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Sunday, July 17, 2011

"Facing" the truth!

      Ok, if someone told me this I would think it was a joke...but sadly it is not.  Last Monday, (a week ago tomorrow) I had a tooth extracted.  No big deal right?  I have had it done before and I assumed this would be a normal extraction.  Plus this particular oral surgeon had  removed wisdom teeth from all three of my sons and my husbands mouths (a total of 16 teeth!) with no problems. I suppose that in hindsight I was a bit over confident and given the last several months in terms of my health a little caution was probably in order...but nonetheless I went in full of confidence and with no particular concerns at all.  
     I suppose I should have been more worried when just before I was put to sleep the surgeon looked at my xray and said "well another tooth from hell and it is only the second one of the day".  But when you are about to go into a deep, relaxing sleep you just are not that alert so off to sleep I went.  1 1/2 hours later (it was supposed to be only about 20 minutes) I "awoke" (a bit of a stretch since I was in lala land for the remainder of the day) and remember very little until after my husband and I got home and I began to feel a lot of pain in my throat, numbness in my face and swelling.  I used ice packs and drank milk shakes (the one good thing about this whole nightmare!) and the next day when I woke up and my face was still numb I was a bit worried but still thinking that things might be OK.  
     I headed into my office for what was to be a very busy day that included (I am not kidding I swear) a video taping I had to do which involved repeating phrases like SCSEP and other assorted tongue twisters.   I had mentioned in advance that this taping might be a problem since it was the day after oral surgery but since I had no problems with an extraction two years ago, I went ahead and said OK to the videographers.
  It actually went fine despite the fact that I still could not feel my entire lower left lip, the chin below that and the teeth in the lower left quadrant of my mouth.  It felt like Novocaine had just not worn off yet and yet I knew full well that it had so....I called the surgeon and they said to come in.  Now this always worries me because if it was nothing to be concerned about they would just chat with you on the phone so now I am getting a bit anxious and I still have a full day ahead of me.  
     I meet with the oral surgeon and he reiterated how difficult this extraction was, going into some detail (way more than I wanted to hear) about just how tough it was.  He concluded by saying he "nicked" a nerve most likely while "digging" for a "migrated root" and that is why I was experiencing this numbness.  He added that I have a 50/50 chance of it going away and the option otherwise which involved a neurosurgeon severing the nerve and grafting was just way more than I wanted to hear.  He said he would "call me" in two weeks to check on my situation....Can't wait for that phone call!
     So I left totally dazed and confused and now wondering what I had done in my past life or my childhood that has landed me where I find myself at the moment...RA meds. failing, body in pain, numb face, work related stressors, etc.
I then "googled" this condition and THAT was a mistake as I proceeded to read about every tooth extraction nightmare known to man!   So at some point between wanting to rip my lower face off and tears I actually began to laugh at the absurdity of it all.  
     I thought there has to be a silver lining here somewhere...right?  Well, lets see....I cannot eat much (nothing solid for awhile till the tooth site heals) so maybe I will loose some of those unwanted pounds I gained from the increased dose of corticosteriods.  I was not drooling or exhibiting a sagging face as the numbness does not seem to have effected me in that way, thankfully.  And I found that my body was so preoccupied with this new dilemma that some of the shoulder pain had gone away so that was good.  And I had a slew of jokes about this that I unleashed on anyone who would listen so that was kind of fun.  
     It suddenly dawned on me that having to handle the RA for these last 15 years has once again served me well as I have truly become a die hard positive thinker!  I simply cannot let this setback win either.  I have yet to give in to these numerous attempts by fate to get me down and this time will be no different.  I will get through this....slowly and with patience.  I hope the feeling will return to my face in time...they say it could be days, weeks, months, years or, of course, never but I will stay optimistic because the alternative is just not what I want to consider right now.  I start my new medication, Simponi, on Tuesday and I hope to report that it is working really well!
    Now if the heat here would just let up a little I would be even more positive!  92 degrees today and humid!  Hey at least I cannot feel the heat on my face!  



deb aka murphthesurf said...

Wow that's alot to deal with to say the least. We will keep thinking these positive thoughts and hope that your face will return to normal. Maybe the nerve will regenerate. Like you I see the glass as half full. It does make things easier in my world and I hope it does in yours too! Wonder if we could contact the tooth fairy on this one?

Wren said...

Talk about rough luck! It's great that you've been able to see the silver lining in this situation--and it's true that RA does teach us to be resilient and forward-looking. I hope the numbness will only be around for the short term, Nan, and that your RA will give you a reprieve in the meantime. Hugs...

Nan said...

thanks for the kind and encouraging comments! I love the tooth fairy idea Deb! I may leave the temporary crown that was removed under my pillow tonite and see if that gets me anywhere????