Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Where’s an ice skate when you need one?

Stick Man Castaway You know that part in the movie “Castaway” with Tom Hanks where he uses the blade on an ice skate to remove a tooth that had gotten infected and was giving him mad amounts of pain?  Every time someone mentions that movie, that’s the first thing I think of, and every time I see that scene I shudder so much that the people around me think I’m having a seizure.  Anyone who’s ever had a toothache knows the horrific pain that comes along with it and how desperate you become to try and alleviate the pain, we’re lucky enough to have dentists, but stranded on a deserted island he did what he had to do.  There were moments in the last 48 hours of my life, where if I had had an ice skate, I might have been tempted to do the same. 

First a little back story.  I need a lot of dental work.  Let me emphasize A LOT of dental work.  We’re talking like two moreDentist Chasing Patient root canals, a couple of extractions, a few bridges, and some fillings.  I didn’t have dental insurance for a long time, which coupled with some weird mouth anomaly I have, and voila this is the result.  I’ve been working on it a little at a time for a while now (I’ve already had two root canals) but it’s expensive.  Very expensive. 

My insurance covers a certain percentage up to a certain amount, and then the rest is all me.  Just to give you an idea of the cost, one root canal WITH my insurance is still $836.00.  Ouch.  That definitely puts a crimp in the oldDollar Signs pocketbook.  So like I said I’ve been doing it a little at a time.  Even if I had all the money to do it right now, this is not the kind of stuff you could have done at one time, obviously not in one sitting.  These types of procedures you’d have to spread out over weeks, even months depending on which one we’re referring to, so my “slow and steady wins the race” attitude had been working out, that is until Monday night anyway.

Let me backtrack for just a second to say that Sunday I started to have some pain.  I’m pretty sure I know which tooth is the nasty little culprit, but I can’t be 100% positive because there are two distinct possible Tooth Angrysuspects on that side.  Also adding more confusion to the mix is that sometimes a tooth on the bottom can make the top hurt and vice versa because of all the nerve endings.  So I took a high powered anti-inflammatory called Mobic (you only take 1 every 24 hours and you are not supposed to take any other anti-inflams during that time like ibuprofen or aspirin) and I felt better.  The rest of Sunday night and all day Monday, I had no problems.  Unfortunately this would not last.

Sound Sleep I went to sleep Monday night and everything was still A-OK.  Around 11:00 (an hour or so after I went to sleep) I woke up from pain in my mouth.  At this point it wasn’t so bad that I couldn’t at least just fall back asleep.  Then, I woke up again at 1:00, this time it hurt worse, so I put a little Orajel on it, and after 10-15 minutes or so, it wasn’t as bad, and once again I fell asleep.  I wish the rest of the night could’ve gone like this, because at least it was somewhat under control, too bad that wouldn’t be the case.

Now let me just say that I’m no stranger to pain.  I have chronic pain as a result of a back injury and consequent surgery.  I’ve had 7 surgeries in the last 10 years (I’m only 32) ranging from simple ones like having my gallbladder out to more extensive ones like having a mass removed from my pelvis that had overtaken my entire left ovary and thus they had to take the ovary as well.  That particular surgerSmiley in Painy (I was later told) was the equivalent of a c-section.  My point is  I’ve  been through a few things medically speaking and pain is a regular part of my life.  That said, let me just tell you that mouth pain from a toothache or abscess is probably one of the worst types of pain to endure. 

I have a terrible toothache At 3:00 I woke up in searing, throbbing, horrific pain.  The entire right side of my mouth was KILLING me! It’s the kind of pain that is so grading and intense, it makes me really anxious, so on top of everything I felt like I was crawling out of my skin too.  Yeah, not the most pleasant situation.  I didn’t even want to move at that point for fear of causing it to hurt more, but I didn’t have a choice.  I went to the  bathroom, and took a Mobic and an anti-anxiety pill.  Then I lathered on the Orajel and went to the living room (so as not to wake up the hubs-no point in both of us suffering) and waited.  I really thought that this would take care of it.  I’d been through this before with another tooth right before I had my last root canal, and thisToothache Pink treatment had been very effective.  Not Monday night it wasn’t.  After about an hour of this horribly grading, aching, throbbing, intense pain, I realized that it wasn’t going to do the trick.  So, I got up and took two aspirin and a 400 mg ibuprofen (a total no-no), but I was desperate for relief.  I also lathered on more Orajel, which at this point my supply of that was starting to run really low. 

