• Dr. Nicole Vumbaco | DVM

December Update [Continuation of Update #3]

Updated: May 12


By Dec 3rd, my appointment to have my silver amalgam removed had arrived. The office had just finished a quarantine from an employee testing positive for CV19. I couldn’t have been more nervous!! You obviously can’t wear a mask and your mouth is wide open to aerosols with nitrile gloved hands and dental instruments working in/on the primary way CV19 is transmitted. Luckily, Dr. JB advised me to undergo the procedure. Many of us have these fillings, they actually are an alloy of Mercury, usually with another metal, like Silver. This one had become particularly painful and was snapping in and out of place while flossing. My dentist was incredibly accommodating and very thorough. Dr. H had me on nasal oxygen, in safety googles, was wearing a PAPR Suit, had active suction to capture as much of the aerosolized mercury as possible and a dental dam to minimize any systemic absorption of Mercury. Dr. JB had very specific requests to ensure my safety and he met them all without question. It was pretty terrible, but went as well as expected. They replaced the filling with a composite and addressed an underlying cavity. My TMJ was excruciating during and I could not talk or chew for a day. It was a mental game of tolerance and distraction. Multiple muscle relaxers, NSAIDS, cupping and CBD later, the tension eased and no trismus occurred! I did not realize how painful this tooth was until they performed the nerve block. It was astounding…having the amalgam removed sooner than later was the right call.

The next few days brought great sadness. My little brother’s best friend and dog, Nala had fallen ill. She was a geriatric pittie, service animal trained, a mama to many puppies, almost 16 yrs old, and had battled and survived cancer. She lived her life advocating for other pitties through her actions. This helped change the fear-based perspective of many. She helped Michael through trials, tribulations, heart breaks, loss, new love, cross country moves and remained constant in her character. Mama Nala was rather healthy. My brother and his fiancé were always proactive about her care. She declined quickly despite intervention. While we do not know the definitive cause, she was in a form of acute onset liver failure with progressive anemia (from a suspected GI Bleed). It was just too much for her body. Her mind was sound. She was so strong but body tired. Thankfully, she was able to be released from the hospital to spend some time at home with the family. That was December 7th…which was also her 16th Birthday. The family facetimed to sing her happy birthday then later that evening, Michael and Brooke made the selfless and excruciating decision to let her go. It was peaceful and in the comfort of her own home with help from a mobile vet.

Mama Nala

Dec 7th, 2004-Dec 7th, 2020

Alive in our hearts forever