TMI (Too Much Information)
The thing is, I don't have floss at my desk, so I was most likely going to have to wait until I went home. As the afternoon went on however, that tooth hurt a lot more. And I had Toastmasters that evening, so "go home" was going to be awfully late. At 3:30 in the afternoon, it hurt a lot, so I called my dentist for an emergency visit. My dentist doesn't work on Tuesday--they could see me on Wednesday at 1:00. Oye. I took two tylenols and got used to the discomfort.
[On Tuesday night we had the Tall Tale Speech contest--I won, Yea! I changed "smiled, flashed a peace sign and got into the car" to "Before he left, Bob Dylan looked back and said "I smiled because I'm happy" and then he was gone". I think it was improved by Uncle Marcel's input--oh and I titled it "No Kangaroo" which I thought was a pretty funny inside joke, but I digress.]
All Tuesday night I was in a lot of pain, but I had a dentist appointment in the afternoon and I had to go to court on Wednesday morning, so I toughed it out. Court was a joke and the less said (or remembered) the better. So I got to the dentist and they were all "How are you?" I misinterpreted and told them I was horrible--my tooth hurts. A few seconds later, Sandy asked exactly the same question again to give me an opportunity to say the politically correct response of "fine, how are you?" Oye.
Howard ( a friend from Kiwanis is my dentist) poked and tapped and then brought out ice for the "cold" test. I looked at the ice and I said, "What's the test--see how high I can jump if it hurts??" Howard laughed (the way dentists do). "Well," he says, "I have to see the extent of the symptoms to make a diagnosis." The rat. Anyway, he said some big long word that I must have and he gave me a referal to a dentist who does root canals. Now I have had a root canal before and it was not as bad as it sounded. It is kind of like, a bunch of people pan a movie and then you have zero expectations and it turns out to be not half bad (The Hangover). So I wasn't immediately concerned about the prospect of a root canal. But the other thing was, my tooth hurt a lot now that Howard had banged on it with heavy metal objects. Howard gave me a prescription for vicadine (that sounded scary) and sent me right over for an emergency consult with the specialist dentist.
The specialist dentist is an older gentleman. He too said he wanted to do the "cold" test. Since the ice Howard tried out on my teeth didn't hurt, I though, go for it. So the teeth around the bad tooth (under a crown) hurt a lot from Dr. Specialist's cold test, but the bad tooth, not at all. Proof said Dr. Specialist that the nerve in bad tooth is dead and decaying and probably infected (nothing to do with the crown?, my suspicious brain thought). He prescribed anitbiotics and motrine (a much less scary sounding pain medication). He said I needed a root canal--he could fit me in tomorrow at 1:30. I fought for my bacon or tomato skin caught under the crown theory, but since flossing had not resulted in alieviation of pain, I was temporarily willing to leave the diagnosis to the guys with the degrees.
The nurse charged me $175 for the emergency visit and told me that the root canal would be $1,050. I gave her my credit card and then thought (and stupidly said out loud), I'll just bring a check tomorrow for the thousand, fifty (I could see dollar signs in the nurse's eyes--very spooky). That is the price for the white coating for my roof. Two different contractors told me not to waste my money on the white coating which is supposed to save energy--except I don't have air conditioning and I already have insulation, so I can probably live without it. Excrutiating tooth pain--just a tiny bit more important at this precise moment.
I went right out and filled the precriptions for antibiotics (take every 8 hours--I was going to need to scramble to time that so as not to require getting up in the middle of the night) and motrine (sounded less scary). At 3 p.m. I took the antibiotic and motrine and by 4, I was fine.
Now here's the thing: when you are not in pain, spending over a thousand dollars to get a root canal seems counter intuitive. I was gabbing with someone in the office and she said, that her husband had the same thing and he was fine just taking the antibiotics--he never did have to go in for the root canal. Hmmmm. I called Howard. Do I really need a root canal? Howard talked to me for about fifteen minutes and promised to call Dr. Specialist to discuss it. After a while, Howard called me back and said--you could wait, but eventually, you will need a root canal. So I called Dr. Specialist's office to delay my appointment. Basically I was told that they could see me today (and yes, I really, really, really--in their not so humble opinion--need a root canal) or they could see me in October. Just because the motrine was working, doesn't mean I couldn't remember the tooth ache. I went in for the root canal and I wrote the check.
Dr. Specialist knocked the tooth first thing, throwing me into agonizing pain. I think he felt bad making me cry like that, so he gave me two shots of novacaine. He wanted to make sure I wouldn't feel anything. HA. Then he positioned me so that my head was lower than my body--I was tilted almost upside down. My numb tongue was against the back of my throat so that I felt like I was gagging. I kept struggling to get up and he kept adjusting me back down. He told me to breath through my nose. That was the most excrutiating hour of my life. Finally I threw up--everywhere. The nurse was completely unprepared and she couldn't get the paper towel off the dispenser. Meanwhile, I just kept throwing up.
Dr. Specialist told me to think about something pleasant--that it would only be another five minutes. I couldn't think of anything pleasant so I counted to 60 five times. He lied. Finally, he was done and I got hussled out really quickly to pay. Oh, and I need to go back for another check up with Dr. Specialist ($175) and then I have to go to my regular dentist and get a new crown ($700 plus who knows how much for the two to three visits that will take--oh well, I like Howard, so that's a plus--Dr. Specialist--not my favorite person).
So Dr. Specialist told me to take the pain medication in about an hour and then every six hours (even though the bottle said every eight hours)--"No, you are going to need more today." Ominous words. I was still a little tramatized and I thought --this is what sick days are for and I went home. Half my face, tongue and mouth were still numb. In an hour, I went to take the pain medication and didn't need it. I was still numb. It was kind of difficult to drink or eat, but I just got on the phone to order my cable for the new place (one hour on hold and over thirty minutes to set it up--that was fun). Productive use of my time.
At five, I figured I better eat dinner, because I had skipped lunch, but my mouth was still numb. Completely. More than one half of my tongue was numb including the tip--that was weird. I figured that I would just eat on one side. I had done it the past few days, so I was sure it would be fine. It was surprisingly difficult, but by 6:30, I had managed to eat my meal. Except that I was still numb. Six hours is too long I thought. So I went on the internet. When you google novacaine and numb face, you get menogitis--that was fun reading. So I called the dentist and pressed the number for emergency and sat back to wait for a call from the doctor to report that he gave me menogitis (bacteria that can travel through an injection into the blood stream and attack the nervous system sometimes resulting in numbness in the face--at least that's what I read). The dentist never called back. [My iphone has call waiting, so I also placed a call into the cable company since the e-mail of my order did not match what I was told, but after waiting an hour on hold I figured that since I had menogitis and was going to die, the extra $11 per month that I didn't agree to was probably no big deal and I hung up.]
At 10 p.m. my face started to itch--that was annoying and lasted about an hour. By 11, I was not numb anymore. At 7:45 a.m. the next morning, Dr. Specialist's office returned my call. What was my emergency? I dully said, I'm fine--it just took 10 hours for the novacaine to wear off. That's normal, the girl says. I was going to argue with her, since Dr. Specialist had gone to a lot of trouble to tell me to double up on the pain medication (not needed while I was numb for 10 hours), but I couldn't work up the enthusiasm. I'm fine.
Poorer, but fine.