I waited some more, and still nothing.  It was at this point that I started thinking about Tom Hanks and his ice skate.  Ice Skate We don’t have ice skates (really not necessary in Hawaii) so I started to think of alternatives I could use instead, anything to get the blasted tooth out!  This pseudo plan fell short because given the intense state of pain I was in, I wasn’t able to keep hold of a thought for longer than a nanosecond.

By now it’s just after 4:00 in the morning.  I usually take my daily back meds at 5:00 when I wake up, and I decided it was close enough that I could just take them then, hoping they would help with the pain.  Let me interject here, that I have plenty of pain meds in my house, but for tooth pain they don’t really work.  In fact, usually the only thing that does work is an antibiotic which I didn’t have.  But, like I said, I was desperate.  So I took my morning back pain meds, and an hour later I began to feel some small semblance of relief.  At least the pain wasn’t as intense and I could focus on a thought for longer than a half a second.  The thought ISmiley on Phone kept focusing on was, “Call dentist as soon as they open!!!”

So I did, he wanted to see me ASAP and set me up with a 10:00 AM appointment.  I called Kim, my Manager at the   Thrift Shop, and gave her the bad news that I wouldn’t be in to work that day.  Then, there was some brief confusion as the hubs and I coordinated transportation to two places at  one time.  Right now we only have one car.  Well, actually we have two, but the second one isn’t legal yet (long story) I would normally chance it in this kind of situation, but I had to go on post to get gas, and since there’s always a chance you could be the one they’ll do the full inspection on, which includes checking registration and insurance, things we do not yet have, it was out of the question.  We finished working out the ride situation, and before I knew it I was sitting in the dentist chair.

The end result was emergency dental surgery to the tune of $512.00 in the form of an extraction of a back molar and the removal of the roots of one very-infected-on-the-verge-of-abscessing-tooth removed (later it will have to have a root canal).  He also gave me a prescription for an antibiotic, and Dentist Man Clip Art sent me home to take it easy.  I had to have this huge wad of gauze in my mouth placed in the spot where the molar used to be to suck up the blood, yeah, I know so gross.  In fact even as I write this post nearly 24 hours later I’m still utilizing the gauze because it’s still bleeding, not nearly as much as yesterday, but the gauze is a little pink, therefore there has to be some bleeding still, right?  I really hope the “protective clot” forms soon.  They warned me about dry sockets, and that’s the LAST thing I want or need for that matter. 

Last night I had a much better night’s sleep.  I woke up this morning sore as all get out, but that’s to be expected.  At  least the uber-intense-throbbing-aching-kill-me-now-pain is gone, and seriously, at this point that’s all I really careSun Smiley Face about.  I’ve had toothaches before, but there was something about the intensity of Monday night’s pain that was unprecedented in my history with toothaches and consequent pain.  Fortunately I didn’t have to resort to an ice skate removal but I can totally understand how someone could be driven to that extreme. 


confessionsofacountrygirl said...

Oh my goodness! I really hope that your feeling better. I can not even imagine the pain that you were going through!

MamaOtwins+1 said...

Ok - I am so happy to find someone with the same mouth situation that I have. I too need lots of work but it may be cheaper to go on vacation to Mexico and have it done there.
I've had your tooth pain - it was worse than any pain I'd ever endured too and of course mine was also at night and I tried my hardest not to wake anyone.

Mesina said...

Oh do I know dental nightmares. I've had two implants (At £2,000 a piece!) root canals, fillings...I estimate that there has been over £5,000 pounds stuffed into my mouth worth of work in the last 6 years or so. Lest of all is the surgeries and pain, been there!
So glad you got it sorted, hope you recover soon!!!!

Angela said...

Confessionsofacountrygirl-Thank you for your well wishes, I am feeling much better!

MamaOtwins+1-No honey, you are not alone. Great idea though about going to Mexico, I'm seriously going to look into that! When I lived in AZ, people did that all the time. Funny I forgot about it over here. I'll just go visit the fam and get some dental work out of the way at the same time. :)

Mesina-OMG, and I thought it was expensive here! What a nightmare! Thanks for sharing your story, it helps put mine into perspective! :)

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