Thursday, October 15, 2009

It was like any other Thursday last week... happy for the Friday that was coming up. I started feeling this tingle in my right maxilla. I knew I had two fillings done (one on the right) about 2months ago... was just surprising that it was affecting now. I didn’t think much of it. Come Sunday morning the sensitivity turned to acute pain... and come Sunday afternoon it was a full fledged nuclear blast in my head. It was tooth number 8. Bacteria had entered the root canal boundary and infected it all the way up to the bone... it’s inexplicable how intense that pain is. I couldn’t sleep that night. Around 2:30 in the night I decided to get some painkillers from the closest pharmacy... and nothing seemed to help. I got a few winks between 4 to 7am... hardly enough. I decided to still go to work and contact my dentist. His fairytale was on since he was going to be out of town somewhere till Wednesday! So I called my insurance company that let me go to another dentist for palliative treatment (just temporary pain relief till my dentist returns, not the real treatment). That dentist, who wasn’t covered by any insurance, showed me how he could do it for $650 on the spot. Not understanding the severity of the case, I decided to wait till Wednesday and take the prescription medicines he gave me - an antibiotic and a strong painkiller. I was supposed to take 1 or 2 tablets of the pain killers every 4 to 6 hours as needed for pain. I just took 2 on Monday evening and I promise I have no clue how Tuesday went by. I couldn’t even stand - that’s how drowsy I was. Every time I sat down (because I couldn’t stand) I went to sleep, and I didn’t want to sleep so much because it gave me body ache and lethargy... I must have slept about 20 hours on Tuesday.

So I tried to sleep early Tuesday night so I could wake up on time... but somehow I woke up around midnight (already sleeping 18-20 hours due to medication didn’t help). So I painfully watched the clock tick by every 15-20 minutes that I slipped in and out of sleep. Got out of bed around 7... took a shower, shaved (delicately, haha)... and I still didn’t look myself. The swelling had grown a lot in the night, so even though I could see clearly thro my right eye, I couldn’t open it fully.

Called for a cab and got to my dentist half an hour early so he could take care of me.

Now, this is the dentist I waited 2 days for, because he was out of town. He checked me a bit and said "you definitely need a root canal surgery, but I cannot perform it on you. The swelling poses too much complication." I wanted to knock his balls off! But he recommended me to an endodontist (another glorified dentist) nearby. Since I didn’t have my car, I walked the short block over there... through a lot of wet grass and mud - in my floaters! This guy was really nice! He took me in for a check right away... after the initial wait of 45 minutes he took all of 3 minutes to explain to me what he was going to do, and that he would do it anytime I was ready (NOW). Then one of his admin ladies came up with some papers and showed me how the total expense of $1005 was covered ZERO% by my insurance (since he was out of network)!

So more calls to the insurance company. They found another ‘network’ dentist just over a mile from there... which I walked while trying to convince them that starting the new coverage on 1st Nov won’t help me at all! I tried to tell them how this is an emergency - and she gave in. So when I got there – this was the 4th dentist’s chair I had seem in 2 and half days - Daniel Megison was very quick on coming to the same conclusion for the treatment... showed me how the infection had reached the bone on his digital X-ray on a screen in front of me, and explained how he was going to numb it, drill through the back of the tooth and pulverize the root before talking it out. He only made a passing reference to the puss in the swelling - how sometimes it doesn’t work best with topical anesthetics! So when he gave me the injection in my gum it was like I had no numbing at all! Imagine this picture... me lying down (almost) in the dentist chair... one leg in the air, bent at the knee... my back arched from my waist to the head and me moaning my guts out! That injection which lasted about 30 seconds was more painful than the actual infection… more painful than anything I have ever felt in all my visits to any dentist - combined! A couple of tears rolled down my cheek as I finally opened my eyes, heh heh. The actual procedure was rather quick and painless.
He even gave me a barrier in my mouth because as soon as he breached the root canal the puss oozed out (in his word "like a volcano" – with the hand gestures and everything) and was falling into my mouth. He asked me if I could smell it. Right this moment I was thinking, "Seriously, did you just ask me that you moron?" Luckily, I couldn’t... but there is not much one can say when your mouth is wide open and there is a "road under construction" in there. He placed a putty like medicine in the canal to fight the infection, and asked me to continue the antibiotics to reduce the swelling. Later he explained how this was one of the worst infections people tend to have, but mine was in one of its primary stages. Imagine that with a swollen face! I wonder how bad it’s gotten for some... but I really don’t want to find out. The swelling should go down gradually but right now I do feel like a mix between Sylvester Stallone and a British Bulldog!
I will see the dentist again on 26th for the final filling... I may - ironically enough - take some chocolates for his office this time, haha.