Now two weeks before, I had gone to my dentist, Dr. M (whom I love) with complaints about a molar on that same lower side that was hurting. He xrayed it, said nothing was wrong that he could see. It was a crowned molar that had been previously root canal-ed. But he did say that it could be another tooth that just hadn't presented itself yet. Dr. M is the kind of dentist that is not in the game to get rich and run with the social elite in Shreveport like OTHER dentists we know. His motto is "no pain" and he means it. That is why you will not hear HIS NAME but at the beginning of my story.
So last Monday morning, I called my favorite dental receptionist, Rhonda, with whom I have had many talks on husbands and jobs and gossip (she lives near Mansfield), and who sometimes gets me out of Dr. M's office with the delayed payment plan or "deposit the check next Friday" plan and even gets me IN Dr. M's office with the "we'll just pencil you in after lunch" appointment...you know, someone who lives everyday just like the rest of us. Love that Rhonda! Well I called her Monday morning and she got me in at 1:00. The tooth was hurting but nothing two Tylenol wouldn't cover.
So I get in to see Dr. M and he says he still does not see decay on the tooth, but to be safe, he gave me antibiotics and OXYCODONE for pain and then said it's time to go see the Endodontist again, Dr. G. Cue the doom and gloom music...DUM TA DUM DUM. Dr. G has done so many root canals in my mouth in preparation for crowns that we could hold court in there now. I never really got why people dreaded root canals because they did not bother me that much BEFORE. However, Dr. G does believe in pain and holds the land speed record for injecting novacaine.
I called Jody, Dr. G's receptionist and she happily found an opening for me on Thursday, "just keep taking the antibiotics and pain pills Dr. M gave you." Consider Thursday the delineation between BEFORE I knew torture and AFTER the waterboarding event of the dental world. Between Monday afternoon and Thursday at 1:00 p.m., things were concerning me because it was hurting more and more. I remember getting to Shreveport on Thursday finally, in pain and thinking specifically while I was driving down Pierremont that "thank goodness this pain was going to be over with soon!" Hahahahaha...if there was ever foreshadowing in a story, that sunny drive among tall trees on a spring day was screaming, "GET OUT SUSAN, RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!"
The endodontal CIA agent (code name Sissy) was waiting for me as I came in the door, "Come to the back with me Mrs. Ruffin." Enter Dr. G and the torture assistant. "Now just lay back and we'll get started..."
I would like to say that the sac of infection did not explode on my face as the root canal drilled on...did I mention that it was hurting this whole time? The pain was excrutiating...he had to stop and put antibiotic in the hole AND HE HAD TO STOP UNTIL A WEEK FROM NEXT WEDNESDAY!. No, you can't leave me with this pain, I cannot take it. That's okay, he would give me some HYDROCODONE to go with the OXYCODONE. And he would give me his home phone number in case I needed him this weekend but oh by the way, they were having weekend company and he might be out of pocket. So I get home on Thursday afternoon with pain and PAIN and did I mention that it was hurting badly?
I cried all Thursday night...enter Friday and no one from Dr. G's office called to see how I was. I had not slept all night and had taken many adult drugs. I did mention that it hurt, right? I call Dr. G's office at noon to tell them that I was hurting and damned if they don't close on Friday at noon. Crap...help...I cried because I can do that at home and feel fairly comfortable that other people will not see me. So I said why not try the ugly cry. You know the one that Oprah talks about where you know you're really alone and you can screw your face up and wail...and get real satisfaction out of it.I tried calling Dr. G at home. Well hell Susan, he hasn't even had time to get home from the office yet. But I got Mr. G's sweet wife's voice on the answering machine. I tried the brave face voice with only a hint of crying requesting stronger antibiotics and medicine. I'm sure she's heard it all before and stands by the phone for her comedy fix some days. By 6:00 that evening, blubbering, running into walls and knocking things over and did I mention that it hurt really badly?, I called my local hometown pharmacist and asked him if I could double up on the pain medication. He said of course (I knew that from my high school days-actually a quaalude would have been real handy then) and if I could not get hold of Dr. G by tomorrow (Saturday) to give him a call back and he could see what he could do. So I doubled up and knocked myself out with a concoction of pain pills and scotch that night.
Saturday morning I called my hometown pharmacist pleading for help crying (I'm sure he's laughing by now at my plaintive wail). I had tried Dr. G again and could not reach him, could HE help me? Guess what? He hung up and within 10 minutes Dr. G calls me. Now don't tell me they're not all in cahoots with each other. Proof positive! Dr. G apologizes as I hear kids splashing in the pool in the background and tells me he has given my local hometown pharmacist a stronger prescription for antibiotics and a script for Endocodone. Great, now I may not be able to ease my pain but I CAN kill myself.
Let's shorten this story. About 9:00 p.m. Saturday night, clawing the walls with pain, throbbing, did I tell you that it hurt?, I PERFORMED SURGERY on myself. We'll not go there but it involved a needle, alcohol, peroxide, Tischnor's, q-tips and gauze pads. I turned the corner about 3:00 a.m. Sunday morning...yes, I found myself finally wanting food, a good sign of Susan. Did I mention that I hurt? Yet I did not eat, I could not risk infection. I had been rinsing with listerine on the hour every hour and brushing my teeth more than I ever have in my life.
And here we are happy mother's day to me (Clif sent me a card and called). I fixed a fine brunch for Jim and me....and Norman (he got his cone off on Saturday!). It's Sunday night, I'm better, still hurting a little...it's 10:00 p.m. lights out. I just went to get me a water out of the refrigerator and found my cell phone behind the grape juice. Hmmmm, maybe those drugs were a little stronger than I thought. I called Clif on it and said goodnight...it was cool.
Ruffinism for the day: God could not be everywhere and therefore he made mothers. -Jewish Proverb