Saturday, February 15, 2014

Give me Novocaine.

This was the only pleasant part of the visit to the endodontist yesterday. The backstory: Remember when I took a spill hiking? Among other injuries, I cracked a tooth. Which lead to getting a crown. And not the cool kind you can wear on your head. And when that didn't solve the problem, I was referred for a root canal in December. But before I could get there, I went through that bad break-up. With an endodontist, because my life is nothing if not rich in irony.  Finally, however, the pain drove me to reschedule. On Valentine's Day. Because again, the irony of it all.
These places are a needlephobe's nightmare. Every where I looked, there were needles. Gah. So instead, I stared at the x-rays and fretted. I have to say that the entire staff was kind, including the young endodontist (who called me Dr. and introduced himself by his name without the title, which I found amusing). But it turns out, I am remarkably resistant to whatever they inject into you these days. The two hours went something like this: injection, drilling, me cringing, him asking if I could feel that, me nodding, injection... Round after round of that process. The poor assistant was alternating between handing him various torture implements and wiping tears off my face. I am compliant as all hell, but I can't control my tear ducts.
Finally, he said he'd given me the maximum dose, and since it is calibrated for a 150 pound person we were actually about 50% over the limit. He told me that he only encounters someone that resistant to anesthesia once or twice a year.Yay me - I'm special.Anyway, he said he just wasn't going to do anymore if it was going to hurt me. I left with instructions to reschedule and start taking ibuprofen three times a day for three days prior to the appointment, and that should make the anesthesia more effective. When I go back in a couple of weeks, I'm going to suggest they just hit me over the head with a hammer.
And I'll keep quiet about my suspicion that the guy does lines in between patients.
I came home and crawled into bed for a while to nap and feel sorry for myself.  That's right, I did those simultaneously. I'm a good multi-tasker. And then my friend came over to eat pizza and watch "Zoolander." One night when we were having dinner out, I'd mentioned that I could only turn in one direction skating (to reverse directions) or skiing (to stop). He suggested I see the movie because the title character can only turn right on the runway. When it got to the line, "I'm not an ambi-turner," my friend poked me and said, "That's you!" It's a supremely silly movie, but perfect for distracting me from my pain.
"Take away the sensation inside. 
Bitter sweet migraine in my head. 
Its like a throbbing toothache of the mind. 
I can't take this feeling anymore. 
Drain the pressure from the swelling. 
The sensation's overwhelming. 
Give me a long kiss goodnight 
And everything will be alright. 
Tell me that I won't feel a thing. 
So give me novocaine." (Green Day)

43 comments:

  1. I'm assuming gas isn't an option. Yeah, the ibuprofen could lessen tissue swelling, so it might help. I don't like visits to dentists or particularly orthodontists either, something about lack of control, ditto when I had a trip to the cath lab.

    I remember the 'old days', when visits to colleagues for services was always pro bono, or 'professional courtesy'.

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    1. I don't mind pain that is inside me, I just don't like pain being inflicted on me. Yeah, no professional courtesy anymore!

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  2. glad you got a bit of a distraction...ack...i cant stand the dentist...or anyone with their fingers in my mouth...last tooth i had done...the juice nor the gas worked...it was horrible...ack.

    err...happy valentines day?
    smiles.

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    1. I have never ever liked any sort of dental work.

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  3. OMG...this experience reminded me so clearly of one I had while having a tooth abscess drained about two years ago, because no matter how much Novocaine the oral surgeon gave me, it wouldn't numb the pain. I have a pretty high pain tolerance, but having this procedure done (with a local) was pure torture. I kept grabbing the arms of the chair because I literally thought I was going to FLY off.

    "These places are a needlephobe's nightmare. Every where I looked, there were needles."

    I know, isn't that the worst? And not only the needles, but why does every instrument in a dental office look SHARP and EVIL?

    Hope all goes well for you on your next appointment.

    And you're right, Zoolander is such a silly movie but every time I watch it, I laugh my ass off.

    X

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    1. It's because the instruments ARE sharp and evil! I'm absolutely DREADING the follow-up appointment.

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  4. Oh lord, it's hanging over you now too, the whole thing all over again. What about a bottle of whisky?
    Good luck. And I admire how amusingly you are telling us about it

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    1. I know - I wish they'd just given me valium or something and finished up!

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  5. What a sad experience that was. I hope that when you go back that the Ibuprofen helps. Glad you had a nice distraction for your evening.

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  6. That is a complete nightmare! You are not a redhead or auburn hair, are you? They say they have less pain tolerance (not been true with my daughters) and also need more anesthesia (one of mine did awaken during wisdom teeth removal).

    I'm sorry that you have to go back. I know how hard it is to psyche yourself out for any sort of medical procedure, and then to not have it done and go through it all again is TOO MUCH. You have my sympathy.

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    1. Brown hair. I don't know why I didn't do well with the anesthesia. And thanks - I worry that the next time will be worse because I know now how badly it can go.

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  7. Your first root canal? *hugs* I've had two and am wishing I'd had three.

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    1. I'd like this to be my last, but I suppose that's wishful thinking.

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    2. It sounds like you have pretty good teeth, though. This was from an accident, not just normal use. I think luck is in your favor.

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  8. I could hardly read this: my worse phobia. I beg for gas for even baby procedures.

    You are obviously a trooper. I hope it is much easier than last time. Hell, i 'd probably be begging for anesthesia!

