Wednesday, May 7, 2008

One Step Forward, Back in the Dentist's Chair

Would somebody just shoot me now, please?

I had finally gotten over my horror at being a diabetic - no small feat, I must tell you - and then I went to the dentist on Monday. Before I go any further with this tale of woe, I want to thank all of you who left comments and/or wrote me privately. You really, really helped me get through this. I was ready to crawl into a hole and enter that depression mode I'm prone to enter. You all saved me, and I love each and every one of you. :) Back to the dentist.

I wasn't thrilled with this, you understand - I have a deep-seated fear of the dentist, especially when the words "root canal" are even hinted at - but go I had to, because I finally had to have a real set of dentures made. The last time I went (thinking I was just going to have a mold made for the real set of dentures), the dentist (a new one, because I hadn't found one in this area until now) took pictures of my two remaining molars and told me that there was considerable decay UNDER the crowns. Oh happy happy joy joy. This guy (who is the nicest dentist I've ever been to) takes actual pictures of your teeth in addition to X-rays. That was all fine and well - it didn't hurt at all - until he showed them to me. OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD. I wanted to die. I wanted to crawl out of the chair and out the door. And then he said it: "I'm going to have to remove both of the crowns and see if you're going to need root canals." Note the plural there. Root canal(S). Oh shit. This was two weeks ago. The actual day of horror was Monday.

I've been trying to get new vendors listed in the shop for over a week now and keep getting sidetracked. If it's not one thing, it's another. I thought I finally had my mind wrapped around it and was going to be able to sit down when I got home from the dentist, get everybody listed, and be a hero. I must have been out of my freakin' mind, is what I was. I think I was in deep denial, but I truly thought that I would be fine, that I could push past the pain, that it would be okay. After all, the pictures are taken and in the computer, and all I have to do now is actually list them. They're even all put into my ledger. No problem, right? Big problem.

When I got there, I sat down in the chair, was given the headphones and remote control for the TV which is mounted on the ceiling and pointing right down at you so you can watch it while you're being tortured uh worked on (Judge Joe Brown was on), and he explained to me what he was going to do. It began with copious amounts of novocaine just around the tooth so my jaw, cheek, and lips wouldn't get numb. No problemo, I thought. This would be a piece of cake. Then he was going to CUT OFF THE CROWN. Uh oh. I was beginning to become unhappy. In actuality, once he began, it wasn't bad at all. There was no pain - just a lot of pressure when he had gotten the cut made and began levering the damn thing off. Once that was done, he began drilling off all the bad parts. Then he said, "I'm going to have to use the laser to remove all the flesh which has grown into the holes in your tooth left by the decay before I can drill any further." Huh? What flesh? What do you mean exactly when you say that you have to laser off FLESH WHICH HAS GROWN INTO THE HOLES IN MY TOOTH? Oh, HELL no. NO NO NO NO NO NOOOOOOOOOOOO.

It turned out that that wasn't painful, either. He finished the job and then uttered the magic words: "You don't need a root canal." That made it worthwhile. Then, since he had scheduled two hours for the appointment, he moved to the other side and began numbing me up for the other molar. I thought this one would go as smoothly as the first one. That was like thinking since one of your kids is an angel, the other one is going to be the same way. Not.

He got the tooth numbed up and began to cut the crown. That's when the trouble started. It hurt. A lot. I waved my hand (our pre-arranged signal for pain), and he shot me up with more joy juice (not the white, sticky kind, Marin). He cut a little more. I waved more vigorously. He shot me up again and cut. More waving. More joy juice. Then he decided that this tooth wasn't going to respond to being numbed. He took that enormous needle (those dental needles and syringes are HUGE) and inserted it right into the gum below the tooth. OW OW OW OW OW OW OW. Then he inserted it right into the flesh at the hinge of the jaw. OW OW OW OW OW OW OW OW. A few minutes went by. He tried again. No pain. Good.

He got the crown off and began to drill. No problem. Whew. Then I shot straight out of the chair and smacked my face into the TV.

He had drilled right into the live nerve.


That wasn't even the real pain. He took that enormous needle which was attached to a syringe filled to the brim with novocaine and INSERTED IT DIRECTLY INTO THE NERVE. Oh god. I thought I was going to die. My fingers dug so far into the chair rests that I think I ripped the vinyl. The tears began to flow down my face. I whimpered. I screamed as best I could with a giant needle stuck in my tooth. I wished I were under a tractor with those blades being dragged behind it to cut me to ribbons after being crushed by the tractor. I wished I were anywhere other than that chair. And then the novocaine kicked in, and I didn't feel a thing. Whew. Time for the Steve Wilkos show. I changed the channel and settled back in the chair, confident that I wouldn't feel a thing from that point on. I could watch TV in comfort and not have to worry about any pain. He had used six syringes full of that shit on me, and that should have done the trick. Right?


