Friday, December 26, 2008

I Am Not The Tooth Fairy

Remember we were going to the oral surgeon a couple of weeks ago to have mother dear's sore tooth removed? The appointment came and went with minimal disruption. The worst part was that the temperature outside was about 10˚F. I was happy that my brother joined us. He was the chauffeur so we were able to get out of the car right in front of the building. That minimized the amount of walking and exposure to cold.

We arrived at the office on time, she was in the chair within 10 minutes, my brother and I were told to wait in the reception area, and she was done in five minutes. I was prepared for a big scene but it went so smoothly she didn't think they'd done anything! Then, when we got home, she said they removed the wrong tooth. That was not the time to spring that little tidbit on us, oh demented one. They had pulled the correct one, she just didn't realize it.

The spells where she would rock into a fetal position because of the pain were over. She poked at it with her tongue a bit, which was to be expected, and that was the end. Or so I thought.

A week ago, she started sporadically complaining of discomfort. I thought that maybe there was a chip that was working its way out so I wasn't too worried. My brother had a chip find its way to the surface 30 years after he'd had his wisdom teeth removed!

As the days went by, her complaints of pain became more frequent and more severe. I hate to say it, but it's my job to gauge if she's really feeling it; the actual severity since everything is a 10 on a scale of 1-10 according to her; if it's the dementia telling her the tooth still hurts when the tooth has already been removed; or if she's just looking for attention.

She was up for most of last night whimpering and holding her jaw. By this morning, she was doubled over and crying. I called her regular dentist. Of course, this can't happen during normal business hours. It has to be on an emergency basis on a holiday. The last time this happened was the day after Thanksgiving so at least she's consistent.

After she heard me track down the doctor and make the appointment, the pain miraculously went away. She started jabbering about the cats and looked at me quizzically when I ask her about her sudden lack of pain. "What pain?" It's at this point that I just wanted to scream. She's on death's door bed around here, but get her in front of a doctor, and she has no idea why she's even there. Argh!

Back in we went. The dentist said that the area where the tooth was extracted looked pink and that was a good indication of healing but the culprit was probably food or something caught down in the hole. He was able to place a probe down inside and it wasn't healed over so that seemed to be a reasonable diagnosis. There was a bit of blood on the probe further indicating that it wasn't healing like it should.

He instructed her to rinse with warm salt water frequently and put her on a new set of antibiotics (Keflex). I requested something more powerful for the pain since the Naproxen wasn't helping at all. He prescribed Tylenol-3 and I'm hoping that will help knock her out at night, too. I thought I had her back on sleeping at night and awake during the day but last night's marathon trip to painville negated all that effort.

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