Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Bucket of cysts

"My mouth tastes like rubber gloves" I whined at Ron. 

We went to the dentist.  The dentist likes chatting to Ron while he works. 

Xrays, brief exam from Latino Guy (the new assistant).  He poked around and left. 

Later on he came back and loaded the Xrays on the computer.  They looked fine, except for the scar tissue. 

I need to tell you about that.  I've always had problems with anxiety.  It was especially bad as a child, very "high strung". 

Add suicidal depression to the mix.  Then take me to the dentist to have four teeth pulled under a local. 

As I lay in the chair, feeling absolutely raped, bloody tools passing in front of my eyes, horrible crunchings I could hear and feel,  the unsympathetic dentist shoving my jaws apart, my mouth full of blood in spite of the suction (I am a "bleeder" in dental parlance), I lost it. 

I began screaming.  I threatened to bite him.  I could feel some pain, so they doped me up with more lidocaine and left me sitting in the chair, all the bloody picks and probes, along with broken extracted teeth sitting in the tray in front of me, for about 15 minutes. 

If they thought I was bad before... 

He left a bone fragment behind, on the first extraction, when I was behaving.  Oddly enough he got the others out "clean" and I had no troubles.

When he finished, we all looked as if we'd run a marathon. 

My stepmother was conflicted.  On the one hand, she cared what the neighbors thought, but on the other I had clearly been traumatized.  She took me home and put me to bed. 

The next day, after the other kids left, I was allowed to watch all the TV I wanted (any channel) while she ran errands.  She prepared soft foods for a few days (they took middle teeth, not molars or incisors), until I could eat again. 

Ever since, I always hated the dentist.  That dentist flatly refused to ever treat me again. 

I was Not Happy to find out I had to have my wisdom teeth out, 5 years later.  They said they would do it under a local and I objected.  Strongly. 

Overruled, "Insurance would only pay for a local". 

Dad was not a poor man. 


About that time, I ran off with Ron. 

Ron sure couldn't afford to have my teeth out, not that I was in a big hurry.  However, the lower right one began pushing one of my incisors.  I applied for Medicaid. 

They told me I could get food stamps, too.  "I have enough to eat" I replied, as she gaped at me. 

I found The Only Entodontist who took Medicaid, not far from my home.  I walked over, had my evaluation. 

"You have a cyst in your jaw.  We need to take it out and ensure it's not cancer." 

Huh, I thought.  I didn't have a cyst 5 years ago when they kept showing me the X-rays and selecting the extraction victims.  "It's a result of your extraction". 

"Oh, and Medicaid will only pay for a local."

I couldn't do that.  She was talking about cutting open my gums, and drilling the molars in half.  I thought the first time was bad....

I was making about $80 a week.  Ron's entire income went to our living expenses.  I did not have an emergency fund.  We were living check to check. 

I did the thing I swore I would never do.  I begged my father for money. 

The cost: $150.  He said he'd loan it to me, but I had to make a $50 payment every month for three months. 

Remember the part where I didn't have any extra money? 

If I'd had that kind of money, I could have afforded to pay for it myself.  And I was his daughter.  I wasn't asking him to pay for an abortion! 

[sigh]  Took me a while to work through that one, let me tell you.  I did pay him back, in a timely manner. 

I signed his contract (!) and left with the check in my hand.  He would only write a check out to the doctor, not me. 

And he wonders why I never asked for money again.  That said, it is his money.  He can do whatever he wants with it. 

I had the surgery.  That's a funny story.

Ron had just started his new job.  It is really hard for blind people to find work.

He couldn't take time off from his job to help me, the day of my operation.  I said that was fine.

"I'll pay for a cab" Ron replied.

"We can't send you home in a cab." they replied.  "Legal issues.  She absolutely cannot go home in a cab."

Ron and I hate to ask for favors.

He did, however, know a cab driver.  He thought perhaps he could ask Chris to pick me up in his personal car, appearing to be a friend but in actuality a cab ride. 

Ron called and presented the problem.  Chris no longer drove for Yellow but he had an answer.  "I won't show up in a cab" he swore, "But I'll be there". 

We didn't know Chris had started an executive transport service, and had just bought a new Mercedes Limo.  I'm sure those gals are still talking about my ride home. 

I was so happy as I felt the drugs entering my arm, knowing I wouldn't have to endure the extraction.  When I awoke, they looked as if they'd run a marathon. 

They sure earned their earmark, whatever it was.  They had to chip away parts of my jawbone to get the teeth out.  I can only imagine that horrible scene.  Part of my cheek was sewn to the gumline, where they'd taken out the cyst (about an inch in diameter). 

The nurse put my glasses on my face; SOMETHING I HATE.  If you are in the medical field, PLEASE offer the patient their glasses.  The last thing we want after an operation is some stranger jabbing our glasses at us, trying to align them.  They did that after my ovarian cyst surgery. 

I'm just a bucket of cysts!  [laugh] 

The surgery left a lot of scar tissue, inside my mouth and inside my jaw/sinus cavity.  I developed a lot of sinus trouble afterward. 

I wish I had just left it alone.  It wasn't bothering me but they kept yelling it could be cancer. 

As I looked at the X-ray today, I could see where the cyst had actually pushed the root of one tooth, downward (the one that was bothering me).  The upper right bicuspid. 

I mused about all my dental dramas. 

Doc came in, chatted us up.  Told us how his dog died and he got another.  I asked about the new one and he showed me photos.

He poked around for a minute and gently probed my gum.  I almost hit the ceiling.

"There it is" he murmured.  He rolled back and pulled down his mask.  "You need a {I didn't get the name, but a gum procedure}".  I nodded.

Bad gums run in the family, my Dad has terrible problems, and I have had them too, even with good oral care.

He left.  The billing lady came back.

Ron's last procedure was over a thousand dollars, with our plan.  He was in cold sweats over my bill. 

I looked at the itemized bill.  "It's $130"

Ron sagged in relief.

"No it isn't" the clerk replied.  Ron cringed. 

"You already paid the {something} so it's only $86.  Would you like to pay now?"

Ron couldn't get his wallet out fast enough, grinning ear to ear.

"I told you" I chided him, grinning "I'm cheap."

He laughed.

Then the dentist came back and the fun began.  I was expecting "A scraping".  Apparently they've progressed, or my case was that bad.

He used some kind of drill.  I could feel the calculus flying back up all over my tongue, between my teeth, etc.  It was mildly painful but I'd undergo it again.

He was very busy, one quadrant at a time.  Front first, then back, then between.  My mouth filled with blood.

Like I said, I'm a bleeder, and I warned him.

They sucked,  they irrigated, the high pitched whine of the device vibrating my teeth.  I kept reminding myself, I only have 24 teeth (4 pulled for braces, 4 wisdom).  I counted down, how many I had left.

A  couple times I wanted to get up and run, but I laid there and tried to relax.  I could see the blood going up the stem of the irrigator and had to remind myself I always do that.

"You bled a lot at first" he said.  Yeah, I noticed!  "But once I got the calculus off you stopped."

I had forgotten.  

We left and went to Walmart.  About halfway though my "shop" I began to feel the pain and swelling.  Yes, my gums needed the scraping.

But they always hate it.  They are absolutely purple now and I can barely eat. 

Even with the painkillers, I still feel as though my gums underwent a beating. 

"I have a really dry mouth" I told Doc.  "You can see what it does.  How often should I have this done?"

Every six months.  

I think I'll go hide under the bed for a while.   

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