I meant to catch up on blogging a bit and life got at me, then life really got at me. At the moment I am on the cusp of my first root canal. My adventure began around my birthday, when I started having pain in my capped tooth, the first molar on the lower left. (In dental parlance, #19.)
When I was 18, I saw a dentist who insisted this had a bad cavity although if anything I thought the molar on the other side looked iffy. He drilled, put in a filling, and all was relatively well for years until a corner of the tooth turned gray and eventually cracked off; not long after, the filling popped out. This was about 10 years after the filling went in, and it required a cap. Some years later the cap came partially loose once, but I popped it back down and it troubled me no more, except for the occasional episode of pain every year and a half or so that would last for a few days or a week, then subside. (The cap coming loose was probably what set the ball rolling for troubles to come, but it’s possible it was troubled to begin with.) It became rather sensitive so I avoided putting too much pressure on it, just to be safe.
One of those episodes happened again this November, and it started right before my birthday. Right after my birthday, the pain intensified horrendously and I had major toothaches every night for about two weeks. At one point the cap shifted again, which concerned me because I knew its time was coming to an end. After that settled down, on Christmas day I was chewing something and the cap came partially out; I popped it back in again, but I knew I would have to see a dentist early in the new year. Right after that I began to notice a foul taste in my mouth, presumably from infection and likely from the exact infection that had been bothering me since November. But the pain was basically gone and I just had to be careful with the tooth for a while until I got around to making a dentist appointment.
So it was last Thursday, after the Superbowl when I was finishing up some leftover chicken Parmesan meatballs, that my cap just came clear off. Game over. No more putting off the dentist. Only as it turned out, the dentist I wanted to see was closed Friday; and so was my second choice. I had to wait and call on Monday morning to see when they could get me in, which fortunately turned out to be that same morning; but what an awful weekend that was, wondering what they might find. Turns out there’s no anxiety dream like a teeth anxiety dream, and I did not sleep well. But once I got to the dentist, they discovered my tooth is more intact than I thought, and they think it can be saved and re-capped and that’s actually cheaper than most alternative options; in fact it’s only more expensive than pulling the tooth and leaving a gaping hole.
So that’s why I have a root canal coming up. But it gets worse!
My wife and I knew her car was on the way out. It’s had a very strange slow oil leak going on for years, and to diagnose it the mechanics would have to take apart the engine bit by bit; in other words, not cost effective to fix. The leak however was getting steadily worse and we expected by this summer she’d need a new car.
Wednesday night we were driving to my parents’ house and nearly made it there before, after turning a corner and hitting a small bump, something started scraping beneath the vehicle. It was a strap for the gas tank, which my dad wired up a bit so we could get it to their house and wait for a tow. The next day, and keep in mind this is still less than 168 hours (a full week) after my cap came out, we found out that the frame of the car is basically rusted beyond hope. The chassis is actually structurally sound, but there are no other supports that the gas tank strap could be re-mounted to.
So it was a pretty sucky week. And yet, I still feel incredibly blessed in so many ways, as much as I want to focus on the negative I can’t fail to acknowledge how much worse it could have been. Indeed one of the ways it could have been worse was that we didn’t think my wife would be able to secure a “new” car before my next appointment, requiring me to drive her to work early, but that’s already taken care of now.
I still don’t feel great about facing a root canal, though. And even less great that I probably won’t have a new cap until sometime in March.