Thursday, February 28, 2013

Open Wide

After I got that horrible flu that was going around I was left with a lingering cough and the distinct feeling I'd been punched on the right side of my jaw. The cough slowly lessened but jaw pain only got worse over time. I spent a few weeks in blissful denial hoping it would just go away until my ability to chew became noticeably compromised. Sigh. So I called my dentist and made an appointment. I'd experienced this joy before and hoped and prayed I didn't need another root canal and crown, which are quite painful and outrageously expensive even with insurance. But of course that's what it was. So with trepidation in my heart I went to the endodontist to get fixed up.

I've heard many a Fibro patient complain about the pain a visit to the dentist can cause. Somehow I had managed to evade that experience first hand, until this root canal that is. But sitting in that chair tipped back with my mouth propped open and head hinged back for an hour and a half quickly had me skidding teeth first down agony alley. First my jaw, which suffers from TMJ, clenched up. Next the muscles and ligaments surrounding the base of my skull and neck went into an inflamed spasm so severe I thought they were gonna snap. And then trauma set in. The tiny whisps of smoke and smell of my sizzling flesh as he cauterized my tooth canal sent me over the edge.

With trembling hands I left the office and went to my car where I promptly burst into tears. It doesn't take much to evoke my hair-trigger post traumatic response surrounding all things medical. As I sat and sobbed I took my mental journey back through every traumatizing pancreatitis hospitalization and the scariest two days of my life, those 48 hours when I'd had my strokes but they didn't know why my head felt like a sledgehammer struck it yet. I felt alone and small and buckets of fear. I remembered the high I felt when my doctor told me I was going to live. I dragged myself through nearly two years of painstaking and exhaustive recovery as I fought for the umpteenth time to get my life back. Then I looked up and dried my tears, noticing that the sun was shining and I was still here to enjoy it. So I said a quick prayer of thank you for the gift of my life and drove myself home. 

Thanks for joining,


  1. Wow Leah your strength is inspiring. I feel like such a wimp sometimes. You inspire me every time I read your post. Thank you!

  2. I totally get this! Thank you, thank you!