Tuesday, July 28, 2009


My face has been a source of severe frustration lately... and not just because of the reflection in the mirror.

A couple of months ago, I started feeling some pain in the left side of my face. It would migrate from my lower teeth into my upper jaw, toward my ear and inevitably into my temple. Some days it would just be a minor nuisance but others would find me wincing in pain throughout the day.

Since I'm a woman, nobody really knew about it. I kept it quiet and went about my daily business as if nothing was wrong. Incidentally, during that time, my husband strained his back moving a piece of furniture and I was reminded about it for days while he was convinced he was bound for his deathbed any moment.

Since I'm generally a pretty healthy horse (not so much as a cold in the last three years!), I figured whatever it was would ride its course and then leave me alone. I was too busy to get sick and since things like this obviously happen only when it's convenient, I was certain I was going to be just fine. Imagine my sheer annoyance when several weeks after it began, the pain not only didn't go away and leave me alone, it got exponentially worse.

What the what?!

Suddenly I was popping ibuprofen like it was pez candy and curling up in the fetal position for hours at a time. The pain was still resonating all over the left side of my face, making me feel like Arnold in The Terminator. Any minute, it seemed my skin was going to peel back off my skull to reveal something hideous (like The Terminator half, not the Arnold half).

With a potential PR opportunity in a half-marathon coming up quickly, I decided to do something crazy: I went to see a doctor. I pointed out all my boo-boos; he looked up my nose. Together, we determined it was a bad sinus infection. He sent me off with a prescription for a super-potency, high-octane augmented antiobiotic guaranteed to clear up the sinus infection, fix my face and grow back my toenails in no time. Immediately after returning home from the pharmacy, I threw back the first pill and went about my normal business.

A week later, after spending the night visiting the bathroom over and over again because the meds were making me so sick while my face still pounded in agony, I resigned myself to calling the dentist. I knew it was one of my options in the first place but figured I'd start inexpensively and work my way up as needed.

Thankfully, my dentist was able to squeeze me in that same day. I plopped down in the chair and pointed to the tooth that seemed to be hurting the most. That's when I got a root canal.

Turns out the root system underneath my molar was so badly infected it was causing pain throughout my whole face. As opposed to learning I had just days to live, that was nice to hear.

I can't say the root canal was horrible; in fact, it really wasn't a whole lot worse than getting a cavity filled. I think that's because I was on the laughing gas, which I happen to believe is almost as good as dying in my sleep and going to heaven. (I grew up in a very conservative community so I was never really exposed to alcohol or drugs. My first time on laughing gas I was riding rollercoasters in the sky and recounting all the classic knock-knock jokes in my head. I may have even told the doctor a few of them while he was drilling.)

I've got to go back next week to have the root canal finished. Apparently, the doctor only had time to do half of it, which seems a little odd. Would an OB/GYN only have time to deliver half a baby? In any case, I'm stuck in a little bit of limbo until that happens. Doc predicted I'd have some soreness the next couple of days but then promised I'd start feeling better. Hopefully the feeling better part will come just in time for my race on Saturday morning. My training has been going really well and I think I've got a good shot at snagging that half-marathon PR I've been coveting for so long. I don't want to have to blame missing it on a bum tooth, although I most definitely will if I fall short.

Then again, maybe I'll just sneak some of the happy gas and ride a rollercoaster in the sky on my way to a guaranteed PR while I distract everyone I pass in my wake with knock-knock jokes.

I think I just found myself a race strategy.


AKA Alice said...


More evidence that women should really be running the world, manning the armies...really we are effing TOUGH!

My PT told me this when I ran a 1/2 marathon with a IT band muscle so wrecked that I ended up with a bruise the size of a football. (Yes it hurt, but I ran anyway...I mean, lots of shiz hurts, but I got shiz to do, right?)

Here's the link to my "hip report" http://hefferblog.blogspot.com/2009/01/dangers-of-self-massage.html. If you have time, take a look, I think you'll laugh (or at least cringe...like I did about your tonails)...LOL!

Mel -Tall Mom on the Run said...

Good idea!! When is your race?

I have been plagued with teeth issues for years, I HATE root canals!

TNTcoach Ken said...

Hey, your husband was probably near death. Sure glad he survived, ha! Glad to hear it turned out okay.

B.o.B. said...

Too funny. Of course you husband was near death. They always are.

I love laughing gas too. Greatest invention after the wheel.

Best of luck with that PR.

Morgan said...

You've got this girl... with or without the tooth ache! Hope it heals up quick!

Mel said...

What's up with doing 1/2 a root canal? I'm glad you found the "root" of the problem. So impressed that you've been running with all that pain. You go girl!

Betsy said...

Ouchy! Glad you're getting this all fixed!

Lili said...

Gotta get some of that Happy Gass!

Nitmos said...

Rolling that gas cannister down the street could be a time drag. Get hooked on vicodin. They are the same size as salt tabs and fit easily in side pockets.

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