Thursday, October 9

the most painful month of my life.

I was reading an article on xojane.com the other night about a woman not much older than me who almost died from an appendicitis. Like me, she was in pain but thought she was fine and fought through her pain instead of getting it checked out. She was eventually forced to go to the hospital (at which point she could barely even walk anymore) and it was so bad that she had to be hospitalized for a month as her appendix burst and the infection had spread, dissolving her appendix which left a hole in her colon.

Now, what I've been through in the past month is definitely not that bad, not even close but I wanted to quickly share my story to urge someone who might be going through the same kind of pain or any kind of pain, to get shit checked. Just toughing it out because it's easier and cheaper to act like nothing is wrong and take way too many tylenol every day is definitely not a good decision I've learned.

4-5 weeks ago I started feeling a dull ache in my teeth and figured I was getting a cavity. I ignored it, made an extra effort to brush and went on my way. After a couple of days the pain had started to spread through my face and was a bit hard to handle at times. It wasn't constant but when it came it was really uncomfortable. I had had a sinus infection before so I figured I had one coming, ignored it, and moved on with my life.

After a week of dull pain, it progressed to full fledged agony. I know, I know, you're like "agony, Bailey? Really?", because it sounds dramatic but it was one of the worst pains I had ever experienced in my life. The pain stretched from the bottom of my jaw to my cheek bone and throbbed. Cold made it worse, heat made it worse, laying down made it worse and basically being conscious made it worse.

The day the pain got worse was a Friday and I was at work. I remember crying between tables and going to my customers with tears in my eyes, trying my best to keep it together. I felt like a huge baby because I knew I sounded crazy.. "my face hurts.. I don't know how to explain it.. I think I have a sinus infection". Well take some sinutab and call it a day Bail, Jesus. I felt like a total drama queen.

That afternoon I left work early and bought sinutab day and night, tylenol sinus and some aleve - I was convinced I just had another sinus infection and all I needed to do was get my sinuses to drain and relieve the pressure. I'd had at least 4 sinus infections at this point - I was an old pro, bring on the saline mist! I started popping the pills like skittles and was able to numb the pain. The nights were worse but I was able to sleep, eating wasn't easy but I was able to tolerate what was room temperature.

Although all the things I was taking were helping the pain, it definitely was not getting better or going away. If I didn't keep on top of it, I was in pretty intense pain for about an hour until whatever I eventually took kicked in. I knew I needed to either go to the ER or a walk in clinic but it all seemed like a bit too much energy and I figured I could take it. I was wrong.

By Tuesday I was at the point where I was crying because I was so tired from not being able to sleep and so tired of being in pain. I made an appointment for Wednesday at a walk in clinic and was excited at the hope of some relief. Little did I know it would be a long time before I felt that. The doctor at the walk in told me I didnt have a sinus infection, it was just a bit of congestion and I should take some hot showers and some saline and I should be fine. I was adament that I was in a SERIOUS amount of pain and that I thought I had a sinus infection so she prescribed me antiobiotics and told me if the pain didnt go away by Saturday to start a round of them.

Do you think the pain was gone by saturday? Definitely not. At this point I was starting to panic as I was headed to my cousins wedding in Florida in 5 days and had little to no desire to either be in agony on the plane from the pressure or to spend my vacation totally miserable. I started the antibiotics and hoped for the best and to be honest, it did seem to be under control and I had hope that I was right all along and the antibiotics were cleaning up my sinus infection as planned.

The first couple days in Florida were good. I took tylenol every once in a while to keep things feelin good and I was happy to be pain free during Vacation. At about Day 4 everything went downhill and I realized that I definitely did not have a sinus infection and the antiobiotics were definitely not working. I was in so much pain and I could not keep it under control. I wasn't able to sleep, I could barely even lean back and I was in more pain than I would ever have thought I could've handled before then.

Until you experience this pain, you really don't get it. I had moments in that couple of days where I wasn't sure if I could hold my shit together anymore - it was pain that made me feel as though I would've rather been dead than suffer through it any longer. My cousin got me in with her dentist the morning after we arrived home from Florida and I felt like it was my last option.

Luckily, after some xrays my dentist was able to determine what was going on in this crazy face of mine. He only said it once and I tried my best to listen and this is what I got from it : I had a cavity (that had once been filled but something went wrong apparently) in a tooth that was so bad it had gone to the root and my nerve was exposed which is obviously painful if the nerve gets irritated. Then there was the infection all through my face as a cherry on top. The dentist put me on the right antibiotics and some tylenol 3 and gave me the choice of a tooth extraction or a root canal.

In the end I ended up getting a root canal. The next 10 days were made tolerable with tylenol 3 and I was finally able to get some sleep but I can honestly say that the month with that pain was truly awful and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. If I had just gone to the dentist in the first place I would've saved myself a lot of grief but I knew it was going to be expensive and I was just in total denial.

Some good came of this experience though. My brother showing up in the middle of the night on vacation and teaching me how to use a netty pot really showed me how much he loves me and also proved to be extremely entertaining. My friends and family doing everything they could for me and putting up with my bitching was very much appreciated - believe me, I know how much I bitched, I just wrote a whole post of bitching. And last but not least, my family coming together to help me pay for a root canal I really couldn't afford as I am not covered and not rich, made me feel like I always have people to lean on and I know how lucky that makes me. I am forever thankful for the amazing people in my life... I am ridiculously lucky.

This experience made me thankful for my health and next time Im in that much pain I will get it dealt with quick. I wanted to write because I haven't in a while and it felt really good to do so but also to inspire someone who might be concerned about something to go get it checked out. Whether you have a mole that seems weird, a mental health concern you feel you should talk to someone about or just an itchy kooka - go get it checked out because it's better safe than sorry!

Life feels extra good now. I can drink ice cold water and not feel a thing - you really take it for granted until it causes you excruciating pain! :)

Until next time,
Bailey 

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