The Wisdom Tooth
Last night Bronwen and I applied for our volunteer positions at Woodford. Normally I volunteer as a festival shop supervisor. I’ve traditionally liked that position because it’s quite different to what I do normally, is social—I get to meet a lot of people—and is challenging enough that I’m not bored. I also get somewhere out of the rain/mud/sun (though not heat—it’s usually very hot in the shop) and the ability to charge up things. However, this year both Bronwen and I decided to volunteer as personal assistants with the executive support department… I’m not entirely sure what that position entails, or if we’ll actually be accepted (there’s only eight positions available), but it sounds like it might be interesting.
Hopefully they have a sense of humour, as I listed my relevant skills as: Intelligent, and can wear gumboots. Have survived both “damp” and “warm” Woodfords without drowning or melting (at least not entirely). Have enjoyed taking a more active role in getting things done outside my normal duties with the Festival Shop and would like to try something new and see more of the behind-the-scenes running of the festival.
Good communication, planning skills and problem solving. Good with IT. Good at juggling tasks, not very good at juggling sharp objects.
Medical Conditions: Allergic to angry bears, and large lions. In emergencies, may require Byron Bay doughnuts.
I caught the bus to work.
Bronwen and I had pizza for dinner.
I went to the doctor, because I’m still not well, and I think I should be entirely over the flu by now. He prescribed antibiotics: Amoxycillin (500mg) and Metronidazole (Metronide 400mg). He said he didn’t see any sign of ear infection and suspects a dental problem is the cause. He says the antibiotics are the same ones used for inner ear infections, though he doesn’t think that’s the problem. Referred pain from the jaw is not uncommon, Google told me. It also told me Trigeminal Neuralgia is one of the most painful conditions there is. And that I’d probably die—but that’s Google for you.
After the doctor, I caught the bus to work and was late. After work, I caught the bus home, then drove back into the city to get Bronwen. We had Nandos for dinner with Maz in West End.
I drove to work, had Subway for lunch, and then it rained on me while I was walking to my car. I attempted to drive to Bronwen’s parents’ place, but traffic was abysmal. After a very long time of not going anywhere, I headed north—it was quicker to drive halfway to Gympie than it was 500 metres through the city.
I did eventually get to Bronwen’s parents’ place, and we had dinner there.
I caught the bus to work. An important man from New Zealand has been interviewing everyone all day. I had dodgy curry from Brunswick Street Mall for lunch, and was not sick after.
Brunswick Street Mall has to be the worst redevelopment I have ever seen. Not only is it much worse than it was before—it’s just awful. There’s random boxes and small pieces of unpleasant brick wall in the middle of it, for no apparent reason.
I caught the bus home, then drove to ALDI with Bronwen, and then to Kookaburra Café, where we had our usual pumpkin gnocchi with blue cheese sauce, a vegetarian lasagne with salad, and a coffee thickshake. After dinner we dropped past Bronwen’s parents’ place so Bronwen could drop off things to take to Stradbroke Island tomorrow. ALDI sells glass toasters—what a good idea! You can see your toast toasting as it toasts.
Just as I was going to bed my head/teeth/ear pain intensified severely. I took a nurofen but was unable to sleep and had to stay up for a couple of hours until the pain subsided.
I drove to work, parking in the car park at Chinatown. Bronwen went with her parents to Stradbroke Island straight from work, so I drove home alone, and was sad.
After being sad for a while I changed to hurting. This was a terrible idea and I immediately regretted it, but unfortunately, it was severe and uncontrollable (at least with the pathetic pain killers I had access to). I took the maximum amount of ibuprofen, paracetamol and codeine that I could, and walked around in circles for a few hours, until either the pain started to subside, or I got too tired, or the pain killers numbed it enough, that I could go to sleep. It felt like everything on the right side of my head had gone wrong. My ear ached. My eye ached. Seemingly random teeth hurt. It felt like my head was going to explode. It was not very nice.
I decided this wasn’t a very good way to live, and now that it had happened two times in a row, I had better do something about it as soon as possible in case it happened again, so I set my alarm for 8:30 in the morning, which is when the dentist opens.
I had set my alarm for half past eight (which is when the dentist opens), but woke up earlier. I wasn’t in extreme pain anymore—but the whole right side of my face was still aching and sore. As soon as it was half past eight I called the dentist and made an emergency appointment for ten o’clock.
I walked to the dentist and told her my story. Coincidentally it was the same dentist who had done my previous dental work. She had a look at my teeth, banged them extremely hard with something and asked if they hurt, and injected many, many needles into my jaw. This almost immediately made all the pain in the whole right side of my face go away (and my jaw go numb) which the dentist said indicates that the pain is indeed referred pain from my jaw, and most likely from the wisdom tooth I’m waiting to get out. It was nice to not have any pain.
