Happy fourth! Unhappy eight…

To celebrate the 4th of July, we spent a weekend learning the ways of the first Americans – Native Americans. It was a great weekend of camping, relaxing, lake swimming and learning primitive skills. We learned how to make arrow heads (it’s dang hard – I gave up, but Dan persevered), moccasins, rope from grass and a pot from the areas red clay. There is something immensely satisfying about making something by hand, and that is quadrupled when your making it from the abundance of natural materials around.

But the horrors of Dan’s health were not yet over. Dan was suffering from a bad tooth ache, but couldn’t see a dentist till Tuesday because of the Independence Day holiday. Dan still has a number of baby/milk teeth because of a genetic mutation and baby teeth aren’t meant to last a lifetime. It turns out one had worn down so much the root was exposed, causing great pain.  Previously others had fallen out, with no adult teeth to take their place. Dan had attempted to sort out all these tooth issues a few years ago, but the procedure had been painful and utterly unsuccessful, so he’d been putting off the major dental work he needed.

But now it seemed the time had come! The dentist excitedly told him he could give him a full set of beautiful new bottom teeth in just a few hours!  (Then the receptionist explained it would actually be a few weeks since the dentist had other patients to see too!) This was high tech, safe, successful, easy and he wouldn’t feel a thing…

…it just required 8 root canals today!

I’ve never had root canal/endodonic therapy before but everyone I talk to says ONE is terrible enough. Dan had EIGHT in the same day and the anethetic that was supposed to numb his teeth, nerves and gums was ineffective. Yep, imagine having a dentist drill into your teeth until the nerve is exposed WITHOUT pain killers.  x8.

Dan has a high tolerance for pain so at first he just thought the anestic hadn’t kicked in yet, but the pain got worse and worse. The dentist was trying different types of anestetics and pain killer but nothing was working more than a few minutes – if at all.  The dentist tried injecting the anestetics direclty into the nerve, but Dan was in so much pain his feet were involuntarily lifting out of his dental chair.

The dentist had to stop mid-operation and drive Dan to the pharmacy in his personal car to get strong pain meds – it was that or take him to the emergency room. Dan limped around the pharmacy with bloody gauze hanging out of his mouth, until they got the meds and he returned to the dental chair. Even after the dentist removed teeth’s nerves, he feel extreme pain. The dentist said he’d never encountered anything like this before, and there was no physiological explanation except that maybe since Dan’s body had been through so much with his kidney failure and hospitalization, his ligaments were inflamed and unreceptive to the anesthetic. Even after Dan took multiple strong pain killers, he was in excruciating pain and describes it as the most painful experience of his life by far.

Seven hours later, Dan emergered from the dental chair as a broken and exhausted soul. As soon as the elevator doors shut, he collapsed into tears, trying to explain to me the agony he’d endured.

It seemed like a bad dream. First severe dehydration, then kidney failure, then dialysis, then bronchitus, then pancreatitis, then costochondritis, and now this – 8 root canals with no effective anesthetic.

When would we wake up from this nightmare?

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