When pain becomes too unbearable…

I woke up last wednesday just like every other day – with one exception – my toothache which had been managable up to that point was beyond the point of no return. I had been denying the mandatory trip to the dentist for so long out of a fear of them that I was willing to put up with the pain. But all that changed on Wednesday.

The previous week, I had dug deep within myself and mustered up the courage to drag my sorry ass down and have it looked at. I was told that it needed to come out – my initial plan for a root canal was quashed – extraction was the only option. That will teach me for waiting for so long before having it looked at.

So on that visit, I was told if I could handle the pain, I could make an appointment for the following Tuesday to have it plucked. Sounds like a plan. So fast forward to tuesday morning and the phone rings. I am told that my dentist is sick, and if I can wait, I will have to re-schedule for the following Wednesday. No problem I thought. I’m not in pain anyway – and I really didn’t feel like going there this week . Somehow karma had wiggled me off the hook. I hate dentists. I was in no hurry to go back.

But that was Tuesday. Little did I know that in less than 24 hours, I would be begging them to squeeze me in for an emergency appointment.

So, here we are again Wednesday morning – all is well – NOT. I woke up to excrutiating pain in my jaw. My tooth seemed to sense that I was planning on getting rid of it and decided to throw a party. It felt like a truck had run over my face. It hurt that bad. I had felt pain before mind you – many times. And this wasn’t my first toothache – but I can tell you nothing could have prepared me for this level of pain. It was out of this world. My only salvation was cold water. For some reason – I am guessing that it numbed the nerve – cold water swished around in my mouth provided me with almost instant pain relief. However, that pain relief was short lived. I got about 20 seconds of relief per swish – or per mouthful of water. Then the pain came back with a vengeance. I had to keep swishing water because the pain was so intense that when it hit me, it caused me to go into a state of shock where I couldn’t think straight.

My wife said ring them back and see if you can get in today. I didn’t need to be told twice. I dialed the phone – and in between mouthfuls of cold water, I begged, I pleaded. I got in. My appointment was in 45 minutes at 11:30am. It was in another suburb which was about 20 minutes away, so I had to act fast and get ready. It’s not easy to have a quick shower, whilst having a travel mug of cold water with you in the shower. Yes, the pain was that bad that I couldn’t even shower without keeping my relief that close at hand. Twenty seconds of relief was better than nothing. I was desperate for any relief – no matter how small.

So, I managed to get myself to the dentist. My wife drove, because I felt that if I lost the ability of relief with the water – that I might crash the car.

In the waiting room – aptly named – I managed to wait for over 40 minutes before I was called in. Two cupfuls of water later, I was sitting in the dentist chair, leaned back and mouth opened to the world. My mug of water never leaving my hand despite the dental assistant trying to take it from me. I think they thought it was full of something a bit stronger than water, to be honest.

Now comes the numbing – the local anesthesia. What relief. Once the numbing of my mouth happened, I was able for the first time in two hours to let go of my cup and relax – except I couldn’t relax because the anesthesia contains adrenalin – and that got my heart pumping – and I started to shiver and quake. I thought I was having a bad reaction to the freezing – and I broke out into a cold sweat. Suddenly my relief turned into panic as I thought I was going to have a heart attack. The dental assistant turned on the air conditioning, and once they explained to me that what I was feeling was normal – I calmed down. The pain was gone – but my heart was pounding a hundred and fifty beats a minute. I felt like I was running a marathon.

Then I was left to my own devices as they left the room and gave the freezing more time to make sure that my mouth was indeed frozen. Ten minutes later they returned, and I was told to open wide.

I had relaxed by this point. I no longer felt as though I was dying. Being in a dentist chair is in itself a traumatic experience – the adrenalin only compounded the feeling. Thanks for the warning.

She decided that I needed another adrenalin boost – this time by mere words. “if I can’t get it out,” she said,  “I may have to split it in half and see if that helps.”

Fantastic. That’s all I need. If poking around in my mouth wasn’t bad enough, now you’re talking about splitting my tooth in half. I’m sure that will be a pleasant thing. Figures that it had to be a molar – a wisdom tooth – right at the back of my mouth. My luck.

Open wide…

Then it was over with. Just like that. Literally out inside 30 seconds. I have never had a tooth out so quickly before. Relief is just not the right word to describe how I felt – but it will have to do.

Now of course comes the bleeding. And I bled like a stuck pig for the next 12 hours or so. But surprisingly, even after the freezing wore off – I felt very little pain. Maybe it was because I had felt so much pain up to that point – that any less wouldn’t feel like pain now.

It’s been five days now. I feel a little pain – and I was worried that I had what they call “dry socket” but I am assured that if I did indeed have that, the little pain I feel would be much, much worse.

I can imagine what that might feel like. I can honestly say that the pain I felt on that wednesday morning was the most intense pain I had ever felt in my life. I never want to feel like that again. Shoot me next time. Put me out of my misery. Or maybe I just shouldn’t be so damned stubborn and get off my ass and go to the dentist before it becomes that much of an issue. I think that might be way to go.

~ by leslifeson on July 21, 2008.

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