For the past week and a half, I’ve had some moderately severe jaw pain on the same side where I broke a tooth, and had said tooth repaired, requiring me to open my mouth wide enough to swallow the Hindenburg. It hurt. But a few shots of novocaine, and I blew it off. Until the novocaine wore off. I’ve been hoping it would just get better on its own, but it isn’t, so I read up on some causes of jaw pain, and ended up going to an urgent care place this afternoon HOPING to get it checked out for being a fractured jaw bone. The nurse practitioner was pleasant enough, but I’d never seen him, he didn’t know me, and as is common with weekend visits, I got the impression that they figured I wanted pain meds. I have pain meds. I want this fixed ! The intake people asked what pharmacy I wanted (since it’s Sunday), and I told them I wouldn’t need any prescriptions (I tend to have ONLY my pain management doc deal with my pain prescriptions- keeps things much neater). The nurse practitioner informed me that ibuprofen or naproxen was the best option- which I agreed to without any issues- if this is TMJ- which he determined without feeling my jaw or doing an x-ray. I felt dismissed. I don’t go to urgent care places unless I’m pretty dang uncomfortable and need to at least get an x-ray done. Waste of time.
It’s been a weird few weeks. I fell about 3 weeks ago, dodging my puppy. It wasn’t her fault- she is just non-stop motion and can turn on a dime. Fortunately, I landed ‘slowly’ and was able to sort of ease down to the floor, leaving my left side (same side as my jaw pain) the only thing bungled up, and even that was relatively benign considering what could have happened. I didn’t even drop my microwave entree in my right hand ! But I was sore for a few days. Maybe I jarred my tooth and jaw.
A week or so after that, one of my teeth (bottom LEFT) broke. I hadn’t noticed it being an issue before- it was simply not there when I was chewing a gum drop. I found it by gingerly nibbling at the gum drop (too soft to cause a tooth to break), and made arrangements to get it checked- to at least file down the razor edge that was making my tongue hurt like crazy. Then I got the tooth filled- which is where I had to open my mouth far beyond anything I’d done for decades, if ever. I felt ‘something’, but didn’t say anything since I wanted the tooth fixed and then out of there. The dentist is a decent guy- was a former neighbor when I was about 12 years old. He got the tooth fixed, and I flew like dandelion seeds in the wind. I’m waiting until my dental insurance goes into effect on June 1st for anything major. I finally found a policy (Medicare doesn’t care about teeth) that I can afford and has decent coverage.
But since then, my jaw has been bumming me out, so I got it checked. I am not pleased with the lack of diagnostics to make sure it’s not broken. One x-ray would shut me up- I may call my regular doc tomorrow to see about it- she knows me and listens. I just saw her last week for my disability paperwork review (pain in the butt paperwork for the insurance company). I’ve declined over the last year. She thinks that the chemo for the leukemia has pretty much trashed my body- but what was the option? If I didn’t take the 19 months of various IV and oral drugs, I would have been dead within a week of diagnosis; I’d already had the bad lab work for about 3 weeks, and with APL, people are generally dead within a month if treatment isn’t started. I had to do it.
We talked about the dysautonomia, and the probability that it’s from diabetes. My blood sugars were outrageous when I was diagnosed (like 389mg/dl for a random check, and an A1C of 10.2). Nobody knows how long I had been undiagnosed. I was diagnosed with dysautonomia about a year after the diabetes diagnosis, so there’s a really good chance I had the diabetes a long time before it was confirmed. I’d talked to my neurologist about what else could be done (since it’s a neurological disorder and all), but she didn’t know the cause (and didn’t seem too interested in finding out). Now, I’m not sure if I should take it up with my endocrinologist, primary doc, or who. I get tired of all of them, even though they’re all quite kind. My oncologist tells me to just be thankful I’m alive- and I am. But I do have bummer times when I fell overwhelmed.
Since I’m not working as an RN, I feel so useless. I have so many physical limitations, even though my brain functions pretty well most of the time. I have brain farts and some memory blips. Sometimes my word-finding isn’t so great, and I can get emotional over stupid stuff. And God forbid anybody have the thermostat over 65 degrees, or I panic because I know that I’ll pass out. I wear the ice vest most of the time when I leave home. Or, I shop at 2 a.m. to avoid the heat of the day. I worked nights for years, so being awake isn’t hard. It’s also nice to not have crowds who are impatient because I’m slow. I get tired of the heavy sighs behind me; I try to stay out of the way- but there’s always some grouch. Why can’t people just be thankful it’s not them?
Sometimes I get worn out about my spine collapsing (degenerative disc disease), fibromyalgia, arthritis, degenerative joint disease (one knee already replaced- one with a partially torn ACL and medial meniscus that never got fixed because of that pesky leukemia), blah, blah, blah. My primary doc feels that some of the leg pain is from collapsed discs in my lower spine. If I have ‘known’ collapsed discs in my neck and upper spine, there’s no reason to think they aren’t also in my lower back. I haven’t had a pain free day since around 1995. I don’t have that frame of reference anymore. When someone asks me to do one of those pain scales, it’s a joke. A 5-6 is my normal. That’s a good day. I have to make something up to fit their paperwork.
But, I know I have a lot to be thankful for. Yes- I’m declining. I am having trouble getting normal things done at home. But, I’m still in my own apartment. I am not captive to the schedules of some nursing home or assisted living place with employees that would rather work in a landfill. My mind is still intact (or so I tell myself 😀 ) . I have doctors that don’t judge me (now that I changed oncologists). I have a puppy, who is really quite adorable, though she’s going through the ‘el destructo’ phase right now with teething. But she’s a great little companion, and even though she’s only been here for 2 months, she’s got a place in my heart that isn’t going anywhere. But some days are just the pits.
So, today I’m whining. My body hurts. I feel like a mutant. A useless mutant. And yet it could be so much worse.