Thursday, January 10, 2008

And The Tooth Has Set Me Free!

No, that’s not a typo. It’s true that the truth has set me free, years ago, but for the past few weeks it has been the tooth.

Go back to the KUC Candlelight Service after party. I don’t go for sweets as much as I used to at one time, but you see, officer, there was this sugar cookie. It was lying on the table, looking so innocent and good, dressed up in perfect white frosting with red and green sprinkles on top. I’m kidding, seriously I don’t really care about cookies, it’s not some kind of addiction for me. But it did look good. I had a sugar cookie because I hardly ever eat sugar cookies. And it was Christmas.

The next day I was fine. I barely thought of the sugar cookie. As I mentioned in the previous entry, Dad was home with the oh-so-tender-and-tasty ribs.

By the next Friday night though, I was hurting! I mean, my tooth was throbbing, the pain was shooting back and forth between my mouth and my brain, I was CRYING… I pray a lot, but I had never prayed all-night like that time. And for me, it seems that things like toothaches come precisely at the time that I’m getting ready for bed.

I took as many painkiller/ sleep-aid things as the label said I was allowed to have. Then I moved onto the Advil; I took as many as that label said I was allowed. I started taking this other pain pill. And I’ve told Jules many times regarding a different subject, I HATE TAKING PILLS!

And my poor cats, I have three of them in the house now, and they’re looking at me go between the bed and the medication drawer, outside to the kitchen to refill my cup so that I could take more medication… I kept going to the bathroom to brush my teeth for the fifth time that night ‘cuz maybe then it’ll take the pain away, mouthwash, anything. I couldn’t think anymore, I couldn’t lay still. PAIN. CRYING. PRAYING. EXHAUSTED.

Finally, something kicks in and I fall asleep. Exactly half an hour later, PAIN. CRYING. PRAYING. EXHAUSTED.

That goes on for the rest of the night until about 5 or 6 am, I get more than 30 consecutive minutes of rest. All I know is my dad waking me up ‘cuz I wanted to go visit Aunty and Uncle that Saturday, it’s Saturday now.

My brother comes over, I groggily get ready, we all go over to Sizzler’s for breakfast. The pain hasn’t lessened in intensity but thank God, it’s coming less frequently. My stomach was out of sorts, I’m starting to worry that it’s internally bleeding due to all the stuff I took during the night, but the food helped. We go on to see Aunty and Uncle.

By the time we got back, I knew the dentist’s office was closed for the weekend. Monday morning I call the office and Trudie answers and hers was the most beautiful voice I’d heard, well, that second. Then that beautiful voice says that they’re finishing up their morning appointments. *sigh*

Now I’m thinking, okay, it’s New Year’s Eve, tomorrow’s New Year’s Day, they’ll be open again on Wednesday.

And that voice said that they’ll be back on Friday. I don’t know if I’ll still be alive on Friday, but I say okay, put my name in that book. Trudie says the earliest appointment is 4:00 pm. *sniffle* Okay, put my name down, I’ll be there. At least Dad should be home by then and can drive me there. She says that she’s gonna start confirming appointments and will let me know if there’s an earlier cancellation. God bless her.

The pain lessens little by little each day, but I still can’t think at my best. I slept in every day ‘cuz that’s my natural response to headaches which is what came with the toothache.

Friday arrives, that bless-ed day. I get up around 11 and slowly start getting ready. Trudie calls and says there’s a cancellation for 3:30. Good. She calls about ten minutes later saying the 1:30 opened up. It’s now close to noon and I’ll be taking the bus, but I should make it. I’ll be there at 1:30. Thank you God!

I have about 10 minutes to change clothes and get out the door. The walk to the bus stop is 15 minutes by Google’s estimates, but Google doesn’t know me, I’m short. It takes me 20 minutes. I get to the stop where a girl is already waiting, just in time ‘cuz the bus is coming down the hill. I thought I had enough cushion for at least 10 minutes. The girl asks me if this bus goes to Pearlridge and Waikele. Immediately I’m thinking, shopping, that’s why most people ask for those places. I let her know that it goes to PR but she’d hafta transfer for Wai. She asks where she needs to transfer and I say at Lumi‘āina for the 433, I think. I like knowing where I’m going and how to get there, but when people ask me for directions, I hope I’m not getting them lost ‘cuz I know what that’s like and it sucks.

She gets off at Lumi‘āina, but then she starts walking away from the bus stop. Hmm. Well, I hope she gets to where she’s going safely.

I get off at my stop and cross the street to get to the dentist’s. I have about a half hour to wait in the waiting room. There’s an older couple sitting on the bench, reading magazines. No one’s at the reception desk. A mother with her two sons come in.

Trudie comes out from the back, and the dental assistant comes out for one of the boys. A minute later, another d.a. comes for me. It’s 1:30. I tell her where it hurt and she sticks this yellow contraption thing in my mouth to take the x-ray. That’s how long it’s been, 2 years, where the last time, they just stuck the cardboard thing in and placed the x-ray thing right at my cheek. The yellow thing holds the cardboard thing as well as shows the d.a. where to place the x-ray thing about 4 inches from my cheek.

Meanwhile, Dr. T’s walking by every so often, saying, ‘Miss Jenn, you only come to me when you have pain’ in that sort of I-told-you-so-tsk-tsk way, but gently. He asks if I want the tooth taken out that day. OH yes.

He looks at the x-ray. ‘Is this tooth gonna break on me?’ Dr. T asks.

??? I don’t know, I just want it out. I don’t answer, I just sit in that chair impatiently patient.

Dr. T and the d.a. gets in there, there’s the numb-er thing, I can still feel a little of it, the pushing and pulling stuff. Dr. T asks for the smaller tool, whatever he uses, then the angle one, the aspirator thing’s sucking up a lot of saliva, and blood I guess, give him the big tool again. He’s trying to be gentle, I like Dr. T. I don’t mind going to the dentist.

But it’s about 15 minutes of this, and the anesthesia’s starting to wear off. I’m feeling more of it now. Then the tooth does break on him. ‘This is what I was worried about, Miss Jenn. This is why I didn’t wanna take the tooth out.’ ??? I’m thinking, he didn’t say that earlier. What he did was ask if I wanted the tooth out and of course I wanted the tooth out thinking if he’s asking it means he thinks it’s a good idea to take the tooth out and that he can take the tooth out.

I start panicking a little. I had been praying a little, just, God, please take the tooth out. Mostly I was trying to control my breath. I had left the house without breakfast, so I knew I was gonna be in a different kind of trouble as soon as the tooth comes out.

Dr. T takes a very small break and starts at it again. Now I’m praying more fervently and more trying to control my breath. My hands laying on my stomach, fingers interlaced, are sweating hard now. I take my hands apart but still try to lay there motionless so not to hamper the operation. I’m trying to stay as relaxed as possible and open wider or close a little, whatever they ask of me, but it’s annoying to try to relax while Dr. T’s saying, ‘Relax.’ I wanted to shout, ‘I AM RELAXED!’ but that spit-suckers taking up half my mouth, or it feels like it is. At some point I choked a little, I just needed to catch a breath quickly. ‘Are you okay?’ ‘nnnn-hhhh,’ which he understands to be ‘uh-huh’ and it was ‘uh-huh.’

That was about five or ten more minutes of Dr. T trying. They call other dentists or something and finally find the one in NTS is in the office that day. They stick a gauze in the area, pack extra gauze, the x-rays, and directions for me, tell me how to get to that other office.

To be continued...