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Who the hell needs sinuses, anyway? - EXCELSIOR, YOU FATHEAD!

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January 28th, 2010


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06:13 pm - Who the hell needs sinuses, anyway?
Turns out that my previously root canalled tooth wasn't the problem at all. The problem was in the back right molar, which had been on the list of things to get around to eventually. At the time the dentist recommended a root canal because some of the tooth could be saved.

The dentist took new x-rays of this side of the mouth. We had to find which tooth was the actual culprit here, since it was clear most of the pain I was experiencing was sympathy pain. Teeth love to complain and when one tooth hurts, its neighbors all pick up the cry. I'm Spartacus and I'm the one with the toothache! Silly neurotransmitters.

I like looking at the digital x-rays. I really do. I watched with great interest as the dentist showed me the bad molar and pointed out the spike which represented the cavity/toothache, currently starring in The Bane of My Existence.

"That's the infected area right there," he said, pointing to the spike. It was poking up into a dark oval shape. "And that's one of your sinuses."

Now that I understood why the entire darn side of my face has been hurting, I made the executive decision that this tooth really isn't worth it. It's scheduled to be pulled on Tuesday and with it, I hope, the last of this agony for a while.

In the meantime, I am weathering a pretty damn painful sinus infection. The past x hours, where x is any number between 1 and 48, have been excruciating. They've given me antibiotics and Vicodin. The infection seems to be taking this whole "kill it with antibiotics" strategy personally, and the resulting pain is actually burning right through the Vicodin as if I hadn't taken any. (I know I have taken it, however, because the world is slightly fuzzy and pillowy around the edges and I have this urge to get a Gibson Flying V, write down crazy theories on a giant whiteboard, and antagonize Wilson for a while.)

Pain that rages through opiates is some serious pain, friends. I've discovered that it's very temperature sensitive, and even breathing in through my nose can change the ambient temperature in my haid enough for the nerves to pick up on it and start crying. However, I know which temperature the toothache can tolerate. That is a good thing. The tolerable temperature, however, is Quite Cold. That is a bad thing. I'm keeping the pain down by keeping the right side of my mouth cold. Every few minutes I take another sip of very cold water lest my body temperature heat the tooth up again and bring in the pain. I tried holding off on the water to see if I could withstand the untreated pain long enough to try and will it down. I didn't even last a minute before desperately grabbing for the glass with tears in my eyes. Geez, but this thing is brutal.

I'm no stranger to toothaches, and have endured some really tough ones in the past (at least this time around we don't have painfully swollen gums to deal with.) I have had to will down a flaring tooth before. It's not a lot of fun but you do feel stronger for having endured it. This infection, though, beats 'em all and it's doing a very good job of beating me. I am both amazed and frightened by its resilience. This is an angry toothache, and it wants me to be as angry too. Problem is, I'm so exhausted I don't have any energy left to be angry. I'd really just like to get some sleep, but it's hard to drift off peacefully when you're going for another sip of cold water every few minutes.

(19 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:sdn
Date:January 29th, 2010 01:18 am (UTC)
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oh jesus. that is HORRENDOUS. i wish they could yank it earlier, but i'm glad they are on the case.
[User Picture]
From:tigerbright
Date:January 29th, 2010 01:58 am (UTC)
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You hereby have my permission to tell any woman who has gone through unmedicated labor (which I have, and it was pretty amazingly painful, but I had some idea of when it would be done, and my husband let me bite down on his knuckle) that really, you *have* experienced pain that bad, just in your face and not in your lower abdomen. (But be sympathetic about it.)

*gentle hugs* *refills your cold water*

Edited at 2010-01-29 01:59 am (UTC)
[User Picture]
From:muffyjo
Date:January 29th, 2010 02:07 am (UTC)
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Having just gone through some of this recently, might I offer a nice bag of ice (with a towel wrapped around it) to help as well?

And are you planning on putting a tooth back in there someday?
[User Picture]
From:cindy_lou_who8
Date:January 29th, 2010 02:08 am (UTC)
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This is my life every day with chronic headache pain. Even oxy doesn't take the edge off. Pain blows.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:January 29th, 2010 02:36 am (UTC)

Mommy:-(

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That sounds horrific! A true nightmare in my book. I once had a toothache under a crown. Apparently the root canal they has done 3 years prior hadn't destroyed all of what needed to be destroyed.... So when it started to rot, there was nowhere to go for the gases since the crown covered the tooth. Nedlwss to say, I begged the dentist to drill a hole into the crown.

