In The Desert Of Seth

By G. B. Marian

Side-Stepping Through the Underworld

I’ve been out of commission for the past week due to an infected wisdom tooth. Shortly before we had dinner last Wednesday evening (September 10), a searing pain suddenly rushed through the entire right side of my head (as well as through my right ear, my right shoulder, and the right side of my neck). I got up the next morning intending to go to work, but the pain hadn’t subsided at all – in fact, it was even worse – so I called in sick and went to the dentist instead. I should mention that this dentist is the absolute best dentist I’ve ever had; for one thing, he always works with me to figure out some reasonable payment options when my dental insurance won’t cover a certain procedure I might need. For another, he’s very jovial and actually makes me look forward to seeing him. So when he told me last Thursday that I had a badly infected wisdom tooth, that the infection was causing the entire right side of my head, neck and shoulders to swell, and that it could potentially get into my brain and kill me, I lost my shit.

My dentist gave me prescriptions for some painkillers and antibiotics, but he told me the real problem was that I simply needed my upper wisdom teeth removed. However, the dental plan under which I’m currently insured doesn’t cover extractions of any kind, so I’d need to pay for these extractions out of pocket. Considering that we’re currently a one-income household, that I barely make enough money to make our monthly house payments, and that we’re still having trouble paying off our property taxes, paying for tooth extractions simply isn’t an option. So as you can probably imagine, I was not in a very good state of mind this past weekend. My wife and I spent Friday the 12th looking for options we could use to pay for the extractions, and luckily we found one called Care Credit, which approved me for enough money to pay for what I needed. I then made an appointment with the oral surgeon my dentist referred to me, but the soonest he could see me was Tuesday morning (September 16). So I would have to live with the pain and hope to the Gods that my medication would provide me with some relief for the next four days.

Of those days, Friday was the absolute worst. Aside from my wife and I running around and investigating payment options like chickens with our heads cut off, I was in so much pain that I couldn’t sit up for very long. Yet I couldn’t sleep either, and lying down for too long only caused the pain to escalate. I had to alternate between lying down and sitting in a chair, keeping my head raised above my heart to fight the swelling. I also spent the entire day in a sort of half-asleep nightmare state, as if I were some would-be shaman descending into the netherworld and being ripped apart by demons (hopefully to be made whole again and resurrected when all was said and done). I’m pretty sure I had entire conversations with my wife that only she remembers. I only know for sure that we ended up sleeping in the living room together that night.

The antibiotics finally started kicking in when I awoke Saturday morning, and for the rest of the weekend and Monday, I felt much better. I still experienced flashes of extreme pain, but they were no longer constant, and at least my world didn’t seem like a waking nightmare anymore. But by the time my appointment on Tuesday rolled around, I had lost all sense of time. I couldn’t remember if it was the work week now or if it was still the weekend. The procedure didn’t take as long as I thought it would – and it didn’t require as much anesthesia as I thought it would, either – and when it was over, I immediately felt much better. The searing pain that had felt as if an angry gnome were mining for gold inside my brain was now replaced with a more pleasurable sort of pain – like the sort one feels while stretching a sore muscle on a cold autumn morning.

I’ve been back to work since yesterday, and things feel strange and surreal. Perhaps it’s still the medication in my system giving me “cotton brain,” but I was last at the office on a Wednesday, and my first day back was on a Thursday one week later. It feels almost as if the entire week between these two days was just some feverish nightmare that really only lasted for 16 hours (from 5:00 p.m. on one day to 9:00 a.m. the next). It’s times like these that I begin to question the nature of reality, wondering if anything is really what I think it is.

Nevertheless, I thank Ishtar for moving my wife to discover the Care Credit option, and I mention that option here in case anyone else out there might like to know about it. If you’re hurting for health insurance and you need a certain procedure right now in order to live, take a good look at Care Credit and see if it will approve you for whatever you might need. I also praise Typhon for the fact that my experience with the oral surgeon wasn’t nearly as painful, life-threatening or expensive as I feared it might be. You can rest assured that each morning since then, I’ve been thanking Him and Ishtar both for the fact that I’m still alive and capable of enjoying life’s bountiful blessings (like B-grade horror flicks and cheesy 1980’s glam metal).


9 responses to “Side-Stepping Through the Underworld

  1. katakhanas September 19, 2014 at 11:46 pm

    Blessings of wellness to you! Sa Sekhem Sahu!


  2. Ekunyi September 20, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    Aaaaugh that’s awful. Wisdom tooth extraction is bad enough on its own, let alone without serious complications necessitating it when you’re financially strapped to boot. So glad you have a good doctor and were able to find the Care Credit program. I’ll definitely be making prayers for your swift recovery, and for strength to your wife as well, as caretaker.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. rung2diotimasladder September 20, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    Glad to hear you’re feeling better! There’s nothing worse than being in so much pain you can’t even sleep. I hope they gave you a nice fat prescription of demerol.


  4. khnumscraftsman September 20, 2014 at 11:21 pm

    I’m glad that you feel better. Wisdom tooth pain is some of the worst pain.


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