Thursday, April 21, 2011

touching a nerve

Of all things, I had to have an emergency crown set today at the dentist's office. The culprit, a cracked molar, started giving me trouble on Tuesday and luckily, I squeezed into Dr. McN's schedule before he left for a week off.

Not a great day to have a painful procedure. But I didn't have much choice.

It just so happened that at one point early in the procedure Dr. McN hit the crack with his drill and pain sizzled into my numb jaw. I jumped. I waved my hand (as instructed). "Oww, that hurts!" I said. I had actually been trying to be brave. It had been hurting a little as he neared the really sensitive place and I had tried to hold it together. But when he hit that crack it hurt so much. It was a zing not just to the nerve but to my whole confidence and composure. I suddenly was holding tears back and trying to breathe. I imagined myself at the end of the procedure going to sit in my car and having a really good cry.

About Ben, of course.

I talked to Mark after Ben came out of surgery and found out that Dr. C had gotten tremendous correction (we'll know more tomorrow). That is excellent news. Last time he got only a little and it seemed so much to do for so little a difference. Having a big adjustment is more bang for your buck, I guess. But, big adjustment also means big pain.

Think about this: They go in, move around his muscles, tendons, ligaments. They mess with the ribs, unscrewing the rod. They use pressure and gentle force to move his spine into a straighter position. They tighten the screws. They get out. And, of course, getting in requires an incision and getting out, stitches. That's a lot, for a "minor" surgery.

The after-effect of all this moving around is heavy duty muscle spasms. They come on if he's pushed or poked (think overzealous friends or brothers). They come from nowhere too. They're like Charlie horses in his back. Not easy to deal with. I'm getting myself prepared.

As for me, a second shot of Lydocaine and I was good for the rest of the dental appointment. I sat there in the mint green dental chair, listening to James Taylor, Carole King, and Crosby, Stills & Nash flowing in from the ceiling (ah well, some of my favorites are now dentist office music, sigh) and I breathed as deeply as possible. I didn't try to be too brave, just enough. It really didn't hurt any more after that one zinger. Not really.

When I got out to the car I didn't break down. I did call Mark and Ben as soon as I got into cell phone range (my dentist is in Occidental and there's ZERO coverage there). Ben felt horrible, and not just very, very bad, but really quite sincerely bad. So bad that he suddenly had to get off the phone and Mark said, "We'll call you back!!" and hung up so fast I felt that zing again. Right to the bone.

I took a deep breath. I went to pick up Toby at Shawna's house. Mark called back and told me things had improved. Shawna gave me gluten-free gingerbread she'd baked. I washed the horrible taste of dental cement out of my mouth.

Now, hours later my jaw is hurting. And now, I'm feeling how hard it is, and how hard it was last time, to be 3000 miles away from my boy when he's hurting.

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