Wisdom Teeth–We Are Legion

So I’ve been gone for a while. Courtney had her wisdom teeth pulled last week, and I say that as if that should explain the long absence. Sadly, it does.

See, Courtney never does medical small. This is the woman who, after Katherine was born, decided that she didn’t have nearly enough attention and had to go to the ER ten days later with a condition that afflicts less than one person in about two million births. This is the woman who decided to do the same thing after Myron was born (ask me if lightning strikes twice). So after having her wisdom teeth pulled, she went after another rare medical anomaly.

While infections themselves are relatively common after having your wisdom teeth removed, the manner of Courtney’s infection was unusual. Instead of affecting the immediate area, it spread to her soft pallet and slowly started closing her airway. When we got to the doctor Tuesday afternoon (after a long 4th weekend with everyone off work) she could not speak, could not swallow, had not eaten anything in two days, was dehydrated, and was having problems breathing. The doctor took one look in Courtney’s mouth and immediately ordered surgery to drain the infection.

Less than an hour later, Courtney went in for surgery. Fortunately, some good friends took the kids (thanks NSG!), allowing me to stay with Courtney the entire time. The good news is, of course, that all appears well. We have a follow up this afternoon to check and make sure the infection is really going away. The bad news is that those are some of the most expensive wisdom teeth I’ve ever seen.

During one of those moments of semi-consciousness when she was coming out of anesthetic, I mentioned that the three most expensive things I’ve ever bought her were two post-birth operations and removing her wisdom teeth. She was just lucid enough to give me that look.

In all seriousness though, I had the distinct thought in the middle of the night lying in a horribly uncomfortable recliner, trying to sleep, and struggling to ignore the constant beeping and whining of the medical instruments that without the gospel and the associations that brings, this would have been a truly awful experience. Who would have watched the kids? Who would have called almost non-stop offering constant support and offers of help? Who would have visited? Who would have blessed my wife?

The silver lining to this experience will always be the knowledge that a legion of people care about us. One of the most interesting stories in the Bible to me has always been the man Christ healed of having a foul spirit. When Jesus asked the name of the spirit, it responded, “We are Legion, for we are many.” When I was a kid, that used to always frighten me for the simple thought of how could a single person battle and win against a legion? Of course, Christ is greater than such power and, truly, so are we for a host of reasons. These last few days remind me, though, that we too can be Legion in our resolve, unity, and faith.

Having Legion–in the form of family, friends, and ward members–on our side was surely a great comfort and assistance.

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13 Responses to Wisdom Teeth–We Are Legion

  1. Sarah B. says:

    Yikes! Hope Courtney’s doing well now. So glad you had the support of your ward family.

  2. aleisha says:

    oh. my. goodness. so i guess the question did you have a fun weekend is superfluous? mostly i am a smartass and i cover my true feelings with sarcasm in a feeble attempt to mask my caring and worried nature:) i am glad things are okay now. boy do i have sympathy pain for teeth issues. love you guys!

  3. Courtney Loveless says:

    Officially its called a parapharyngeal abscess. If you do an internet search, you’ll find several types of pharyngeal abscesses listed and you may have to sort to find the right one.

    If you decide to search, beware. This info is not for the faint of heart.

    Oh, yeah, and the pain is excrutiating!!!!!! Like the infection, its not localized either. The entire right side of my head hurts. My right ear feels like it has an earache spawned from something satanic, my jaw burns, the right side of my throat is hot and in constant pain. The stitches poke and irritate my tongue constantly.

    The upshot is that I can speak fairly normally. Eating is such a wonderful thing too! So is being able to drink. How I missed Food! 🙂

  4. daveloveless says:

    Update: I debated posting this in the main blog, but here it is…. I’m not so convinced that all is really well. We were told several times by the oral surgeon that she needed antibiotics by IV, and that was never done despite me asking four different nurses several times each where those antibiotics were. In fact, she didn’t have any antibiotics, except for during the surgery (or so I was told) for almost 36 hours. And now seeing Courtney’s comment….

    Can I just say that I didn’t trust the oral surgeon from the word go? We went with it anyway because it was an emergency, but I can’t deny an underlying sense of “wrong” the entire time. I initially chalked that up to my overall concern and worry, but now?

    Like I said, we have that follow up today at 2:00. You can be sure I’ll be questioning the doctor very closely about those antibiotics, especially if this results in continued problems for Courtney.

  5. nosurfgirl says:

    😦 Prayers said. We’re here, If the kids need a place to go again. If they do, I’ll buy totinos so that Katherine will eat something 😉

  6. aleisha says:

    wait…the original doctor, who was an oral surgeon, didn’t give you any anitbiotics, when he pulled your wisdom teeth out ? or the emergency doctors didn’t give her any antibiotics with the emergency surgery and infection?

  7. daveloveless says:

    The original dentist (not an oral surgeon) said he’d give her antibiotics and didn’t. The oral surgeon (second doctor) gave her some antibiotics during surgery and promised to give her an antibiotic IV drip but didn’t. We asked four different nurses and PCTs about the IV drip and no one followed up on it.

    We’re pretty ticked about it, especially since antibiotics are about as standard as it comes after a surgery, and she’s technically had two surgeries in four days. She has them now, but I can’t help but think that this all would have been avoided if we had gotten antibiotics from the beginning and at least immediately after the second surgery.

  8. Courtney Loveless says:

    The oral surgeon admitted that this was going to take some time to clear up. They still hadn’t pinpointed what is causing the infection in the first place, so they’ve had me taking a broad-spectrum antibiotic in the hopes that it will start clearing things up.

    I’m rotating through pain meds and I still hurt enough that sleeping all through the night is impossible.

    We’ve got another appointment on Monday to see if there have been any changes in the infection.

  9. aleisha says:

    holy hell, sorry guys, you know me, i couldn’t say anything else. you know how much teeth work i have had done. i have never in my life not had antibiotics up the yin/yang for teeth work. i mean, i was on an antibiotic for 3 months BEFORE they would even open me up one time because the infection was so bad. no wonder you are ticked….and i am sure that you are blessed that things did not get worse (sorry to be the realist here). really truly i feel your pain…..so get better and i know how tough it is. you are in my prayers!

  10. Sarah B. says:

    An abscess can be ugly business. What’s the word today?

  11. daveloveless says:

    Still lots of pain, and she had a fever for many days. I think it finally broke yesterday. At least, she hasn’t complained about it recently, though she’s very uncomfortable.

    It’s been a nightmare for sure.

    Oh, and Aleisha… You make me laugh. 🙂

  12. Courtney Loveless says:

    Today’s appointment went well. I had a tube in the side of my mouth the help with draining things and they finally took it out today. YAY!!! (It was beginning to rub on my gums and cheek.)

    The fever is gone, the infection has subsided enough that my ear aches a lot less than it used to, though it still twinges every now and again.

    The pain and swelling down the right side of my neck has gone down too and that has made a huge difference in how well I can sleep.

    My jaw is excessively stiff though and I can barely fit a spoon in my mouth. I’ve been using a heating pad to try and relieve the stiffness and I’ve also been having to stretch everything out but it still locks up at about a spoons-width.

  13. nosurfgirl says:

    😦 miserable. I have a sister right now who just underwent jaw surgery… she’s having just about the same kinds of problems. Wisdom teeth shoudln’t compare to Jaw surgery!!!

    I gues there *are* some really important uses of antibiotics.

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