Beware the Elephant Woman – She’s Lopsided!

I’ve been having a pretty severe issue with one of my molars. It desperately needs to be pulled, but I’m still waiting for my coverage to go through from my disability. I went to the dentist weeks ago, and she put me on antibiotics for a week. I’ve been off them now for about two weeks, and suddenly the abscess flared up again with a vengeance. Now I’m going to need another course of antibiotics before they can pull it, to counteract the possibility of blood poisoning going to my heart. Aargh!

Even better is the fact that the infection is now likely antibiotic-resistant, so they’ll have to put me on something a lot more aggressive in order to get rid of it. I really do think I look like the guy in The Elephant Man, which was, of course, based on a real person’s life; it just didn’t have much to do with bad teeth. The whole lower half of the right side of my face is one big lump, and even half of my lips are swollen.

If I put my teeth together the way I normally do when I close my mouth (yes, every once in a while I do close my mouth), my lips don’t want to close. If I put my lips together, my teeth want to remain apart. There is a very good chance I’ll start drooling very soon – and not just from my misshapen face. Honesty compels me to admit that I am severely self-medicated at the moment. For a few hours I put up with the pain, but then it got to the point where I thought I was going to go crazy – and I live with constant pain that’s actually worse than giving birth, so that should tell you how bad my face and mouth are hurting at the moment. Okay, well, not necessarily at the moment, since I’m doped to the gills, but they certainly were before taking my painkillers.

I hate having to be on pills all the time. I have a standing prescription for a neuropathic painkiller called Gabapentin, which is mostly effective for the pain in my hip joints. It’s not perfect, but it’s a lot better than nothing. I always forget how much pain I really have, until I have to go without my prescription for a day or two. Now, with my molar abscess I’m also taking Tylenol with codeine. Yippee! That also means being on Gravol constantly, because of my sensitivity to narcotics. They make me really nauseous.

Nausea is only one reason I hate taking pills, though. Another reason is that I don’t like my mental faculties being impaired like this. A third reason boils down to side effects. Ingesting large amounts of acetaminophen (Tylenol) is terrible for your liver, and every once in a while I experience liver damage from them. Thankfully the liver is an organ that actually repairs itself, so the damage is temporary. Liver damage has the effect of causing hypoglycemia in me, too, so when I start shaking and shuddering because my body is literally starving from lack of sugar I know it’s time to stop taking the Tylenol.

At the moment, though, even if I start having problems with low blood sugar, I can’t do without painkillers. I’ll be making a very stern phone call about my coverage (in my weirdly distorted voice), but I can’t do it until tomorrow. I’ve already talked to the receptionist at my dentist’s office, and my only other option is to come in and pay for it myself. I’ll put up with the pain and drugs for a few more days, thanks. Rent is coming up soon, and just having spent money on a shiny new laptop means that we’re cutting things fairly close this month.

Sometimes when it gets this bad with pain and pills I doze off a lot. Tylenol and codeine wear off fairly quickly, though, so it isn’t long before I’m woken up again,

I’ve had problems with my teeth before, and when I had one of them pulled I ended up with a dry socket. That’s supposed to be excruciating, yet I barely noticed it. It was more like I just realized there was no clot in the space where the tooth used to be. Otherwise I might never have known.

Yes, I realize I’m being a bit of a whiner – okay more than a bit – but I suddenly felt like writing something, and this is what came out of it. Not exactly enviable prose, but it’s keeping me in the habit anyway. Or maybe I’m just going by the premise that if I have to suffer, so should my readers!

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