Sunday, June 30, 2013

As if I needed another hole in my head!

So, about two weeks before vacation, I broke a tooth. I wasn't too worried because it was one my dentist told me needed to be pulled. I tried to be careful, chew on the other side and "pamper" the rotten bastid until it could be pulled. That had happened already because I had been on a blood thinner and I sorta didn't want to bleed to death from a pulled tooth! A week later, the inevitable happened. I broke more of the tooth - so much that you could actually see and poke into the middle of it. And I broke it on a pecan - something healthy, right!?! (Never mind it was covered in chocolate and buried in some Ben & Jerry's ice cream!). I called the dentist and they fit me in for the Thursday before vacation started.

Yep, it had to be pulled. I really hoped we could wait til after vacation because I could just see getting a dry socket or an infection while trying to enjoy myself in "my country"! He had a hard time getting the tooth out because it was such a large molar, but he managed to yank it without having to call in re-enforcements. However, because NOTHING in my life ever seems to be simple, when the Doc looks up into the socket, he sees something odd.

Now, have you ever been to the dentist and you're sitting in the chair, mouth wide open, face immobilized from Novacaine and you see the dentist look into your mouth and make a funny, raised eyebrow face? Then he looks back to the x-ray, back to your mouth, back to the x-ray and back to your mouth again? No? Well, let me tell you, when that happens, you just know the next thing he says or does is NOT going to be good!

He reached out and held my nose closed and told me to blow out my nose. My first thought was "Umm... you're holding it closed, how can I do that"? But I try to do it and sure enough - the air I blow comes out of the tooth socket! WTF?!? Apparently, I have a hole from the sinus cavity to the socket. On x-ray it's barely there, though now that he can see it IRL, he can make it out on x-ray taken prior to the pulling. He says it's not a common occurrence, but not really rare, either. Though he's never seen a hole on the side of the root cavity like this, they're usually just at the top.

So the Doc puts some special secret Dentist stuff up there and stitches it closed. He tells me that he wants to see me Monday to check it out and make sure the hole closes over because if it doesn't, it's off to the surgeon with me. Also, he tells me I am on Sinus Precautions. No sneezing, no blowing my nose and don't use my Cpap machine til he sees me on Monday. Do you know how hard it is NOT to sneeze or blow your nose when someone tells you not to? HARD! I never realized what a nose blower I was! And no Cpap machine? I can't sleep normally without it. I've used it faithfully for about 13 years now. Oh, and one more thing... I need to be on 500mg of amoxicillin 3x a day for 10 days. This means I have to immediately stop an RA drug I take which may (or may not) effect my next lab results. He also gave me orders for "Soft Solid" foods. Nothing hard or crunchy etc.

Monday comes and after no sneezing, not ONE nose blow and avoiding my Cpap like the plague, I go back to see the dentist and surprise, the hole isn't closed over and I've got a bit of a dry socket. Dry sockets are usually very painful, but luckily, I haven't had much pain other than just a soreness. So now he's more vigorous and vigilant about it. He gives me about a gallon of novacaine and starts pulling bone and tissue out of the socket. Then he takes some bone from somewhere - I was afraid to ask - and some tissue (as in skin tissue/ oral lining) and tries to make a covering that will hopefully attach and mesh itself across the hole. Oh, and the Sinus Precautions are still in effect. What a wonderful way to start vacation, no?

On Tuesday (Happy Birthday to me), my sister and I head up north to Canada. The whole drive I spend time with my tongue going to the stitched up socket. Each time I do, the stitches seem to be coming undone. I want sooooo badly to get to a lighted magnifying mirror and some sharp implements and go to town on this sucker! But I don't. I still haven't sneezed, still haven't blown my nose and still haven't used my Cpap, which is really affecting me. I'm exhausted.

We get back from Canada on Thursday night and I have another follow up with the dentist at noon on Friday. I get there and they take me right away. I'm almost sure he's going to tell me I need to make an appointment with the surgeon. Surprisingly though, he tells me that the innermost, or outermost - depending on which way you're going! - is about 90% closed over and if we can just get that last bit closed up, we'll be good to go. Still no sneezing, blowing or Cpap. I tell him it's been NINE nights without the Cpap and it's killing me. He says give it ONE MORE night, and I agree. He puts more collagen up into the socket and sends me on my way, wanting to see me next week.

So last night, after giving him the 10th night without Cpap, I'm exhausted and need to get some real sleep. I have to go back to work on Monday and NEED to get some rest. So as I lay in bed, I get my recently neglected nasal mask, put it to my nose, make sure there's a tight seal, and turn the machine on. It's now blowing 15 cm of pressurized air into my nose in order to keep my airway open when I sleep. One breath. Two breaths. Anyone wanna guess what happens next? Yep -  I now have two breaths of air in my mouth. I expel the air, try again and realize I'm done with the Cpap until I get this damn hole fixed.

I'll call the dentist in the morning, let him know what happens and go from there. But seriously, can anything EVER be easy for me? But I guess if it was, I wouldn't have good stories to tell!