Ever have one of those moments where you feel like you really have a handle on things in your life? And then out of the blue Fate slaps you across the face and says, "ha ha" in a tone like Bart's jack ass friend on the Simpsons. Fate came to my house on Tues. morning and I tried to slap her back (I say her because sometimes Fate can be a real bitch), but I missed. And thus commenced the throbbing pain in my mouth, more commonly known as "toothache". Except this was no ordinary toothache. As a victim of generally awful teeth I've got experience with all kinds of tooth issues. I could tell from the deep, dull throbbing that this was going to be a bumpy ride and I'd better get myself to the dentist right quick.
Thank goodness the dentist was available for me (of course he was, he sees dollar signs when I walk thru the door) and he gave me the news that I already knew. Big abcess brewing in your upper molar's root. He deduced that it was the molar by tapping each tooth on the left side of my mouth with the handle of his picker. When he tapped the bad molar it was like a sledge hammer across my cheek. "Do you think that is the tooth?" he asked me gently. "Yes," I said weakly as I pryed myself off the ceiling. We made a tentative plan of action for when the infection got under control and he set me up with a prescription for antibiotics and vicodan. Now I'm no junkie, but I couldn't wait to get my hands on that vicodan and get the pain under control. On top of being in pain my face was starting to swell across my cheek. Time was of the essence here. I've had vicodan before for tooth pain and it is a sweet little blessing, erasing pain and making one feel mellow and lovely, to boot. I took my pills and felt a bit smug about the situation, like I'd nipped the whole thing in the bud. However, this pain would not be thwarted. In fact, it intensified and I felt completely miserable by the time I went to bed. "Just give the antibiotics time to kick in," my sensible husband said to me, barely taking his eyes off the football game as I slumped off to bed. That sounded reasonable to me and I drifted off to sleep, holding my sore cheek in my palm.
When I awoke at 4 a.m. I knew something was drastically wrong. I could FEEL my cheekbone pulsing. Putting my hand to my face made me jump up with alarm. The entire side of my face was hugely swollen and the throbbing made it feel like my heart had relocated to my cheekbone. I decided that I'd better check it out in the mirror, because maybe it felt worse than it looked. Flicking on the bathroom light, I winced and made my way toward the mirror. Holy Hell. I stared blankly at the mishapen face before me in the mirror. Wow, that face looks so sad and bloated, I thought. I felt oddly detached from it, like it couldn't be me in that bloated image. (Iguess the vicodan was having some effect on me aside from failing to kill the pain.) Having no choice but to go back to bed, I nestled back into position between Miss Girl and Jonathan, whimpering softly and drooling ever so slightly.
When we got up that morning Jonathan tried to play it cool, but I could see in his eyes that my additional freakish swelling was more than a little disturbing. He kept assuring me that I'd be fine, the swelling would go away, the antibiotics would kick in, blah, blah, blah. The pain was really getting to me by this point and I was losing patience with his glib reassurances. As is common with married couples, I shifted some of my angry, violent thoughts to him. It's not fair, of course, but it's understood that this is how marriage works at times. Remember the in good times and bad part of the wedding vows? Here goes some bad; "Do you see how fucking huge my face is?", I screamed at him. "It's killing me and I can't take much more!" "When will the fucking antibiotics kick in? WHEN!" The yelling caused my face to pulse with more intensity and I had to sit down and rock back and forth to get it to relax. Now Jonathan knows me well, because we've been together for a long time. He knew it was the pain talking, so he narrowed his eyes, muttered that I should ice my cheek and ducked outside choosing to do barn chores over listening to any more tirades.
The day crept by at a snail's pace. I read, sipped tea, dozed and ate yogurt. By five o'clock there was no relief from this pressure in my face. I was ready to lance my gumline and just get it over with, but instead a miracle happened. Like a switch, the pain went from super intense, to just intense. I was almost drunk with relief (again, probably the vicodan), because I knew I was on the downhill run of this roller coaster climb to pus bursting hell. To be continued...