A pain in the …..
It has been a rough end of the year (2019) and the start of a new year for me this time. I woke up one morning with the side of my face throbbing and the left side of my mouth swollen. I have had a handful of dental issues that I have been working through (mostly caused by some of the medications that I had been on over the years). One of the last issues I had to get done was a root canal on one of my upper left molars. It was scheduled in a few days so I just assumed that suddenly this tooth was going to cause me problems. I knew that the teeth on either side of it had already had root canals and crowns, so it could be one of those teeth causing me problems.
On the day of the root canal and I told my dentist that I had been having some issues with pain and swelling and she, like me assumed it was the tooth that she was going to work on. After the root canal the next day I woke up to my face swollen and the left side of my face feeling like it was on fire. I felt it was still a tooth issue, but having had bouts of Trigeminal Neuralgia before, I started back on that medication to see if that was the cause.
After a few days, more swelling my glands on my neck were swelling, I went back to my dentist, who really upset me as she could not “squeeze” me in to see me. I mean, here is a patient of yours that is having pain and swelling that could be related to the procedure you completed on them a few days earlier and you can’t take a few minutes to see them and evaluate the situation. So I toughed it out for a few more days and then again went back and she was able to “squeeze” me in and checked the root canal and the one next to it (which she did a root canal on in 2017). She said everything looks good but wanted me to try to see an endodontist to have them evaluate and make sure she didn’t miss something. The next day was Christmas eve and I was in a world of pain and heading down a ‘pain management” path that I didn’t like and wasn’t very good for my health, involving liquor (plus I wanted to take plyers and pull my own teeth out in hopes it would help with the pain, I was in a very bad place in my head), I toughed it out for the sake of my family so we didn’t have to spend Christmas Eve in the ER. The next day (Christmas morning) I was not doing well and made it until the evening when I finally broke down and pretty much begged to go to the ER.
The ER was all about in and out quickly on Christmas so they gave me Percocet, said they thought it was Trigeminal Neuralgia, and sent me home. I spent the next two days pretty much drooling from the Percocet and dealing with the now dull pain in my face. However, the welling was still there so we were not any closer to finding the solution and getting it resolved.
Two days after the ER visit, I was back in the ER (mostly because I can’t stand how Percocet makes me feel and I really didn’t have any answers), and this time they changed my medication to something that I could deal better with (at my request). They also ordered a CT and after four hours of waiting, they found out that I had an abscess on tooth #14 (which is the tooth that I had a root canal on in 2017, next to the tooth that I just had the root canal on). The infection has extended up into my sinus cavity as well. They also gave me a prescription for antibiotics and Toradol and sent me home. I finally got a few hours of sleep on the Toradol, as the Percocet was really messing with my head (I was overthinking the article about narcotics and gabapentin causing breathing issues). I wasn’t actually having problems breathing, but in my mind I was.
Armed with this new knowledge I was off to the endodontist in a few days (it took some time to get an appointment). The new medication was helping better with the pain (Toradol) and with the antibiotics, I was feeling better(ish) (better being a relative term, but better than what I was feeling when I went to the ER). While waiting to see an endodontist, I went back to my regular dentist to see if she could get me more Toradol as they only gave me a few days worth and New Year was this coming weekend and my endodontist wasn’t until the first Monday of the new year. She said she couldn’t give me any more Toradol, but wrote me a prescription for Tramadol instead. I went to my regular pharmacy to have that filled so I could make it through the holiday. They proceeded to “educate” me on getting prescriptions filled at a bunch of different pharmacies. The problem was the first ER visit was on a Holiday (Christmas) and all the other Pharmacies were closed, so the ER sent it to the only 24-hour pharmacy in the area that would be open on Christmas day. The next visit to the ER was after hours but they messed up and sent my prescription to the wrong Pharmacy and now this time I was going to my regular Pharmacy. I don’t think that they like me “schooling” them on hours of operation, and how to provide good customer service. I reminded them that I know the law and that if they care to open up on Christmas Day at 10 P.M., I would be happy to use them, but since they were not open, that they will have to deal with me going to a Pharmacy that was open. I got an apology from the Pharmacist himself when I went to pick up my medication.
So, back to the endodontist, the endodontist said that there isn’t anything he can do and wanted me to see a periodontist, which of course I have to wait and make an appointment for. But he did extend my antibiotics as they ended the day before and he was concerned about the infection. The next stop was the local “Doc in a Box” to have them run a blood test to make sure that the infection wasn’t running rampant. The blood test results showed that they were slightly elevated, but nothing to really worry about as long as I was taking my antibiotics.
As I’m writing this, I have an appointment with my periodontist in a few hours, so we shall see where this saga goes next.