I haven’t been doing my daily blogging, taking a break through to the new year probably, but today I have an entry. About a month ago, I had a tooth that was sensitive. Actually, two were hurting, one right above each other. It was hard to know which was sore and which was only radiating / referring. I thought at first, hoped at first, it was just a standard sensitivity problem and a day or two later it would be fine. Extra brushing, extra flossing, it would be all good.
Nope, it got painful over about 4 more days until it was almost impossible to eat some nights. I’m a giant baby when it comes to dental stuff, anyway, but this was extreme even for me. I felt like on the pain scale I went from simple 1-2, through 3-4, 5-6, and by the end, a few 7s and 8s. And the throbbing was incredible at times. I discovered the alternate-stimulus method i.e. interrupt the signal with a different sensation, so I took to rubbing my check or beard to send a different sensation through the same nerves so that the pain didn’t reach my brain. It was good for 5-10-minute reprieves, but wasn’t sustainable.
It started on a Thursday, ratcheted up by Monday, and I phoned my dentist first thing Tuesday morning (they’re closed Mondays). He couldn’t seem me for at least a week. Ruh roh. But he gave me an antibiotic to hold me over, and it took the pain away almost completely. I had my appointment, and I needed a root canal. No cavities, nothing else going on, just a routine root canal. My first, but still, routine.
Because of my own stress and past experiences, I need stuff like that to be done under sedation, and so his assistant set me up for the “first available surgery” day which was the 17th of December. Almost a month away. Sigh. There was some question of her competency, and maybe she was new, but she had very little ability to work the scheduler, the payment system, any of it. It was a crapfest. But she very clearly booked me for 10:00-12:00 for the 17th, i.e. today. I would have to arrive an hour early (9:00) to take my relaxant before the appointment. But I was booked. If anything came up in the meantime, I should call.
Nothing came up. My tooth was a bit sensitive here and there over the last month, but never above a 2/10 for pain and rarely even above a 1. But the scheduling was a bit more complicated with COVID.
Because I do sedation, I can’t drive myself to the appointment or take myself home afterwards. I need someone else to do that for me. Andrea can’t drive, so I was taking a taxi there, easy enough, and a neighbour drove Andrea over so they could pick me up and bring me home. Problem solved, and grateful for the help even if I have to impose on a neighbour.
Today started slow. I really wasn’t in a great mindset to go, worrying too much about the surgery, the unknown recovery, the potential complications, the taxi, the pickup, all of it. If the vaccines for COVID would change the world by February, I might have tried pushing through until then.
I took a taxi, and distracted myself with my frequent topic-of-conversation with taxi drivers about how business is going (generally terrible). Upon arrival, the new people working the desk (hint, hint about the previous person), came to let me in and said, “Oh, you’re really early”.
I thought they meant that I was an hour early but I reminded them they wanted me to come early to take the pill onsite. Yes, she knew that, but I wasn’t scheduled until 11:30 a.m. WTF? There was no mistake in my earlier booking. It was 10:00 a.m., AND she gave me a piece of paper with the info that matched what I put in my e-calendar. Plus it was the same schedule as last time. Arrive at 9, surgery at 10, cleaning around 11:00, done at noon.
The taxi had already left, so they let me stay and suggested I could just stream something on my phone. Uh-huh. Whatever. Waiting wasn’t the issue, I needed to see if Andrea could now come at 1:30/2:00 instead of noon. Yep, they adjusted, it was all good. Worst case scenario, Andrea would just come in a taxi and get me. Okay, set.
So I was supposed to start now at 11:30. Which would mean not taking the relaxer until 10:30/10:45.
At 9:45, the woman comes over with the glass of water and pill, and I’m like, “Wait, aren’t we a bit early?” Nope, they’ve *changed the time* around and haven’t told me. The 9:30 person didn’t show up. Why? Because they thought they were booked for the 22nd. When the clinic isn’t even open. Which I got to hear her tell the person about 25 times during the phone call.
