Skip to content →

Insult to Injury

Wow, no posts in a month. What a terrible blogger I am. I think I’m justified this time. Frankly, January completely sucked. Hear now my saga.

On the Friday before New Year’s Eve, I woke with a terrible toothache. Despite it being her “busiest day of the year,” my dentist was nice enough squeeze me in. She determined that I needed a root canal. Yay! Unfortunately, she only had time to perform half a root canal – enough to alleviate my pain until the week after next when her schedule was more open.

That seemed to go fine until a couple of hours later – when the root canal got infected. I can’t describe how painful this was other than to say it felt like a kindey stone in my mouth (I’ve had kidney stones several times – it doesn’t get much worse). I called her emergency line, got her directly, and before too long I had some penicillin and was good as new.

Or was I? The Monday after I finished that course of antibiotics, I started to itch. I noticed two mosquito-bite sized bumps on my arm, and I couldn’t stop scratching them. By lunch time, there were three bumps. An hour or so later, there were eight. Hives! I realized that something was seriously wrong with me and went straight to the doctor. She determined that I was probably allergic to the penicillin. She told me to take Benedryll and gave me a perscription for a mild steroid in case they got worse.

I went home and rested, feeling comforted in my nice Benedryll haze, but by bedtime the hives were way, way worse. Imagine a five inch raised, red bump on your thigh that itches like nothing else. I had those in at least five or six spots on my body. Taking the steroid seemed to make them mostly go away by the next morning, and by Wednesday I could barely tell they had been there at all.

Feeling energized by that, I decided to finish the painting that I had started the weekend prior. I didn’t mind the work, and I sure liked the results: transforming the hideous aquarium-themed nursery into a nice, relaxing home office. I was painting without a mask, and with the doors and windows shut no less. It’s great how they’ve paint not smell bad anymore! Must be fine for you…

Or so I thought. The next morning, the hives were back worse than ever. Itching like crazy! Doc gave me a stronger steroid, and I had to take that and Benedryll for the next two weeks, leaving me in a terrible haze of dizziness, headache, and nausea – all mixed together with a strangely huge appetite. You’d think that’d be the end of it, but the hits just kept on coming. And this just raised a mystery: was I allergic to the penicillin or the paint?

Returning to the dentist to finish my root canal, I figured I might as well get my long-overdue schedule cleaning. In that process, they found two more deep cavities that “might also have to become root canals.” Great. Both had formed behind old fillings (like the first), so there was little I could have done about them. That evening, one of said fillings broke off, leaving a big scratchy hole in one side of my mouth to go along with the scratchy temporary crown on the other. Having the cavities filled in the end was actually more miserable than the root canal in the first place.

All that and I lost $65 at my first poker game of the year. I think I’m back to normal now, and I’m incredibly grateful for wonderful care. On the bright side, I have a great excuse to never paint again.

Published in life


  1. Jege Jege

    Poor Nick!!!!
    I had almost the exact same saga last october, november & december. Started out with one root canal in an upper molar, which punctured my sinuses and kicked off a horrific infection. A month later, BAM! lower molar starts hurting, and they do that one. I lose another month to antibiotics, steroids & painkillers. THEN one of those fillings-behind-a-filling. Luckily I didnt get hives, but it was still pretty awful.
    Steroids cause a massive increase in appetite, so I was ravenously hungry. But the painkillers made me throw up, so it evened out.
    Do you have a night guard to wear on your teeth while you sleep? If not, invest in one, the NTI is best, and had I had one about 10 years ago, I could have avoided my 6 root canals in the last 7 years.

  2. I had the huge appetite too. In fact, I’ve been having trouble dialing it down. I’ve gained 6-8 pounds in the last month!

    No mouth guard yet. I’m going to try make myself a dedicated flosser and see if that does the trick.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *