Comedy of Errors

More like a tragedy.  High Drama.  Or simply a Timeline of Incompetence.

September 6th.  During lunch at work I felt a pain in my tooth.  The back molar.  Really sharp.  OK.  Got home, called my dental clinic to find out their “emergency” hours.  They told me they were already closing, but if I hurried they would wait for me.  Rushed and got there.  My dentist wasn’t in, so they plopped me into another office with someone else.  He poked and prodded, took X-Rays of all the teeth in the area of the pain, and pronounced that there was nothing wrong with the teeth that he could see, but rather it was a problem of the jaw joint (which also hurt when he poked).  He told me there wasn’t anything he could do, and to make an appointment at the oral (mouth/jaw) clinic.

Got home and called to book an appointment at the clinic.  The first appointment available?  Mid November!  I asked how on earth was I supposed to wait in pain for two months, but only got sorry, that was the best they could do.

September 8th.  Went in to see my GP, told her the story.  She wrote a referral for the clinic, with a note saying how urgent it was and please bring the appointment forward.  She also prescribed pain killers in the meantime.

A few days later.  Took a morning off and went into the clinic with the referral and the note.  Shouted.  Cried.  They were very sympathetic, but told me there was only one specialist who deals with jaw joint pain, and she was booked solid.  They managed to get me an earlier appointment, though….for November 6th.  Gee, thanks.

The pain killers seemed to help, but I could only take them for 10 days.  After that, I started taking a different kind.  They only slightly helped.

Beginning of October.  With my tongue, I could feel an abscess forming between my cheek and my gum at the jawline, from just by my ear halfway to the chin.  Sometimes it felt swollen and was really painful.  Went back to my GP, she again prescribed the pain killers.  Seemed puzzled, though, and said it sounded more like tooth pain and not characteristic of jaw joint pain.  We decided that I should again check with the dentist. The problem was when, as we were in the midst of a bunch of holidays…

October 18th.  The pain was simply unbearable.  It hurt from my chin to stabbing pains in my ear.  I couldn’t stand it, so we went to the late night walk-in clinic in town.  Blood pressure was by now through the roof.  The doctor there said it sure sounded like tooth pain to her, but since the entire side of my face hurt when touched she couldn’t pinpoint it.  I told her the dentist had said it was the jaw.  She sent me from there to the ER at the hospital.  There an oral surgeon checked me, but since their X-Ray machine wasn’t working he couldn’t tell much.  He also said it sounded more like teeth than jaw, and that I needed to get to a dentist.  He told me no solid food for at least three days.  And he upped the pain killers to mega dose, and added an additional pain killer.  And said if it got worse to come back to the ER.

October 19th.  Before everything closed, I tried to get a dental X-Ray at my clinic, and an appointment.  Got an appointment for 2 days away, after the holiday, but they told me their X-Ray equipment wasn’t the best quality, especially if I wanted to include the jaw joints.  So I went and got the X-Ray privately.

Holiday dinner.  Partner took my portion of chicken and vegetables and threw them into the blender so I could have some.  Otherwise, I stuck with soup and baby cereal.

After dinner, it just got worse.  The whole side of my face was swollen, partner said I would do well if I was auditioning for the part of the Godfather, or maybe a chipmunk.  Pain now spread from my throat to halfway up my head.  We decided to go back to the ER.   This time we had an X-Ray to show them.   The doc took one look and told me there was a bad infection at the roots of the molar.   (Yes, the same molar.)  Prescribed strong antibiotics, and said get to my dentist.

Spent the holiday in bed.  Taking two painkillers and the antibiotics and screaming a lot.  No sleep.  No food.

October 21st.  Finally got in to see my dentist.  He told me it was indeed the tooth, and that I would have to start root canal work.  He poked a little bit, but mostly looked at the X-Rays.  He tried to get me into the root canal specialist right away, but they said impossible, only after the weekend.  First appointment was 3 days away.

October 23rd.  After two more days of pain, no sleep, no food, I couldn’t bear it.  Went back to my GP.  She prescribed a third painkiller to add to the others, and told me not to wait, to go and demand to see the dentist now.  I followed her advice.  Told them I wasn’t able to wait one more day.  They ushered me in to yet another dentist.  This one actually examined the tooth.  And lo and behold, when he removed the filling he discovered a huge crack in the tooth that did not show up on the X-Ray, and was the source of the infection and pain.  He gave me a monster shot, and among other things, drained the abscess and killed the nerves in that tooth.  And finally said sorry, the tooth can’t be saved at this point, it will have to come out.

So now I have an appointment in a few more days with an oral surgeon who will pull the tooth and at the same time lay the base for an implant.  Then I have to wait a few months.

But the pain is finally gone!  Yes, it’s a little sore, and there’s a terrible taste in my mouth even after two days.  But the swelling is gone at last, I  can’t feel the abscess, and it is so fantastic to not hurt.  Back to solid food (but chewing only on one side…).  Still taking the antibiotics.  Doc says I can go back to work tomorrow.  Back to the grind!

This is the first day in ages I’ve been able to sit at the computer.  Haven’t read a thing.  Nor have I knitted.   Nor even smiled much.

One interesting thing.  All the mega doses of pain killers didn’t help at all to relieve the tooth/jaw/ear/head pain.  They did, however, help the hip.  Felt no pain there at all.  Now that I’ve stopped the pills, the hip started to hurt a bit today.   Crap.

Now we’re discussing what to do about the whole mess.  Partner is furious, and wants me to sue the first dentist who misdiagnosed.  On the one hand, his wrong diagnosis sent me off in the wrong direction and caused me one and a half months of pain.  Not to mention I’m now losing the tooth.  And the implant is not cheap.  On the other hand, the problem wasn’t evident on the X-Rays, the second dentist also didn’t see it, it was only when the third dentist opened it up that he found the problem.  But shouldn’t the first dentist at least have checked as well??  I’m really really angry, but still undecided as to what I’m going to do about it.   Any opinions?

At least Kidlet is back at boarding school, all better now.  She’s calling me several times a day, she got very traumatised when I was so “out-of-order”.   Today I was finally able to reassure her that things are ok.

Enough already.


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4 Responses to “Comedy of Errors”

  1. Courtney Says:

    Ouch! What a mess. Tooth pain is absolutely no fun. I had mysterious tooth pain for two hours a day during my pregnancy with Maizie. Every day from nine to eleven am, for about the last four months of my pregnancy. It was AWFUL. Every dentist I went to said it was mental. My mother is still furious. (My cousin, an OB, said it was pregnancy-related and just happens sometimes. Doctors aren’t much help sometimes.) I can’t imagine dealing with such pain (and I know yours was much, much worse) for a month and a half!

    • eclecticitee Says:

      Mental ?!?! I’m going to be awful and assume they were all male dentists? (Like the male gynecologist who told a good friend of mine to stop complaining about menstrual cramps, they weren’t that bad. Um…excuse me?) I wonder what Maizie was pushing on and how she knew what time it was. 😉 Like kidlet used to do gymnastics every morning from 5 to 6 am. Somersaults and stretches and I swear the kid was doing jumping jacks in there… After the first kick to the bladder I would run to the bathroom, then back to bed to wait it out. Then at 6 I could go back to sleep.

  2. Roberta Says:

    Ouch!!!!! I was thinking of you all this time, hoping things are better.
    Never imagined it was soo bad 😦
    I think you had your quota of problems for at least 10 years.
    So now please sit back and enjoy life 🙂
    More hugs

  3. Lula Harp Says:

    This is my worst fear! I feel for you, but glad it’s all working out ok and your feeling better

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