Sunday 28 December 2014

Sinus Toothache!

This is a break from my normal posts (if there is such a thing). I am posting this in case it is of help to someone out there if I share my experience.

Back in the summer, I started to notice a sharp, shooting pain in my teeth whenever I bent down to pick up the ball. Just that. Nothing else. Ah ha, those in the know will be saying, I know what that is.

Well, I didn’t. I put up with it and tried to ignore the thought that I had something very wrong with my teeth. I hoped it would get better. It didn’t. It got worse. Soon the toothache was constant and I was taking paracetamol every four hours. I had earache and jaw ache. The whole side of my face hurt and my teeth were super-sensitive.

So I did the sensible thing and made an appointment with my dentist. “Which tooth?” she asked. “I don’t know – all of them on that side at the top.” “Oh, so I have to guess do I?” she said and I felt like an idiot. I mean who doesn’t know which of their teeth hurts?

“It hurts most when I bend over forwards,” I said helpfully (it seemed relevant) and she looked exasperated as if that bit of information didn’t help at all.

She tapped all my teeth along the top on the left side. They all hurt. A lot. She did that thing where they spray something icy on your teeth. I nearly hit the roof. She took x rays. At last, I thought, she’ll find out what’s wrong.

“Hm, there’s nothing on your x rays.”

The nurse smiled kindly and said the problem is that the same nerve serves all the teeth so it can be difficult to find which one is causing the trouble.

To cut a long story short, she did a temporary filling in a small cavity she found and told me to come back in a fortnight. I wasn’t happy when I got home. I’d expected her to find something – anything – that was causing so much pain.

A few weeks later, after she’d replaced all my fillings on that upper side and put liners in to reduce sensitivity the pain settled – very slightly, so when I went back for my next appointment I was able to say, yes, I feel much better. I didn’t tell her I was still taking painkillers. I wasn’t taking so many, so assumed the teeth were settling down. “Good,” she said. “My next step was going to be root canal treatment.” Yikes!

Then it got bad again. I was in despair. I tried to wobble my teeth to relieve the pressure and considered raiding the toolbox for some pliers. I tried hot and cold compresses on my face, bags of ice, herbal remedies, clove oil, the TENS machine – I even tried ibuprofen although they give me indigestion (they didn’t help at all). The paracetamol took the edge off, but after about three hours I’d be watching the hands of the clock, desperately waiting for the time to be up so I could take more.

I woke four hours after going to bed and had to take more pills. I felt like banging my head against the wall.

I was grinding my teeth and waking myself up, causing more pain. The inside of my cheek ached. Some nights I'd be up at 3am, my night's sleep over.

Then at the beginning of December, I made a decision. I’d make an appointment and just tell her to pull the teeth out. That was my plan. I hit my teeth with a spoon trying to pinpoint the most painful one, but by then the bottom teeth were hurting too and I had pain all down my neck. The ringing in my ear that I’ve got used to over the years became loud and constant.

The hypochondriac in me was working overtime. If I wasn’t tossing and turning because of the pain, it was all the ridiculous thoughts whirling round in my head. I’ve had trouble on that side of my face before – when I was in my twenties – and I began to think it was something to do with the radiation treatment I had. Or maybe it was arthritis in my jaw. Once I started looking things up on the internet, I scared myself.

I couldn’t get in with my dentist and had to see one of the others. I sat in his chair and said, “It started off hurting in my tooth when I bent forwards. Now my whole face hurts – all the time.

“That’s not toothache,” he said. “That is sinus pain. I’ll do an x ray to be sure.”

He did an x ray and showed it to me on his computer. All fine. Sinus, I thought, you mean I don’t need to have all my teeth pulled out to stop it? Really?

“You need antibiotics. I can prescribe them, but you should see your doctor as he’ll know the best one to prescribe.”

When I went to settle up, the receptionist said there was nothing to pay and asked if I had to make another appointment. I told her what he’d said. “Yes,” she said. “That’s very common.” I said I felt a fool for not going to the doctor first and she said, “Well you have to start with one or the other.”

So the next day I went to see my doctor. I told him the dentist had sent me! “I’ve got toothache,” I said. “It hurts a lot when I bend forward.”

“That’s not toothache,” he said. “That’s a sinus infection. How long have you had it?”

At least three months.

I picked my prescription up and went home in tears. The end was in sight.

Except the antibiotics didn’t work – not helped by the norovirus I got in the middle of the course. I couldn’t get in with my doctor and had to see a different one. I was beginning to think it wasn’t an infection at all and my inner hypochondriac reared her ugly head again.

The doctor took my temperature. “Over 100,” he said which was a surprise. He prescribed a different antibiotic and gave me a steroid nasal spray to use.

I’ve had sinus pain before, but it’s always been in my cheekbones and always after a cold. Never like this!

About three days into the antibiotics, I was down to four painkillers all day. By Christmas Eve which was the last day of them, I didn’t need any. It was bliss to sleep through the night.

Christmas day evening my face began to hurt - but not bad enough for painkillers. But I’ve caught a cold. I’m snuffly and stuffed up so it’s going to hurt isn’t it? If it gets worse, I'll be back to the doctor like a shot!

The reason I am writing this post is because there may be someone else out there with an unexplained toothache that cannot be pinpointed and pain when they lean forwards. Go and see your doctor!

I cannot believe how debilitating this sinus infection has been. Apart from the pain, my only symptom was intense fatigue – and weight loss (every cloud and all that). I even had to soak my cornflakes in soya milk until they were soft because eating anything remotely crunchy was so painful.

My husband, bless him, did all the Christmas food shopping (including buying stacks of paracetamol) because I have been in Completely Useless Mode for weeks. I’ve done very little writing apart from my blog posts; in fact this is probably the most I’ve written for ages.

