Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Birth of a Phobia

What is the deal with me and medical (or dental) professionals?  Why do I always wind up with the guy who graduates at the bottom of his class from Bub's House of Doctorin'? 

You remember I recently told you I had a tooth pulled, right?  And that there would be a story forthcoming?  As always, my story shall be long and oh-so-rambly, but the point you must take with you in the end, dear one, is this: Dentists are morons. 

Remember that, okay?  Let's all say it together once, just to be sure it's locked in your brains... Ready? 

Dentists.  Are.  Morons.

Thank you.

The story begins two years ago.  See?  I told you it would be long.  I told my dentist I had a tooth that was beginning to hurt.  He said the tooth I was talking about could not possibly hurt because I'd had a root canal years ago.  He said I was experiencing "referral pain," when the tooth that hurts is only picking up on pain from another tooth. Hmmm.  Okay.  "Maybe I'm an idiot," I think.  "Maybe I'm so dang dumb, I don't know which one of my own teeth hurt."

The dentist couldn't find anything wrong with any other tooth, so he sent me on my way.  After, of course, I paid him to tell me I don't know what the h**l I'm talking about.  Time went on.  My tooth still hurt. 

I went back months later.  The dentist told me I had the teeniest, tiniest dot of decay on the tooth behind the one that "supposedly" hurt.  He couldn't imagine that itty-bitty spot could be causing me  pain, but- what the heck- he'd fill it and see if it helped.  Okay.  Time went on.  My tooth still hurt.

I went back.  Again.  Months later.  Now, he could see I had another very small spot on the tooth in front of the one that hurt.  Maybe that was it.  He filled it (FYI- I've never in my life had a cavity every single time I went to the dentist, and I did think it was odd that he kept finding these "tiny" spots).  He also mentioned that sometimes people with fibromyalgia feel pain in perfectly healthy teeth.  In other words...  "There's nothing wrong with you.  You're imagining this."  Time went on.  My tooth still hurt.

I did not go back.  I knew what he'd say.  He'd tell me he found yet another microscopic spot to fix, one that was so small it couldn't be detected a few months earlier, yet was still somehow able to cause pain for months and months and months (and- yay!- it was something new to charge me for).   Keep in mind that each and every time I'd gone, he assured me I was wrong about where the pain was coming from.  There was "no way" that that particular tooth could be hurting me.  So, I gave up.

The tooth continued to hurt.  Increasingly so.  I still didn't go back.  Why would I?   There was nothing wrong with me.  Even when my mouth started tasting "funny," I didn't go back (Gross-out Alert...  Um, yeah, sorry, but it turns out that taste was pus from infection.  Yucky, I know.  Way more than you wanted to hear.  But the lesson for you?  If your mouth tastes "funny" and you KNOW something is wrong?  Do something about it.  Get a different flippin' dentist, for Pete's sake and demand some help).

Which brings us up to the day a month ago when, while talking to my daughter, I felt my tooth sort of lift up a tiny bit.  I reached in to feel it and it came right off.

I went back to the dentist feeling incredibly vindicated- "SEE!?! TOLD YA THE D*MN THING HURT-" and he told me that what had happened was that my tooth had broken off under the crown and the broken parts had been cutting into my gums, causing them to swell and eventually leading to an infection (Oh, really?  You don't say.  You roddy jack*$$.).  I was put on antibiotics and pain pills and sent to an oral surgeon.   And that's when things went from bizarre to crazy.

For starters,  the surgeon's hands shook like Don Knotts.  I mean it.  You're old enough to remember Don Knotts, I hope?

I swear on my life, the oral surgeon's hands shook like Don's.  I had a hard time not laughing, at first.  Because, you know, how funny is it for an oral surgeon to have shaky hands?  The irony of it is beautiful.  That's some Grade A Hilarity, right there. 

Then...  I had that "Oh Crap" moment, which, coincidentally, occurred right about the time he came at me with the first of three huge syringes.  The funny wore off PDQ, know what I'm sayin'? 

He used a drill to make a hole in the stump of my broken tooth, so that he could stick his little poky tool thingy in the hole and pry the stump out (he rocked it back and forth against my gum for leverage, which would later hurt like a booger, but I digress...).  The drill slipped off the tooth and I knew it hit my gum, but wasn't aware at the time how painful that, too, would be for me later.  He pulled the tooth- in fact, a huge piece of it went flying across the room, and the surgeon said (Creepy Alert...), "Usually it lands right in a person's crotch and your first impulse is to reach down and pick it up-" and I was sent on my merry way with a mouth full of gauze and a prescription for painkillers.

That night, when the bleeding finally let up enough to see, I took a peek in my mouth and almost threw up.  My gum was split all the way down to the bone.  Seriously.  (Gross-out Alert...) I had a huge section of exposed jawbone, with a "flap" of gum skin that sort of wiggled and slid around, not connected to anything in particular.  Call me goofy, but this seemed like a bad thing to me.  Not only that, but I also realized a portion of the tooth was still there.

Long story a little less long...  It got infected.  Yes, shocking.  I had to go back on antibiotics, then wait for it to heal enough to let him pull the remaining piece, which I just had done today.  Surprisingly, it went fine.  I'd spent the last two weeks dreading my return visit to "Dr. Knotts" but fortunately, even though his hands were no less shaky, the last chunk of tooth came out easily...  Thank God. 

Now...  If you'd like a referral to either one of these guys, you just let me know!

1 comment:

Kate Gj. said...

Omg. I don't know how I missed such a fantastic story until today! As I sit here drinking a glass of wine after a less than perfect afternoon, you once again made me laugh. I always love you for that!!

I hope your tooth feels better. I just remembered I need to make a dentist appointment. Hoping to stay away from Dr Knotts, however.

Need to chat with you soon. Miss you so much!!!!