Emergency Dental Surgery and Marathon Training
Friday, March 08, 2013
Wow, what a day. It started with a toothache at about 4:00 a.m. Thursday morning.
Well, it started with a bad tooth about 1.5 years ago, but unfortunately my wife and I were going through some serious financial difficulties and we simply couldn't afford dental procedures (we had no dental insurance). So it chipped away and chipped away, and eventually broke down to the gum. Recently things have turned around for us, and among other things we now have dental insurance, so I was planning to schedule a procedure sometime soon but the toothache forced the issue!
The pain was fairly intense that Thursday morning, so being unable to sleep I took some meds, watched the latest episode of The Biggest Loser, and rehearsed my latest Bible memory verses. Then starting at 7:00 a.m., I had six meetings in a row, which ended up taking 12 hours of my time. Three of them were fairly serious counseling appointments so I didn't feel comfortable cancelling them to deal with my problem, and having prayed earnestly I decided to trust the Lord and live by faith.
The pain was ever present and manageable, but as the day went on the swelling increased so that, more and more, I looked like a lopsided chipmunk. By around 4:30 p.m. I found it hard to function and I wondered if I'd be able to make it until that 8:00 a.m. appointment my wife had so graciously set up for me.
But by the grace of God, and the help of a 3 pill dose of Ibuprofen, I made it through the night and got to the dentist this morning. After the standard check in procedures, he took one look at the tooth (number 4 on the top right) and said, "Wow, we need to extract this immediately." I gauge the seriousness of such situations by the look on the doctors face and the tone in his voice, and both of these "instruments" were reading, "Houston, we have a problem."
In a mere 28 hours, my tooth had severely abscessed which can be dangerous and is most certainly painful, so the dentist sent me over to the oral surgeon who squeezed me in on an emergency basis.
If you get grossed out by things like this, here's the place to stop reading! After taking my vitals and otherwise prepping me for the procedure, the nurse called in the doctor who warmly greeted me, even shaking my hand, and then looked over the X-rays and explained what he was going to do.
(1) He applied a topical anesthesia which tasted a lot like the Orajel I had been so dependent on the previous day.
(2) He injected Lidocaine into the roof of my mouth which was no big deal, and then also directly into the sacks of puss. Wow, that hurt. I have a pretty high pain threshold but this step actually made my eyes water, not from crying but from the sheer intensity of the pain.
(3) With the worst part behind me, he then gave the meds about 10-15 minutes to kick in, during which the nurse and I had a great conversation about Jesus and the ministry--her husband is a Pastor, as am I.
(4) The doctor came back in, joined in the conversation, and got to it. It took him less than five minutes to cut, drill, and use his fancy pliers to yank out tooth #4. Both the doctor and the nurse were surprised by how calm I was, but they didn't know the half of it.
When the doctor first placed the "spacer" on the other side of my mouth to ensure that it stayed open during the procedure, I got the picture in my mind of a mechanic jacking up a car so that he could work on it. I have a quirky sense of humor, so this really tickled my funny bone but I prayed, "Lord, please help me because this isn't a good time to laugh!" When the procedure was done, I told them what was going through my mind and we shared a good laugh.
Not more than five minutes later, I was walking out the door and heading over the pharmacy to pick up my antibiotics and pain meds. I didn't think I would need the pain meds, as I figured Ibuprofen would do the trick, but as I waited for the pharmacist to fill the prescriptions, the Lidocaine wore off and I began to experience some very intense pain. It was again so intense that my eyes watered, and I found it hard to concentrate and even speak.
As soon as I got into the car, I took both meds and prayed for the grace to make it the four miles home--yes the pain was that intense! But God did give me the grace, I did make it home, and about thirty minutes later the meds kicked in and took the pain away. That was ten hours ago, and though I still have some slight aching, it's really nothing at all, not even enough to disturb my sleep tonight.
All of this means that I had to skip out on my marathon workout today, but I'll be able to get to the gym tomorrow to complete a 30 minute walk and a full-body workout. Then on Sunday I hope to jog/walk for 6 miles which I'm really looking forward to.
Thanks, Jesus, for dental insurance, dentists and oral surgeons, pain meds, antibiotics, a flexible job, and so many other manifestations of your grace and love over the last two days! I love You and praise You alone! And Lord, please bless those who helped me today, I'm sure grateful for them. In your mighty and merciful name I pray, amen.
See you, SP Friends, hope you have a good night's sleep!