Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Bad day for teeth and toes

OK, let's start with the teeth.

My dentist told me early last month that because I was immunosuppressed for so long, my teeth were in bad shape. He suggested pulling three molars, recommended a surgeon, and said he was surprised those teeth didn't hurt.

Smart people would make the appointment before the teeth start to hurt.
Many, however, would put it off. Who wants to rush into getting teeth pulled? I guess that makes me normal. Hurray! The more normal, the better, unless of course it leads to a tooth-ache.

Also there is the question of whether I should have local or general anesthesia. I had general for my wisdom teeth, and that's my only experience with getting teeth pulled. The dentist said he didn't think they'd come out easily. I have a vision of a surgeon with a set of pliers, bracing himself against the chair and yanking with all his might. I know it doesn't happen that way, but still, I might want to be asleep.

I put off making the appointment until, sure enough, those three teeth started aching. I couldn't get in until next week, and that is only for a consult. I want to make sure all three really need to be pulled. If you are going to have general ($300 more), you need to have the consult anyway ($100-something). The whole thing is out-of-pocket. I guess if I can find the money in my pocket to go to JJill, I can find it for the surgeon.

Meanwhile, I went to my friendly podiatrist yesterday for treatment of my pesky ingrown toenail. If you don't want to read about toenail surgery, stop here.

He already performed surgery on this nail twice, cutting off a strip of my nail (what fun!). But when it came back again he suggested permanent removal with a chemical that kills part of the nail. That's what he was doing yesterday. This requires a lot of numbing; the needles going into your toe are the worst part of it.

For added fun, the next toe in also had an ingrown nail and was infected. So he numbed that one up too and cut out part of the nail.

He bandaged them together and said to stay off my feet for a couple of days.

But hey, I couldn't feel a thing. So I made a quick trip to the mall. Still numb. Cool. I came home and walked the dog around the lake. Smart me said to call it a day, but I went around a second time because she likes it so much, and so do I. Still numb! Went to Northampton to get my hair trimmed, and ran into the shoe store for a second. Starting to feel a little pain.

This made me think of my third Caesarean, when they put morphine in my IV. "Wow, this is great, I thought afterwards. I don't feel any pain. This is going to be easy." And then, ka-pow, the pain began to shoot through me.

Which is what happened yesterday. This in addition to the fact that for some reason, the neuropathy in my feet is getting worse even though I take a pill called Neurontin three times a day. It feels like pins and needles, with an occasional jolt like a lightening strike. This is a result of the chemo.

Anyway, I had one more thing to do: I wanted to drive to Mary's to pick up a paint chart I had lent her. On the drive over, I found some Tylenol in my purse and popped a couple. I didn't have great expectations and thought I might have to resort to Oxycodone, which I don't like. But the Tylenol actually worked.

Poor Mary and Jerry had to listen to the foot saga. Mary gave me dinner (thanks, Mary!), and when she saw that my eyelids were drooping, she offered to drive me home. So she drove my car and Jerry followed.

It was a good thing, because as soon as I got home (about 8:30, too early for bed), I fell asleep on the couch, my feet on top of the dog. When I woke up about 20 minutes later, she had moved to the other part of the couch. I think she didn't like being used as a foot rest.

I could say I've learned my lesson, which is probably not true.

I guess it's good that I felt well enough to run around, even though it was bad for me.

And my toes feel better today.

I'm heading eastward to make a quick stop at Brandeis to see Katie. (About an hour-and-a-half drive.) Then it's on to Margaret's (in nearby Needham) for dinner and an overnight. She lives within 30 minutes of Boston, so tomorrow I will go from there to my check-up at Dana-Farber.


susiegb said...

For the dentist you could try twilight sedation?! Worked for me (for bone marrow collection!)

Susan C said...

I guess the real pain hits when you get the bill for those "out-of-pocket" expenses.

Jonny said...

Needles, pliers, teeth & toenails, OWWWWWCHHHHHHH!!!!! Have you considered giving up journalism and applying for a job as a Voodoo Doll...albeit of the rather large variety.

Oh Man! Hang in there, baby...somehow!

Ann said...

I have had the same surgery 4 times on both big toes. You are brave to have run all of those errands afterward. I hope they heal quickly and your mouth starts to feel better.