29 May, 2012

Where I'm Hopping and some TMJ

     Man, have these last three weeks been crazy!
     It started with a dentist appointment.  My fillings had fallen out, so I went in to have them replaced.  It was a quick appointment, just in and out.  On Friday, the next day I had another appointment.  I waited in the seat numbed up for about an hour.  My jaw still hurt from the day before, but nothing a little double dose of Tylenol couldn't handle.  But as the week progressed, it quickly became more of a nightmarish kind of pain and I was taking constant double doses of Tylenol along with a Aspirin or Ibuprofen, whatever was closest to hand.  I also made a rice sock because the Tylenol and it's counterpart were barely taking the edge off.
     On Monday, right around midnight, I took some more Tylenol and Aspirin with little to no effect except that it just sat in my stomach and felt like it just wouldn't digest.  I felt nauseous and my stomach ached like bad heartburn.  So when my daughter went in to see the dentist later that morning, after taking more Tylenol and Aspirin to numb the pain, I let him know that I was in need of a prescription for my pain and that I would be scheduling a date for extraction of the tooth he had filled.  And before I left I did make one for Wednesday.
     I went straight away to get my prescription filled and as I drove, my nausea was overwhelming.  I sat in the parking lot and could think of nothing but the pain and the agony my stomach was in.  As I waited for my prescription, my illness came to an ugly head.  I was thankful for that because I did feel well enough to take my Ibuprofen 800 when I got it.
     I went to my sister's but could not stay awake and so I left so that I would not be bad company.  When I got home, I went straight to the computer to see what the symptoms of Tylenol poisoning were.  And what do you know:
     I had every freaking one and I wasn't surprised.  I had bee taking four Extra Strength Tylenol every four hours for the past ten days.  My husband was nice enough to stay out of work and bring me in.  It was an ordeal.  I was given an IV with an antibiotic and I was given nausea meds.  Before I left, my Ibuprofen 800 from the dentist wore off four hours too early and so I was given Caldolor (?) and a Vicodin for the pain.  At that point, the pain was so terrible that whenever the shock of it would radiate to my ear, I would convulse unintentionally.  I looked like I was going through mild withdrawal ad having the shakes.
     Well thankfully the doctor prescribed me some Vicodin to hold me over til the extraction two days later.  They worked.  I spent the next two days with minimal pain unless I woke up having fallen asleep between doses.  Come Wednesday, I went to have the tooth out.  I had gone twice before for dental work on that tooth and they had no issue numbing the area.  But this time, they went through seven whole vials of Novocaine and I was still feeling pain in the area.  So I was given a referral to a surgeon and sent home.
     The next two days was all about trying to get an extended Vicodin prescription and trying to get the ball rolling on the surgeon.  But first, I needed to be sure I could do surgery because I have an arrhythmia and the idea of anesthesia terrifies the ever-loving snot out of me.  So I called the surgeon and they could not get me a pre-op exam for another two weeks.  I hadn't heard back from the doc yet about a prescription and I was beginning to panic.  So I decided to go as long as I could before taking the last pill I had.  Usually the old pill would start to wear off about an hour before the next one can be taken.
     So I waited.  And waited.  Hours went by and the pain had not come back.  I was up to 4 hours past the point where the pain should have returned, but still no pain.  A miracle!  I thought maybe my jaw WAS dislocated and had been fixed somehow!
     Then it started.  The snapping in my jaw, much like the snap I had heard while getting the fillings replaced.  And then the pain started coming back slowly and much less severe.  That's when I knew, I had TMJ.  Something I had heard tons about, yet never had I heard about any pain even close to what I had been experiencing.  I had only ever heard of annoying pops and clicks or occasional stiffness or locking in the jaw.  But never so much agonizing pain.
     So I see the doctor on Friday to get it looked into.  The pain seems to come and go, though always present and most of the time a Vicodin and Ibuprofen 800 will not take it all away.  I can not sing, I can not eat hard foods or chew gum, I can not stay awake during the day.  Sometimes my jaw will not open without much pain in the joint and muscles.  It has been almost three weeks since the dental procedure and I am starting to worry that this may become a chronic pain.  I am trying to research it, but for the most part, all I see is how dentists FIX a TMJ Disorder, not cause them.
     So here is hoping that I get some good news from the doc on Friday.  Anyone else going through TMJ?  How did you first come to realize that you had it?  What are you doing for the symptoms?

Here's where I'm hopping today:



Chell said...

I had to have a surgery ohhhh maybe two years ago to "fix" a TMJ jaw problem. The cartlidge(sp)was torn up and a tendon was completely torn in two. I totally sympathize with your pain and what you are going through. To this day, I still sleep with a mouth piece... and I still stay away from chewy foods. So far so good! They have mouth pieces at walmart I think and those help alot because it pulls the bottom jaw foward and will not let you close your mouth all the way while sleeping...causing the muscles to relax and help with the pain.

Meryl Jaffe, PhD said...

Oh, I grind and broke a tooth just a few weeks ago. Good news was that it was a clean break off the side with no pain (until the dentist fixed it). Anyway, hope you're feeling better.

I am your newest follower (returning your follow). I look forward to more visits.

Martha in PA said...

thanks for stopping by! I'm following now.

what an ordeal you've been through! i hope you get it all sorted out and relief from the pain soon!

I love the name of your plug, i always say that when i try and blog before work!

Mom on Caffeine
Photos by MAK

Angela said...

Wow I hope you start to feel better soon. Thanks for following Mommy Time Out

Hilary said...

I am always so afraid to take pain meds... Too much tylenol or advil always wreck my stomach, and I once was given Vicodin after my wisdom tooth was removed and it made me SO stoned... I didn't take advil for a year!

Camille Griffiths said...

That sounds awful! I went through some bad jaw pain a while back and couldn't figure out what it was. It didn't get better, then eventually we found out I had a Eustacian tube problem (an ear tube type of thing). Going to the chiropractor really helps, maybe that would help you? I do know someone with TMJ and she uses a retainer type thing at night that helps her.

Anonymous said...

OUCH! What a nightmare. I had similar medication toxicity from a hospital stay after getting hit on my bike. They got me addicted to morphine! YIKES. Had to ween me off it and go to other meds. Very tricky business, pain medication.
Hope you're appt. on Friday went well. Keep updating.

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