Reflections – Tuesday, October 11, 2016: New Discovery of Historical Places

Carol A. Hand

Recently, I looked through the pictures that I have taken since I moved here five years ago. Most are photos of my gardens and house. Some are of my neighborhood, and only very few are shots of downtown or the surrounding area. It’s true that I don’t often think of taking my camera with me, but I have often wished that I had. This morning I took it along as I headed out early for a dental appointment to deal with a painful tooth. The office of the specialist I was referred to by my dentist was in a part of town I hadn’t visited before.


Image: Microsoft WORD Clip Art (modified)

You’d never know from looking at my crooked funny-colored teeth that I have taken care of what I was given and spent a lot of money just to keep them. (Finding good dentists when you move a lot is not an easy task.) The good news this morning? The painful tooth appears to be fine even though it’s still making it’s presence known by gently throbbing at the moment. The bad news, another one needs expensive work – one third of my annual income.

Yes, I have Medicare, but dental work is not something that’s covered by Medicare. (See Endnotes below for more information.) I could buy dental insurance, but it’s been my experience that insurance companies always manage to make a profit on what they charge those who buy their products and produce nothing of value in return, unless you find it somehow amusing when your requests for coverage of necessary services are denied.

But I don’t need to make the decision of what to do about this new dental problem for a few weeks. It’s a hard decision in large part because I can’t easily reconcile the privilege of being able to even contemplate fixing a tooth while so many people in the world are suffering for lack of food, water, shelter, clothing, safety.

But you know what they say. Simple minds are easily amused. As I walked out of the building after my appointment, my attention was captivated by the building that took up the whole block across the street. And for a few minutes before I headed home, I was lost in the delight of taking photos. The images aren’t anything special, but I’m sharing them anyway. They inspired me to learn a little more about architecture and the history of some of the buildings here.

Focusing on the wonder and beauty of the moment takes my thoughts away from pain. Sometimes, when my thoughts once again return to my physical being , I realize that my brief journey into a different state of mind has even made pain seem less intense. This morning, it lifted my spirit to see something I might not have noticed otherwise and gave me an opportunity to learn something new.





I learned that this building, Chester Terrace, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

“Historic brick and brownstone Chester Terrace takes up an entire block on E. First Street in downtown Duluth. Built in 1890, the Richardsonian Romanesque row house apartments were designed by architects Oliver Trephagen and Francis Fitzpatrick. Special features include towers, turrets, finials, and gables. It received its name from neighboring Chester Creek which flows into Lake Superior. The building is still being rented out as apartments and was put on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.” (Source:


Wikipedia provides a clear and helpful overview of Medicare, a complex policy:

“In the United States, Medicare is a national social insurance program, administered by the US federal government since 1966, currently using about 30-50 private insurance companies across the United States under contract for administration. United States Medicare is funded by a Payroll Tax, premiums and surtaxes from beneficiaries, and general revenue. It provides health insurance for Americans aged 65 and older who have worked and paid into the system through the payroll tax. It also provides health insurance to younger people with some disabilities status as determined by the Social Security Administration, as well as younger people with end stage renal disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

“In 2015, Medicare provided health insurance for over 55 million—46 million people age 65 and older and nine million younger people. On average, Medicare covers about half of the health care charges for those enrolled. The enrollees must then cover their remaining costs either with supplemental insurance, separate insurance, or out-of-pocket. Out-of-pocket costs can vary depending on the amount of health care a Medicare enrollee needs. They might include the costs of uncovered services—such as for long-term, dental, hearing, and vision care—and supplemental insurance premiums.” (Source: Wikipedia)


24 thoughts on “Reflections – Tuesday, October 11, 2016: New Discovery of Historical Places

  1. Beautiful building! And as you point out, Carol, a painful experience led you to this building!

    I know what you mean about hurting teeth, dentists and medicare. I have learned to live with my see through enamel and holes in the molars.