So for anyone reading this that doubts that a sinus infection can cause toothache, earache, headache, face ache, jaw pain, neck ache and fatigue without any nasal symptoms – yes it can!

And just as an odd little aside, the second lot of antibiotics I was prescribed were the same as those Dusty is taking for the next month, Co-amoxiclav (Augmentin).

I really hope that this post will help someone!

Saturday 20 December 2014

Happy Christmas!

I wish all my lovely supportive, kind and understanding friends a very happy Christmas (Harley does too) – and thank you for putting up with all my moans and groans these past few months.

I found a way to stop Dusty and Harley pulling the tree over – I tied it to the bookcase behind it. Clever eh? I got the idea from my daughter in law who has tied their tree up too!

I’m sure they’re still plotting ways to pull it over. The poor thing is looking decidedly wonky and battered.

This was Dusty on a walk the day after he came home from the vet’s. Keeping him on the lead is proving to be… a challenge! My arms are so long now, I can scratch my ankles without bending over!

Before I go, this Little Witch is my 5 year old granddaughter. Unusual to see her in a dress. She's a real tomboy. Because I wasn't well, I had to miss her performance in her school nativity - boo (she wasn't a witch, she was a wise man and a stall holder!).

She was a bridesmaid a couple of years ago and it was touch and go as to whether we got her into a dress - but she was really good although she insisted on having her trainers on as soon as the ceremony was over.

Happy Christmas – I hope you have a wonderful time and wish you a new year of good health and happiness (Dusty does too) xxx

Friday 12 December 2014

Latest on Dusty!

Well it seems the mystery of Dusty’s recurring abscess is still a mystery. We had to take him back to Dick White Referrals at Six Mile Bottom on Tuesday and he was admitted for tests. Leaving him was horrible – it’s never easy is it and I didn’t get upset in front of him, but I was blubbing so much coming home my poor husband ended up taking a wrong turning!

Dusty had a scan on Tuesday which didn’t show anything up, so they operated on Wednesday.

The vet cleaned out the infection and took a scrape of bone for cultures. They kept him in on Thursday to keep an eye on him and we went to pick him up today. He was so pleased to see us and when he got in the car, he barked as if he was shouting for joy.

All being well, we’ll see our vet for a check up next week and hopefully by then they’ll have the test results and will know which antibiotic is best to target the infection. Then back to Six Mile Bottom at the end of the month for another check up.

In the meantime he’s on soft food, no toys, no chews, no running about like a mad thing off the lead… I’ve put all his toys away – and my shoes which he likes to gather up. He’s not even allowed to go out in the garden off the lead – not because he’ll run around, but because he’s likely to find a stick or a rock or something else to chew on!

I finally got the norovirus which has been roaring its way through the family and was in bed all of Wednesday, which was kind of a blessing as I slept away a lot of the worry. I keep looking at those that haven’t succumbed yet and wondering who will be next. Cheerful aren’t I?

Saturday 6 December 2014

Stranger on the Shore

Not a great quality photo, but this chap was at the beach the other day and this was the best I could do before Dusty got too close and he flew off. I hadn’t even noticed the seagull doing a flypast.

Herons seem such lonely birds and the most I have ever seen together in one place is three. I think I’ve posted a photo on this blog before of one standing on a nearby rooftop.

When I saw him standing there, I thought of Acker Bilk who died recently and Stranger on the Shore was playing in my head.

We were at the beach at full tide one day. No sandbanks to play on! Not that Dusty and Poppy seemed to mind (they are in the photos - trust me).

We’ve got an appointment on Tuesday in Cambridgeshire as Dusty’s face has swollen up again. We have painkillers for him, but he can’t have antibiotics as they want to take cultures and do other tests.

Wednesday 3 December 2014

December Giggle Blog

I thought I was going to struggle for a giggle after the past week or so, but the Other Half came up trumps yesterday!

Long story short: ill children, stomach upsets, a family crisis, Dusty puffing up again, broken washing machine, toothache, more sickness, Dusty referred for MRI up near Newmarket…

BUT, everyone is okay and everything turned out all right and that is something to smile about.

We went to Cambridgeshire yesterday, prepared to leave Dusty for the scan and/or soft tissue surgery, but miraculously the swelling went down – a few hours after Jo referred him as it happens. I didn’t cancel because I was worried he’d puff up again.

So off we went. Sat nav took us almost there – as they do – and we followed the instructions from the vet (having gone through Newmarket and passed hundreds of beautiful race horses, a magnificent statue of a horse in the middle of a roundabout, lots of famous places and posh houses).

We were going to be very early for the appointment and I jokingly said, “Well, we had to allow extra time for when you drive past the place and we have to find our way back.”

So what did he do? “There’s the sign,” he said… as he drove past. We ended up on a dual carriageway heading in the wrong direction. But he found his way back and we were still half an hour early.

Good news was, no scan needed, but the vet we saw very kindly said we were right to keep the appointment because if it does flare up again, we can make another appointment and go straight there for treatment without going through the referral process – but let’s hope we don’t!

As for the toothache – after all the work I’ve had done, the dentist I saw today said it’s not my teeth and now I have to see the doctor… you’ve got to laugh haven’t you?

Oh, while I was at the dentist I noticed their front door was open when I came down the stairs and a man went out without bothering to shut it behind him. Helpfully I closed it. One minute later the man came back, loaded up with boxes only to find the door he’d left open was shut. Oops.

My beautiful oldest granddaughter had a Stone Age day at school where everyone in her year had to dress up. She chose this tartan material herself and as a surprise, I made her a “fur” cloak.

We have decorated for Christmas. So far Harley has been in the tree several times and Dusty has tried to climb in with her. Such fun!