Friday, April 30, 2010


So I lost a filling a while ago.

Naturally, I thought the best course of action was to pretend that I hadn't lost said filling at all, and go about my merry business.

I think I was probably pregnant, and since dentist type things are questionable during pregnancy, I used that as an excuse.

A couple of weeks ago I started regretting that course of action. My tooth ached. I took got better. I conveniently forgot about it again. Until, that is, Wednesday night, when it drove me batty that I took aleve, then tylenol, then drank two glasses of wine, then went foraging for stronger post-c-section medication I could have sworn I still had.

None of it worked, and I woke up on Thursday morning a very unhappy girl. I managed to get the kids dropped off at school and headed to the dentist, where they took some x rays and summarily dismissed me with a referral to an endodontist to deal with what turned out to be an abscessed tooth.

Thank goodness they fit me in, because by then I was just about dying, and as they prescribed me antibiotics and pain medication in preparation for the root canal it turned out I needed, I was feeling a mixture of feelings, swirling mainly around "I have never felt pain like this." and "They'll just have to cut off my head, there is no way I can afford this, tell the kids I loved them."

Getting the kids collected and back home in the midst of the pain I was in was the most intense thing I have done in my life. They should thank me, because all I wanted to do was stop the car in the middle of the road and die for a while.

Luckily the pain medication took the edge off and I was able to survive without wanting to claw my own face off, although the minor swelling I'd woken up with was increasing at a fairly alarming rate. Every time I laid down to rest I woke up with a fatter face, a chipmunk, serious case of mumps face. It's not a good look, not on anyone, and most especially not on me.

 I actually thought I may die and that there was no way for me to get the root canal done...but everything came together financially and I got an appointment right away and someone to watch the kids and I thought maybe I wouldn't die after all and man, I have never looked forward to someone sticking a drill in my head as much as I did today. Last night was beyond rough...I seemed to always fall asleep just before the pain medication wore off and then I would be half asleep, knowing it would only get worse but thinking maybe if I didn't move or breathe too deeply the tiny hammer wielding elves in my jaw would think I was dead and give up. By this morning my face was roughly 87 times it's normal size and when I smiled one whole side of my mouth just sat there like it didn't get the joke.

When I walked outside to get in the car with Mara, who was driving me to the appointment, she raised her eyes at me and said "So it this one of those things like when you don't care how long and big the epidural needle is if it'll just stop feeling the contractions?" I nodded vigorously, holding my cheek, as it filled my entire palm. "Yep. I don't care what they do to me if they just make this stop."

Funnily enough, I wasn't filled with quite as much bravado as I thought, and when they brandished the four foot long needle of novacain I had momentary doubts, thinking dealing with the excruciating pain might be the better course of action in the end. But I'm a people pleaser at heart, and so I let the guy stick the extra extra long needle in my mouth even as, for some reason, electricity exploded off the tip of my tongue. "Crazy, right? There's tons of nerves back there!" He laughed, and I laughed along with him to try to make friends, slightly wildly, my mouth going numb and tongue a dead weight in my mouth.

After that it was basically just pain, but a lot of pressure and I can't be sure but there were around 14 different instruments in my mouth at all times and lots of quiet murmuring going on behind me, and I felt, of course, like you do, that they were judging my poor loser tooth. That is must somehow be the worst tooth they'd ever seen, and if it wasn't, why not? I hoped at least my tooth stood out somehow. There was drilling and suctioning and a really gross moment with a scalpel and through it all I had some super nerdy ray bans on my face, and all I could thing was that they were the wrong shape for my face.

So I'm halfway done now, and I have to go back in two weeks and do it all over again but slightly differently. And I still look like a chipmunk but not so bad...more like the svelte lady chipmunk and less like the tubby guy chipmunk who drinks too many beers. And it hurts less, or the pain medication is working could really be either one but I'm not going to worry about it right now because I survived my root canal and that's something, right?
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