Sunday, March 16, 2008

A Dark Cloud Rolling In

Sometimes an approaching dark cloud means rain. Sometimes it seems symbolic of bad things on the way. I've been a bit behind in writing this post since putting the photo on the blog. Many times the photo gets posted and I write the text the following morning. Actually I compose it in that twilight between sleep and awake, sometimes as I'm drifting off and other times while lying there trying to decide whether to get up yet or try for another half hour's sleep.

I was brought out of my dream by a loud cracking sound and a sharp pain in my lower right gum. Out of the dream, but not out of the sleep. It took probably ten more minutes to get my head screwed on straight and realize that I'd probably had a grand mal seizure in my sleep. My lower bridge doesn't fit too securely and wasn't positioned correctly when the seizure caused me to suddenly, and forcefully clamp down on my jaw. One of my teeth had cracked cross wise and was now held in place by a post that was put in when I had a root canal canal a few years ago, and the downward pressure on the post had split the root as well. Of course it was Saturday morning and the dentist wouldn't be open until Monday. There's that dark cloud, now overhead! Fortunately, having had a root canal there was no tender nerve inside to hurt, but the nerves in the socket kept reminding me to call Dr. Rosenberg as soon as possible.

This morning I called and by 10:30 I was sitting in the chair getting X-rayed. Half a dozen shots of Novocain were failing to do what Howard wanted them to do, and he didn't really want to hear me scream. (He'd heard me once years ago. Once was enough!) A quick call to his buddy, oral surgeon Paul Richman a few blocks down the street, and I was on my way, X-ray in hand. He told me that Paul might not be as willing to be photographed during the extraction as he (Howard) was a few months ago.

It must have been nearly twenty years ago that I'd last used Paul's surgical expertise. Neither of us could remember exactly when that was, and his records don't go back that far anyway. He gave me a bunch more shots until everything was numb, my lip hanging limp, and speech next to impossible since one half of my tongue now refused to obey commands. Paul told me that I'd be hearing cracking sounds but wasn't likely to be feeling anything. He was right. He started digging and prying, alternating with drilling, partly to remove a bit of bone and partly to give his forceps something to grab on the tooth pieces. One by one he got first the top of the tooth off the post, then the post, then the two halves of the root structure. He picked out a few little pieces of bone or tooth before putting a few stitches in the gum, followed by jamming a gauze pad down on top of everything. " Bite down" he told me, and instructed me to to use a fresh pad fom time to time until the bleeding stopped. I only needed one more about ten minutes later as I drove to the pharmacy to get some Vicodin for pain and Amoxicillan to prevent infection. The bleeding had stopped. I needed two Vicodin over the next few hours. The pain is gone, my tongue obeys orders once more, and feeling has returned to my lip. I expect to see a nice blue sky, the sun shining brightly in the morning.


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