Monday, October 18, 2010

The Epic Tooth Saga

Let me warn you, this entry is merely therapeutic for me and is NOT well-written or interesting or funny.

This time of the year is always one of the worst for students. I remember this time two years ago--I had my first breakdown at IU. I went back for a gig last week and everyone was in the middle of a busy semester, bogged down with coursework and performances, stressed to the max. And for the first time ever, I'm not in the middle of it...because I'm not a student anymore!

The avoidance of mid-October mania was a comfort to me until I had my own mid-October, non-school-related breakdown last week.

As I said, I went to Bloomington for a gig with Vox Reflexa. It was a little weird to travel to Bloomington this time around, I think mostly because I used to do it so many times last year after having visited Frank for a weekend or so, and every time the voyage back to Bloomington was bittersweet. But now this was a business/recreation trip. It was nice to make the drive at a more leisurely pace and see all the leaves changing in Indiana (they haven't changed here very much yet), and stop at places like Traders Joes--I even bumped into Matt on i70 and we had dinner at a Sonic in Vandalia, IL. I stayed with Laura (as she is my only friend without cats...that and she has a spare bedroom) and Joel, and Laura was in the middle of the most stressful semester of her life. It felt like all of Bloomington was like this. The only people who seemed to be getting along well were Brian and Amanda, who just had their baby a week earlier. I had knit him a little pumpkin pie hat with matching booties and got to hold him for two hours while he slept. I could probably write a whole blog about that, but I won't. :)

Anyway, I sang the gig (it went well, big crowd), met up with a few friends I hadn't seen in a while, caught up on the latest EMI gossip, and had breakfast with Laura and Arwen before hitting the road on Friday morning.

I called Frank from the road to tell him I had left, but I had to cut our conversation short because of an atrocious toothache. Thinking it was merely my sensitive mouth's reaction to Bloomington allergies, I bought a few advil and kept driving. But the pain got worse and worse. Frank had grilled a whole meal for me for when I got back home, but I showed up on our doorstep in agonizing pain. That night I couldn't sleep and kept waking him up as I grabbed more pain pills, so I finally moved myself to the guest bedroom and put a frozen bottle of gin on my cheek.

Let me explain: I am ridiculously afraid of the dentist. I think because my parents didn't really take me to the dentist much as a kid, and as a result I only went for serious problems, not normal check-ups. My most recent visit was two years ago when I had a terrible toothache that needed a root canal, but I didn't have insurance, which resulted in a filled cavity instead. And now, this recent toothache was that SAME tooth. And because of my previous problems with it, I knew it was going to be a big issue. Frank and I spent all Saturday calling dentists in Kansas City, calling our parents to ask them to call their dentists, calling friends for their recommendations, but for some reason we couldn't get in anywhere for emergency treatment. Finally, we got a tip to go to an urgent care clinic and ask for pain meds so I could make it through till Monday when dental offices were back open. So we spent two hours waiting at the Urgent Care in the Shawnee Mission mall (I know, it was really awkward) and I ended up with some crazy pain pills and a bunch of amoxicilan. I was drugged up and sick the entire weekend, with puffy chipmunk cheeks, and was only able to take small sips of milkshakes for food.

Monday I went to a dentist that Alan recommended and got a root canal. It turns out I had a huge infection behind the cavity in that tooth from two years ago. Everyone says a root canal is really awful, but I've had bad pain before and didn't believe it could be so terrible. OH MAN, it WAS! The root canal procedure was horrible and I felt so much pain during it (probably because the novacaine didn't work very well on my infection) that afterwards I was almost in tears. They left the tooth open for a day to drain the infection (GAHHHHHH!!!!!) and then filled it in temporarily on Tuesday. Now I'm doing a lot better, but I'm still on antibiotics and have to go back again in a week. There was such drama with this whole situation, but I'm really indebted to Frank for everything he did to help me out. Not just during the pain, but it's his insurance I'm on (as his "domestic partner" hehehe), and we just set up my plan a few weeks ago. If it wasn't for this, I wouldn't have been able to afford the care I needed in this emergency... And, come on, Frank was REALLY sweet too :)

So now I'm back in the pain-free real world, right in the middle of concert-week for the Chorale. We had our first concert yesterday, and it was one of the most nerve-wracking experiences of my life. Seriously. I don't know why... it's not like I'm an amateur choral singer or anything. This should have been a breeze. But it was so hard. I didn't sing my best, and the concert wasn't all that I keep blaming it on myself (which is dumb, by the way). It was all ooey, gooey, sustained, "filtered" singing--none of this laser-pointed, consorty early music stuff. And since I spent the past two years of my life doing almost exclusively the latter, I felt sufficiently out-of-shape for this concert. We have another one tomorrow night and hopefully that will be better for me and for the group.

But the funny thing is, I'm still having that huge mid-October stress fest all of my school friends are having. The parallel is somewhat interesting to me, but I'm sure it's not to you, so congratulations if you made it to the end.

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