The earliest that I could get it taken out surgically was next Saturday, and the specialist I’d seen who recommended having it done in hospital under anaesthetic would take even longer due to hospital booking waitlists. However, the dentist reckoned she could probably get it out herself, and offered to try. After some slightly concerned questions (I’d originally been referred to the specialist by a dentist who said the tooth was too close to the nerve and risked causing nerve damage), I decided that there wasn’t really anything to lose by trying, so said yes. To my surprise, it came out quite easily (or at least, so it seemed to me—I was so numb that I couldn’t feel anything and can only assume by the fact that an assistant needed to hold and stabilise my jaw that quite a lot of force was used). A short while (and $271—significantly cheaper than the surgical removal option, and drastically cheaper than the hospital option) later I was out of the dentist and walking home (via the chemist to pick up some Panadeine Forte) with some gauze in my mouth that I had to keep pressure on and a scary list of things I couldn’t do (such as use a straw, do any exercise or anything that would exert or make my heart rate rise, or cough or blow my nose).
I then spent the rest of the afternoon dozing sitting drowsily in my chair (when they say that the painkillers may cause drowsiness, they’re not joking) alternatively putting ice on my jaw for twenty minutes (which, strangely, also made me sleepy), and then taking it off for twenty minutes. I even set an alarm every twenty minutes, and another every three hours, to make sure I did this and took my painkillers on time.
Having just had a tooth out, I couldn’t eat—but I had to have food with my painkillers and antibiotics. This seems like a common problem that everyone going through this must have, but I’m not sure what the preferred solution is. In my case, knowing that I must take painkillers before the anaesthetic wore off, but not knowing when it would wear off, I decided to take a painkiller without any food. I had some paracetamol 500mg/codeine 30mg tablets, so decided to take one of those. Unfortunately, it nearly killed me. I carefully squeezed it through my lips, on the side away from the gauze and horror, and poured a little water in. The first thing I noticed was that my lips don’t actually work. This came as a surprise, as did all the water pouring out all over me. I managed to catch the pain killer as it too spurted out at about the same time as I found out that the underrated but extremely useful thing that differentiates between breathing and swallowing was also not working. It was probably fortunate that my lips weren’t working, because most of the water had gone all over the floor, rather than into my lungs.
It is very difficult to avoid coughing while choking to death, but coughing would dislodge my gauze and the all-important blood clot it was protecting, which seemed much more important than preventing myself from drowning at the time. Fortunately, with the exertion of much mental control, I managed to hold my breath until I could figure out what was going on, then breathe slowly, regain my breath, not drown, not dislodge the gauze, and even—after spending a lot more time and utilising some strange face angles—managed to take my painkiller without dying.
After all this (which took some time) I took the gauze out and waited for spurts of blood or sudden death. However, nothing much happened.
Having waited as long as I could, I figured I had better eat something so that I could have my antibiotics, which I need to take three times a day. Plus I’d decided to take my paracetamol/codeine, wait three hours then take two nurofen/ibuprofen, and alternate that, and I didn’t want to take two nurofen on an empty stomach. I had some custard—it being the softest thing I could think of that wasn’t just milk—and my antibiotics, and settled down to continue putting ice on my head for the rest of the day.
By night time my numbness had worn off, and I had learnt how to not dribble again. I had a can of soup for dinner—Heinz pumpkin minestrone if I remember correctly—and continued the annoying twenty minutes on, twenty minutes off ice thing until around ten o’clock when I decided I should go to sleep.
I’d been told not to lie down and to keep my head elevated at all times, so I put a beanbag on my bed and went to sleep like that. While I’m sure it was incredibly uncomfortable—and I did wake up with a terribly sore back—the combination of the painkillers and the stress meant that I didn’t mind, and fell asleep anyway.
I woke up early in the morning to have some more painkillers, and then dozed until early afternoon at which point my sore back become more important than dozing, so I got up. I’ve reduced my painkillers down from a paracetamol 500mg/codeine 30mg followed three hours later by two ibuprofen 200mg, repeated every six hours, to a paracetamol 500mg/codeine 10mg followed four hours later by a single ibuprofen 200mg, repeated every eight hours. I can feel my head hurting a little now, though the tooth itself (or where it was) doesn’t seem to hurt.
I had soup again for breakfast (at two o’clock), and went to Woolworths to restock around five o’clock. I had a can of creamed rice and some cottage cheese for dinner.
Bronwen arrived home around 7:30. I stayed up until ten to have my painkillers, dinner (more cold soup—pumpkin minestrone again) and antibiotics, and then went to bed.