Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A week that went POOF

All of the sudden I've been out of school five days and I've done nothing, though it feels like it has been about five minutes.  I've had just about the worst dental experience, ever.  In fact, I've had the very dental experience that I play out in my imagination every time I visit a dentist--hence the (previously) unreasonable panic attacks.  And no, experiencing the very thing I fear and/or loathe and making it through successfully hasn't done anything to convince me that dentists are not that scary--in fact it's confirmed every single thing I worried about.  But what are you gonna do?  I can't avoid the dentist, but at least I know what I'm getting into.

I started having tooth pain a week ago Monday--the kind of nebulous pain that you can't really pin on one tooth--but by Monday night it was bad enough that I knew I needed to get in and see someone about it (panic attacks be damned).  My dentist couldn't see anything wrong in my mouth or on the xray but she confirmed BY BANGING ON MY TEETH (yes I'm serious) that it was my back left tooth I where I was having the pain.  Or I should say, where I was having the most pain, because at that point I was having pain in everything in my skull or attached to it.  So at least I knew where it was starting.  I'd had a root canal five years ago in that tooth right after Henry was born.  When I was pregnant, I developed an abscess but I had to wait until after his birth to take care of it.  No bueno, but the root canal seemed to take care of the problem.  The dentist couldn't see anything visibly wrong with it, but she sent me on to see the endodontist that afternoon.

MORE BANGING ON TEETH, more stupid questions about what kind of pain I was having.  I think the subtleties of pain are lost on someone who is at the OH MY GOD I'M GOING TO SCREAM stage. It isn't throbbing pain or stabbing pain or hot and cold sensitivity pain when it's just PAIN with a capital P and fourteen exclamation points.  So long story short (ha, not really) the endodontist decides something's wrong with the old crown--looks like I wore down two layers of crown from a misaligned bite, cracked the thing, and developed an infection.  Awesomeness.  But at least I got some shots of Novocaine which provided the first relief I'd had in two days.  I wanted to sleep while I waited for it to take but of course the chipper dental assistant wanted to talk.  Really?  I'm sitting here with a mouth full of pain, I can't articulate any letters because of Novocaine, I haven't slept, and you want to chat?  Pass.  I closed my eyes until she got the hint.

Not to scare anyone, but the sounds of a root canal are awful.  And I'm pretty sure the sounds of redoing a root canal are worse, because they have to drill through metal.  That's not a sound one wants close to one's brain.  I'll admit to moments of freaking out because the pain was so bad it made me sick.  But at that point I had no choice and the awful drilling was what stood between me and relatively quick peace in my mouth.

Only my mouth is like the Middle East.  Any peace is tenuous at best.

They packed me full of meds, prescribed some Vicodin and an antibiotic, and sent me on my way.  I was knocked on my butt.  The pain didn't seem to get any better--after two days in bed, it seemed worse, but I had to go back to work.  I stopped the Vicodin because I had to drive and I was sure it was all in my head that this was still as bad as it was.  By Friday, though, I was angry.  I shouldn't still be feeling this way.  Vicodin at night was not getting me through and I was starting to have pain that radiated farther out than in the first place.  I called my endo and they said I just needed to keep at the meds.  They called in a new prescription of Vicodin since I was almost out.

I toughed it out, setting alarms every two hours all night so I could keep a steady stream of drugs in my system and alternate my pain meds.  If I missed a dose of either: excruciating pain.  I managed to make Ad's birthday party and my trip to San Francisco with K over the weekend, but it took more alarm-setting, and some faithful taking of medicine.  By the time the endo called on Monday, I had seen no improvement.  I could manage the pain but nothing was better.

So imagine my frustration on Monday when they said "oh... hmm... you should probably come in.  It's been almost a week and it seems like something's not right."  It was all I could do not to scream YEAH YOU NERDS THAT'S WHY I CALLED YOU ON FRIDAY TO TELL YOU THIS WASN'T RIGHT.  *sigh*  Can't win.

I went in, kids in tow, and they did a... wait for it... SECOND ROOT CANAL on the same tooth.  Only really by "second" I mean "third" because this process started five years ago after Henry decided (yes, I blame him) to make me wait out a dental procedure.  And it wasn't the whole thing all over again, but it might as well have been because it was just like the Tuesday before.  I wanted to cry right in the chair, but mouth pain is so bad that I would have probably promised the endo my first child (sorry Roo) just to make it go away.  NOT REALLY, YOU GUYS.  But you get it.  More drilling *tear*, more squeezing my fists tight inside my sweatshirt pocket, more curling of toes... The poor monkeys had to sit in the waiting room since i hadn't anticipated them doing this all over again.  Good thing my kids can essentially babysit themselves.

The endo was not sure if he "didn't get it all" the first time or if it was the fault of the antibiotic they prescribed--and he wasted no time BLAMING ME for my Penicillin allergy which meant he was "so limited in what else he could prescribe." PUH-LEASE.  I can't be the first person in the world with a Penicillin allergy to cross his path.  That was a low blow.  Yeah, thanks, Mr. Endo.  Like I WANTED to have my joints swell up and hallucinate when I was 11 years old from a toxic level of Penicillin in my blood.  Let's do that again.  Not.

Monday night I was pretty down since it felt like I started all over again, but as of today I finally feel like I'm beginning to move in the right direction.  It felt good to shower and to open the windows--everything in the house (myself included) has that nasty stale sick smell to it.  It's time for fresh air and healing.  I'm so ready to move on and be done with this tooth and this pain.  I'd take two c-sections in a row again instead of this--at least after those I could eat.

1 comment:

  1. These root canal stories are HORRIFIC. Absolutely horrific. I'm sorry for your recent dental nightmares. I got a crown several months ago and that experience was fucking awful. To make matters worse, the dentist's office overcharged me by $600. It took four months of intense confrontations and one disputed claim on my Discover card to get the office to refund the over-charge.

    I often wonder about the kind of people who become dentists. WHY? WHY? It's a wicked profession.

    Speaking of dentists, I had a dream about one last night. I forgot about it until just now. Actually, come to think of it, it was more a night terror than a dream.

    DENTISTS. ERGH. You can see you hit a nerve. (Pun intended.)

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