Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Emergency Adventure

Someone wrote me a message on IM: itz bcum ovr.
And I laughed really hard.

I thought to myself that life was not exciting enough and decided to develop a gum-ache. A graduate student getting a gum-ache in America is like AIDS in Africa. It can't be cured. So this gum-ache started last Wednesday and I started icing it to get sleep at night. It was bang in the front, my bunny teeth getting chattery from all the ice.
Graduate students get indecent dental coverage and dental appointments with the doctors who participate in the esoteric program have to be made a month in advance. So I decided to go on our desi Combiflam. Then on Friday, I decided it was about time I did something (the ice was giving me cold sores) and I went to the Stony Brook Infirmary. What an appropriate name. And they have just one standard prescription - antibiotics and Ibuprofen. Penicillin and Ibuprofen. Erythromycin and Ibuprofen. Thiscin and Ibuprofen. Thatcin and Ibuprofen. So the diagnosis that Dr.Tuckerman gave me was that I was suffering from Gingivitis, an inflammation of the gums and some salt soaks, antibiotics and ibuprofen can take care of it.
So I paid 15$ for the medicines and went my merry way hoping I'll be fine by Monday. Monday was a special monday because I was due to be presenting in lab meeting. Saturday came and the swelling started. By Saturday night I looked like I was officially on the rugby team- mouth swelling, slurred speech et al. I decided to go into lab thrice and retreated to my room. Sunday was the only day that now separated me from the overbearing meeting. So Sunday morning, I popped 4 Ibuprofens, made an icepack and drove to the lab (READ: insane 45 minute ordeal). Once in the lab, I decided to warm up before I "focus" and opened up the customary Gtalk program. A few chats later, the offending gum begun to act up again. I ignored it and had lunch. After lunch and the antibiotics that I was still investing hope in, the pain did not go away. My usual 4 Ibus didn't help either. I had made about 3 slides (Title, Blank, Thank you) and had about 100% of it left.
So I did the worst ever thing a person in an emergency can do - I went to the emergency room. The ER, is anything but emergency. A relaxed atmosphere with kids screaming, rolling on the floor, America's funniest videos playing on the lounge TV. It was almost like being at home on a sunday evening.

"Please take your badge and wait in the line for the emergency dentist."

I discovered that there was just one woman in the line before me and she was in excruciating pain so I dropped plans of jumping the line before her. After 2 agonizing hours, the dentist finally found time to see me. A couple of X-rays and weird tooth examinations later, it was confirmed that I had a necrosed nerve that was infected - hence the swelling. She suggested root canal treatment (My God has absolutely no intention of making this easy on me) and also for immediate relief said I should get the swelling punctured, drain the pus and go on stronger antibiotics. I said ok.
I've experienced a lot of different kind of pains. Bicycle fall downs. Skidding in the sewer. Punched in the face. Menstrual cramps. Wrong vein picked for blood donation. My repertoire is somewhat impressive. But the pain of getting an injection in your gums is the mother of them all. Ironically, the injection itself is local anesthesia but does nothing to alleviate the shivers you get after that injection. Local anesthesia and weird senselessness in place, the kind dentist (who was fair and warned me that all this would hurt) did what she had to do and I got out of the place after having given the hospital my insurance details.
(I am yet to find out if my ER visits are covered. Else I am not only screwed, I am also third degree burned. I am yet to find a dentist to do the root canal treatment.)
What I did do though was finish my PowerPoint slides ten minutes before the meeting was scheduled to start. I also had an exam on Wednesday for my (supercool) Imaging course. I decided that I must rest on Tuesday and cram on the said Wednesday for the exam. Of course this was insufficient preparation and the exam was anyway predestined to be ruined by reckless mistakes.
I am not going to tempt fate by saying nothing else can possibly go wrong (Three unpaid parking tickets begging to be appealed, the car making weird noises, the landlord wanting us to declare bankruptcy are some others I've to deal with right now). But I think I am ready to call this a week.

Screw you guys, I'm going home.

Color: Blue
Song: Alaska is a microcosm of America