now, with a clean dental bill of health and the fact that we may not see another dentist until we arrive the US in 2017 we can rest easy that both our medical and dental exams provided us with peace of mind only adding to our enthusiasm as we continue on in our travels.

This adult kept watch while the others rested.  With only crocs as potential predators and the kangaroos keeping a distance from the ocean and rivers, the kangaroo population continues to grow in Australia.  Here are the estimated stats for the kangaroo population.  There are an estimated over 20 million kangaroos in Queensland according to these 2011 stats.

The shocker?  The cost for both of us was a mere AUD $196, USD $142.89, which is only AUD $98, USD $71.45 each.  We had refused x-rays which of course lowered the price.  Had either of us been experiencing any pain or discomfort, we’d have opted for the x-rays.  Why be exposed to radiation when there’s no need?

This young kangaroo looked sleepy and ready for a nap.

Over these past almost three years since our last cleaning we’ve done a few things that may have also contributed to the good results:

1.  Using Brush Picks by The Doctors after eating.  We keep these picks with us at all times.  We recently purchased several packs of these at the Alive Pharmacy at Smithfield Mall.
2.  Oil Pulling each day using unrefined, cold pressed, organic coconut oil, swishing for 20 minutes.
3.  We brush our teeth twice a day using non-fluoridated whitening toothpaste (brands vary throughout the world.  We don’t use fluoride when we can avoid it).
4.  We brush with the above toothpaste adding baking soda and hydrogen peroxide onto the brush.  These items are available worldwide.
5.  We used pulsing toothbrushes.  (We’d purchased a good sized supply on past visits to Costco but, these can be purchased at pharmacies and grocery stores throughout the world.

Kangaroo family lounging under the shade of a tree and a bench.

We stress that if there is evidence of periodontal disease, the above measures would be effective only after a course of professional treatment had been exercised. We don’t recommend seeing a dentist only once every three years.  In our old lives, we had our teeth cleaned every six months.

The thorough cleaning, the pleasant and professional dental office and the expert care of the dentist, Dr. Neil and his staff, left us with a “great taste in our mouths!”

Resting in the grass.

With our medical appointments behind us with good results we have a renewed sense of freedom.  Thanks to our readers for their encouragement and support in assisting us in making the decision to get these medical exams behind us.

Our efforts for ongoing health continue with exercise, healthy diet, dental care and a positive state of mind which, armed with this good news, is certainly enhanced.

Kangaroos are shy unless they’ve been in an area where they frequently interact with humans.  These are wild kangaroos resulting in photos taken from afar.

Tomorrow, we’ll continue with more photos from our trip to Port Douglas as we plan our next road trip.  Hummm…wonder where that will take us?

Happy end of week to all!

_____________________________________
 

Photo from one year ago today, July 31, 2014:
We didn’t post on this travel date.  Back tomorrow with August 1, 2014!