And 2022 Comes in With a Bang…

I always tend to get a little giddy at the start of a brand new year.  I feel like I have a clean slate in front of me and that everything’s new and fresh and I’m somehow starting over.  I used to make New Year’s resolutions.  The typical things people resolve to do at the New year were on my list, like losing weight, exercising more, and eating healthier.  And you can bet there was always a resolution about being more organized and clearing the clutter from my life (especially the basement clutter).  Year after year, I failed at those resolutions.  Yes, sometimes progress was made.  Some weight was lost or some clutter was cleared and the basement got a little cleaner, but overall, I always ended up feeling like I had failed.  I quit making resolutions.

This New Years, I made plans for 2022.  I thought maybe I had failed at those resolutions because I didn’t plan well and wasn’t organized.  So I sat down with a 2022 planner calendar and planned month by month.  My plans mostly had to do with how I was going to go room to room and declutter and make changes.  I had resources in place to help me.  I had books on clutter removal,  housecleaning books, and home organization.  I made lists on rooms I wanted to redo.   I had diet books, exercising books, and books on eating healthier.  I dug up a diet log and planned to log every snack, every meal I ate, and everything I drank.  I made an exercise plan.  I was going to walk everyday for one.  I even had plans for my blog.  I wanted to blog more and get over my writer’s block.  I decided I would follow some advice I once read for writer’s block in a blogging book for writers.  That advice was to use an editorial calendar.  What is an editorial calendar you ask?  An editorial calendar is simply a plan of what you’re going to blog about, and when.  I had a list of blogging ideas.  I started planning and filling in my editorial calendar.

New Year’s Eve came and went and it was a quiet one at this house.  We ate some snacks and watched some TV.  We celebrated and toasted with our usual sparkling grape juice.  I went outside a few times and caught some of the fireworks going off all around us.  I felt good and told myself that this was going to be a great year!

It’s been a tradition for us to start a jigsaw puzzle at the New Year, so my oldest son (who was home for 2 weeks for the holidays) and I began to work on this puzzle.

Just barely two days into January, I was sitting on the couch snacking on pretzels and broke a crown off a front incisor.  My heart sank because this meant a trip to the dentist.  My regular dentist, who I just adored and went to for many years, knew this tooth as being a problem child.  He knew all about my complicated dental history and all about the anxiety I feel when going to the dentist. He was so caring and compassionate and he made my visits easier.  But he retired in 2020 soon after COVID came onto the scene.  I miss him terribly.

I called the dental office the following Monday and they worked me in for Tuesday morning.  The new dentist was very nice and explained things well.  The bad news is that part of my tooth broke off inside the crown.  It was not a simple matter of gluing it back on.  It was no simple fix at all.  After giving me some options, it was decided that a bridge was the way to go.  Ugh.  It would require some dental surgery.  The central incisor tooth next to the affected tooth which was to be involved in the bridge, was cracked (a long vertical crack running the length of the tooth).  So this tooth would need some attention too.  They scheduled me to begin the work the following morning and told me to expect to be there for several hours.

I was at the dentist bright and early at 8 am the next day.  I was in that chair for 4 1/2 hours.  I had the broken tooth extracted and a bone graft done, stitches placed, and three crowns.  I had impressions and the temporary bridge placed.  The dentist explained that the cracked tooth ended up having some decay and while he was drilling and cleaning it up, a small pinpoint area of pulp was exposed so he went ahead and gave me a referral to see an endodontist to be evaluated for a possible root canal.   He said I may or may not need one, that we would have to wait and see if there was any pain or sensitivity in that tooth.  It seems whenever I have any dental work done, I always end up with some sort of problem or complication that requires more work.  This is part of the reason I’m always full of anxiety when I go to the dentist.

Towards the very end of the visit, I began itching.  I didn’t think that much about it and didn’t even mention it to the dental staff.  The itching became much worse on the short drive home.  But by the time I got home and looked in the mirror, I had a sunburn type rash on my abdomen, sides, back, and chest, and also had started developing hives.  I was having an allergic reaction to something.  I immediately popped a 25 mg Benadryl tablet.

I’ll skip the details, but this allergic reaction landed me on the floor of the shower hollering for my husband, because my blood pressure dropped and I got dizzy and weak and knew I was going to faint.  I remember thinking while I was laying on the shower floor that people can die from an allergic reaction and I prayed that God would please not let me die on the shower floor.  Hubby is a nurse and he got me out and into the bed and gave me another Benadryl as the hives were getting worse.  I felt better once I was laying down in bed and fell asleep.

The next morning I still had itching and some red splotchy areas of petechial hemorrhages, but my hives were gone.  When I called the dentist and told him what was going on, he said he thought I was having a reaction to the preservatives in the local anesthetic (bupivacaine).  He said it happens sometimes, keep taking the Benadryl, and he was glad that my husband was a nurse.  He told me I was in the chair a long time and had had a lot of local anesthetic.  The rash totally disappeared on about the third day but I itched for a solid week.

