Dealing Tylenol

I have a friend who deals with dental pain daily. She sees a dentist and practices good hygiene; she is just unlucky when it comes to dental genetics. She doesn’t complain and whine on Facebook, like some people I know. (Points to self.) She just takes a bunch of Motrin and skips along and gets crap done. She’s got three kids, a big girl job, and a husband who travels constantly for work. So, she has to be a chef, a mom, a taxi driver, and an education professional, while ignoring throbbing teeth. A, I’m talking about you.

And then there’s me. As I said before, I would make a terrible spy because I have a very, very, very, very, very low tolerance for anything painful, or even mildly uncomfortable.

In the past two weeks, I’ve had two root canals; one, the second one, involved a complete rebuild of my tooth. This tooth had root canals twice before and was infected, which made it even more fun. By fun, I mean horrific. I’m pretty sure if I were a spy, all the enemy would have to do is give me dental pain and I would sell my mother to get relief. Okay, I would sell my son, too. And my favorite cat.

Like all things, having dental pain was a learning experience. So, of course I’m going to share my little life lessons from having dental pain. Read carefully, you may need this information.

Vicodin is addictive because it only works for one hour. My endodontist gave me a prescription for Vicodin, and I took it because I was in PAIN. Yes, I realize I used all caps. It worked for about an hour and gave me the intellect of an intoxicated caterpillar. No, I have never had drinks with a caterpillar. I don’t think they make martini glasses that small. Anyway, if I were not up on things, I may have taken another pill after that one quit, but I know how this stuff works because I have listened to this. So, I just went along my merry way and took Tylenol and Motrin. Yes, together. Two extra strength Tylenol caplets actually last longer than a Vicodin. Drug dealers should sell Tylenol in little baggies and call it “Better than Vicodin.” Motrin works even better, but it is really harsh on my stomach, which brings me to my next point.

Motrin could probably be used to dissolve the fingerprints off of felons. Motrin rips my stomach apart like nothing else, especially at the prescription level dose that my dentist recommended. Last Sunday, after I took a bath, I put on my robe and curled up on the couch in my office to die. I was in so much pain. My tooth wasn’t throbbing, but my stomach was clearly trying to eat itself.

I texted my husband, “Please help. Stomach pain.” He came running upstairs, asking me what he could do.

I said, “I don’t know but WebMD says it is NSAID induced gastritis.”

As he usually does when I reference WebMD, he said, “Are you supposed to be looking at WebMD?” According to my husband, I’m not “allowed” to look at WebMD, or watch any shows involving mysterious illnesses, odd ways to die, or women who snap and kill their husbands. Whatever. I requested peppermint tea and Tums.

When medical professionals say to “stay ahead of the pain” they are not freaking joking. I skipped a dose of pain medicine so that I could go buy a car. I didn’t know that the car buying process would take 3 hours and I didn’t pack my pills. By the time we got home, I was ready to locate the nearest pair of rusted out pliers and pull my tooth out of my head. Now, I am taking pain medicine every four hours until this is gone.

Just because someone has dental problems doesn’t mean they have poor oral hygiene. I work from home, and I brush and floss after everything I eat. That is at least three times a day people. If you know me, you know that is really four or five times a day. My husband, who brushes twice a day and flosses like every third day or something, has only had one cavity in his life. He didn’t even need a Lidocaine shot to have it filled. (They don’t use Novacaine anymore, remember?) I would hate him for this, but I’m kind of married to him. If I hated him, he would start to worry even more about me watching Snapped.

Loud dog barking can make your bad tooth vibrate. Loud barking is painful to listen to, in general. Heck, ANY barking is painful. But when your tooth is already throbbing, the dog barking seems to make it throb more. This is one of many reasons that I love cats.

The pills in the Medrol Dose Pack (used for pain in my case) have the most God-awful aftertaste ever. Seriously. Just let it sit on your tongue for a millisecond too long and you will be hearing A Spoon Full of Sugar. I made an emergency jog across the kitchen to grab a bag of chocolate chips, this morning. A few chips worked quicker than finding the sugar and a spoon.

Let’s hope national security never depends on me being tough. It just won’t happen. I’m the type of person who would vote myself off of Survivor. (Skips off to rub Anbesol on her gums.)

6 thoughts on “Dealing Tylenol

  1. I love the point you make about how a person can still have dental problems even if she is meticulous in her oral hygiene. Genetics and other factors play a big role in dental issues. I was warned by my hygienist recently to floss once or twice a day since I’m pregnant. Yeah, sure. Does she know how hard it’s been to remember to brush every day? And yet I’m that person that everyone hates; I rarely get cavities, and I can eat a serving of Greek yogurt or other probiotic-having dairy to rid myself of most gum issues. It’s the luck of the draw. Maybe I “paid” for my good dental health by having such a bad endocrine system that required a couple of surgeries between middle school and getting my MA, but I won’t look a gift horse in the mouth, if you’ll pardon the pun, when it comes to my teeth. Meanwhile, you are in my thoughts as you recover!

  2. Thanks, Molly. Yes, I would say you are all good in the health issues department. From what I understand, this tooth will take longer to heal because it had to be rebuilt with a post. It’s not just a simple crown. So, it’s a good thing that I bought the bottle of 750 Ibuprofen at Costco because the harder stuff just doesn’t work.

  3. Lisa, I just LOVE your sense of humor, even in the throes of having the most agonizing pain. I had not read this post when I composed a FB post to your two -liner about needing to take Motrin, but now that I’ve read your blog post, I’d say, try some form of holistic medicine. I have very little faith in Western allopathic medicine which only treats the symptoms and not the underlying causes behind all ailments. I generally use remedies I make up with what ever I have on hand in my kitchen with herbs, spices, etc.
    Anyway, here is the post I wrote for FB, so see if any of this could be useful to you. By the way, it’s not very hard to learn the rudiments of homeopathy or naturopathy. Anyway, hope this headache disappears quickly. 🙂
    Here is the FB post: Lisa, I never take aspirin or any other pain killer even for the most head- splitting migraine. Sometimes I will just go the whole day with the horrible headache and in a perverse way actually enjoy the pain, believe it or not! Anyway, hope you feel better soon. I think it may be good to use some homeopathic remedies instead of Motrin. Homeopathy actually often works wonders. Find a good homeopath or a Tibetan doctor in your area. Tibetan medicine is absolutely wonderful and can set the whole body right, from top to toe. I have an old book among the few books I’ve kept ( I’ve had so many libraries in my life and lost them) and it’s called “Natural Remedies for Common Ailments” by Constance Mellor published in 1973 that is very good. See if you can lay your hands on it.

  4. 3000 mg Gabepentin, 4 Excedrin and 4 Ibuprofen… funny how the consciousness stays youthful and the body decays… alas… another good tale of life in the burbs!!

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