Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Slow Progress is still progress, nonetheless...right?

In order to give encouragement to others, I wanted to report that I've had a few "good" days in a row. Good is a relative term, when you haven't felt normal for a single day in over 4 months, though I wake each morning hoping I'll be back to my old self. (Of course, I also wake each day hoping I'll win the lottery, and that hasn't happened, either!) But things could be worse - people in Haiti woke to found buildings on top of them; people in Mississippi had tornadoes destroy everything they own; people in the middle east get blown up by car bombs; people with cancer are struggling just to stay alive. Things could always be worse. This is vital to keep in mind when you start feeling sorry for yourself.

Saturday was not a good day; I was in a social situation where I had to pretend to be "normal" all day long. I managed to eventually find something on the menu that I could eat (that wouldn't sting my tongue), and sneak into the bathroom to apply oragel to to the tongue as needed, plus quietly chew some berry-flavored gum, which helps the burning. I was able to not seem like a total whack job...but by that evening, I was in pain. I had plans to attend a quiet dinner party with friends (she promised it would be quiet, because she knows how painful it is for me to deal with any noise at all). I had to bail out at the last minute, as I so often have to do, which I hate.

With this injury and its constant pain reminder, I find you have to really pick and choose what is worth the effort and what is not.
>Being able to feel good enough that I can play with my kids and act reasonably cheerful - high priority. Going to a party where I only know 2 people - low priority.
>Avoiding social situations when I have an interview the next day and need to tap into my reserves for strength - high priority.
Finding work that pays well and will allow me to still go to Dr. appts- high priority.
>Listing to live music, formerly one of my favorite things to do - not even an option any longer.
And so it goes.

So, on Saturday, I fell asleep for a nap, and when I woke, my pain meds had worn off, and "hello, agony, my old friend" - I had that horrible feeling of my teeth being held in an industrial-strength vice grip, to the point I just couldn't imagine trying to smile and be pleasant for even 10 minutes with a bunch of strangers.

Napping is something I have never been able to easily do in my 46 years on this planet. But now? I'm down for the count instantly - sitting up - no problem. At a movie - guaranteed. Watching TV in a room full of people - yep, that too. Not sure why this injury is so exhausting, but it may be the effort I expend trying to hide it, or overcome it, that is really what's taxing. I also don't sleep well at night - I can't get comfortable, as I am trying all night to avoid turning on my left side, which is my natural way to sleep.

I haven't been on vacation in forever...even if I could afford it (after this injury and the resulting constant Dr visits and the expensive tests they ordered caused me to take so much time off that I lost my job, and I'm already over $10k in medical bills thus far) I still don't feel up to it. I've become quite the hermit, and I used to be on the go constantly.

I'm being pressured to go to Chicago next month and just can't wrap my brain around it. The thought of the stress and discomfort of a plane flight, in my unpredictable condition (will my head/ear/teeth feel like they're going to burst with that air pressure? I have enough trouble already on days the barometer drops when a weather front is approaching!)

Everything in my life revolves around the injury, the pain, and my ability to control it and stay on task. But I hold out hope that I'll feel better then. There's always hope. There has to be.


  1. I realized I haven't used Oralgel or topical benzocaine in days. Hmmm. Maybe that laser light stuff really does work. Or I've just been laying so low I've managed to aggravate the nerve less than usual.

    Based on experience, this low pain point at present means that another spike is coming (it always does), but I'll enjoy the pseudo sense of accomplishment, for now....I know a flare up is around the corner, but just ...let me have my moment! ;-)

  2. Thanks for your blog and for being so open about how you're feeling. I'm still newly injured, but already understanding well the social implications you explain above. Going to try some of the treatments/therapies you've suggested. Hope things improve for you.

  3. Jenny,
    Thank you for posting, and welcome to our little blog. When were you injured? I hope you find relief soon.

  4. I have been recently injured during a wisdom tooth removal(6 days ago, my chin is completely numb and my top lip feels like I have kissed the burner on the top of the stove... I contacted my Dr who doesn't seem real concerned. Said he could see me on the 25th (I had the procedure done on the 12th) and prescribed me 50 mg tramadol for my DISCOMFORT until he can see me. My bottom lip feels like it's going to explode.. my chin actually feels like a dead person.. I know that sounds weird, but it feels kind of cold and rubbery... should I get a 2nd opinion from another dentist or a neurologist? It effects my smile, and hurts!