Tuesday, September 23, 2008

What a Pain

It started on Saturday. As I was going about my typical weekend activities, I kept having this feeling like something was stuck between my upper rear teeth, and toothpicks and flossing didn't seem to help. By late Saturday afternoon it was clear that something was seriously wrong, my mouth really hurt. I took some Tylenol and went to bed hoping that whatever this was would just go away. After a truly miserable night of increasing pain and little sleep, I started my day Sunday wondering how early I could place an emergency call to the dentist. By 9:00 I had called the dentist's office, listened to the message that said they would not be open until Monday at 2:00, and written down the emergency number for Dr. Dan.

I was a little surprised when he answered the call himself, and easily agreed to call in a prescription for some penicillin and pain killers. He said to call the office on Monday to see about coming in.

I took the medicine, but the rest of the day Sunday was shot. The pain was intense. It felt like someone had driven a nail up through my teeth and into my jaw. Make that a jagged, rusty supernail. No matter what was going on, all I could think was "It hurts!" I felt like there was a monster screaming in my face.

I took Tylenol with Codeine to make it through Sunday night, and after a Motrin 800 I felt I could make it to work on Monday morning. I had a meeting with a woman about my project that I didn't want to miss.

My mouth was hurting through the meeting but we got some work done, and I got to hear about her root canal experience and some advice about painkillers before going back to my desk to complain to Bob. Bob was sympathetic to my pain, and proceeded to tell me about his root canals. Another guy, Cliff, from our aisle joined in and added his stories of dental pain to the conversation. They agreed with each other that this was the very worst kind of pain, and I just had to throw in that they don't KNOW pain without having given birth to a 10.5 lb baby naturally, but my current pain was a different kind of bad and without the joyful ending.

I moaned that it just wasn't fair that this was happening to me, I'm a GOOD GIRL who brushes my teeth 2-3 times a day, faithfully goes to the dentist every 6 months, and even flosses more than most people. Cliff said it must be Karma then. I haven't done anything bad enough to deserve this pain, I wailed. Cliff said maybe not in THIS life. Bob shot him a sideways glance and suggested that I go home and call the dentist again.

So I went and told my boss that I had to leave, and after politely listening to the story of his root canal experience, I was free to go.

At home I took another Motrin 800 and laid on the couch cursing the pain until exactly 2:01 when I could call the dentist's office. They said to come right in, which I did. They took this picture of my teeth, and looked at the one that has a cavity that I had scheduled to be filled. Dr. Dan banged on my teeth with a little hammer, and said that he did not see evidence of an abscess, it must be something else. Such as what? Maybe a sinus infection? I just didn't see how this was possible, I've never felt anything like this before and the pain had been worsening since I started on the antibiotics already a day ago. He recommended that I go to the Root Canal Specialist for a closer evaluation.

I had never known there was such a thing as a Root Canal Specialist. Who would want that job? Always dealing with people in misery. They made me an appointment for right away, and after a miserable 10 mile drive I was in the Root Canal Specialist's waiting room filling out a pile of forms. When I got to the Disclosure of Costs form I then understood why someone would want this job.

The root canal Dr. took more Xrays and held ice up to each of my teeth until I screamed, and then said that he too did not believe that I needed a root canal. This would seem to be good news except my jaw hurt like hell and now what was I supposed to do? He suggested that maybe I had an inflamed jaw and should take Motrin 400 (I was already on 800) and take a rest from talking and chewing solid foods for a couple days.

As much as I knew it would amuse Bob that my problem came from talking and eating too much, I still had this incredible pain to deal with and no reasonable explanation for it. After coming home I had my third prescription filled, this one for Vicadin, which scares me. This is the stuff that can make a person steal from a medical charity she headed and have prescriptions filled in the names of the charity's employees. What would it make me do?

Monday night was I was in agony, and kept waking up in the night, writhing in pain, and calculating how long it had been since my last vicodin. When I staggered into the kitchen around 3am to look for my drugs, I crumpled to the floor and passed out.

In the morning I was useless, the pain worse than ever plus I was now sickened from what was probably a slight overdose of the narcotics. Larry got the boys off to school without me hardly noticing, and I eventually called my boss to tell him I wouldn't be coming in, and went back to sleep.

A couple of hours later I was awakened by the phone ringing, it was my mother calling to tell me that she had located the surgeon who had performed my jaw surgery twenty-seven years ago, maybe they should look at me. As I listened to her I realized something: it was GONE. I still felt groggy and sickened from the drugs, but the pain monster had left the building.

I think that I'll never know exactly what this was, or what made it go away, I'm just glad it's over. Maybe I have some unknown enemy who finally pulled the pin out of their Melinda2Mindy vodoo doll. It's a mystery. But I'm glad it's over, I feel better now, thanks.


Anonymous said...

Dear Lord and Good Grief, Mindy!!!
So sorry for your pain. Odd, odd story. No doubt you should continue any antibiotic. Maybe you should be written up in medical journals. I suppose the going theory will be sinus infection. By the way, I have read that people often get sinus infections if they don't blow their nose enough. And you have a bit of a nasal voice... And also there is supposed to be a medical reason for not blowing a nose really, really hard.. and you do have a reputation for being a bit of a honker nose. I heard that the geese across the lake by you sometimes answer....Well, maybe you grew up in a family of loud nose blowing. We do have a relative who used to have the Bob-lo boat honk back when he would blow his nose. Good luck and report on your condition very soon. love, Aunt Chris

Nancy USA said...

OUCH! How horrible!

LYNN said...

Don't think it's still a leftover from the loud music played at the Toby Keith concert, do you? Or withdrawal from not listening to Country music...maybe your teeth were clenched & you are finally relaxing.

I go for the Sinus Infection...I'm not sure on Aunt Chris'nose-blowing theory for a preventive measure, but I too will get sinus issues that for some reason cause root pain in the teeth.

As with you, as I'm told, it's all in head :)

Aunt Kathy said...

Good thing the antibiotics kicked in, giving relief and proving the cause was an infection. If not, the next step would have been a needle biopsy to rule out cancer! You dodged a bullet my dear girl!

Laura said...

Mindy-- Hi! This sounds horrible and I'm so sorry you went through this. Would you entertain the possibility that it could have been a migraine? It is possible in severe cases to last for days, and I myself have had ones where the only way I could describe it was "my teeth are ringing." I think you should mention this next time you are in to visit your GP. Just in case. Take care of yourself!