Growing up I never had fear of the dentist...didnt have that deep seated dread a lot of people have..not sure why but I figure that I had shit to deal with at home a hell of a lot more painful and scary then any dentist...who knows. It helped I suppose that I never had any major dental problems either. After arriving in Bahrain it was sometime before I found myself in need of a dentist. I still didnt have any real fear...but I was a bit hesitant because I had been to the local health center several times and it wasnt the most modern place in the world. Left a lot to be desired...so to speak. I was hoping they were a little more up to speed with their dental care.
Now let me explain something about myself first. Im extremely sensitive to pain...I bruise incredibly easy...when I need pain killers...I need A LOT of them for whatever reason. Get the point? I have been telling people (doctors) for years that the injections for pain they give me...or the tablets etc just dont cut it...I can still feel everything as if I didnt have any pain killer. Ive had docs tell me it was "all in my head"...once while being stitched up after delivery...the doc gave me a local anesthetic...it didnt work. She gave me another...I was ready to climb off the table. She gave me a third and I felt like every stab of the needle was in my brain. She said I had to bear it cause she couldnt give me anymore. 45 minutes later I was praying to just pass out...no such luck. Incidentally I managed to get through the 5 actual deliveries without ever once having pain killers administered. Dont ask me...I dont make the rules. I felt somewhat vindicated when I came upon an article in a medical magazine that showed a study on pain tolerance. Apparently red heads have typically had a lower tolerance for pain then non red heads. Like I said...I dont make up the rules. At least I could prove it wasnt in my head now.
Anyhow, I found out that going to the dentist was going to be a very painful experience...over and over again. Ive had several very bad episodes with dentist...everything from nearly removing the wrong tooth....to stabbing my tongue with the needle. One even managed to drill the wrong tooth...and didnt realize until he was half way done...sigh!! Needless to say...Im extremely wary about going to the dentist here. Unfortunately I cannot afford private docs (not sure they are any better here but hey...wishful thinking and all)....so its govt all the way. Im not sure if its down to ill trained dentists or just plain apathy towards doing a good job...whatever it is...the people of Bahrain are suffering...at least I am.
Anyhow, from all my terrible experiences (and unfortunately there have been too many), one sticks out a little more then the rest...picture this...
After having several very painful experiences with dentists...I declared that unless my head was falling off I was not going back unless I had money for a private (good?) dentist. Well, one of my back teeth broke and since it didnt hurt...I ignored it....for quite along time. Incidentally I find it interesting that we know going to the dentist can be a very painful adventure...and so KNOW that we should go regularly to avoid those painful moments as much as possible...but avoid going because we want to avoid pain...and end up suffering more because we didnt go when the problem was small and manageable. Still believe we are a highly evolved species...lol?
Anyhow, when I finally did go it was with extreme caution and very deep dread. I was forced to go to a govt dentist as I just didnt have the money for private...I anticipated a very bad day indeed...turns out I had no idea just how bad it could get.
When I pointed out my bad tooth she said it needed to be removed. No surprise there... I was expecting that. She gave me and injection and I waited nervously for it to take affect. She poked it declared it numb. She then preceded to extract my back tooth without first taking an X-ray like every other dentist Ive encountered has. I pointed this out to her but she said there was no need as she could clearly see what needed doing. Hey...who am I to argue...Im just the victim...I mean patient.
She probed a bit here...poked a bit there...and apparently, at some point, stabbed me in the brain through my ear when I wasnt looking. You know those cartoons that show the cat so scared it sticks to the ceiling...well if I could have shot my over sized ass up there I would have been hanging by all fours just about then. It was that bad. I swear I actually lifted off the chair at least a few inches. She jumped and asked me what was wrong...well...hmmm...lets see....you are poking around in my mouth with a sharp object...what could be my problem? I told her (I think I spoke eloquently and with decorum....but hard to tell over the screaming in my head) that it fucking hurt like hell. Not exactly those words but she got the point. So she prepared another dose of painkiller and juiced me up again. By this time my heart had stopped hammering against my chest...but was rabbit scared still and prepared to jump to it again if called into action. My fingers were gripping the seat hard enough to leave dents in the metal...Im thinking I was tense....a bit.
I tried relaxing as I know being tense just makes the pain worse...so I practiced some Lamaze breathing and passed the time imagining the many ways I could get some revenge against Ms Dentistthang over there....biting down hard on her fingers seemed like my best option...I think Ill go with that....(feeling a bit woozy now.)....back she came.
A bit more probing and poking and then she grabbed Mr Brokentooth and pulled with all her might...and thats when I heard a very VERY loud cracking sound. I actually looked up at the ceiling thinking something had broken and was going to fall down...turns out it was a little closer to home. I was clued in when Ms Dentisthang paused and said...."uh oh". Not exactly what one wishes to hear while sitting in a dentists chair. Needless to say my heart took off like a rabbit again....and was long over the hills when she stood back and said... "I will be back in a minute"....huh...what? Hello?