    Love
    kj

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    1. I could hardly write it! I'm not a trooper, really, I just wanted as far away from there as I could get.

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  9. There is no more sympathetic audience for the content of this post than I.

    I. am. so. sorry.

    Could you try the self-hypnosis (aka "mental yoga") that kept me from screaming out of the chair last summer? Yea, that doesn't help with the pain. They started me out with 12 shots that first day I went--before the crown. Are you at all a redhead, in some soft strawberry blonde way? There are studies, you know, about tooth pain, lack of response to the Novacain, etc. in redheads. Here: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/08/06/the-pain-of-being-a-redhead/comment-page-16/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0

    Anyhow, oh honey.

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    1. Thank you. I did deep breathing all the way through, but I do so poorly with inflicted pain. And no, I'm not any variant on red-headed. Just regular light-medium brown. I don't know why I didn't respond well.

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  10. Oh my gosh, I am so sorry! Sounded like a nightmare and you get to go back for "seconds". I am so sorry your body is so resistant to the anesthesia. I had a root canal and a tooth pulled a few years back and it was the "easiest" thing I've ever been through but I have one of those compliant types of bodies, it does what its supposed to do with meds, healing, etc. I'm glad you were able to spend a bit of Valentine's Day with a friend and a mindless movie like Zoolander.

    may your next procedure be more kinder to you!

    betty

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    1. I heal well, fortunately. And I think I have a normal response to meds in general. I have no idea why this was so awful.

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  11. Oh poor you! Glad the procedure is over and hope that is the end of it.
    I am similar with resistance to shots of painkiller and tranquilliser.
    When I had to swallow a camera a few years ago, the tranquilliser didn't seem to work at all & I was awake through the whole wretched procedure.
    There were rows of others patients sleeping off their drug afterwards. I was wide awake, staring out of the window.
    Maggie x

    Nuts in May

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    1. Well, no - the worst of it will be in a couple of weeks when he tries again.

      Yikes! Seems like they should have given you an extra dose.

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  12. This was an original way of spending Valentine's Day:) I hope you feel better now!

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    1. Worse. But I'm hoping the next try will fix it.

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  13. I speak as one who requires nitrous oxide before novocaine, before any dental procedure including cleaning. And sunglasses to blot out the light. And earbuds to block out the noise.

    Absolute and profound sympathy.

    XO
    WWW

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    1. Nitrous was not offered as an option. I did keep my eyes closed, and I wished I'd had music to listen to.

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    2. Cs, ask about nitrous. It will soften your anxiety. I almost look forward to it :-)

      Do ask, in advance
      Love
      kj

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    3. It's a good thing you're here. These things would never occur to me independently. I don't know how I manage to get through life.

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  14. I am also a dentalphobe (not sure of and not brave enough to look up the proper term). I have t have gas and novocaine....and LOTS of novocaine. The last root canal I had my hands so tightly clenched I left marks on my palms. I didn't even know that there was such a thing as an endodontist until then. Who does that job anyway?

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    1. I think dentalphobe is the actual term. Don't get me started on the kind of person who does that job, given my recent break-up!

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  15. I only recently discovered that my root-filled tooth has no nerve endings so I didn't need any anaesthetic to have a replaced ordinary filling. I was glad of that because I also hate that moment when the needle goes in. Fortunately the standard level of anaesthetic is fine for me.

    I hope you can find some way of calming your dread a little before the next appointment.

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  16. Ugh, what a horrid experience. I had something similar, being resistant to the dental block, during a root canal. I nearly jumped out of the chair. Scared myself AND the doctor. I think novocaine doesn't work properly when you've already got inflammation. My doctor called it a "hot" tooth. I think this is how people who once had normal healthy relationships with their dentists suddenly become phobic. I know I did! I hope part two of this procedure is quick and easy. I'm with you in spirit!

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    1. That's why they are having me use ibuprofen first. He was thinking if he could reduce the inflammation, it would help the anesthesia work better.

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  17. Sorry to hear about your pain. Yikes. But, I am glad your friend was able to add a welcome distraction. I hope you all have no more ice and snow--as sun might be a good distraction as well.

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    1. Actually, I think if I'm going ot be miserable, I'd just as soon not waste a sunny day on it!

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  18. I could really do with an injection to have a scale and polish at the dentist I'm so scared! Sorry to hear you're in pain, hope the next visit is less traumatic for you. x

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    1. I don't mind that part of dentistry. I like my hygienist - she's really sweet.

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  19. dang, i feel your pain. i'm also resistant to anasthesia. never had a root canal but had all four eye teeth yanked from my skull without properly working novacaine. i'm glad you had a friend to laugh with after it all though....i say whatever dulls the pain is good.

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    1. Ouch. I feel sure they'd need to knock me out for pulling a tooth.

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  20. I am not trying to sound superior but I had to go in for root canal treatment just two weeks ago and my dentist took all of 45 minutes to do the job and send me packing with a whopping bill. It was uncomfortable but not painful. May be it is just that my threshold is higher than yours or we had different kinds of problems, but the experiences are so different!

    Are you a medical doctor or a PhD?

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    1. Ph.D. - that's the required degree for a clinical psychologist.

      It's not a superiority issue or a pain tolerance issue - I had an 8.5 pound baby without any pain killers and not a whimper from me. It was resistance to that anesthesia.

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