Monday, February 18, 2013

Smiling is Overrated, Right?

So let's recap, shall we? In July, I developed blood clots in my leg. One of those clots decided to travel. I got a pulmonary embolism. Then, since everything else was healing and apparently I'm not allowed to ever have calm, uneventful times, I got plantar fasciitis in my foot which made walking super-painful. After several months, two shots in my heel, a night brace, and orthotic inserts, that seems to be getting a little better. So, of course, something else had to crop up. Cue the abscessed tooth. My jaw started hurting last week and by Tuesday night I was in tears. I've given birth to 6 kids, I've had kidney stones, I've had diverticulitis, I had my tonsils taken out as an adult. I can handle pain. I laugh in the face of pain. I crush pain without a second thought. Unless it's in my face. Ohmygosh, tooth pain brings me to my knees and makes me cry like a little baby girl.

I went to my dentist Wednesday morning.  He prescribed antibiotics and pain killers and told me I'd need to go to an endodontist since I'd already had a root canal and crown on this particular tooth several years ago. My dentist wasn't sure it could be saved. So today I went to the endodontist. I told her that my jaw was actually better, but now my last tooth (the tooth next to the abscessed one) was hurting. She tried to set my mind at ease, telling me it was probably just referred pain. 

"Um, my ear hurts a little. That's referred pain. But my tooth actually hurts. I mean really hurts. I'm pretty sure it's not referred pain. She had me bite down. Ouch. She touched a healthy tooth with something that was 4000 degrees below 0 and I jumped out of the chair a little. Then she touched my painful last tooth and I felt nothing. Apparently that's not a good sign. I was right. It wasn't referred pain; my tooth is dead and both of my back molars are infected.

"Oh you need a root canal on this tooth in addition to the retreatment on the second-to-last tooth."

"Goodie. I can't think of anything I'd rather do."

The dental assistant took my blood pressure. "Wow, that's pretty high," she remarked. Do you usually have high blood pressure?"

"Um no. It's usually quite low. But, if you hadn't noticed, I'm about to have dental work done, so . . ." I trailed off since, in my mind, this was a perfectly good explanation for my heart nearly exploding.

She draped a plastic cape over me. I tried to convince myself I was getting a hair cut. It didn't work. She put some sunglasses on me. I tried to pretend I was at the beach. It didn't work. I sat back in the chair, immediately clenched my teeth together, started breathing crazy, and tightened every muscle in my body. She gave me 4 shots of local anesthetic. I whimpered. She asked if I was okay.

"Just dandy", I slurred as my tongue started to numb.

She put a little jack in my mouth to hold my jaw open and spread a rubber sheet across my face. This is when I went a slightly berserk. It's all a little cloudy now, but it involved much gagging, dry heaving, bolting upright in the chair, apologizing for ripping everything off my face, and praying fervently for the world to end so I wouldn't have to endure dental work. As I write this now, it occurs to me that may not be the  most rational reaction, but at the time it seemed pretty reasonable.

After getting all set up again, she started drilling on my back tooth that needs a root canal. A few minutes later, the receptionist came into the room and told her to stop. "Her insurance office is closed today so we can't get approval for the root canal. You'll have to do it another day." Excellent. My tooth is open, I'm in pain, yet it can't be taken care of because my insurance office is closed. Nice system we've got here. The dentist stuffed my tooth with Playdough or something, told me I'd have to come back to have it taken care of, and moved on the other tooth for which we already had approval from last week.

I sat there shaking, every muscle in my body tensed. I told myself to relax. I made a conscious effort to unclench my butt cheeks. Breathe, Dawn. I took a deep breath. Take your nails out of your palms, Dawn. I slowly uncurled my fingers. Relax. Two seconds later, I was shaking. I told myself to relax again. I tried to picture myself on a beach, a hot guy with great hair, bronzed skin stretched across washboard abs, and ginormous biceps handing me a refreshing drink adorned with a pineapple slice and a little paper umbrella. That did nothing for me. I tried again. I imagined a middle aged, balding man with a little beer belly and a tool belt. He was fixing the loose banister on my stairs. Now that's a fantasy! It worked for approximately 2 minutes. Then I was shaking again. I pictured my kids cleaning the bathrooms while I was at the dentist's office, however that visual only scared me because, well, wouldn't you be scared if your kids cleaned the bathrooms without being told? And then I was shaking again. This continued for an hour.

When all was said and done, she couldn't save my tooth. The root is cracked. She stuffed it with some more Playdough and told me I'd have to get it pulled by my regular dentist.

On my list for this week - go off my blood thinners so I can get approval for the extraction, go back to the endodontist for the root canal tomorrow, win a million dollars, and figure out a way to get out of all this.

Can't get enough? See what Dawn is up to over at Babble.


The momma said...

I sooooo feel your pain. sadly you seem to be more together than I am when I go. Icve had 4 root canals. one of them failed and I've decided I'm not doing it again. I'll just get the bad tooth pulled and get a fake one. sure I look like a hilly billy but I just can't go through that again and have it nit work.

Mum - Mainly Upbringing Monsters said...

I'm so sorry you have to go through all of this on top of everything else :(

Laura G said...

Dawn, Yowza, too much ouch on your plate! Crazy all the stuff you've gone through in the last 7 months. Wish I had a clever way of saying all this will be behind you, and you'll be stronger for it. But you've had so many challenging situations (understatement of the year, right?) and you keep plowing through. And being there for your kids, always. I'll be praying for all of you! Laura G

lbugsh2 said...

Ugh I hate dental work its the pits. Especially the insurance joy of back and forth.

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