And now an update on my face (facedate? upface??)
I went to the ER again Friday because my right cheek kept swelling and my jaw would neither open nor shut. They gave me a CT scan and told me my jaw wasn’t broken, then kicked me out. When I pointed out that I look ridiculous and am in tremendous pain and can’t use my mouth (no bj jokes, please) and can’t like, work and stuff, they told me to ice it and see a dentist. They referred me to their dental clinic in the hospital, which I actually tried to go to once before and they were huge assholes about it cause I wasn’t a current patient.
This was Friday night, which meant that I would have to wait till Monday to do anything. What a miserable weekend! I iced the motherloving shit out of my cheek, and was completely unsurprised when it only got worse. It felt hard and was ridiculously painful, obviously infected. Like, obviously. Pretty much everyone I’ve spoken to in person since last Thursday or so has said, “Yeah, it looks pretty infected.” Everyone except the two doctors who examined me.
So all I did all weekend was feel sorry for myself and rage at the medical system and the unbelievable writing on The Newsroom. I looked forward to Monday with dread. I imagined myself calling that fucking dental clinic and getting into a screaming match with my full-on speech impediment (I thought I knew lisps!) when they told me they could squeeze me in on September 23rd. I’d probably just end up in the ER again for another 8 hours and be sent on my way with instructions to drink plenty of fluids while my cheek pops open and spiders start crawling out or some shit.
The only positive thing I could think of was that at least I’d kicked my dentist phobia. A few months ago, me being sent to a dentist would’ve resembled Björk being sent to the gallows in Dancer in the Dark, but at the beginning of the summer my mouth felt like Willem Dafoe’s leg in Antichrist, so I pulled a J.Lo and said, “Enough,” and went and got a few teeth ripped out of my face. I imagined that finally addressing the years of neglect and abuse that had gone on in my mouth would resemble that final scene in Precious, where I’m Mo’Nique and the dentist is Mariah and my teeth are Precious, but my oral surgeon turned out to be really kind and caring and would say “sorry” every time he hurt me, so he’s unlike any guy I’ve ever known basically. As I thought of all this, a lightbulb went on. Why not just call him?
I got up early today (a nice thing about my current state is that I don’t have to set an alarm — the excruciating pain will get me up!) and called his office around 9:15. I told the receptionist what had happened and what I had going on. “What time can you come in?” “Whenever!” “Can you get here before 10?” It was like a reprieve.
They gave me an x-ray sent me right to a room. As I’d run into the various assistants with whom I’d become acquainted in my last series of appointments there, I was tasked with re-telling a story I don’t remember, which is always odd to say the least. The doctor told me what I already knew, that my cheek is very infected and the hospital dropped the ball. He pretended to make smalltalk as he went in and “drained” a lot of it which was extraordinarily painful for me and I’m sure extraordinarily fucking disgusting for him. He put me on “aggressive” antibiotics and threw some Vicodin my way (hey-o!). He remarked that I have an exceptional tolerance for pain. He’s right, I do. I also dry-heave whenever any kind of romantic situation comes my way, so go figure.
And that brings us up to now. Aside from this unusable mouth business, I’ve healed remarkably quickly. All I have is a cut on my nose and the remnants of a black eye. It really chaps my ass that I’ve been out of commission for so long, but at least I finally feel like there’s an end in sight. It’s awful being in so much physical pain perpetually, but I’ve also been blown away by the support I’ve gotten from close friends, not-close friends, new friends, strangers, etc. I’m miserable, but I’m happy, basically.
I wrote this as my Vicodin was kicking in, which will hopefully explain the downright excessive pop culture references, at least a little bit.