I never did see the show. All I did for the next 45 minutes was cry because it hurt so bad. No matter how many syringes of that shit he pumped into me, it still hurt. He finally got it all drilled out and told me that I didn't need a root canal on that one, either. Thank god. If I had needed a root canal on that tooth, I think I would have shot myself in the head with a hollow point bullet. It would have felt better and would have numbed the tooth. Permanently.

The job was finally done, the temporary crowns were inserted, and Hubster came walking in. He usually sits with me through all my dental torture sessions and holds my hand, but this was a long session. I had told him to go do his work (he brought his computer to work in the truck), so he didn't come in until the end. At that point, I was drained and exhausted. The dentist left today for a month-long vacation, so it will be that long before I go back for the work on the bottom front teeth (they also need to be drilled) and the first stage of the new denture fitting. I have a month to talk my mom into lending us the money for the procedure to drill holes in the roof of my mouth for that metal bar and implants so I can have a partial which I just lock into place. I can buy a car for what it's going to cost, but it will look natural, will never loosen up, and I won't have to deal with not tasting food because my palate is covered up. I'm not looking forward to any of this.

In any event, to those of you who are wondering if I'm a flake or what, I'm not. This has just been a horrible week or two which I never anticipated. I can't thank you all enough for waiting. I thought that today, I could sit here for a marathon session of working on the shop, but I can barely balance on my chair. My hands and feet are frozen to the point where I can't feel them, and I guess that's a bad thing. So it's back to the Monster to try and knit for a while before I fall asleep again. Hubster has been loading me up with oxycontin so I can stand the pain. It shouldn't last more another day, so I should be able to work tomorrow. And boy... do I ever have a lot of work to do. It's not just the shop - it's also the email which has stacked up. Sigh. I need a secretary.

And another five oxys.


Syd said...

Holy freakin' crap, Pam!!! I can't handle the dentist visits....your one brave gal! We will all survive the update taking the time it rest and re-coop from the torture, I mean the dentist...geeeze...really and truely, all in it's own time...don't stress.

Laura Neal said...

Woman, you have some serious bad luck. I think it is time someone shook a chicken bone cross around you.
My dentist knows how much I hate pain and gives me so much novocaine that I can't feel my face for a whole day.
He also has the tv on the wall at the ceiling with a pair of those senior citizen sunglasses, you know the ones, and I get to choose a movie from his selection of dvds, while he works on my mouth.
I get out of there and I have drool running down my chin and everywhere else because I am so freaking numb I can barely get it all to work together. I don't feel any pain which is wonderful.
I hope it all gets better for you.

Anonymous said...

Pam, what an awful time you had, thats why I never go to the dentist unless Im in agony, hope you feel better soon x

Anonymous said...

*jaw drops open*

*then snaps jaw shut in case there's a dentist around who wants to do stuff like that*

If I weren't at work right now, I'd definitely cry. My goodness. You've just turned me off the dentist for forever. argh. Hope you get better soon. Or that next time the Novocaine works better/faster.

Bezzie said...

Can you feel my sympathy cringes of pain from here?

Deb aka "Mooska" said...

That story is my worst nightmare! I would hate to have photos taken and shown to me of my teeth. Let alone such pain and terror inflicted.
I too avoid the dentist until i am in absolute agony, and know that one day soon I may also require some implants/dentures.
Didn't inherit those flashy pearly whites all the dentists surgeries display.
Trust me, after reading your story, i will be going under the good old general anesthetic for any such dental prodecures.
Sending you lots & lots & lots of sympathy

C said...

He is not a 'nice dentist'..personally I would not go back to him.
Why did you put up with that...there are always options in 'hard to numb' situations such as trying again another day..using sedation - I think some nitrous would have helped don't you?....did you know that the 4 main reasons dental anaesthetic doesn't always work are: patient anxiety...I'm guessing yours got higher and higher here, infection - take antibiotics first, your nerves are in a slightly different place to most other people - the dentist needs to use advanced injection techniques, the dentist injects in the wrong place (granted yours did at least keep trying but why carry on when he couldn't get you numb?

The fact that he did this to you despite the pain you were in and he considered this a normal part of his day's work probably means this happens a lot which means he isn't a 'painless dentist' and therefore should be boycotted.

It is possible to give painless injections as dentist does this and there are also LA delivery systems such as TheWand which work well in 'hard to numb' situations and virtually guarantee painless injections even in the typically more sensitive areas.

I really feel for you...if you weren't phobic before you have every right to be now
Remember just because you got into the chair doesn't mean you have to stay there come what may.