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Monday, June 4, 2012

Need an Emergency? We've Got One.

Geesh, guys. This is another really long blog post. I don't know why I continually assume you are that interested in my life, but I hate to tell a half-story...

We didn't have anything better to do this weekend (other than go to Arizona for a work conference followed by a mini-vacation and trip to the Grand Canyon) so we decided we would fit in as many "emergency" and after-hours calls and visits to medical establishments that we could. It was a blast. And by "blast," I mean "unfortunate weekend." 

Thursday evening my top teeth hurt terribly. It was so bad, it kept me up all night. As I had been having some seasonal allergy crap in my head earlier in the week, paired with the fact that the pain subsided if I either laid down or sat up I assumed it was sinus-related. I felt great Friday (aside from being dead tired). Obviously just the sinus thing right?

Friday teeth started to hurt again. Bad. What was worse, one particular tooth hurt x10 - one that they were "keeping an eye on" for a root canal. Crap. I called my dentist after hours. I felt a little bad about it, but I was getting ready to be clear across the country for an entire week! He said the sinus thing was a possibility and that he would call in a prescription for amoxicillin that I could bring with me and take if I thought it was getting worse. Fantastic. 

I didn't sleep Friday night and, by the time I got up Saturday morning, I was in so much pain that I knew anything that did not involve a root canal and ASAP wasn't an option. This was give-up-government-secrets bad. Christopher came into the kitchen as I was trying to make a saltwater mouthwash (This is a bullshit solution, by the way. It did nothing.) I said "I don't think we can go to Arizona. At least not tomorrow." He asked why. I looked at him like he had a hole in his head. After I stopped crying (mostly from the pain and a little from the fact that Arizona was not happening as scheduled) I called the dentist again. He said, "Well, with you going to Arizona tomorrow, our options are a little limited." I also looked at him like he had a hole in his head, but he couldn't see me because we were talking on the phone. I told him Arizona was not happening until my tooth was fixed. 

You would really think they would have better emergency services for something so painful it would have made Jack Bauer cry, but they didn't. I was going to have to wait until Monday. And my dentist wasn't sure which pain meds would be okay to prescribe since I am pregnant. (Oh - did I not tell you all that I am pregnant? I had planned some sort of a cute blog post around that, but oh well. This post made it first.) 

I decided to call my OB. Also after hours. They have an interesting process in which you call the answering service and they take a bunch of information to have a nurse call you. And then a nurse calls you to take a bunch more information for a secondary nurse to call you. Then the secondary nurse calls you to get some more information to call the doctor on call. Then they call the doctor on call. Then they call you back. And then you get vicodin! Yay! I feel a little bad about taking narcotics while pregnant, but again - Jack Bauer would have told terrorists where they could find the president in hiding. Additionally, it seems that vicodin is a waaaay better option than Advil. Weird, right? Anyway, it hurt all weekend, but the vicodin made it mostly tolerable. 

Saturday Leroy was acting weird. Sunday he was pathetic. He was completely restless, pacing, whimpering. It was terrible. To the emergency vet it is! They looked him over really well and said his anal glands were really full and needed to be expressed. No problem! They did that and sent him home with a little pain medicine. He was actually worse when he got home even though we gave him pain medicine. The medicine made him so tired that in the midst of his pacing, he would fall asleep standing up and face plant in the floor. We brought him back to the vet. They did blood work and x-rays and took his blood pressure (btw, it costs $68 to take a dog's blood pressure. Of everything we paid for, that seemed the most ridiculous. A set of two x-rays is $125, but blood pressure is $68? What?) Anyway - blood work came back great! The x-rays were a little suspect as his intestines were totally full. They kept him overnight, gave him fluids and some medicine to make his intestines contract and clear out. We even went to Walmart at 10pm to get Miralax for him (the vet recommended it, but they don't keep any there). 

At 8am this morning the vet said we could come pick him up! Yay! She thought he was doing much better and a second x-ray showed that his intestines looked much better. We got to the vet's office and they had changed their mind. He seemed to be in a lot of pain and they thought it was a spinal problem - something with a disc. They suggested an MRI. Geesh. After talking through all the options we decided to get the MRI. 

