It all started Tuesday night with me laying in bed saying, "Please. Don't tell me I'm starting with a toothache!"
Wednesday morning I went about my business and I most definitely had something going on with my tooth. Called my dentist and found out I couldn't get in any time soon. There are two dentists in that office, so I called again later to see if I could get in with the other one. Not any time soon but she'd let me know if there was a cancellation.
Wednesday night rolled around and the pain kicked in with a vengeance. You moms know this drill well, it always does that at night, right? I went to bed having made the decision to show up at the dentists office when the door opened in the morning. "If you're there, they have to do something." Said the wise man at my house.
That night was a living nightmare. Ibuprofen didn't begin to touch the pain. I googled 'how to ease pain from toothache' and tried different ideas. The only thing that helped at all was swishing saltwater in my mouth. That gave me about ten minutes of blessed relief. I spent from about 9:30 pm to 2:00 am swishing saltwater, laying with eyes closed, checking the time and repeating. Sometime after that the pain eased and I slept.
You have to understand that the very thought of walking into a doctor's office and 'being there so they have to do something' is enough to give me a bellyache right there. But I marched in the door at 8 the next morning and told them my sob story and they, very sweetly, said they would see me and I was soon in the chair having x-rays taken of the offending mouth that wasn't even hurting at the moment.
She studied my x-rays, and determined that my left bottom tooth that has about an 8 year old, very deep filling was the culprit. It would need to have a root canal or be extracted but neither could be done that day. I was sent on my way with a prescription for an antibiotic and pain pills and a dentist appointment 3 weeks down the road.
I filled my prescription and was rather annoyed with the silly tooth which wasn't even giving me a twinge of pain. How silly to be annoyed.
I went to bed Thursday night with my mind full of all the things I had failed to accomplish that day that needed to get done on Friday. There was a fundraiser Spaghetti Supper for school Friday night, see, and I still had to make 4 pies and cut up a bowl full of lettuce...
Friday dawned and I got the children off to school and had started my to-do list when the pain hit. Well, I had pain pills now so down one went. You would have never known I took one. I am not even kidding. I soon resorted to my friend, the salt water.
I rolled pie crusts and swished salt water, chopped lettuce and swished some more. I texted my sister, the nurse, and asked if I could take more ibuprofin? I baked my pies and swished some more.
By lunch time I was desperate. I called the wise man at work, who can always work miracles and fix things, for advice. The gist of it was, "Look up some dentists. Walk in and demand help."
I googled dentist's offices and decided to call, swishing salt water before pushing the green button. The receptionist listened to my sob story and said she could get me in at two thirty but she, of course, couldn't promise anything more than an exam and I'd just had one of those the day before!
I got off the phone and frantically called the first dentist to see if I could have my x-rays transferred. "You will have to come in and pick them up because you have to sign and release form." Oh please.
The wise man looked at the time and said, "Go. Now. You can make it."
I finished making peanut butter pies while this was all going on. Grandma was in town so I called my sister-in-law and asked her to pick up Charles. I didn't even look in the mirror, ladies. I grabbed shoes, purse, phone and keys...oh, and my cup of saltwater and a bowl for spitting...and I left.
By the time I walked in the door of the first dentist to get my x-rays, my stomach was churning, whether from stress or the saltwater I had accidentally swallowed while I swished and made phone calls, I'm not sure. And, would you believe it, the tooth quit hurting.
I raced on to the next town and dentist's office, calling ahead to say I was running late, then calling the wise man to give me directions along the way. "At the third stop light, turn right. At the next light make a left and then another light and make a right and you'll see the office on the right."
Okay, no problem. Except there were a few problems. At the light where I needed to turn left, the car in front of me just sat there. Then, as I watched in disbelief, a lady got out and informed me, "My car just died." She retrieved her baby and diaper bag and crossed the street to the nearest store. She was probably as close to tears as I was, although by that time I didn't even hardly flinch. I just got in the other lane and did what I needed to do.
The only other problem was that I couldn't find the dentist's office. I drove slowly along until I knew I'd gone too far and then turned around and drove slowly back the other way...and then turned around and, Aha! It was on the left, rather than the right.
I walked in the door and up to the counter and there I broke down. Seriously. Had to stand there and get myself under control.
The receptionist wasn't at all phased. She took me straight back to a little private office and as I walked in the door, I saw on the counter a gift bag with a card that had my name written on it. I looked at in confusion and for a split second I tried to imagine how my husband had managed to pull this off, then I heard her saying, "As a new patient, we have a little gift for you and a card from the dentist..."
She proceeded to sit down with me and go over my paperwork, filling out my answers on the computer. She left me there briefly, then escorted me back to my chair. There, she introduced me to the nurse, "Hannah, this is Bethany. Bethany, this is Hannah and she is going to be taking good care of you today..."
I was just amazed.
Every last person I saw there treated me that way! I understand completely why every single one of their 70 reviewers online gave them 5 stars. Their service was extraordinary.
Hannah sat down with me and asked me some questions to help ensure my visit was a good one. "When it comes to your teeth, are you more concerned about comfort or about making everything look good?" "Do you prefer hearing detailed explanations or just the main points?"
Turned out, the doctor felt quite certain my pain was not coming from the tooth with the 8 year old filling. He felt pretty certain the problem came from my wisdom tooth which is laying almost sideways and putting pressure on the tooth next to it and, after a more detailed x-ray, we could see is also on a nerve.
"What you need removed is that wisdom tooth, not the tooth beside it. In fact, had you gotten that tooth removed, you would probably have still been experiencing pain."
They got me in with an oral surgeon for an appointment on Monday and before I had ever left their parking lot, had sent off my detailed x-ray and the oral surgeon's office was calling me about price estimates.
I came home, took a shower, and hauled my crew off to the spaghetti supper. As of now, I'm staying on pain pills around the clock and praying the wisdom tooth decides not to wiggle around anymore. I'm blocking out my fears about Monday, although I'm desperately praying we figure out some way that Chris can go along with me to my appointment. It so happens that next week 2 employees at the tire shop are on vacation but I've done about all the brave things I can handle alone, so I'm hoping something can be worked out.
This story has no moral and no real reason to even be told. Except maybe to elicit sympathy and prayers and to remind us all of the difference a few touches of personal care and respect for those we come in contact with can make. I know I, for one, can take some lessons from the Woodlawn Dental Center.