Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Attack of the Abscessed Teeth

My wife will tell you that I am very hard headed about going to the doctor.

For a person with a chronic disease, this can be a problem, as it can cause complications that would not bother a normal human being.

For example, I broke my foot a couple of years ago while running, when I stepped on a frozen footprint.  The 3rd metatarsal snapped, but I could not fathom that such a small miss step could have actually broken a bone, let alone with such severity.
So I finished my run (had about 3 miles left) got up the next morning and ran another 3 miles and then decided that I had actually done something that would cause me to put my running on hold for a couple of weeks anyway.

Needless to say, I walked on it for 2 weeks before I finally listened to Melissa and went to the doctor..... not exactly how it happened.  What actually happened was that I had what I thought was a really bad ear infection and it was messing with my swimming, so I went to the Dr to get some anti-biotics, it was messing with my BG levels as well.

Short story is that my GP Dr Kenneth Young (a fine GP who has 2 siblings with T1 diabetes ) told me that I didn't actually have an ear infection (I had been to see him 3 times previous with the same complaint) but he somehow determined on this visit that it was actually an abscessed wisdom tooth. If I remember correctly, I gave him some more information on this trip that actually led him to that conclusion.

So I said, while I'm here Doc, could you take a look at my foot, my wife seems to think it needs a Dr's analysis.  He took one look and said, I think it's broken, but we need to get an Xray.  Which lead to the Xray tech full of concern, coming to me in the waiting room and asking, "You walked in here on this?" This was followed by a trip to the Ortho where they did more Xrays and I was asked repeatedly, "You walked in here on this?"  Finally culminating in the Ortho saying, "They tell me you walked in here on this with a shoe on it."  Diagnosis broken 3rd metatarsal, Dr said he say men my age all the time with this problem and that I needed to quit running. (similar to what my GP told me except he said "Diabetics" and the Ortho said, that since I am T1 he did not think it wise to reset, my now partially healed broken bone and that I should leave it displaced and not run ever again.

Naturally I didn't like this diagnosis, so I sought a 3rd opinion and was told, "I see this kind of injury in 18 year olds, run if you want."  So I did.  I ran 5ks galore, in fact everyday at lunch from my work.  I ran a 10k, a 15k and a 10k as part of an Olympic distance triathlon in St Petersburg, FL (have to do that one again some day)

So when I lined up for the Indianapolis Mini Marathon in May of that year, I was telling the guy next to me that I thought I was going to do a personal best.  (for me I was expecting an hour 35 -45) imagine my surprise when I felt something go snap in my foot 1/2 mile into the race. I broke 3 bones this time, but the good news is that they healed straight this time because I went right to the Dr.

What does all of this have to do with Abscessed teeth, you are likely wondering about now.  So the other part of the story is that, my dentist had told me probably 2 years prior that I needed to get those wisdom teeth taken out before they caused me problems.  Trouble was that I now know in retrospect, they were causing me problems with my ears, breathing and BG control.  They had apparently been abscessing off and on all of that time, so I should have taken care of it when the dentist first presented the issue to me instead of delaying until it was really a problem.

I went to the Oral Surgeon, where I learned that Oral surgery is not just where you talk about surgery as opposed to written surgery where you write about it.  They actually go in and rip stuff out by the roots.  Not how the Oral Surgeon phrased it but true!

So come to find out that my 2 year delay in the removal of these puppys has brought on an added complication, the nerve on the back molar on the upper left side of my jaw had possible nerve damage making it look like I could loose it as well.  The good news is that he was able to save my molar..... but just for a time and I was glad to get another 4 years of use out of that tooth. 

Getting rid of my wisdom teeth, made me feel like a new man!  I was swimming faster, breathing through my nose again, no longer was continually congested in my head and just had more energy overall.

Then a couple of weeks ago (maybe a bit longer) my BG levels started getting dicey.  Kind of like trying to ride a bronco into a coral.  Going high and low unpredictably.  (usually an internal stress indicator as I have found to be the case)  On Monday of this week 3/25/13 my BG went high and would not come down in spite of bolusing almost triple the amount of Humalog that I would normally I would normally use.

My sister fed me some Potato soup for supper and when I bit into a soft potato, I found the source of my high BGs.  I should mention at this point that this tooth had been bothering me on a mild level for at least a couple of weeks and Melissa had been nagging me to go to the dentist, but of course I was resistant and she was right.  The little episode with the potato soup plus the fact that the pain lasted all night convinced me to go to the Oral Surgeons office the next day.

$550 dollars and 4 hours later, I was one more tooth short of a mouthful.  But guess what!  I am already feeling better only a day after and have only taken one of the pain pills prescribed so far. Don't even need Aspirin and my BG is behaving more like I have come to expect it to behave.

The moral of this story is,,,,,, when your wife tells you to go to the Dr, don't be hard headed, just do it!

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