Tuesday, 10 February 2015

House of pain.......

I am more than a tad sceptical about the supposed link between pain and pleasure. When it comes down to making a choice I'd definitely choose pleasure every time.  Similarly I haven't read 50 Shades of Grey, and have no intention of seeing the film, so the exploits of Mr Grey, his erstwhile whipping girl and the pain/pleasure connection will forever remain a mystery to me.

However, I can wholeheartedly vouch for the fact that when you've been in severe pain for any length of time, the mere absence of it, even for a few hours, is an almost intoxicating pleasure.

I've had excruciating pain from a dental abscess for a whole week.  I had one at Christmas, which settled down after a few days of antibiotics, but this one is in a different tooth, which has already had root canal treatment.

I went to the dentist last week at the first tell-tale twinges, and an X-Ray confirmed a sizeable abscess deep in my upper jaw at the tip of the tooth root.  

So far so bad.

I was prescribed antibiotics and advised that given that the previous root canal treatment had failed, the best option was to have the tooth extracted, but I would have to wait for the infection to subside.  A combination of over-the-counter painkillers was also advised.

Drinking, eating and even talking were painful..... at that stage, on a scale of 1-10 I'd have scored the pain levels at 4-6.  Each day I was confident that the antibiotics would kick in and the infection would subside, lessening the pressure causing the pain.

But no.

By the weekend, even rattling with an assortment of painkillers, the pain was peaking at around 12 out of 10 and I was in abject agony.  

I like to think that my pain threshold is quite high.  I live with neuropathic pain due to my MS on an almost daily basis, and mostly manage to keep it under control by a variety of inventive means.  I've given birth to two children, and the pain there was no walk in the park either. But NOTHING can compare to the levels of pain I've experienced over the past 5 days.

Aside from the site of the infection, pain radiated up into my eye socket and down my neck into my right arm.  Not to be outdone, my MS got in on the act and triggered the trigeminal nerve, escalating pain levels from excruciating to unbearable.

On Sunday morning, in desperation we tried to get me an emergency dental appointment, but the only local centre was fully booked.   In the early hours of Monday morning, it was so bad that PP wanted to take me to A&E but I resolved to wait till the morning and the prospect of an appointment with my own dentist.

Now, you would think, wouldn't you, that if you have off-the-scale dental pain, the person to sort you out, and relieve your pain would be a dentist. 

Well, you just would.  Wouldn't you?

By the time I got into the chair at 9.25 yesterday morning I was almost sobbing with pain and exhaustion, not having slept more than an hour for three consecutive nights.  The dentist examined me and said she was sorry but she couldn't do anything until the infection had subsided!  I all but pleaded with her to do something.....  ANYTHING... so she reluctantly agreed to try to remove the offending tooth.  However, while trying to administer the novocaine injection she decided that the pain/infection was too severe and that as a result 'the anaesthetic may not be effective'.


She then said that in view of my MS, she was unwilling to carry out the extraction.  I was speechless for a few minutes then asked what was I supposed to do as neither the antibiotics nor painkillers were helping.  She finally agreed to write up a prescription for different antibiotics (the same ones which had done the trick at Christmas) but said I had to go to my doctor for stronger painkillers.

At that point, if someone had offered to cut off my head as pain relief I'd have accepted.  The next few hours are a bit of a blur.  Our doctor didn't have a surgery so I had to have a phone call from an emergency doctor to arrange for stronger painkillers.  Once that was done we had to pick up the prescription and get to the pharmacy to collect both the new antibiotics and painkillers.

It took till early evening before I began to feel the first tiny lapping waves of 'not pain' gradually advancing over the huge surf rollers of 'pain' pain.  I'm not usually a fan of strong opiates, as I dislike the zombified, disconnected feeling they cause, but by then I was beyond caring.  Even the slightest gradual reduction in the level of pain felt wonderful.  Practically euphoric, although it only lasted for a few hours before building again.

I even managed several consecutive hours of sleep last night, waking twice to top up the pain relief.

So what next?  Well I have a follow-up appointment with my useless dentist later this week, by which time, hopefully, the new antibiotics will have worked their magic sufficiently for me to have the tooth pulled.  I no longer care about it, and she is adamant that repeat root canal work is generally ineffective.  Not to mention it costing the earth.  My confidence in her is badly shaken though, and I don't know what to do for the best.

In the meantime, doing anything creative workwise is a lost cause.  Things have been so bad that I haven't even been able to concentrate on Pinterest.

Yes.  It's been THAT bad.

On the positive side, PP, and to a lesser extent, Small Dog have been wonderful.  PP has taken control of my complicated drugs schedule and has been ensuring that I've been made as comfortable as possible, liquidising my meals, providing compresses and generally caring for and looking after me while I've been in extremis.

Small Dog has been performing in her role as The Healing Paw.  This mainly consists of climbing over me and sitting bolt upright, staring into my face while I stroke her.  She claims that this releases endorphins which help fight pain.  I'm assuming she means my pain although I suspect she benefits from the process too.

The fact that I have been able to sit at my laptop long enough to write this feels like something of a small miracle after the past week.

Which reminds me.... it's almost time for my painkillers.


Jennifer said...

I'm glad Small Dog has been offering such wonderful support. I'm not sure my chinchillas would be much use in a similar situation and bouncing off my head probably wouldn't help.

I do hope the antibiotics kick in soon and you get some relief. Sounds like a worst nightmare x 100.

thinking of you.


Robin said...

You poor woman!!! Deepest, deepest sympathy!

Neen said...

You poor thing!! Why is it that pain control is not the first objective of doctors and dentists? Thank goodness you have a wonderful and caring partner! I hope the pain is demolished permanently soon.

Sandra Morris said...

Thank you all for your kind comments. As of this evening the pain is finally mostly under control and I've had my first solid food since Friday.
Hopefully things are now on the turn and I'm cautiously optimistic *fingers crossed*