Then we went and got my root canal! My mom happened to be in Greensboro and came and waited in the waiting room which was really nice. The root canal was less than fun, but so much less bad than I thought it would be. I got to wear extra lead vests for the x-rays and got a different anesthetic that didn't have epinephrin in it and actually turned out to ROCK because it doesn't last as long and I felt my tongue again long before I normally would have. 

As as side note: when he put the topical anesthetic on my gum I had a flashback to 6th grade Lip Smackers. I had to ask, "Iahs dis anastheethic fravorthed??" He proudly declared, "Pina Colada!" with a big smile. I would not recommend the Pina Colada anesthetic. 

The root canal hurt a couple times but was mostly like getting a cavity filled - which is what everyone told me but I didn't believe them. The sucky thing is that they just put a temporary filling in and now I have to go back to my dentist to get the temporary filling drilled out and a permanent filling put in with a crown on it. The endodontist told me about the infection that was seeping out of my tooth as he drilled in. I immediately started panicking a little thinking "Eeeeew! Don't let it touch my tongue! Pleasedon'tletittouchmytongue!" Can you imagine what rotting tooth nerve infection mixed with Pina Colada anesthetic would taste like?!?!?!? Gross! 

I made it out okay, but he said I would continue to be sore for a few days because of the infection and because I couldn't take anything to reduce the swelling and inflammation (pregnant). So - flying to Arizona late for the conference really wasn't recommended. I'm bummed but I'm also a little glad that I will be able to keep an eye on Leroy. I really did want to see our cool blogger panel and the Grand Canyon though... 

The good news is that we talked to the vet and he said that Leroy's spine is perfect! Yay! They did a spinal tap and we won't have the results back from that until late tomorrow afternoon, but we brought him home this afternoon and he seems to be a lot better than Saturday and Sunday. I think he's still a little groggy from the anesthesia but he has eaten and he is sleeping well. He's gone outside a couple times and seems SO much more comfortable. Fingers crossed for a healthy puppy! Hopefully it was just his intestines, but after a spinal problem was brought up with "possible paralysis if not caught in time," we couldn't just leave it. Also, without the MRI, we were going to have to operate under the assumption it WAS spinal and keep him confined to his crate for two weeks with the exception of 4-5 potty breaks per day. Leroy would would have been devastated. 

(resting on the couch this afternoon with his naked back spot from the spinal tap)

And another side note: despite charging $68 for a blood pressure reading, we were really impressed with Carolina Veterinary Specialist! They are actually an emergency vet AND specialist center. They have neurology specialists (that Leroy saw for his spine) and ophthalmologists and a bunch of really nice, cool people. And outside of the $68 for a blood pressure reading, their prices seemed to be what I would expect at our regular vet. Additionally, our regular vet, Animal Ark works closely with them. Animal Ark basically rocks and if they recommend them, I think they are probably pretty good! I hope we don't have to see them again, but I would totally recommend them if you need them. 


  1. My dear family and grand-dog, Leroy,

    What a day and I'm glad I could be there to share part of it. Lots of pain for Ginger and Leroy but in the end.....all is well. Phew! I got to sit in the waiting room with Christopher. We had a nice talk and while we conversed I had visions of Ginger crawling out from the dental chair on her hands and knees with blood and saliva oozing from her mouth but to my great delight she walked out completely aware and only a swollen jaw. She even smiled. Again....phew. You never ever stop worrying about your children, no matter how old they are.

    In the afternoon, I sent a text to see how Leroy dog was and again sooo happy he is ok. Now I not only worry about my kids, I worry about the dog. He is family.

    Now I can sleep peacefully tonight. z-z-z-z-z-zzzzz Cindy

  2. Oh. My. God. That's not disturbing at all, Mom. Thanks for not sharing your vision before I went back there!

  3. Poor Ginger and Leroy. Hope everybody is on the mend!!!!