I really dislike going to the dentist (sorry Dr. Soosie, nothing personal) but I LOVE my dentist. I know that sounds like a contradictory statement but it’s not really. I’ve had so many dental issues in my life and spent so much time in dentist’s offices that I have just come to really dislike it. Plus the fact that I have TMJ so any visit more than an hour long usually ends with me in pain for days from my aching jaws and since I usually either end up having big cavities or crown/cap problems I seldom get out of there in less than an hour unless it’s just for a cleaning. No offense doc, I’m just saying.
I had a heart murmur growing up and as such always needed to be pre-medicated prior to visit (until recently when the protocol was changed) and since I am allergic to most antibiotics, the ones I have to take are usually harsher on your stomach than Penicillin which makes it even worse because I was usually nauseous with my stomach hurting on top of my jaw hurting. I know… I am SUCH a whiner.
Oh, I am also sensitive to Novocain so they usually use Lidocaine which doesn’t seem to last as long a Novocain so I have to have more shots and more frequently. I know, I’m such a mess, but, I tell you this so you know why I dislike going to the dentist so much. Like I said, I LOVE my dentist, just not having to have the procedures. And the dentist I use now has such a friendly staff, I love them all. This was not always the case in the past.
I have more teeth that have caps than teeth that don’t and I have had I think around 10 or 11 root canals. I think genetically I was just dealt a sucky blow as far as my teeth went. Combine that with the fact that after Hurricane Camille back in 1969 when I was like 11 our area was so devastated that we had no electricity for I think a couple of weeks and no running water for I want to say like a month. We had the army truck in water in these big tanks and I remember seeing the Army guys pouring actual gallons of Clorox bleach into the water and that was what we drank and used in our food and I think it ate the enamel off our teeth which were already weak to begin with and when we were young, our family didn’t believe in going to the doctor or dentist as preventive maintenance. If you had something that couldn’t be fixed at home, like appendicitis or you were bleeding so profusely they couldn’t get it to stop THEN you went to the emergency room but in general there was no preventive medical visitation. I’m not saying my parents weren’t good parents, it’s just not something that was high on their priority list. We lived out in the country and people just didn’t do that.
My probably worst dentist visit occurred about 8 or 10 years ago at my former dentist. This isn’t the reason he’s my former dentist. He moved his practice to another town over an hour drive from us and I just didn’t want to drive that far. I just wanted to clarify that. He was a good dentist he just didn’t always have the smartest people working for him.
I had gone in to see him and found out I had to have yet another root canal. He had his receptionist make me an appointment with an endodontist in a town about an hour drive from my house. My appointment was for 7:30 A.M. You have to pre-medicate an hour before your appointment. At work the day before my appointment I realized I didn’t have any more of my antibiotic to pre-medicate so I called his office (my regular dentist) and asked for my favorite receptionist/assistant but she was off that day (as was the dentist) so I had to speak with his other assistant who wasn’t always the sharpest crayon in the box.
I explained to her that she needed to refer to my chart, that she would see that I had a heart murmur and needed to be pre-medicated but had run out of my medication so could she please call in the prescription for me. As I’m talking to her she’s writing her note for when she calls the prescription in and reading it back to me and she says the dosage (which I pay no attention to because I am not a medical professional) and then says Penicillin. I remind her that it should be on my chart that I am ALLERGIC to Penicillin so she needs to change it to another antibiotic but since I am allergic to several at this time my dentist usually called in Erythromycin. She complied and said she would call in my prescription and it should be ready by the time I got there to pick it up.
When I get to the drug store the man behind the counter (who I didn’t realize was the actual pharmacist) told me that the dosage seemed “a little high”. Thinking he was just the pharmacy employee and that he didn’t realize I needed to pre-medicate, which is a massive dose in and of itself, I told him no, I was sure it was correct because it was for a dental appointment. He said it still seemed high and being the hard headed person I am, I told him, again, that no, I was sure it was correct. He just shook his head and handed it to me and told me to be sure and eat something with it because it was going to be harsh on my stomach.
Of course being hard headed and thinking that I know it ALL, the next morning I am running late, as usual so I don’t have chance to eat anything but a piece of toast as I’m driving to the endodontist so I took the antibiotics first and then ate the piece of toast as I was driving my hour drive. I started getting a little nauseous before I even got there but I’m used to antibiotics really wreaking havoc on my stomach so I ignore the nausea and keep driving. By the time I get there I REALLY don’t feel well. The doctor already had someone in the chair so I had to wait a few minutes and while I was waiting there it went from nausea to get out of my way NOW so I can make it to the bathroom before I vomit on the floor. Let’s just say my toast came up along with anything I had to drink, then the bile, then the dry heaves started. I was SO sick that I ended up laying on the floor in the bathroom unable to even get up to answer the door when the dental assistant came to check on me. Yes, I actually laid on the floor in a strange bathroom.
When I was finally able to compose myself (read I had nothing left on my stomach left to vomit and the dry heaves had momentarily stopped) the endodontist called me back. As soon as he started to put his fingers in my mouth it started again and he grabbed a trash can. He asked me if I had the flu and I told him no, I had just pre-medicated. He asked if I had the bottle with me and I told him yes and fished it out of my purse and handed it to him. His face went ashen. He was like “Did Dr. D call this in for you?” And I told him no, that his assistant did because he wasn’t there. He said he’d be right back and left the room for a few minutes (I found out later he called my dentist, furious). When he came back in he explained that the assistant had forgotten to change the dosage amount when she changed it from Penicillin to Erythromycin. The dosage is much higher for Penicillin because it’s not as strong. So I not only took a stronger antibiotic and a higher dosage as recommended for pre-medication but a lot higher dosage than that. And I had to make another appointment to come back because I was too sick for him to do the procedure that day. Total waste of an accidental over dose!
They had to call in a suppository (I know TMI) for nausea because I was too sick to keep anything down. I ended up missing THREE days from work because I was so sick. THREE DAYS…. And when I went back to the dentist? He was very apologetic. The assistant? Never apologized! Just looked sheepish and said “Oops”. I know she didn’t do it on purpose and that it was a mistake but it could have been lots worse than it was due to her negligence and she should have at least said she was sorry. She made it seem like it was my fault that I hadn’t told her first thing that I was allergic to penicillin. Excuse me? You had my chart right in front of you. It’s your job to look. At least she didn’t give me penicillin because then I wouldn’t be here now to tell you the whole sordid story. Is that the silver lining they speak of?
TOTALLY UNRELATED SIDE NOTE: I am going to be gone for a few days and will be where my internet access is EXTREMELY limited. I have set my posts to post on their own but have never done that before so I’m not sure if it’s going to work or not. I may not be able to read or reply to your posts until I get back but I WILL be back! Thanks!