Thursday, November 11, 2010

My dentist is a plumber?

It's nearly December, hooray :D

No, it's not that Summer is coming and that I hope to spend time at the beach, and it's not the thought of daylight saving and those long evenings inviting exercise (no certainly not that) no, nor is it that Christmas is nearly here. It's something much more mundane, but exciting nonetheless.

What I omitted in the previous blog about The Mind & it's Potential conference I attended so enthusiastically last year is that on the final day, I was struck by a vicious debilitating pain in my head. It was almost impossible to detect the exact location as the pain seemed to be everywhere. I was nauseous and uncomfortably disoriented, I felt so ill it was horrible.

Not one to remember to pack the panadol, I staggered down to the nearest pharmacy, gulped 2 tablets, and way before the 4 hours recommended between doses, gulped 2 more - something my nursing friends assure me isn't a good idea, but what the heck, I was desperate.

Once the pain subsided a tad, I was able to locate the source, and trace it to - a tooth, oh, but not just any tooth, to be more precise, one of those grinding ones way down the back.  You know, the ones that are hard for the dentist to explore without fitting a whole armory of instruments in your mouth. (And they only do this after injecting enough anaesthetic for a bull elephant which leaves you dribbling for hours and unable to talk clearly) I think one of the bits of hardware I least like is the one they use to winch your mouth open wider - or possibly it's the one they use to hook onto your mouth that they seem to hang other implements off - or maybe ... perhaps it's better not to go on, I'm starting to dribble just thinking about it all.

I think this is one of the few times I've eagerly looked forward to visiting the dentist. ANYTHING to get rid of the pain, and the swelling, and the red blotchy heat rash on my cheek, and the general feeling of constant nausea - I'd decided by this time that I just possibly had an abscess (nothing like a bit of self diagnosis is there?)

The verdict? Antibiotics and two options.

Option 1:  Have it out  -  just a small procedure. Day surgery with a dental surgeon "WHAT!?", Relatively straightforward ... considering "WHAT!?"

Oh, and an anaesthetist "WHAT!?". But you'll pull through pretty quickly ... considering "WHAT!?"  You're kidding, that doesn't sound  er how do I phrase this, insignificant, in fact it sounds somewhat major, and unpleasant, and not fun at all.

And the other option? Root canal. Probably take 3 or 4 months, a visit a month, but you'll need to see the whiz-bang, super dooper, lots of extra postgrad courses and ultra exclusive dentist to do that, and they'll need to check it out first to see if it's possible anyway. "What do you mean to see if it's possible!?" Oh, and can you take out a second mortgage on your home. To cover costs, you understand?

Ok, that last is a bit of an exaggeration, but only a bit.

The very thought of prolonged treatment brought on sweaty palms, uspet stomach and general unease.

However, strangely it seemed better than surgery. Tangled roots, that was the problem, trying to explore up into my brain, ugh. I'm assured that's what killed Tutenkhamen, an untreated abscess on a tooth that poisoned his brain. Painfully. Oh dear.

"Call me Serena". (not her real name, but fitting nonetheless)

Ok, this is a good start, not a hoity toity, pretentious professional with her impressive array of awards and quals on the wall.

How can I best describe her? Petite. Severely short hair. Exuding an aura of calm confidence (a definite plus) And seriously funky clothes, just glimpsed before she donned the bland white gown. And the shoes. I think it was those that had me convinced that here was a woman after my own heart. Amazing, don't muck with me, leather, attention seeking, fabulous funky footwear. Definitely NOT bought locally. (* Asked her later on; England was the origin of said shoes.) How could I not trust her?

I was just a little alarmed when she described herself as a glorified plumber.

R i g h t.  That's not exactly how I want the person working on this pesky tooth to describe herself. Last time I worked with plumbing students, I'm confident they could begin an apprenticeship in their mid teens. And I couldn't quite visualize any of those blokes having the delicate hand to scrape out the tiniest roots that were giving me so much grief. So her description of her work was a little perplexing; or perhaps unsettling could be a better word.

But she insisted. "It's just the scale that's different. We both work with tubes and scrapers and plugs and brushes to scour out drainage channels". Hmm, I'm still not convinced, but I'll defer to her expertise with this.

However we forged ahead, me with ipod plugged in ear, and eyes firmly closed. Her concentrating, no noise, no distractions, little discussion, just the occasional direction to the nurse, total concentration.  Full marks!

And the reason I'm excited about it being almost December: that's when Serena removes the irritating band that's been holding the whole shebang together. Nine months of scraping and tongue fiddling, and annoyance. It'll be such a relief to have it gone, and replaced with a slick cap. (Should I go diamond studded like one man I met, or just plain gold which they tell me is kinder in your mouth than other metals)

*Serena's professional title is "endodontist", which apparently means 'inside the tooth' not the ends of the tooth as I thought. Well, it gave my regular dentist a laugh at my recent checkup.


Elizabeth Cull said...

You're still doing great, girl! A dental procedure may be a little bit scary, and some of the procedures may be very painful. But remember that they are all normal. In the end, all the procedures are worth it. =)

sue said...

Elizabeth thankyou. We're a year on, and the band still hasn't been removed, She's not convinced the treatment was a complete success - drat!!! Thanks for visiting and for the encouragement.