Friday, March 17, 2017

In describing the act of doing things, there's a metaphor/simile that goes "it's like pulling teeth". i don't use it myself; think it's more of an american thing. if i'm not wrong, that phrase means that the thing to be done is very difficult, and/or the person who is supposed to do the thing is very reluctant. after yesterday's experience, i can understand why. so what happened is that i had to get a wisdom tooth extracted. one of my secondary school friends is now a dentist, and since i couldn't remember my last dentist visit, i thought i might as well go and see him for a cleaning and consultation, because that wisdom tooth wasn't sitting properly in my mouth. this is only the second major procedure i have ever had in my life, and i count myself extremely fortunate that a tooth extraction can be deemed as major. so...what caused the tooth to end up this way? that actually links back to my first ever major procedure, which was surgery to remove an impacted wisdom tooth in my left lower jaw when i was in J1, slightly less than 10 years ago. my friend told me that what happened was that since there was a missing tooth in my mouth, there was no opposition to the corresponding upper tooth's growth. and so, it had supraerupted. my knowledge of scientific language suggested that supererupted or hypererupted would have been the correct word, but apparently not. it wouldn't have been an issue if it had grown straight down into my mouth, but it grew at a slightly forward-facing angle, and could not be effectively cleaned. so, i set the date (yesterday) and went to get it done.

now, i don't think it comes as much of a surprise that due to my limited experience with painful procedures, i was rather nervous. the worst things i've had happen to me are ankle sprains and knee injuries. but those were accidents. here, i was voluntarily subjecting myself to pain. anyway, i showed up early to the clinic and had to wait a bit. that didn't help with the nerves. my friend finished with his previous patient and called me in. he told me about the procedure and explained some risks and potential complications, then numbed the area with some gel thing. after that came the injections. if i've never said it here before, i am not good with needles at all. good thing my friend was nice and patient. after the anaesthetic kicked it, the actual extraction started. it was a lot more medieval than i had imagined...it was literally pulling the tooth out. for some reason, it still hurt a bit when he turned the tooth anticlockwise, so we paused for a few more anaesthetic jabs. eventually, the tooth came out almost whole. there's a few mm of the root still lodged in the jaw, but my friend says that it's insignificant enough to be left there. all in all, the whole procedure took about half an hour to 45 minutes, and it's not something i would want to do again. i kept the tooth...it's sitting in bleach now for sterilization purposes. i noticed that it's showing some signs of decay, so i guess it's good that we got it out before it got serious.

the recovery so far has been pretty manageable. had to change the dressing quite regularly last night. not particularly enjoyable, removing bloody gauze pads every half an hour. thankfully the bleeding lessened before i fell asleep, and more or less stopped by this morning when i woke up. i'm happy (and thankful and relieved) that there's no pain, and i didn't need the painkiller that i was given. it's not even an ache...more like a feeling of discomfort. as i type this though, it's becoming more ache-like. still nothing that i can't handle. to tell the truth, i'm no expert in dental/jaw anatomy. i don't even know how the teeth are connected to the jaw, or how exactly the gums fit over them. in my imagination, it was an open wound that bled non-stop, but apparently that's not the case. nevertheless, it's still trauma to the body, which requires special care. so i'm making effort the chew with the right (uninjured) side of my mouth, and rinsing my mouth with salt water after food. should take about another 2 days for me to recover more or less fully, which means i should be back to normal by monday. here's hoping that no complications arise. as a reminder to self, no vigorous nose-blowing for a while, no swimming for the next 2 weeks.

over the last weekend, i went to attend a free workshop on value investing. it was conducted by a company whose founder's posts i'd been noticing on facebook. this guy seems to be the perfect person. wonderful family man, highly successful, rich, nice, and all in all serving the greater good instead of himself. so i thought it would be ok to burn a sunday to see what it was all about. as most of you will know, i am not financially inclined at all. they presented their content in a rather layman-friendly way, and the take-home message i got was that wages can't keep up with inflation. i know some political parties have been saying that as well. the next message was that value investing is the key to becoming financially free. to their credit, the speakers (who are all associated with the company) have quite impressive portfolios. i'm actually inclined to give it a try. previously, i've heard too many horror stories about people losing massive amounts of money in the stock market, and the impression i got was that it was super risky. while it's true that you can lose money and that risk exists, i realized that there are ways to mitigate such negative factors. for instance, don't borrow money. no matter how low a share price goes, it can only bottom out at zero. that means that the worst case scenario is that you lose everything you put in. and if it's solely your money, you don't owe anyone anything. along with that, don't dump all your money in. so that way, if you do end up losing everything that you put in, you have backups elsewhere. the second bit about mitigating the risk is where this concept of value investing comes in. the basic principle is that each company has an intrinsic value, which may or may not be equal to the share price. and the share price will tend to the intrinsic value over time. so by buying shares of companies whose share price is lower than their intrinsic value, the odds of you making a profit are higher. i figure that i should do a bit of investing, to have a bit of passive income in the form of dividends, and if all goes well, become financially free before i'm too old.

during the workshop, we were asked what financial freedom means to us. my answer is that it's the ability to pay for all your needs and wants without worrying about the cost. of course, i have to stop for a bit and clarify that needs and wants are subjective. personally, i'm not too greedy, i think. i'm not chasing after sports cars or bungalows. while a condo would be nice, i could be just as comfortable living in a HDB flat. as for cars, i'm perfectly happy with driving something similar to my current civic. higher engine capacity means higher road tax, after all. in that sense, i suppose my idea of financial freedom will be easier to meet. right now, a tentative goal is to be able to afford a flat by the time i hit the age of 35. that's another 6-ish years.

you know, i think a sign that i'm growing up is that i'm worrying about money matters. i intend to be independent one day. or to put it bluntly, unless i die early, i'll be forced to become independent one day. so every now and then, i'll review the distribution of my money and see how i can optimize it. the most recent review was because the OCBC 360 account's terms and conditions had changed yet again. they're rewarding less for spending and moving towards investments and insurance. some people might be ok with it, but i cant capitalize on it. so i opened a UOB one account. it's the same principle...spend above a certain amount per month, then use GIRO and/or credit your salary for maximum bonus. i figured that the interest rate for UOB would be better overall, since i could meet more of the conditions. the hassle is in shifting my GIRO arrangements to a different bank. well...i guess a one-time inconvenience is tolerable. hoping that they will all be approved soon.

might be because of the extraction, but i feel a slight headache coming on. or it might also be because of minor dehydration. i've been minimizing eating and drinking due to the discomfort in my mouth. maybe i need more water.

-random thought of the day: Going to sleep early tonight.-

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