Tuesday, September 22, 2009

dental pain

I remember a Seinfeld episode a while back in which Jerry is accused of being an "anti-dentite" Don't put me in that category yet but man I've got a reason to be upset. I get a lot of compliments about my smile so it might be surprising that I have problems with my teeth. Well, at the time of my diagnosis, I had a tissue calcium level below 50% of ideal. I have since boosted it to about 70-75% but the residual effects remain. It is not a surprise that my teeth decay easily.
About 2.5 years ago, I had fractured the the bottom left molar. I wanted it pulled right then because it was on the very end and nobody could tell that it was missing. The dentist in Monty had other ideas. He said that "we should do everything we can to save that tooth" so I got the crown and endured a flare up later on, which required the actual root canal. I could barely open my mouth for a couple of days and it took weeks for the soreness to fully go away. Oh yeah, I was prescribed pain medication and had a reaction. I was having a pleasant conversation with my boss when all of a sudden, I started feeling really dizzy and went down. I laugh about this now. My sister told me that her husband once had a bad reaction to novacaine. I replied: "not nearly as bad as mine, I'll guarantee that." In a monotone voice, she replied: "No. He didn't pass out at work in front of his boss." These events took place several days before my half marathon debut (1:59:37) in Seaside, Florida.
Fast forward to last Friday night. As luck would have it, I started feeling a little bit of pain the night before the race. I couldn't see a dentist until Monday so I just took some Motrin and felt fine when I woke up. I had no dental issues during the race but it began to feel a little sore by the afternoon. By Sunday, the pain was excruciating. It was so bad that my ear was throbbing in addition to my tooth. I don't think I got an ounce of sleep that night. I had to go to Monty in 2 weeks for audit training and I trusted my old dentist (he was the one that did the crown) so I went ahead and made the trip while laboring in pain. Bad call. I wasn't too worried about falling asleep because I was in too much pain. The trip was relatively smooth and I arrived first thing in the morning and stated that I had an extreme emergency. My dentist was able to fit me in and he could not tell whether or not it was an infection or that the crown had altered my bite. He smoothed a little off my upper tooth and prescribed antibiotics and pain medication (Lortab). When I left the office, I felt about 20% better. Maybe, all I needed was an adjustment to my bite. My dentist wanted to see me in 2 weeks when I would be back in Monty for training. In the past, antibiotics had an immediate impact and I was hopeful that if it was an infection, it would make a difference immediately. It did not. Finally, after 2 pit stops, I made it back to Hoover and took the pain medication. It really didn't too much for the pain but at least it made me drowsy as advertised. I was able to get a few hours of sleep. Despite taking all of the recommended pills, I was not getting significant relief from the pain and my face was becoming swollen and even had a low grade fever (99.6). I made an appointment with a dentist in B'ham for a second opinion. Good call there. This guy had no doubt that it was an infection and my best option would be to pull it. IF ONLY I HAD SEEN HIM 2.5 YEARS AGO!! He referred me to somebody else in Hoover and after a wait, the dentist was able to see me. He said that it was so swollen that he had reservations about the procedure and told me to go elsewhere. I ended up at the UAB oral surgery center in Hoover with a 2 PM appointment. I would need sedation so I called my boss, who arranged for a coworker to drive me home. He not only did that but took me to the pharmacy and even picked up some soft food for me at the grocery store. Thank you Wayne. You are an angel. As far as I know, the extraction went smoothly and I got a little something to eat and went to my bed and slept. The worst is over now but I can't predict when I'll be back to normal. As far as racing, I am skipping the Race for the Cure 5K and will focus on high mileage in October. I may have a very active achedule from late October-December.
Possible races:
late October- Maple Leaf 5K in Trussville
Novermber- Vulcan 10K, Huntsville half marathon, Turkey Burner 5K
December- Baton Rouge Beach half marathon.
I probably will not do all of these. We'll see how things go. I want to focus on the Mercedes Marathon in February.
Probably no running for me this week.
Edit: pretty much bedridden yesterday although I have been able to stop taking the pain medication. I did go out in the afternoon for a haircut, which I badly needed. I am feeling a little loopy and have some diarrheal issues from the antibiotics. It is known that antibiotics can throw the adrenal glands out of balance so I can't predict the long term impact on my fall racing season. I have a right to be angry since this tooth should have been pulled more than 2 years ago and none of this would ever happened. I had my follow up appointment and was told that the procedure was done "just in the nick of time." I got clearance to return to work and to running "whenever I feel up to it." That won't be until the weekend at the earliest and the first 2 days will be easy with "pass/fail" grading.

1 comment:

Preston said...

I would probably do the Vulcan 10K and the Baton Rouge Half, if it were me.

Sorry to hear about the tooth.