I went to bed on Wed. night fully expecting to wake up in the morning with my face looking like, well, my face, not a warped Cabbage Patch Kid. Much to my disappointment, these sorts of dastardly infections don't respond immediately to antibiotics. The pain had grudgingly diminished by the time I awoke Thurs. morning, but the face was still ballooned out as if a cheek implant had been inserted, but in the wrong cheek if you get my drift. I felt so much better that I almost didn't care about my bizarre countenance, except we'd been invited to attend a private viewing of Jonathan's Uncle Joe's newest art collection at the Dickinson gallery in Manhattan that evening. This was something I'd been looking forward to attending for weeks, but I really couldn't fathom going looking the Elephant Woman. I hate to think of myself as vain, but I guess on some level I am, because I told Jonathan I would not go, no way, no how. Period. I even tried to cry, but I think all the excess moisture in my system had gone into my face so all I did was sputter and whine. Jonathan got the hint and dropped the subject.
Around 10 a.m. on Thurs. I felt something "popping" out of my gum. Curiousity made me get a flashlight so I could check it out. Gingerly pulling my lip upwards I aimed the beam of light at the gum and lo and behold, there was the opening for the abscess. EEEEEWWWWWW. Horrified I ran into the living room to show Jonathan. "Yep" he said barely taking his eyes from the TV. "That's an abscess". Thank heavens for the internet, because I immediately googled "gum abscess" and got all kinds of valuable information, along with disgusting images that resembled what I had just seen in my own mouth. The info stated that I could pierce the abscess with a straight pin that had been held under a flame for 20 seconds and that would totally relieve the pressure. Well, I could do one better than that. I had sterile 1 cc syringes leftover from Miss Girl's bout with diabetes last year. I decided to give piercing a try. Willing myself to stay calm, I pulled up my lip, aimed the flashlight and with my right hand and went in with the needle. Ever so carefully I "pierced" the nasty spot until I felt a little pain. I did it one more time just to make sure that I'd accomplished what I'd set out to do because I didn't think I had it in me to steel my nerves to perform this act a second time. I can't say there was immediate relief, but it was draining. The bad news is that it was draining...in my mouth. Lots of rinsing with Listerine, salt water and hydrogen peroxide made me feel slightly less disgusting, but it was still pretty gross. However, hour by hour my face began to reduce in size. Finally by 1 o'clock I deemed it small enough to be seen in public and Jonathan and I sprang into action so we could dress and make it to NYC on time for the show. I still had a large pocket of swelling on my lower jawline, but fortunately I have long hair and I could strategically position it to hide the offensive remaining puffiness. I nearly clicked my high heels together as we raced out the door to the car, all perfumed and coiffed for a night out in the big city.
We made it to NYC in the nick of time and we enjoyed the private viewing immensely. Joe's work is amazing, you can check it out at www.joecoleman.com. The show was absolutely a success for Joe, as the place was packed with people. Later at the very, very late after party, as we were saying our goodbyes in the wee hours, Joe thanked us profusely for coming to support him. He made it clear that having part of his family there meant a lot to him. I have to say that comment alone made poking the needle in my gum all the more worth the effort.
p.s. the saga of this tooth isn't over. Next week after the infection is cleared up, I get to have the bloody thing yanked out. Two crowns, a bridge and thousands of dollars later my mouth will be servicably sound again. No wonder why Dr. Chaeng drives a purty white BMW. He might be in a Lamborghini by the time my teeth are under control.