It was patently clear that the idiot I dealt with the first time screwed a LOT of stuff up. And apparently moved people’s appointments around in the system to make room for other things without ever telling the patients. Yet while I was sitting there this morning, the scheduling assistant was calling around to move other things, and they got me back to my original schedule. Great, right? Except I had already MOVED MY RIDE!
So I had to call Andrea and get her to confirm she was okay with the new time. She was, they were, it worked. Okay, time to focus. Relax. Meditate.
I go in the room, the chair that they use is in the same bit of disrepair as it was in a month ago. The left arm works fine, the right arm keeps collapsing. Guess which one my arm has to rest on to do the IV? Yep, the right. Anyway, the anesthesiologist tries to fix it, no luck; the dental surgery assistant tries, no luck. Then, while they’re PUTTING AN IV in my hand, the doctor is using wrenches and tools on the chair I’m sitting in to fix the arm. Meanwhile, I have to hold my hand out level for about 10-15 minutes (no exaggeration) while the woman tries to find a solid vein in the back of my hand. I hadn’t drank enough water, so find the vein was a challenge, but I also had no place to put my arm, and the doctor kept raising the arm on the chair to the point of bumping my arm. Each time, the anesthesiologist was like, “Hold it still, please”. The Marx Brothers would have a whole skit written before they left the room.
Meanwhile, the anesthesiologist is asking for my list of current meds, which I had already given to the woman at the desk earlier, so had to remind myself of their titles. 3 are easy, 1 I tend to forget. Got it out, marked, okay. Then the dental assistant says, “Wait, this is for a ROOT CANAL? I don’t have the right tools for THAT!”. No one told her I wasn’t the 9:30 patient, but the 11:30 patient. The fact that I was clearly not Diane didn’t trigger a thought process.
All in all, I wasn’t getting the warmest fuzzies for professionalism and organization. Oh well, I’m in the chair!
Eventually, the chair was fixed, my arm could rest, we got going, and I was OUT. I don’t remember anything after he got the arm rest fixed until I woke up mostly post surgery during a cleaning. There were x-rays happening in there too, I think, and the cleaning was much more aggressive than I expected. I think they turned the drip off early. The whole point of doing the cleaning was that I would still be out. But it was a much-needed cleaning…they might have sent out for extra tools from Home Depot, for all I know.
Andrea picked me up at noon-ish, I don’t remember much until she got there, and I vaguely remember paying but those details are slipping. The head nurse escorted Mr. Rubber Legs out to the car, I saw our neighbour, we got a ride home in her Tesla, but I wasn’t really tracking the conversation so I might have dozed off en route. At home, I went up to bed and crashed for four hours. Much of the details of the day are fading.
Andrea woke me up and brought me some food and drink. Apple sauce, I think, but those details are fading too. But I was awake now and went downstairs and had some toast. After 24h of fasting, basically, I was a bit hungry. For supper, I was able to easily eat chicken stew, milk, and I even managed ice cream. I haven’t had anything crunchy yet, will wait on that until tomorrow, but no sensitivities for warm/cold yet. I’ll hold off on “hot” too.
My mouth is probably at about a 2-3/10 on the pain scale at the moment. I was surprised, they gave me no follow up meds. I assumed anti-biotics and pain would be standard, but I guess not.
Overall, the logistics were a sh** show, but the work seems fine. It’s sorer now than it was a day ago, because of the trauma of the day, but I’m not “in pain” generally. I remember more of the day this time than last sedation — that time I remember being at the dentist and taking my pill, getting in the chair, paying, getting OUT of a cab at home, and waking up. About 15-20 minutes worth of memory in an eight-hour period. This time, I remember most things up until the chair was fixed until the cleaning was almost done. There was some serious gagging in there that had me freaking out with latex flashbacks to another dental appointment, but it’s done.
Today I chose to have a root canal. And despite being worried, despite lots of stressful quirks during the day, the surgery part seems to have gone fine, and now I can just milk my injury for some TLC at home. I’m hoping for a morning omelette. 🙂