Thanks to Rich burridge for sharing his unimaginable pain
There's been an unexpected blogging break over the last few days from me, due to extreme toothache.
This is long, but it does capture the "fun" I've been having.
It all started about 3-4 weeks ago with a mild toothache. Now anybody who really knows me, knows that I have a very bad gag reflex (or a very good one, depending on how you look at it). Because of this, just the thought of visiting a dentist fills me with trepidation.
Even for something as seemingly trivial as this, it took four attempts to get an X-ray of what was believed to be the problem tooth, and it ended up with me having to hand hold the small X-ray film that I had to put in my mouth. To cut a long story short, my dentist couldn't see anything wrong. He suggested seeing if it got worst, and then we'd react accordingly.
Tuesday this week, it got worse.. Somebody suggested to me that it might be a sinus infection so I went to see my doctor. She was skeptical about this (because I didn't have the other things you normally get with a sinus infection, like fever and nasal problems), but she prescribed some anti-biotics called Amoxicillin. After taking just three of these capsules, I hit the jackpot with the side effects. Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
This brings us up to Wednesday morning. America's Independence day. My doctor isn't working that day, so I phone up the emergency number and the on-call doctor tells me to stop taking the Amoxicillin. He then suggested trying to control the pain with Advil, and if that didn't fix it, come up to the Urgent Care facility in Palo Alto, to get something more powerful to control the pain.
By lunchtime the pain was a lot worst. Rather than go all the way up to Palo Alto, we just went to the ER at our local hospital (with Lynea and Duncan providing moral support. Okay, Lynea providing moral support and Duncan being forced to come along because we couldn't just leave him. Thankfully Nintendo invented the DS for occasions just like this).
The nurse there asked me to describe my pain on a scale of 1-10, where 1 is "pain? what pain?" and 10 is "OMG. This is the worse pain I've ever experienced". As I'd suffered through an impacted wisdom tooth in 1985, I couldn't claim a 10, so I said 8. Again, to cut a long story short, I came out of there with a prescription for some serious pain killers. This surprisingly only took just over an hour. As Lynea pointed out, we were probably lucky in that all the burn victims hadn't got there yet.
Wednesday afternoon at 1:45pm saw me taking the first of the Vicodin tablets. The prescription said to take 1-2 tablets every 4 hours as needed. Strangely enough, the pain started getting worst as this point. Probably the result of all the poking and prodding by the attending physician at the hospital. By 2:30pm, I decided to take another one. The medicine then started to kick in. I took one more just before bed.
This morning I woke up, very light headed and very nauseous. Nausea is one of the side-effects of Vicodin (along with many others including mood swings. Oh boy, am I looking forward to those!) Today would have been the day I would have liked to make another appointment with my dentist and try to find out exactly what the problem was, but he's on vacation (returning on the 9th). He gave an emergency number for another doctor, and I spoke to a nice lady there called Patty. I fully explained things to here, and she referred me to an oral surgeon down in Sunnyvale. Lynea and I were in his office at 10:30am (Duncan was over with one of his friends).
This doctor had one of those machines which can take an X-ray externally. You just strap on the lead padding, bite down on the mouth piece and stand perfectly still for about thirty seconds. You have no idea of the relief I went through when I realized they weren't going to try to wedge any of those little white X-ray films in my mouth. After checking me and the X-ray over, the doctor determined that it looks like I'm going to need a root canal on tooth #12.
With the pain under control, this can now wait until my normal dentist returns next week. Then, because of that gag reflex, the actually dentistry will have to be done under general anesthesia. This doesn't worry me at all. I've been very happy with previous work done the same way.
So I'm going to take it easy for the rest of the week. One thing I learnt over thirty years ago. Never try to do any software engineering when you are light-headed. In those days, it meant if you'd been down the pub lunchtime. Nowadays, for me, it just means when you are under heavy medication.
I'm cutting back on the Vicodin, putting a nice buffer of IB Profen in its place. Starting to eat and take fluids again. Hopefully tomorrow the nausea and light-headedness will be fully gone.