I walked into the office late Tuesday afternoon, confident this experience would be beyond interesting and glad I had done all my errands first. Although, one of my good friends had texted me to let me know her spouse and daughter were going to be in the area before they headed across the inlet to fish. If I had time, they’d love to see me before 7 pm. I responded I’d see how I felt!
Earlier my blood sugars had been a bit high, as I checked again in the waiting room, they were now 95. (Annoyed, I crunched a glucose tablet) I was ushered back to the procedure room and realized I should have used the bathroom, the assistant allowed me to leave and return. The room was fairly good sized and I was helped into the rather intriguing reclining chair. Arms with lights and other apparatus were then swung into place and I was handed dark glasses to put on. (I wondered, later, if one reason the glasses were worn was so the doctor wouldn’t actually see the stressed eyes of his patient.) The doctor breezed in and we went back to school in the 80’s, when he was a sophomore and I was a senior. (Most of the conversation during the work was in that vein and I was kept giggling off and on under the drill) I am not entirely sure if the music in the background was to soothe me or the doctor actually used it on a regular basis. It was from our era and one song the tech thought might be Bruce Springsteen was John Cougar Melloncamp. (I thought it was someone else, too.) I heard REO and Fleetwood Mac and was surprised how they managed to fit in well with the sounds of drills.
In the very beginning, I had a medicine of some sort applied in some form to my gum (I was warned there would be a slight sting or prick. It wasn’t bad, but it was a bit before it took effect.). I recalled I needed to know what might be going on if I was going to share this experience anywhere. So, before my lips numbed to an unwillingness to form useful words, I told him he could tell me what he was doing. He obliged.
I actually cannot recall much of what he said. I do know he used drills of various sizes and hand files. I heard him ask for them and he talked about why the different sizes were being utilised. It was entirely fascinating to listen to. I think he’d be a great at etching small carved designs in wood or marble. At one point, he asked for something and the assistant couldn’t find it anywhere. It was amusing to hear her rummaging thru drawers in the room and then in a different room to find the item she needed. I felt like I was in a kitchen hearing a search for that elusive ‘need it now’ thing saved for decades. (turns out it was put in the wrong place after the last usage earlier.) At another point, something was used to probe the root to the depths. I believe it was a filament that beeped. Sort of like being on a deep sea expedition where the fancy electronic bits are needed to find the way to treasure in murky waters. Or in the case of a mouth, the end of the tunnel.
I do know I had been wrong about the loss of my lips. They were not the only thing numbing, by the time he was partway thru the work, my entire head was numb from the neck up. There was one moment, I was certain my upper right cranium was a solid lump of rock and the machine being used was carving out fantastic shapes. This was curious, as the place being worked on was on the upper left part of my jaw.
Twice, the doctor left and the assistant took x-rays with an amazing cool little ray gun that walked off of an original Star Trek set. She called it a Nomad. I absolutely enjoyed this tech. She was friendly and not upset one bit they were working after hours. She looked at the pictures she took and two things stuck firmly in my mind. The first was that on a difficulty scale of 1-10, she felt this was probably a 9.75 and the doctor was doing a brilliant job. She also said the route he had to follow had sort of a ‘Betty Boop’ kick at the end of it. She even kicked up her leg to demonstrate! (the watching someday dental tech and I laughed. She was just 20 and due to having teeth bashed in from basketball in her youth, decided this was a fascinating career to pursue.) Once the doctor took an x-ray and handed it to the tech over my face. He warned her not to drop it, I mentally agreed, and giggled because the tech had JUST talked to the watching gal about that exact same thing.
At the end, he filled the canal with something. He told me what it was, but I had turned my head to listen and saw this FREAKING long thin needle. Promptly, I closed my eyes and tried to ignore the whole thing. It was some sort of glue filler stuff. (It tasted nasty! Which must have been bad, since most of my taste buds were comatose anyway.) I felt bad when he very quickly skipped away after determining it was all correct. He seemed in a bit of a rush. I was glad he took the time while he was working on me and at first I wondered if it was fishing that hurried him away. (fishing has barely started, but I do know the lure of the water is strong in many a professional. One of my friends from the Oregon Coast is an undertaker and can frequently be found holding a pole and wearing hip boots with his dress clothes while standing in a river) Then, I realized, it was later than usual and people have other lives than work!
I sat up, the techs were getting things all sorted, and I was handed a choice of two foiled packages of a hot washcloth. One in lemon and one plain. (I was encouraged to toss the cloth, but figured I’d need it later! I did.) I really didn’t feel very good. I wasn’t sure if my head was going to stay on or not, but on the whole, I was remarkably pleased with everything. Until I tried to leave.
It appears the large to me amount of money (it did go thru, I had called the bank and they said it would be ok. They also updated my phone number to the Alaskan one instead of the home one in Oregon) was just a portion of the overall expenditure. I am sure I was told this before, but if I had listened better and researched it more thoroughly, I’d have asked him to take the tooth due to the cost. In a couple of weeks, they want me to return with the same amount, and have a filling put in place. I almost broke down in the parking lot. I was really glad to fill out the papers for the discounted prices, I’m entirely thankful for the experience, I absolutely HATE spending money, I know it was for a good thing, and, even to stay well, it makes my soul hurt to turn that amount over again.
My right eye did weep while I was being worked on, I’d hoped the procedure was going to fix that problem (because the infected root was so close to the sinus, having it mended might heal up a whole series of things), and yet, in my despair, I felt it tear again. It was such a disconcerting feeling being both incredibly thankful and full of sorrow. I’m not sure what we’ll do, I am glad it is in a few weeks. I’m also glad the pain regime is fairly simple. Two Tylenol followed by 4 ibuprofen three hours later, then in three more hours, take the Tylenol again. I do think I should have purchased more of the Tylenol!
My glucose was now 85. I carefully ate a soft breakfast bar with 30 carbs and texted my friend to tell her I was not going to see her family down on the docks. It was after 6 and if they were leaving at 7, I wouldn’t have time to do much more than wave. When I finally got home, I had shaken off much of the depression, gave mom her new meds (she took her first dose of Ritalin on Wednesday and said she felt GREAT!), discovered she’d put away 13 of the 14 of her new clothes items ($300 worth, more than I had thought! The pants need hemmed. She’s also lost some more weight. She’s at 115 again!), and found a gift from a friend hanging on the doorknob to my basement. It was a hooded black sweatshirt. I put it on and felt warm fuzzies surrounding me.