In the forecast: Pain


A toothache can distract you completely.

For the past two months, I have now and then, with increasing frequency and duration, had mild toothaches in (I thought) one upper left tooth and one lower left tooth. They always went away; and that’s all I thought of it.

Then last Thursday night there was such severe pain for such a long time, that I lost several hours’ sleep and resolved to get those two teeth filled the next day. But that didn’t happen. The dentist said four teeth must be extracted; and the appointments the clinic scheduled for me are two weeks and four weeks away.

This means: for the coming month, I am going to be in pain of varying severity for varying lengths of time.

It may not be much, now and then; it may be a lot, now and then, and for quite a while now and then. But it’s unavoidable. It’s coming.

How will I choose to feel about it?

Will I accept it, or react continually against it?

Will I hate myself for being in pain? or possibly hate others?  Hate God?

Will I be crying out, “Why me?”

Or may there be other options?

Related:  A short route to agony

From my diary:

Toothache pain kept me awake for at least 2½ hours last night.  This morning I could not remember the pain itself, but only the fact of the pain — and the fact I’d decided to put all else aside and get the fillings done today.

At bedtime, the toothache was such that I took two ibuprofen and applied the benzocaine gel. Over the next couple hours, from time to time the pain would go away, and I was left guessing as to whether the pain itself were merely gone, or instead the analgesics had kicked in. At times I applied the self-comfort tool, apparently with good effect. I reasoned that if the pain of depression ultimately comes from the physical body, and I can deal with it that way, then I can also deal with this other pain that comes from the physical body, that way also. I noted in these times that, with my eyes closed, instead of seeing a cloud of black, I saw a cloud of yellow; which is consistent with the perception that the comfort emanates from the solar plexus.

Having planned originally to leave DD at 8:00 this morning, I arrived at Dentistry at 9:15.  I was told that today’s services would cost $100, and that my current insurance, United Healthcare, included nothing for dentistry.  I went to Case Management to get a voucher.

Robin told me I’d need to change my MCO (insurance coverage), because although she could give me a voucher for today’s services, there was no guarantee she could for future appointments, which there would be.  Today’s services would include an exam and x-rays only, no fillings; they never do fillings on the first appointment.  And she said United Healthcare is the only MCO in Maryland that provides no dentistry.  So she gave me the voucher for today, and we called Medical Assistance and changed my MCO to Maryland Physicians Care.  The new coverage takes effect 2015-01-18.

Back to Dentistry.  I arrived at 10:00.  Instead of fillings, the dentist said four teeth must be extracted.  #s 15, 16, 18 and 19 must come out.  That done, I won’t have much left on the left side of my mouth.  She wanted to give me three scripts:  one for an antibiotic, one for ibuprofen, and one for a nighttime pain reliever.  The first two, she could send to my pharmacy electronically; the third would be a paper script that I’d need to carry to the drugstore in person.  Two appointments would be scheduled for the extractions.

At the front desk, I was able to schedule the first appointment for 01/29 and the second for 02/09.  I was so focused on scheduling those, and on the fact of facing nearly a month of intermittent severe pain, that I forgot to stay to pick up the paper script; and left.

After those four teeth come out, I may need help eating popcorn.

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