Friends, thank you so much for praying. This battle is winding down, and by God’s grace, the infection is losing. Here’s a brief rundown.
Dec 10: Began to have a toothache on number 31. From here on I began to sleep about 4 hours/night.
Dec 12: Appointment with the dentist, who strongly urged me to have an emergency root canal on 31 because of a large abscess tooth (infection underneath the tooth). I took 4 amoxicillin before the procedure and began taking it after then, along with hydrocodone and 800 mgs of motrin. I had mild swelling at this point.
On the way to the hospital for the CT scan.
This is after the drain was inserted. I don’t remember taking this picture.
Dec 16: We called the dentist that morning as the pain and swelling increased a great deal. They noticed #30 also had an abscess. They gave me 20+ shots to attempt to get my mouth numb, but they were unsuccessful. When you have a substantial infection, it blocks the numbness. After trying to attempt the root canal without my mouth being numb, I decided the pain of drilling my tooth was too much to handle.
They referred us to an oral surgeon who took us in that day. He took a thorough x-ray which revealed a large infection under 30-31, which had spread to other parts of the right side of my face. He put me under, pulled 30-31, and put a drain from my face feeding into my mouth, which would hopefully drain the infection (it doesn’t just go away, it has to escape somehow).
[To get rid of this kind of infection, three things need to happen: (1) get rid of the source of the infection–aka my two teeth, (2) create an escape route for the infection to drain out, and (3) find the right antibiotic to fight it. The Dr. said in the colonial days, I would have died from this. I wasn’t so sure it wasn’t still the Colonial days.]
The oral surgeon put me on a much stronger anti-biotic, stronger pain meds, and sent me home.
Dec 18: We called the oral surgeon as my swelling had increased and I had not experienced any drainage of the infection, which is necessary to get rid of it. He had us come in that day. He noticed a lump near my chin which was softer (swelling in the face isn’t soft but hard) and red. This was the area where the puss from the infection was settling. It was there that he needed to make an incision to allow the drainage to release.
We went to get a CT scan this day to rule out some really, really serious stuff.
Dr. Gaul stayed late that night to put me under and perform the surgery. He also flushed my face to get as much drainage out as possible. He then stitched a small plastic cylinder in that location to keep my chin open. This would allow drainage throughout the next few days. He also put me on another even stronger antibiotic.
Dec 19: One of the antibiotics had a side effect that made me lose my appetite and caused vomiting. Because I didn’t have much on my stomach and I had ibuprofen and two strong antibiotics on my stomach, I began vomiting that evening. We decided I needed to go to the ER to regain fluids. I spent a few hours there that night. This was the low point of the journey.
Dec 20: All liquid diet and a lot of sleep, including another scrip that calmed my stomach were the theme of this day. The Dr. removed the plastic cylinder from my face as the drainage slowed and swelling began to decrease. I turned a corner this day. Mom and Dad arrived that night to help Lynsey take care of me and the baby.
Dec 21: Same as previous day. More meds, more sleep, more liquid diet. I took a bath this day. Swelling decreased even more. I held Caroline for the first time in a week on this day.
Dec 22: Same as previous day, began small amount of solid foods. Took a shower this day.
Dec 23: The oral surgeon gave us the OK to travel to Arkansas. Ate more solid foods. He also gave us another antibiotic to start after the other two are finished to give a final blow to the infection.
I continue to improve my strength. It’s silly how weak I am. This has been the grand pappy of infections.
Today we asked the oral surgeon about the sample of drainage he took during the surgery a few days prior. He said we shouldn’t worry about that. They would have only needed that if I ended up in ICU. (So glad he didn’t tell us that at the time!)