Coffee heat rising

Adventures in Dental Science

One fiasco after another. Old age is definitely no land for the young…

For quite some time, I’ve had a broken tooth, one of the forward molars. We haven’t been able to tell which one, because of the several crowns back there and because it was cracked, not actually busted. The dentist X-rayed that side of the mouth several times and could not find the crack. And I could not tell which of the two surviving upper molars emitted an electric shock of pain when I bit down just right…on just about anything.

Finally, however, the thing split apart. That hurt quite a bit. But interestingly, when the chip fell out a day or two later, the pain stopped altogether. Who’d’ve thunk it?

At any rate, all this meant the tooth had to be pulled. Dentist sent me to an endodontist, who proposed to dig it out, implant a “post” (which far as I can tell is basically a titanium screw).

However, when I told the endodontist about the supposed MRSA infection, he flew into a panic and said he couldn’t do the procedure.

What was I supposed to do about the broken tooth? He shrugged. Finally he suggested that I get a second nasal swab, and said if it was clear he would proceed.

Sooo…I had to trek out to the Mayo — halfway to Payson from my house — to get someone to stick a Q-tip up my nose. Again.

Astonishingly, the Mayo sent word that the MRSA test was negative. So the endodontist relented and scheduled a procedure for last Friday.

Naturally, I came down with a cold on Sunday. Never, EVER fails!

The cold is rather mild and the tooth situation was rather urgent, so we decided to go ahead with it. This meant I got to spend something over an hour on my back in the dentist’s chair, gagging on goop oozing down the back of my throat.


While it was uncomfortable — mostly because of the cold — the procedure was not painful. It was actually pretty interesting. His office has equipment that allows them to make 3-D X-rays of your teeth, which is amazing. And the amount of work and skill required to perform the trick of extracting a tooth in several pieces really is amazing.

So at any rate, the tooth is out. He insisted that I take a week-long course of clindamycin by way of fending off any potential infection. He remained concerned about the potential for MRSA, but resistant bugs or not, apparently dosing you with antibiotics is S.O.P.

Yes. Well. Unfortunately these days I’m allergic to just about every drug out there. And if a drug has a weird side effect that afflicts one in a million users, invariably I am number 1,000,000. At the risk of repeating myself: Never fails.

Clindamycin has a number of dire side effects. One of them is a skin thing that is incurable and causes your hide to fall off. Another is C. difficile overgrowth.


SDXB’s former wife died of a C. difficile infection. She died laying on her living room floor, where she was found by a neighbor about two days later.

Naturally, while I was at the endodontist’s having my gum sliced apart and the tooth wrenched out, the Mayo’s clinician Mona called on the phone asking me to call back to talk about that MRSA test. Naturally, by the time I got home it was after 5 p.m. and they were closed. So naturally, I get to worry about that all weekend.

Cripes. Let’s just hope all she wanted to say was that “negative” in your chart means “negative.”

Believing I would surely be in terrible pain, the endodontist handed me a prescription for oxycodone.

Besides the fact that I don’t take addictive drugs on principal, when I get it home I find it’s mixed with acetaminophen. I’m allergic to acetaminophen. It’s an NSAID. Interestingly, I’m allergic to all NSAIDS.

Luckily, I apparently don’t register pain the way normal people do. Probably because my menses were so excruciating, other pain seems negligible by comparison and tends not to bother me. Although the site where he’d extracted the tooth was sore, it certainly wasn’t enough to send me flying off the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Got to sleep with no problem (so exhausted a jackhammer could have been going in the backyard and it wouldn’t have kept me awake).

Next morning I gaze into the mirror and find my face is swollen, which was not surprising. Then I developed a black-and-blue spot that makes me look like someone socked me in the face. Loveleeee. Both of these are normal, as it develops. But I sure could do without them.

Last night a member of the choir committee called to ask where the heck I’ve been and was I coming back. Of course, I’ve missed several times: last Sunday, and then again Wednesday evening. And yesterday morning: we have a concert this afternoon, which I’m also going to miss because I’m not rehearsed. I’ll be surprised, really, if he lets me sing this morning, since I wasn’t at rehearsal for today’s service.

And in fact, I’m still feeling pretty wrung out, so think I will just go over, drop off my choir folder & hymnal, grab my robes to bring them home to launder and store over the summer, and call it a day.

Or not. We have the annual end-of-season choir party tonight. My friend urged me to come to it. We shall see: by evening I am just wrung out, and by 5:30 p.m. I surely will not be the life of anything like a party. So that’s depressing. But I’ve just been too sick to think about it.

And so away, off to swallow another horsepill and toss some food in the blender. Whee!