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On Wednesday night, I opened a brand new bottle of adult gummy vitamins, and popped two in my mouth. They were really, really hard. I chewed and chewed and chewed. They stuck to my teeth and I had a difficult time swallowing them. I thought maybe they’d gone bad or something. Not a pleasant experience.
About around 4:00 a.m. the next morning (Thursday), I woke up dreaming that the upper left-hand side of my mouth was being ripped out. I had a horrible toothache! By the time everybody got out of bed, I was in so much pain that Richard got our dentist on the phone right away. They said to come right in.
A grainy x-ray revealed nothing at all. I explained about the gummies. I told her I was pretty sure I cracked my tooth. She said no, there was no visible crack on that x-ray. Like I said, it was really grainy. I didn’t believe her.
Interestingly enough, the tooth that was hurting so badly already had a root canal so I shouldn’t have been feeling any pain at all. The dentist said it was probably a sinus issue. I rolled my eyes. I don’t get sinus infections. She sent me on my way with a prescription for mild pain pills and antibiotics. I was supposed to take one to two pain pills every four to six hours but I don’t like pain pills. I have far too much work to do to get all goofy-headed. Plus, after abdominal surgery years ago, pain pills made me violently vomit. Vomiting with stitches in your gut was one of my least favorite moments in life! (Yes, I know now you can’t take those on an empty stomach.)
So, I took the antibiotics and I nervously took half a pain pill. It didn’t work. I took another half. Still didn’t work. I took two Advil. That took the edge off for awhile. I repeated this regimen throughout Thursday. That night, my tooth was literally on fire and I didn’t sleep at all. Needless to say, neither did Richard. My dentist had left for vacation so I couldn’t call her for help, but she had given us a referral slip to a local endodontist (a root canal guy).
Early the next morning (Friday), Richard was on the phone with the endodontist, who said to bring me right in. They did a 3-D CT scan. That scan revealed I had a fourth root in that tooth that was never filled during the previous root canal, which had been 10 years prior. The scan also revealed a lovely, large infection that was sitting right between that root and my sinus cavity. So, they opened up my tooth pronto and did an emergency root canal. They were also going to clean out and re-fill my other roots. While they were in there, they found the culprit. A crack in my tooth. You know…the one I had ALREADY DIAGNOSED!!! UH HUH!!!
They suspected the crack had started the infection.
They stopped the root canal, gave me a temporary filling, and told me the tooth needed to be extracted ASAP…except they don’t do extractions there. They said I needed an oral surgeon. But, it was Friday. I’d have to wait. They then said I might want an implant. An implant?! It’s the very last tooth in the back on top. Why would I want an implant? Nobody sees that tooth anyway! I just wanted somebody to RIP THAT DAMN THING OUT OF MY THROBBING MOUTH!!!
Turns out that endodondist was a sadist. He sent me on my way with only 3 steroid pills, no pain meds, and these words, “You’re not going to feel a thing. You won’t even need Advil!” And, since he’d removed that extra root, I stupidly believed him. Drooling, and with my mouth swollen, but happily pain free from Novacaine, I waved goodbye, and thanked them. If I’d only known what was coming, I’d have punched that guy in the mouth!
Two hours later, my tooth woke up again with a vengeance. And, she was NOT HAPPY! She was SCREAMING! I gulped down Advil like candy, thinking the tooth might just calm down after a few hours. I was up all Friday night, and continued to gulp down Advil into the wee hours of Saturday morning.
Around 4 a.m., Richard was literally begging me to take two pain pills (from the prescription my dentist gave me on Thursday). I finally relented, and took 3/4ths of a pain pill. Thirty minutes later, I took a whole other one. Then, I took two Advil. It was a bit better but not even close to tolerable. By Saturday night, I was up to two pain pills and two Advil every 4 hours or so. I stayed awake all night again (and, hence, so did Richard, that lucky guy!). At 8:00 a.m. on Sunday, Richard called the dentist on call who mercifully called right back, and said to bring me right in. This would be dental professional number three in just four days.
I LOVED that dentist!! Who opens their office up for someone they don’t know on a Sunday?! And, with no assistants to help him?? He strolled in wearing his fishing clothes and he had his dog on a leash. Super cool guy! He x-rayed my tooth with Richard’s help. (In Richard’s previous life, he was an x-ray tech.) I wanted to kiss that dentist full on the mouth when he pumped my swollen gum full of the nectar of the Gods (more Novacaine!!). I had relief for the first time in two days.
