I never did hear my phone ring, but I realized that I had a message from the neurologist’s office.
“It doesn’t sound like a side effect of the medication. Go ahead and call your dentist.”
I did. She told me to come right in.
The hygienist took one look and called back, “Doc? You really need to look at this.”
My dentist came in. She had me open wide (no small feat) so she could see the lump in question.
“Oh my,” she said, “I’m going to get an x-ray of the teeth back here. We need to see what’s happening.”
Now, of course, I had already HAD many x-rays– none of them had revealed anything. Still, I let her do it and, unfortunately, she still couldn’t find the problem.
“I’m going to send you straight to the oral surgeon,” she said. ”This is a huge abscess.”
I nodded. Took the referral. Tried to say “thank you.”
Thankfully, my husband had completely called out of work by the point, so he had taken G. to her story hour and then met me at the dentist. I gave him the scoop.
We couldn’t get in to the oral surgeon until that afternoon, so we headed home for a bit and I made lunch for the two of them. Honestly, I kept right on cooking meals throughout this fiasco of not being able to eat. Some people have found that odd, but, well, it’s just what I do, I guess. I feed people.
Anyway, I really didn’t know what the oral surgeon was going to do, but I was hoping it helped.
They started by doing a CAT-scan of my jaw. Since x-rays had revealed nothing thus-far, they were hopeful that would show them more.
I had an infection at the root of my very back molar. By this point, it had spread into my jawbone.
“Well,” the surgeon announced, “I’ll go on record that you do NOT have trigeminal neuralgia.”
“But,” his assistant insisted, “she WAS diagnosed! You want to be careful….”
“Her trigeminal nerve was triggered by the infection,” he interrupted. “She absolutely had trigeminal nerve pain. But the cause wasn’t trigeminal neuralgia.”
Honestly? At those words, I was filled with hope. I had lived with so much pain. Not only had the nerve pain been excruciating but, once that was under control, I had been gripped by the awful pain of a deep bone infection. I hadn’t had a moment’s respite in weeks.
What happened next will make the squeamish gag, but I will tell you– it didn’t even bother me.
He opened my entire upper palate and drained the pus.
So gross, right?
I know. I knew it was gross at the time, too, but it had to be done. And, truthfully, the abscess had grown so large it was really impeding my swallowing, so I was grateful to have it drained.
Still… gross. I know.
After that, he told me he wanted me to see an endodontist. His assistant handed me the referral and directions,
“Dr. Tucker is really nice,” she said. I nodded in reply– nice is good, after all.
She continued, “And kinda dreamy.”
I must have looked puzzled.
“You know, easy on the eyes.” She smiled.
People? Can I tell you how little I cared about how handsome the endodontist was? I mean, seriously. I had just had my mouth cut open and pus drained out. Do you think this put me in a flirty frame of mind?
Anyway, I headed over to meet Dr. Tucker. He was, indeed, very nice and I suppose he was attractive enough, if you’re into that blond wavy hair and blue eyes kind of look. Really, though… I did not care.
He drilled out the tooth and poured acid into the base to seep into the infection. Even with Novocain, it stung and it smelled horrific.
“You’re smelling the bacteria burning out of the bone,” he told me.
By the time I left that office, it was approaching evening.
I still couldn’t talk; this time, it was due to the roof of my mouth having been cut open.
I still couldn’t eat much; I had a loose flap of skin that hung from my upper palate and it made me gag.
I had prescriptions to fill and, to be honest, a very sore mouth.
And I could NOT stop smiling.
I had just been given my life back.
Nothing they had done– or still had to do– could bring me down. I told them over and over again, “I don’t care what you do to me. Whatever it takes to fix it.”
And I meant it.
I was on my way to healed…
(See? This is less of a dramatic cliffhanger! I was nice! There’s more to tell, and I’ll wrap it up next week, but, suffice it to say– the first half of October was INSANE around here.)