Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A long day's journey into Hell

Sartre said that hell is other people, but clearly what he meant to say was this: Hell is a toothache. I mean seriously, WTF? Since when is pain so unrelenting, so all-encompassing, that it can’t be contained by all the god-given narcotic-based drugs modern medicine has given us? I shake my head.

It all began a few weeks ago now. No, forget that – about a month ago. No, forget that – about 2 years ago, when I stopped going to the dentist. Why? Well, I had all these stupid medical bills to deal with thanks to The Cancer, and enough doctor appointments to contend with, and oh yeah, there was the fact that at the time I was going to the dentist EVERY 3 MONTHS (I have crappy teeth) yet would still wind up with cavities, a need for root canals, etc. Plus when I did get work done, it seemed a bit….sub-standard. I mean, I’m no expert, but it seems to me that a filling shouldn’t fall out a couple of months after it’s put in as you’re eating corn on the cob. Neither should a tooth that’s been worked on crack when you eat a peanut. I’m just sayin.’

So where was I? Oh yeah. Hell. My foray into hell began that erstwhile month or so ago, when a back molar cracked. A piece of it fell out or something – I think that’s the technical explanation, piece displacement. But it didn’t really bother me, other than making me think, “humm, I guess I should find a new dentist and hie myself there one of these days.” But that was as far as it went. Until Hell arrived. Yes, Satan and all his minions in the form of the most god-awful tooth pain this side of the Mississippi. So terrible that I couldn’t even pinpoint which tooth specifically was causing the problem. The entire right side of my face hurt, from pain radiating through my jaw, to my front teeth.

And nothing helped. And oh yes, I tried it all, starting with the drugs. First I went small, mainlining ibuprofen. Then I thought, what the hell, that won’t do anything, and ramped up to the hydrocodone I had left over after a recent surgery. I waited about 30 seconds, and since there was no instantaneous relief from that, I next pulled out the big guns: the oxycontin.

Okay, so they were mere 5mg tablets from 2 years ago, hence with the potency and strength of baby aspirin, but again, nada. Damn.

At this point the damn tooth pain was keeping me awake, so I figured I might as well pull out the laptop and do some work. You know, at 2AM.

Then, miracle of miracles, a bit of advice came along from wunderperson and friend Jennifer Pick, who asked me if I had tried a salt rinse. Well no, hadn’t even heard of such a thing, but it was worth a shot. And lo and behold, it worked, it worked! Sure, it only took the pain away for a brief period of time, but hell, that was WAY better than where I started out. This may well be the most important piece of advice you ever get from this little blog, my friends: toothache = salt rinse.

Of course, this didn’t preclude me from looking up other DIY remedies on the interwebs, which was how I wound up trying a mouth rinse…..with whiskey. Which, may I say, is one of the most heinous things known to man – so I wound up just doing a shot (or two) of whiskey, trying to make sure it hit the right side of my mouth going down.

So to recap my efforts – 800mg of ibuprofen, hydrocodone, oxycontin, then whiskey to top it off. Don’t try this at home, kids.

(to be continued)

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