He said he couldn’t pull my tooth. I had to go to an oral surgeon. First, he didn’t have an assistant with him (Richard’s medical experience was limited strictly to x-rays so assisting in tooth yanking wasn’t going to happen) and, second, the tooth was too firm in the socket. It wasn’t loose at all. But, the infection was spreading so he gave me a wide-spectrum antibiotic and very strong pain medication. I no longer cared about pill popping. I was ready to join the junkies of the world. I JUST WANTED TO BE OUT OF PAIN!!! And, after three nights, I just needed to sleeeeeeeep.
Slobbering and swollen once again, I thanked that angel dentist profusely and Richard took me back home. (We sent his office a gift basket the next day – full of sweets, of course!). After that batch of Novacaine wore off, Richard gave me a pain pill, and followed that up with three Advil two hours later. Back and forth, pain pill, Advil, pain pill, Advil, mixed with antibiotics, and plenty of spoiling and TLC. Our operations manager, Brian, showed up to work and we all watched re-runs of Breaking Bad, which helped me disassociate from the pain for awhile. I was working on my laptop and Brian was keeping an eye over my shoulder, probably making sure I wasn’t diving into any important tasks, like payroll, bank account reconciliation, or the sales tax return. Heh…
I’ve been a marshmallow head ever since but I don’t care. I am NOT pain free but I am almost pain free at some moments during the day. Richard got hold of the oral surgeon this morning (I’m writing this on Monday) and my extraction is scheduled for 11:30 in the morning.
I have never, ever in my life been SO EXCITED about visiting a dentist!!!
Needless to say, I am way behind on my work. I will be much better, I’m sure, after they yank this demon out of my gums and then I’ll spend the rest of the week frantically catching up…drug-free, of course!
If you can, please, please forgive me if I slurred my words in any of the missive above…
UPDATE: Tuesday evening – 7:30 p.m.
Last night was pretty awful. The worst night yet. My entire jaw hurt and the pain meds weren’t doing much. This morning, I tried to work for awhile before leaving for the oral surgeon. Once they got me in a room, my blood pressure was high – 155 / 108. They said they couldn’t pull the tooth until the bottom number got below 100. I panicked! What if they couldn’t or wouldn’t remove the tooth?! I’m really not the type of person to lose it in public but I was terrified, and in so much pain. I started begging and pleading, and loudly said, “If you don’t pull my tooth today, I damn well will!”
I briefly explaining my 10-year battle with health anxiety after a traumatic event, which makes my BP unusually high in medical offices. The nurse also said that pain can drive your BP up. They put the cuff on once again and it was even higher. The doctor, another angel, told them to give me 10 mg of Valium. That was on top of the pain medication I was already on. I had to chew up the pills and then they laid me back and put a blanket on my legs. I started to relax. My BP dropped a bit. Later, I was feeling pretty loopy. The lower number was down to 81 and then the nurse said, “Now you’re just showing off.”
The doc came in. My brain was a bit fuzzy. They shot my mouth full of Novacaine. I had to get three rounds of it because it still hurt when I bit down. Once it was all numb, things went very quickly. He reached in there with what must have been a magic pair of pliers, and grabbed hold of my tooth. They told me I’d feel pressure. I did. Muttering through a mouth full of gloved fingers, I loudly encouraged him, “Puhhhhllll! Puhhhlll!” He kept twisting and pulling. I put my fist up and pumped it up and down, like I was signaling a trucker to honk. I repeated, “Puhhhhlll!! Puhhhlll!!”
He laughed, and said, “I’m pulling!”
And, just like that, I heard and felt it release. I couldn’t feel any pain but I very definitely felt a sudden, glorious, heavenly release of pressure and then, POP!
THE DEMON HAD BEEN EXORCIZED FROM ITS HOST!
I breathed a huge sigh of relief. My eyes teared up with happiness! I felt as light as a feather!! I felt reborn!!! And (temporarily at least), I was completely pain free!!!!
After they cleaned me up, I hugged all of them. My saviors!!!
Mason (age 10) is putting the demon under his pillow tonight. He wants to know if the tooth fairy is paying the going price for gold right now. We shall see!
While I’m still in pain, it’s a completely different kind of pain and it’s something I can handle. I came home from their office, and slept deeply for hours and hours. It was HEAVEN!
I swear….I will NEVER take being pain-free for granted ever, Ever, EVER again!
Angela Hoy lives on a mountain in North Georgia. She is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, the President and CEO of BookLocker.com and AbuzzPress, and the author of 24 books.
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