Monday, March 19, 2012

The Final Chapter....

I'm going to write one last, FINAL blog about my tooth situation, not because I want you to feel sorry for me or think my problem was any worse/more protracted than any other person's, but because it gave me a new perspective on at least one front.

Without going into too much detail (you're welcome), after the new crown was put in place, I thought my worries were over. When I had my teeth cleaned at my regular check-up the VERY NEXT DAY, however, I had some discomfort when the hygienist sprayed cold water in that vicinity. I didn't think a whole lot of it, since my teeth have ALWAYS been sensitive to cold, and besides I thought the new crown would need a day or two to "settle down."

I had a couple of nighttime episodes in the next two weeks, however, that convinced me something more would need to be done. It's very hard to describe these episodes, but I'll try. They were unlike anything I'd ever experienced before.

Most of the time my tooth was just a dull ache (the very back tooth on the upper right, just for a reference point). Every now and then, though, the pain would start building, and I could feel it coming. If you've experienced labor pains, they were very similar. Only I was pretty sure labor would be over soon, and this seemed to go on and on. The wave of pain would crest, and all I could do was hold on and ride it. At night I usually got up and got a hot washcloth to put on my face. Oddly enough, these never happened during the day. (Until the prettiest, nicest, warmest, most beautiful weekend in recent memory, that is.) At first I would have one or maybe two episodes at night, and they lasted about 15 minutes. By Friday night they were occurring every hour almost on the hour. That meant I had excruciating pain for 15 minutes out of every hour, then I got to rest for 45 minutes before the next wave woke me up.

I began to understand why terminally ill people commit suicide. There is simply no way to get away from the pain.

I also had a new understanding for one of our former students. He had Ewing's sarcoma in his heel, and he underwent countless treatments for it. Even after he was cancer-free, however, the pain remained. They tried everything to manage/alleviate his pain, all to no avail. Some methods simply resulted in his experiencing pain elsewhere in his body, and some made him deathly ill. After months and months of going back and forth with numerous treatments, finally the young man begged -- begged -- them to amputate his leg below the knee. A teenager. Begging to have his leg amputated. I have a new respect for how long he attempted other less desperate measures, but constant pain is something the human body simply wasn't cut out for.

And when all was said and done, my problem was actually very minor because it only resulted in a root canal. I have never been so happy in my life to sit down in the dentist's chair and open wide. I'd never had a root canal before, and I had heard horror stories about them. This particular root canal was the best thing that has happened to me recently.

Or, as I mistakenly texted Sweet Girl from school on Friday, a "toot canal."

That gives a whole new perspective to the whole experience.


Julie said...

Glad that's over for you. I've had two root canals and I totally agree on the pain being similar to childbirth!

K-Sue said...

The "toot canal" comment was worth reading the whole post.

And yes, it's $$$$, but the relief one gains with a root canal is SO WORTH IT!

DJan said...

Thank God that's now behind you. Yayy!

Kelly said...

I'm really glad that is now resolved. Tooth pain is no fun! (okay, like any other pain is??)

I've had one root canal and it was a breeze. I do have another tooth with a crack that periodically gives me problems (often when my sinuses do). I had it crowned a few years ago, but that didn't seem to take care of the problem. The endodontist actually told me when it gets to the point it bothers me more often than not, I should just go ahead and have it extracted rather than getting a root canal because of the large crack.

Phantom pain is real. I still sometimes get "toothaches" in the area I had one extracted 30 years ago! Weird.