It wasn’t much in the beginning but it nagged. Twinges I ignored while I walked and prepared my homily for one of three funerals. It was there as I served during our Sunday services, then a little more insistent on Monday; by Tuesday, during the funeral, I had to focus on my breathing to carry me through throbbing, seeing stars, kind of pain.
On Wednesday, I finally made it to the dentist who took one look at the x-ray of my mouth and said, “I’m sending you to an endodontist. Here are some pain meds and antibiotics—he’ll see you tomorrow for a root canal.” Another office, another gentle person and Southern gentleman who took a different kind of x-ray and said, “you have too much infection—I need you to go home and stay on antibiotics for a week before I can do the root canal. But with the antibiotics, you will turn a corner and the pain will diminish by Saturday.”
Saturday came and went with no relief. It was my turn to do the early service on Sunday and I got through that but the antibiotics were already playing havoc with my stomach and I headed back home early, in double misery now. Monday, the same. Tuesday, a little bit louder and a little bit worse. I rescheduled my appointment with the endodontist for Wednesday instead of Thursday and got in to see him mid morning. Another x-ray and this time, really bad news. My infection had not responded to the massive amoxicillin I’d been taking and it looked to him like the root was fractured. The verdict: “I’m sending you back to your dentist because he will be able to get you into see an oral surgeon for an extraction. It needs to happen today.” Schlepp back to another office with more reasonable music, wait, tell, wait some more. Get an appointment, but not for that day; “Dr. P will see you tomorrow (Thursday).
Go in on Thursday, wait a long time and finally get to see Dr. P who is part of a swank, highly efficient oral surgery center. A quick conversation about going ahead and getting an implant—”it’s only going to take a few extra minutes, I’ll have you out of here in 45 minutes.” All the while my tingly pain runs up and down my face and neck—ok, I’ll do it—and then he asks, “you haven’t had anything to eat or drink for the last six hours, right?” Uh. No. Nobody told me I shouldn’t. Outta luck then—they only do extractions and implants under sedation in this office. Get through another night of pain and come back tomorrow morning.
So finally, finally, yesterday, I got the relief. It is nice not feeling the shots in your mouth—I’ll take the little bee sting of the IV needle going in to deliver the sedation any day. It all happens a lot faster that way too. But after having gone for so long with that infection, when I woke up, I had worse pain than I ever remember experiencing. I quite literally wailed as my sweet husband rushed me to the drugstore to get the pain medicines I needed—I even scared myself. The pain subsided. I slept a lot yesterday. Today, I’ve only needed over-the-counter pain killers, spaced further apart; life and energy are coming back. And with all that the sober reminder—it’s way easier for me to take care of everyone else than myself. But the body tells it like it is, the body isn’t fooled by that lie that “I’ll be fine, I just have to get through this funeral.”
I walked out this afternoon and marveled at the calla lilies that are blooming in my front yard.