Www.fabulouslyoutthere.wordpress.com
[User Picture]
From:sandrylene
Date:January 29th, 2010 02:44 am (UTC)
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Ugh, poor thing! I hope Tuesday comes quickly and brings sweet, sweet relief.
[User Picture]
From:ron_newman
Date:January 29th, 2010 03:14 am (UTC)
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My suggestion would be to put ice cubes in your mouth instead of the cold water. I hope everything gets better very soon for you.
[User Picture]
From:coconuthead
Date:January 29th, 2010 04:16 am (UTC)
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Oh dear Spatch, couldn't they have just yanked the little bastard today? It seems cruel to make you wait and suffer until Tuesday.
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From:derspatchel
Date:January 29th, 2010 02:37 pm (UTC)
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The molar has worn down enough that I need an oral surgeon to do the extraction, and the earliest appointment I could get was Tuesday.

It gives me a full weekend to say goodbye. I don't like extraction 100% because I won't have a replacement to put in there yet and it's on the end of my jaw so chewing will be different from Tuesday on out. But something has to happen to it and soon.
[User Picture]
From:coconuthead
Date:January 30th, 2010 03:55 pm (UTC)
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I hope the pain subsides soon. It seems like too much to ask someone to go through to me. I wish you had better drugs.

Also -- I know you said the dentist office would work with you, but lemme know if you could use a hand financially. I can't do much, but would be happy to chip in a bit.
[User Picture]
From:coffeebeanben
Date:January 29th, 2010 05:06 am (UTC)
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I've had toothaches before with infection, but nothing so far back it invaded a sinus cavity. The tooth alone hurt enough in its own right, with the insane temperature sensitivity and everything. I'd lie there in pain thinking that the pain couldn't get any worse, then I'd do something unspeakably foolish like move my head or breathe through my mouth. Or the absolute worst sin you can commit: sneezing. Oh I cried.

Saying dental pain is rough is a little like saying the Pacific Ocean is damp.
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From:sovay
Date:January 29th, 2010 05:15 am (UTC)
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Geez, but this thing is brutal.

I'm sorry they couldn't yank the tooth then and there; I'm glad you have an appointment for Tuesday. I deal with chronic facial pain on a daily basis and I wouldn't wish it on anyone. May the best Vicodin win.

Can you hold ice cubes in your mouth, or is that not as immediate as cold water?
[User Picture]
From:la_chispa
Date:January 29th, 2010 05:58 am (UTC)
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Ooh, ooh, ooh, my teeth are getting sympathy pains just thinking about it. Here's hoping the best for you in getting through til Tuesday.
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From:tyopsqueene
Date:January 29th, 2010 09:30 am (UTC)
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I hope the antibollox kick in and provide a bit of relief; sorry you have to wait until Tuesday though, that seems unreasonable.
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From:zyrya
Date:January 29th, 2010 09:30 am (UTC)
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Is it possible to take more of the Vicodin? Vicodin is pretty low-dose as far as strong pain goes ... here it's pharmacy medication, but non-prescription.

But here are some alternatives:
- clove oil
- holding a mouthful of brandy or whiskey against the infected area
- gargling with cold salt water
- ice, both in your mouth and against your face (but not indefinitely)
- cocaine
- viciously stubbing your toe to distract you from your face

I'm always shocked by the pain Americans are expected to tolerate because of this fear of drugs. Give the poor man some morphine, FFS.
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From:derspatchel
Date:January 29th, 2010 02:23 pm (UTC)
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I'm always shocked by the pain Americans are expected to tolerate because of this fear of drugs.

But it's oh so much easier to suspect everyone of prescription drug abuse! Collective punitive measures are something all of us sinners-by-default can enjoy. Why let something as inconsequential as legitimate need spoil the fun?

(Over the counter medication is even worse; you can't buy cough medicine with pseudoephedrine in it without showing your ID because God forbid you take that box home and use it to make methamphetamine. Never mind exactly how many boxes are actually needed to yield enough pseudoeph for this to be viable. That box you're buying now COULD BE THE LAST OF WHAT YOUR SINNING METH COOKERY NEEDS!)

I'd take more of the Vicodin, and gladly, and I'd be lying if I said I haven't double-dosed at least once so far. But this stuff is also chock-full of acetominophen, 750 mg per tablet, and that's the strongest single dosage I think I've seen. While I know I'm not courting acute liver failure simply by doubling up on a dose, I do tend to worry about the long-term effects. And if two (or three) of these pills are doing the same weak job of painkilling as one is, I may as well just stay on one. (Except that I'm still at least getting the Backrub From God sensation from the opiates. That's of some use in these troubled times when I could use all the comfort I can get.)
[User Picture]
From:ron_newman
Date:January 29th, 2010 02:24 pm (UTC)
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Any chance the doctor could temporarily step you up to Percodan?
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