Back in 2004, I was diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia.  The trigeminal nerve is a large nerve in your head (one of the cranial nerves) that starts near your ear and splits off into three branches that go to the eye, cheek and jaw.  Different things can cause trigeminal neuralgia and dental work is a common cause.  When I had it back in 2004, it was the worst pain I’d ever experienced.  I’ve had 2 babies, a kidney stone, a broken arm, and a broken tailbone, and none of that came close to the pain of trigeminal neuralgia.  I ended up seeing five different doctors- a dentist, oral surgeon, endodontist, my primary care doctor, and a neurologist.  They were all in agreement that it was trigeminal neuralgia.  The neurologist told me he needed to rule out Multiple Sclerosis, since  TN can often be an early sign of that.  I had brain MRIs, bloodwork, and a lumbar puncture (spinal tap) where they did  tests on my cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).  I ended up NOT having MS.  I was put on Gabapentin (Neurontin) and my pain stopped.  Ibuprofen helped too.

My previous dentist once told me that TN is the worst pain known to man.  I would agree!  He also told me it’s often called “the suicide disease.”  I told him I could sure see why!  I was warned it is usually a recurring condition and it might come back.  So you see, when you have trigeminal neuralgia, you live with a certain degree of anxiety because you wait in fear for that pain to hit you again.  It hits hard and fast, and it’s the deepest, most intense pain you could ever imagine.

A few days after this recent dental work and the allergic reaction, the trigeminal neuralgia reared its ugly head.  It had been over 17 years since my previous episode.  I recognized it immediately.  Sometimes before you get TN pain you will have numbness and tingling in your face.  I had that again and the exact same pain I’d had in 2004 and in the same areas of my face: my jaw extending down into my neck, my cheek, around my eye and just under my nose.  It was agonizing.  It leaves you just crying and begging for the pain to stop.  I called my primary care doctor who prescribed the Neurontin again.   I took 800 mg (prescription strength) of Ibuprofen three times a day.

I told my husband I don’t care to have dental work done anymore unless it is a life or death situation.   The problem is, I have to go back in mid February to get my permanent bridge.  I worry about another allergic reaction as well as the TN returning.  I was told I would be given local anesthetic injections again but the dentist said he will not use the same drug he used last time.  And I’m still not sure if I will need a root canal.  I haven’t seen the endodontist yet as I’m waiting for the trigeminal nerve to settle back down and heal.

I haven’t walked or exercised at all this month due to the pain and because I have a cold sensitivity in that area where the temporary bridge is.  Cold can bring TN pain on and believe me, I will do just about ANYTHING to avoid that pain.  Exercising gets my heart pounding and the surgical area in my mouth throbbing.  I’ve been outside and just a few inhalations of cold air about does me in.  I can’t drink anything cold so these days I’m drinking lots of hot coffee and tea.  Needless to say, so far, nothing has been accomplished or marked off for January in my planner.  My year has not gotten off to a very good start.

During all this dental drama, the dryer quit running.  And then my youngest son called to tell me he was sick and had tested positive for COVID.  It’s his second confirmed case of it.  This time his wife got it too.  I broke down and cried when I hung up the phone from him. I cried because  we were just a couple of weeks into the year and I felt like 2022 was already going to top 2020 and 2021 as far as bad things happening.  I wouldn’t have thought that possible.  Thankfully, my son and daughter-in-law are recovered and doing fine now.

So yeah, 2022 came in with a bang.  I guess things happen though and I have to keep working on having a positive attitude.  I’ll just be glad when all this dental work is over.

Gail ♥

About Gail

I am a wife, mother, sister, aunt, friend, veterinarian, and wanna be writer. I love nature and animals of all kinds, music, cooking, and spending time with my family.
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4 Responses to And 2022 Comes in With a Bang…

  1. I was relieved to see you had posted tonight; the south has had some raaather worrisome weather — I hoped you were alright. Well, you’re not exactly alright, dang it! 😣 I’m sorry, Gail. I hope 2022 soon allows you to get back on track in everything.

    • Gail says:

      Our weather hasn’t been too bad although we’ve had 8 inches of snow already in January and considering our yearly average snowfall is only about five inches, it’s very unusual for us! But yeah, strange weather patterns where it goes from 70 degrees to the 20s in a day and I went through another scary tornado that did damage very close to here. Too close for comfort! I was in the basement hovering with the cats under the pool table for a while that night.

      How are you?

      • Oy, another tornado.. 😦 whew. That would scare me half to death! (I’m ok, thanks! I’m ready for winter to be over, but it may be a while…)

      • Gail says:

        Glad you’re okay. I’ll take cold for a while here (well maybe OUR cold but not your northern cold- hee hee). I’m not ready just yet for our heat and humidity to return. It stays around much too long for me.

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