Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Yin, Yang, and the Zen of Dental Agony

Things always seem to come in pairs, often opposite pairs. Black and white...hot and cold...Hope & Crosby. So it was with Tina's visit to Korea. But the problem actually began about a week before she arrived. My tooth began to ache slightly. No real pain just a dull ache. So I figured in my own logical way that I'd just take some motrin and then see the dentist after she left. Good plan. NOT! As the days wore on it began hurting a bit more so I upped the dosage of motrin. Finally I decided I should go get with the PA and see if he could hook me up with something a bit more powerful. He did just that and the Tylenol with Codeine coupleled with the topical lidocaine for more immediate relief worked pretty well . For a while. Then Tina and I headed to Seoul for our stay at the Dragon Hill and the tooth began to hurt more and more. Finally I couldn't take it any more and one morning I went on emergency dental sick call and they performed a root canal. That did the trick. We were able to enjoy the rest of our time in Seoul with only a bit of post dental surgery pain. Problem was that the pain didn't loose momentum. In fact it got worse. So back at Camp Bonifas 3 days later I was in such pain that I took about 1000mg of motrin. That did nothing so I took some codeine. Still no effect. The pain continued to grow. But this was not ordinary pain. If you've never had real tooth pain the only way you'll understand my agony would be to slowly push a 16 penny nail through your face and slowly pull it out the other side. Had it not been for Tina's quick thinking by hiding my Leatherman pocket tool, I would have pulled my own tooth without hesitation. I tired with my fingers but teeth are fairly slippery I guess because I couldn't get a grip on it enough to pull it. Finally Tina had enough of my pain and she walked down to the Doc's room around 10 PM to see if he could help. He asked me a few questions to which I answered, "Can you just remove my face please?" So he gave me the wonder drug...valium. That ended the pain and put me to sleep. It was beautiful and I didn't wake up until a full 20 minutes later in agonizing pain. So, pumped up on Motrin, Tylenol, Codeine, and Valium and still experience the worst pain short of giving birth to a horse through your nose I was driven 1 hour to the hospital in Yongsan where they gave me a "nerve block". Basically they temporarily disabled the nerve to the right side of my face. It was heaven. No pain at all. In fact no feeling at all. And no control at all. But man did I sleep well. So I returned to Camp Bonifas and then the next morning went back to Yongsan to the dentist who gave me another root canal. In the end, all is well and I have a couple of followup appointments later in the month to kind finish stuff off. In the middle of a wonderful visit we went on a blind date with misery, and she ordered the lobster.