    As you know, Carol, our ancestors managed quite nicely without “the dentites”, as Seinfeld referred to them;-)

    You can’t squeeze blood out of a turnip, as they say! Oh don’t I know that!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for commenting on the photos, Dave. It is such a unique building, isn’t it? And yes, Medicare. Interesting that it doesn’t cover dental, vision, hearing, or long term care, or drugs unless you pay for Part D insurance through a private provider…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sorry about your tooth. MediCare is great – except for teeth, eyeglasses, hearing aids… If you still feel pain, I’ve found a gargle of salt and turmeric helps heal tissues of gums and mouth. Good luck.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind words and advice, Diane. I’ll keep your recipe in mind and try it if my “magic mouthwash” fails again (cloves, cinnamon, and tea oil), as it did when I was waiting to see the new dentist.


  3. Due to time constraints, I’ll address only “the painful tooth” – a word of warning: there is very likely an abscess under that tooth. The pain will withdraw for a time and come back, only worse, and last longer. I just had two pulled due to an abscess that caused blood poisoning, then crept out to the tooth next to it. One tooth was gone, no hope of root canal; the other questionable, so I had it pulled too. Push on the tooth, in and out (not down). If the pain shoots out when you push on it, it’s very likely abscessed. I’d see a dentist… ASAP before the infection spreads. OK, just sharing my very recent and unpleasant experience.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing your experiences, Sha’Tara. I appreciate your advice a great deal. Abscessed teeth are dangerous.

      I empathize with what you went through. I’ve been there, too. Although the dentist I went to this time took more than an hour trying to figure out what was happening, there were no obvious culprits – not the past root canals, crowns, or posts. We tried all of the things you suggested and more to find out what was wrong, but to no avail. He did tell me to call and come in immediately if the pain returns.


  4. What an intense colour those bricks are! So sorry about your tooth, I have spent so much time in the dentist’s chair this year, I told him I need a season ticket! We are fortunate to have our much-maligned NHS so we can always get treatment, even if it’s basic, at least we don’t have to suffer. Clove oil is good for gum and tooth infection, I agree with salt and turmeric too. Also oil pulling, using raw coconut oil. I do hope you get some relief soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind words and advice, Chris. I do have something I refer to as “magic mouthwash.” It has cloves, cinnamon, and tea oil, and it usually does work like magic to stop tooth pain. This time, it didn’t work at all some nights when the pain was excruciating. I’m not sure if it helps to hear that there’s no obvious cause…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Teeth are incredibly complicated. I have a certain molar that grumbles off and on and no apparent dental reason for it, but I have found that when I have osteopathy for my back and neck, it settles down and I forget about it. It could be, some manipulation is what’s called for. Did you know that wisdom teeth can cause back pain? Some athletes/sportspeople have them removed after suffering debilitating back pain and the problem appears to be solved. (Personally, I would try osteo first, tooth extraction always seems a bit like medieval torture to me!)

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Ah, yes, Chris. Tooth extraction is brutal. All four of my wisdom teeth were pulled when I was in high school – there wasn’t enough room for them in my mouth! 🙂 But I survived.

          I think your point about stress is the key. Dealing with the details of developing new assignments and materials for the class I’m teaching, coupled with internet and hacker challenges as I was doing so, has created stress. My tooth has been reminding me to eat, breathe, drink water and rest…

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Damn! Nothing worse than toothache. Dental care is unaffordable for so many and it shouldn’t be. The dental profession has become more about cosmetics than making people healthy. I hope that tooth lets up. Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I thought of you when I wrote this, Bob. For the moment, the pain is gone and I’m grateful. All I could do when it was at its most intense was remind myself to just breathe and hope the pain passed.


      1. Hi again Carol! There is nothing like tooth pain. There is no remedy. The good thing is that our bodies have a way of dealing with things. Still, get back to the dentist if it continues to flare. Or go to the doctor. If you get a good one they will help you. Bob

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kindness, Pamela. I’m glad to know you weathered the hurricane despite four days without power, but sorry to hear that you have painful teeth as well. It is expensive! Take care of yourself, too, my friend.


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