out of the mouth of Alvin’s doppelganger

I’m ill.

I neither enjoy writing those words nor having them as the lead. There, however, they are.

Recently I’ve been feeling peaked, which I attribute to a variety of reasons.

Whether it’s that general malaise or an ongoing dental infection kicked up a notch or both, I awoke this morning resembling a right-cheeked chipmunk.

Alvin the chipmunk. Difference is, I'm not grinning.

The right lower lip and soft tissue extending extending across the lower right jaw, where the infected molar rests loosely in its socket, are swollen and painfully tender. The symptoms stretch beneath the jaw into the upper neck due to  swollen lymph nodes.

The price of an untreated tooth infection.

I referenced this distressed tooth, an inheritance from the poverty and hardship of Tacoma traveled with me to Denver, in a post soon after arriving.

I mentioned that within the first week or so, I’d seen an endodonist (it’d gotten that bad); within the second week, I was scheduled for a root canal that the budget required me to cancel.

I was put on a 10-day course of antibiotics to tide the tooth over. They helped as a Band-Aid helps a gash that ultimately requires stitches.

The words of my dentist in Tacoma are now haunting. He said he’d seen cases where patients with infected teeth are treated with antibiotics, the pain subsides for a while, they go about their lives and are back in worse condition. The infection returns more aggressively and virulent.

I wonder and fear whether I am an example of his information.

The local endodontist said that the sooner I can get the root canal done, the better (exacerbated by the battle now to save the tooth where every day of delay reduces the odds). I know that.

I am so ashamed of the rotting condition of this tooth — and I tell any practitioner so even before I open my mouth. I have the paternal bad genes. I’ve been living in dentist chairs since age 6. It’s been the good fight and a lot of work and expense to keep these teeth healthy and to keep them at all. Not every battle has been won. I’ve quipped that my investment portfolio’s in my mouth.

I’m so ashamed of the dental negligence that only APPEARS to be because by nature and action I’m so very very conscientious and proactive and responsible in my dental care. I’ve had to be and want to be. When there’s a problem, I’m on that phone making an appointment.

Honestly, I have no fear of the dentist. This is so for many reasons, the least of which is that I’ve bucked up and relied on my own fortitude, focus and presence of mind fthrough some pretty rugged treatments and long hours in chairs from an early age.

I’m known as the dental queen in my family. It’s how and what it is, plain and simple.

What’s to fear in going to the dentist (presuming a good one)? What’s to fear is the outcome of NOT going.

Where am I going with this? I’m ill. For reasons and causes so out of character and foreign to my thinking and practices that I could weep in shame.

Breakfast was comprised of two Ibuprofen, salt water rinses and one cup of coffee splashed with half-and-half. The chipmunk swelling has subsided for the moment; the infection and discomfort remain.

I’m awaiting a callback from the endodontist re: my request for a prescription renewal. In the meantime, while I appreciate the good intent behind suggestions, I want none. I know what needs to be done, even if it’s presently unattainable. Like the sick animal, I want to be left alone.

More than that, I want the molar to be root canaled and saved and to be able to afford it.

That is all.


8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Country Cinderella
    Aug 16, 2011 @ 19:19:28

    I am so sorry to hear how bad your tooth is acting up. I know how difficult it is to have to struggle to get by until you can afford to get the root canal. I hope the doc will give you the extension on the antibiotics.


  2. Flamingo Dancer
    Aug 17, 2011 @ 00:35:52

    Oh you poor dear! I hope it is not as bad as you fear. Could you just get the tooth removed? Is it a visible one? If not, just get it removed. Root canals are often just to make money for the dentist and only saves the tooth a short time. I don’t want to alarm you, but tooth infections can cause heart issues, so take care.


    • allycatadventures
      Aug 17, 2011 @ 10:36:14

      @FD – I don’t understand the concern about visibility. A tooth extracted needs to be replaced regardless of visibility. What is your proposal after an extraction? A bridge? An implant? That would be a decision between dentist and patient of course. Each bears its own enormous cost, complications and burdens. There are certainly bad apples in every profession; dentristy is no exception. I’ve never had a bad dentist in my lifetime; I can smell and detect one far across the miles — and kilometers. 😉


  3. inaformerlifeanexpat
    Aug 17, 2011 @ 07:05:59

    Getting that tooth fixed should be at the top of your ‘to do’ list now.


    • allycatadventures
      Aug 17, 2011 @ 10:41:45

      @Expat – It’s been at the top of the to-do list since 2008; what is new is the degree of urgency and spreading disease. If it’s not taken care of within a month, it’ll be lost so yeah, it’s *very much* at the top of the to-do/simultaneously no-can-do list.


  4. Trackback: Dental Care « Lexiemom's Blog
  5. longeyesamurai
    Aug 19, 2011 @ 03:50:13

    I feel your pain. Let’s hope the solution is not too painful.


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