I sat there for an eternity. She came back maybe 2 minutes later with back up. 2 other dentists were with her and they all gathered round my freaked out countenance and each had a good look inside my mouth. A bit of mumbled discussion between them (in Arabic so I didnt catch the whole gist of it being distracted somewhat by visions of cracked skulls or something) some more poking and prodding and eventually came to the belated conclusion that I needed an X-ray taken. Ya think?
10 minutes later...X-rays in hand...it was declared that I needed to scoot myself over to the emergency dept at Sulmania Hospital because Ms Dentistthang had broken MY JAW!!! Yeah ....I know...WTF!!!!
Turns out ...if she had bothered to X-ray me first she would have noticed that the tooth had actually fused to my jaw bone due to a previous infection. When she pulled the tooth...she pulled a large chunk of my jaw bone along with it. I was sort of wondering at this point why the hell I wasnt screaming my friggin ass off from the pain Im sure accompanied broken jaw bones...well it seems she had injected me with a more powerful drug the second time...so all was good for the moment....but I was encouraged to get over to Sulmania ASAP!
Now heres the funny part folks...(funny strange not funny ha ha)...after having put me through the trauma of breaking my jaw...in which I might add I was losing a shit load of blood over (the nurse was kind enough to stuff a mattress full of cotton in my mouth...and gave me some more in my hand)...they now apparently expected me to drive MYSELF over to the ER. They actually pointed me in the direction of the front door and encouraged me once again to make haste...time was apparently against me. WTF!!! I asked her (you might be surprised but its rather hard to talk with a broken jaw, numb and swollen mouth and a pound of cotton in your mouth) if it might not be too much bother to take me there as I didnt feel I could drive myself (maybe they can do that shit on TV, but I wasnt risking it)...she said it was against govt policy to drive patients anywhere. Ok...how about the ambulance...I wouldnt mind going that way. Nope...sorry...it was out...somewhere. So I asked if I could call my (ex)husband to come take me. Ok...fine...heres the phone.
So, in a very surreal frame of mind I called him and tried to explain in my broken, swollen, numb voice that he needed to come get me quick like as I needed to go to Sulmania...he said he was on the way. I hung up and went and sat down. I had some serious meditating to do. Not to mention this whole time I was contemplating the very real pain that was no doubt going to come storming on like a freight train any moment now.
Well...about 20 minutes passed and one of those dentists came down the hall and stopped abruptly when she seen me. "Why are you still here" she quickly asked. "You really need to get to the ER as soon as possible...ok". Uhmmmm.... Im waiting for my husband because nobody here was willing to take me, I mumbled out to her (that sailed over head I guess as she ignored my jab)...."well tell him to hurry...no time to lose". Well ok then...another phone call and I was asking him where he was. He said he got delayed and was on the way. Ok but did you understand what I told you earlier...THEY BROKE MY JAW!! I guess those words finally penetrated his thick skull as he paused a moment in his dialogue long enough to ask...."They What?" Finally I had his attention...now we are getting somewhere. He said he was on the way...seriously.
When he arrived he took one look at me and set about letting every member of the hosp have an earful of promises of suing and newspapers being notified of their lax work habits...blah blah blah...hey...Im bleeding to death here and the lingering affects of the injection, all though pleasant, cant last much longer. Lets go already.
He broke a few speed records (nothing new for Bahrain) and we arrived at the ER. I had been sitting with a broken jaw for about an hour and 45 minutes by this time. The clock on the painkiller was ticking. This whole time I had been methodically removing and then inserting fresh cotton as the old ones would quickly soak with blood. I was light headed and nauseous....and totally wiped out.
Well after much toing and froing in the hosp we managed to get seen by a surgeon who declared that I had lost too much blood and too weak to undergo the surgery today...I had to stay over night and have surgery to repair my jaw in the morning...yay me. The day was getting better and better. Nothing like a night in the hosp to improve ones mood. I was IV'd and given a sleeping tablet or something...it pretty much knocked me out whatever it was. I spent the night laying on my side so that all the blood and saliva could drain out onto a towel rather than down my throat and possibly drown me. Happy days!!!
To quickly end this saga...the next morning I had surgery. Woke up with a cheek swollen like a squirrel with a load of nuts in its cheeks. My children couldnt stop from giggling every time they looked at me...creeps!!! Incidentally, whoever the brainiac was that put my IV in had missed the vein apparently and all the fluid was collecting in my forearm. I had a water balloon of skin hanging down...oh joy!!! When I pointed this out to the nurse...she removed that IV and prepared to put in another one...I dont think so. I refused and huffed her way out the door.
We attempted to get some recourse from the Ministry of Health over this incident. No luck...apparently everyone did their job "to the best of their ability" and so no blame could be placed. If that was the best they could do...well hell...next time I will just tie my tooth to a passing bus and take my chances...couldnt do much worse Im thinking.
So you see...I hate going to the dentist. Problem is...I need to go again...and since I dont have a job these days...its back to the govt dentist. Oh joy!!!