Jagged holes, exposed nerves, purple acid pustule rashes, and enough novocaine to take down an elephant… If there is one thing I’ve learned over the years is that no matter how hard I try to do something like a ‘normal’ person, everything that can possibly go wrong with something will go wrong for me!
So, I broke a tooth, and I broke it pretty bad. (think crumbling mess of razor sharp chunks surrounding an exposed nerve with just enough blood to make it extra festive). In an attempt to figure out how to deal with this disaster I found out that despite the fact that World Health Organization has declared “freedom from dental pain” as a “fundamental human right”, Canada apparently never got the memo. Sadly, given the extortionate cost of dental care in Canada, it is nearly impossible for someone who works a low-income job with no benefits to access even the most basic of dental services. In fact, there is such a disconnect in the system that even though they are the ones charging the prices, most of the dental providers seem shocked when you suggest that you are unable to pay their exorbitant rates!
After calling around and finding out that most dentists would not even see me without tacking on an “Emergency Dental Examination” charge no matter how long in advance I was willing to wait for an appointment, (because a broken tooth is ALWAYS an emergency fee no matter how long its been broken for) and that their best estimates of the “cheapest” they could remove my tooth was at just over $500 (provided there were no other “complications” ((insert, “ways they could find to charge more money” here)), effectively making my “freedom from dental pain” just a dream.
Thankfully I found a dentist who was willing to waive the “extra” fees and just take the tooth out for the cost of the extraction. When the dentist was presented with the x-rays he actually jumped back and said “Woah! Now THAT tooth is BROKEN, I would be surprised if you hadn’t told me you were in a crazy amount of pain!”. Despite the gravity of the situation, the price I was quoted for the extraction was still significantly more than I could afford. After getting such helpful suggestions as “why don’t you charge it to your (non-existent) credit card”, “why don’t you pay us more money than the cost you already can’t afford to buy yourself an ‘insurance plan’ and we will give you 10% off!” or “no we only have payment plans for non-essential procedures”, I resigned myself to the fact that I was going to have to just rip the damned thing out myself.
I drove home in anger trying desperately not to burst into tears (because that would just cause more tooth pain) my only consolation being a prescription for Penicillin to help combat the raging infection which had taken hold in my jagged hole (I mean, wasn’t it bad enough already?!).
After describing this impossible situation to my brother, he decided to have mercy on my poor soul and foot the bill for the extraction. By that time, the next available wasn’t until the following Monday still, I was willing to wait four days because at least there was an end in sight for the pain, or so I thought…
Within hours of taking the first dose of antibiotics the pain in my face was significantly reduced (from “OMG KILL ME NOW” to “wow, this is really, really annoying”) I was shocked and surprised! It was a miracle! I actually started to rejoice! Although, as with most things in my life, that miracle was short lived. About 24 hours after taking the first dose I found out that SURPRISE! I am allergic to Penicillin!
For those of you who don’t know, a Penicillin allergy starts with little purple dots, at first you think “wow, that looks funny, but maybe it’s because my body is fighting an infection”. A little while later you start thinking, “hmm, there are a lot more dots than there was before, maybe I should keep track of this.” By that time, you will take another dose of your antibiotic only to be met with “HUH, did somebody just dip me in a vat of acid?! OMG will somebody PLEASE just stop the burning prickling pain!!!” and because this just doesn’t seem like enough excitement, then, your esophagus will start to close up making your every breath sound like Darth Vader having an asthma attack!
At this point I came to the realization that something might just be going wrong and I rushed myself to the hospital expecting them to somehow arrest the progression of this cruel and unusual punishment. The crack team of professionals at the hospital seemed to think that I was “just fine” (apparently allergic reactions that cause your skin to bubble and burn are not actually emergencies! Who knew?!) so, after three hours in the emergency room (with absolutely no attempt to stop the burning) I finally left and got myself some Benadryl while picked I up a new antibiotic and went home to await today’s dental surgery.
So that brings us to today, I was nervous but also excited, they had told me that it would take about half an hour, and I eagerly awaited the start of the healing process. I got seated in the “Star Trek” room which was quite cool actually, they even had Star Trek background music playing!
Then began the longest two hours of my life! We started with the freezing, nobody likes needles, especially needles in your mouth, but I took the first one like a champ, yet for some reason even after waiting there was very little actual “freezing” going on. We repeated the procedure numerous times with similar results (or lack thereof). As the dentist began to inject the sixth full vial of freezing within those two hours, he warned me that if the freezing didn’t take “this time” then he wouldn’t be able to do the extraction because he “might stop my heart” wait what?!
I’m guessing that the increased heart rate created by the warning of impending death is what did the trick and by the grace of god the freezing finally took and he was finally able to pull out my tooth! Now I’m at home with a giant bleeding hole in my gums and high hopes that my pain will be much less in a few days! At least I hope it will be less, knowing my track record something horrible is going to happen… ahh well that’s my life!
~ Elena <3