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Abscess update

September 26, 2012

Yep, I think it’s an abscess. Last night, I started into the “but maybe I’m making a big deal out of nothing!” trip again. Today, I woke up to this.

This at least shows some that it’s lopsided.

It was noticeably swollen to the touch yesterday and the day before, but today I don’t need to prod at it to know it’s there. It feels like I’ve got a big bag of inflammation, from my cheekbone down onto my neck. That’s not the worst swelling I’ve ever seen from something like this, but yeah. There’s also a lot more of the nasty taste in my mouth, and more throbbing, so the infection definitely seems to be tanking up.

I’m not sure how well pointing the phone at it worked, but I don’t usually have all those chins or that deep a crease at the corner of my mouth. Much less the deep line at the base of the neck. (I doubt the sudden crop of pimples just above there is unrelated, when I don’t get many usually, but the red at the back of my neck is a cluster of mosquito bites.) The pale with red splotches look probably has something to do with the fever, though these turned out a little dark and I don’t feel like adjusting the exposure. I’d just gotten up, before coffee even, but these also reflect about how good I’m feeling so far today. That’s trying to control my expression, and it’s not working so well.

The moral here? Trust your instincts. Don’t gaslight yourself.

The response I got back from the dental anesthesia clinic yesterday:

Good morning, Yes that will be fine. Let me know some dates as to when you are available? please be aware that we are currently booked up until the end of October. If you are a new patient what you can do is go to our website www.chadwellheathdental.co.uk download our new patient form, complete the form, then you will be able to book your appointment yourself. if you have any problems with this please do not hesitate to contact us. Many thanks.

That sounds remarkably like a pro forma brushoff, when they do urgent appointments, and I did describe the symptoms and say I thought it was an abscess. I am not that good at doing the “convince people that they really do want to help you” social engineering dance (gee, I do wish my mom were around sometimes😐 ), but I imagine that if I actually felt up to piling onto the bus and going up there in person, I could look all infected and pitiful at them and get an emergency appointment. But, I am just feeling too sick and overloaded to handle that.

Today’s plan, instead? Pile onto a bus for two stops down the street (reasonable, under the circumstances!), and try to get an appointment with the dentist I have seen before down there. (I started going there after my mom had the decent experience with their treating the abscess she got when she was visiting.) Judging by past experience, they can probably work me in tomorrow, and likely send me away with antibiotics because working on a hot tooth is such a bad idea. I am very nervous about walking in by myself, but at least I am familiar with that office. I’ll still need Mr. U to go along for the actual appointment, even not expecting any actual dental work to be done. While I suspect I don’t want serious work to be done there again, I can just level with them about the local anesthetic not working right on me, and ask if they can offer any alternatives. They probably can’t, but getting the infection taken care of is the immediate goal. If that gets knocked back, maybe I can wait to get into the anesthetic clinic for the actual root canal or–more likely at this point–extraction. If I go ahead and register with them, I can probably get an earlier appointment when I turn in the forms. Which I will worry about after getting the infection under control.

I had another molar pulled under barely working local anesthetic down the street–the only tooth I’ve lost so far *crossing fingers*–and it was awful enough with the extra molar roots and the chiseling and the last round of anesthetic totally wearing off toward the end, that I am just not doing that again. (Though that was still not as unpleasant as the second filling on Horrible Molar. Chiseling without numbing or no.)

From there, head to the shopping center just across the street from there for some more Nurofen Plus, and the potatoes for soup that I didn’t make it out of the house for yesterday. (Some fairly soft Chinese takeout was almost as good, though.) Then probably a nap, because that trip is sounding pretty daunting right now! Worst case, I can ask Mr. U to do the shopping on his way home.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. urocyon permalink*
    September 26, 2012 4:30 pm

    Another update: I was not even trying to look infected and pitiful, but it apparently freaked out the receptionist down the street enough anyway that she got me in for an emergency appointment on the spot. Unexpected, but my head didn’t explode or anything. That dentist is pretty good with nervous patients.

    The semi-good news: I can keep the tooth. The not-so-good news: root canal time!😦

    I came out with prescriptions for erythromycin and metronidazole, and a breakdown estimate for the root canal work. I did bring up that the local doesn’t work well for me, and she said that if needed she’d give me a referral to the anesthetic clinic. (Which might get me in faster, I’m thinking.) But, while she would not try an extraction, injecting anesthetic directly into the tooth might make a difference. I am still not so sure about that. But, she did explicitly say several times that if things weren’t working, she would stop. Which is the main thing that has me even considering the option.

    OTOH, I don’t have the antibiotics or more pain relief yet, because my debit card decided not to work again with plenty of money in the account. Probably another weird block on the account from HSBC. (I am not impressed at whatever criteria they’re using to flag “suspicious activity”, to put it mildly.) Good thing I had £50 in folding money, for a £50 emergency appointment! The NHS will actually theoretically give me free prescriptions because of the diabetes (England is the only place with a prescription charge, anyway😐 ), but that card was in a wallet that got lost, and I haven’t been able to replace it.

    So, I am considering trying to go out again to meet Mr. U at the station on his way in, much as I just want to stay home. He has money, I have prescriptions, and the nearby Boots has a window open until midnight. And I’m sick enough today that it does seem like an emergency. (Bolstered by the receptionist’s reaction, yeah.)

    BTW, the £50 for an emergency appointment with x-ray is a decent example of how much cheaper private dental care tends to run here than in the US. That practice stopped doing any NHS work while I was still needing to go there before–which is a bit of a larger problem, I understand–so that is not a copay but the private price. I was also impressed again that with people used to the NHS approach to medical care, anything that you actually have to pay for, they do post costs up front and tend to be a bit apologetic about prices that look very low to someone who grew up under the US system. (At the vet’s, osteopath’s, etc. too.)

    Having the root canal done private is not going to be cheap, but we’re apparently talking about around £1000 overall, including a crown. Not fun, but it could be much worse. And we’re not poor.

  2. October 6, 2012 1:01 am

    Oh, that’s so scary. My dad actually had a similar ordeal this summer. Sucks that your dentist wouldn’t take NHS, but good that UK prices are so low!

  3. October 6, 2012 1:06 am

    And, on a more frivolous note: Is that this “Homeland Security” T-shirt you’re wearing? That shirt is awesome!

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