Another One Bit the Dust
I survived my second home extraction on the weekend. It was a very infected tooth, an upper rear molar, one that I had somehow managed to retain a year longer than expected. It was actually the first one to get infected last year, but then the other tooth went ballistic, and by the time that extraction site healed, this tooth had calmed down enough to be very useful for eating with.
In hindsight, waiting so long may not have been such a great idea, as in the end, the infection was nasty. Very nasty. It put me into a terrible funk that was really difficult to push my way through, similar to the depression some kinds of mold can cause, and created the same challenges MCS/ES exposures cause, like brain fog, difficulty thinking and doing things, and a real lack of energy. And it stank when pulled. Really stank.
I am so grateful for the home visiting dentist in this area. Not only is he fragrance-free, but he is willing (and able!) to take other precautions to make things safe for me.
Last year, before my first home extraction, we discussed everything that was needed for the procedure, and what was necessary to make it as safe as possible for me.
This year I couldn’t find my old list (despite seeing it a month or 2 ago) and hoped he remembered his. This is what I do remember, and what we did:
Citanest Plain is a local anesthetic that is tolerated better by many with MCS/ES.
Last year I asked for smaller doses as I wasn’t sure how well I’d do with it, but then ended up asking for more (since I didn’t keel over right away, I figured less pain would be better). This year we started out with more. I am just not as brave as the amazing Amelia Hill, who also had a molar pulled at home, but with NO anesthetic at all!
Dentists can prescribe oxygen, but it isn’t covered by the dental plan here, so was an out of pocket expense that a few online friends chipped in to cover last year, and I had enough left to use this time (although this time, the dental oxygen system I rigged up with safe tubing and old dental mask somehow jammed and wasn’t letting much oxygen through, so a lot was wasted).
The oxygen really helps with the airborne exposures during the procedure, and it also helps recover from the chemicals in the anesthetic after.
NOTE: Medigas really needs to start carrying the tygon tubing that is so much safer for people who have to avoid PVC and the chemicals most tubing is made of.
I have an old wing-back chair that isn’t really safe for me to sit in for any length of time (the synthetics aggravate my fibromyalgia), but it’s ok for short periods. It works great as a dental chair when I’ve propped the front legs up while leaning the chair back (in a solid way) to provide an angled chair that provides firm support for my head while the teeth are pulled. (Only drawback is that the dentist has to watch his toes as it’s not all open space below with the propping)
He takes extra steps to avoid contaminating the gauze with fragrance exposures. Last year we discussed using some from the middle of a brand new box.
I place foil on the table for him to put his supplies on, the ones used for the procedure (and a sheet of mylar in the foyer for his bigger tool-kits that have absorbed 2nd and 3rd hand fragrance residues, so that my floor doesn’t absorb them).
He puts on a tyvek suit, even though he is fragrance-free, to contain the 2nd and 3rd hand residues he’s picked up during his day.
He washes his hands very well with my dish detergent and some baking soda, instead of using the gloves made out of materials that I don’t tolerate.
I have a bowl for spitting, and a glass of lukewarm water for rinsing as the anesthetic tastes nasty if a drop gets spilled in the mouth.
I have a towel to cover my chest and the chair with in case of squirting blood, and a small one as a bib.
I sign a waiver relieving him of responsibility should anything go wrong. I feel comfortable signing one for him as it’s obvious to me that he does his best to be as safe as possible for me.
I also realize that in normal circumstances, people have medical doctors and procedures they can follow to deal with potential problems, access to interventions which I do not have.
He should not have to bear the responsibility for this systemic discrimination on his shoulders, especially as he is going over and beyond what others in his profession do to make a positive difference in people’s lives. Like he said last year, he takes his oath to “do no harm” seriously, and not as an excuse to do nothing.
If I was dealing with a dentist who was not taking my MCS/ES needs seriously, and who was not able to grasp the sources of potential problems and the need to avoid them in every way possible, I’m not so sure I would sign such a waiver, or even if I would consent to “services” from them.
People are without access to dental care because of toxic fragrances and lack of knowledgeable (or willing to learn) dentists where adverse chemical effects are concerned.
Since I didn’t have safe or appropriate access to dental care for so long, my teeth are almost all loose now, in fact, the next tooth that will have to come out let itself be known tonight with the excretion of some extremely foul tasting pus, similar in vomit-worthiness to what the one that just came out reeked of. Pardon my graphicness…
And another compassion award to the dentist for silently putting up with that vile stink! Even though I have serious congestion (rhinitis? sinusitis?) I had to get that stinker wrapped in foil, as it was going to make me sick, and “natural” smells usually don’t bother me at all.
This time at least I was able to give him a small token of appreciation and gratitude, an aloe plant that had even grown some babies since I planted if for him last year, after our discussions then had somehow brought it up, perhaps as a source of natural healing.
As much as I like him, I wish I wasn’t going to have to see him again so soon, that this new puss-stinky tooth would have waited until the other one fully healed over (having no stitches makes for a longer healing time – last year it took about 3 months for all trace of the extraction site to be gone). I suspect that using that side exclusively, even just for soft chews, left some food residues in the gums and irritated it beyond repair.
What would likely be best for me now would be to have some x-rays of the roots and get all the loose teeth removed at once in a hospital. I only have a few front teeth that aren’t loose. I may as well have everything out so I can work on my toothless grins.
I do not relish the thought of going through a year or more of one nasty infection and mind-numbing pain episode after another, each one lasting weeks at a time, while waiting for the previous extraction sites to heal enough and for new appointment openings to have them extracted at home (without x-rays) and still be able to eat somehow.
But, to do that would mean a medical system that accommodates people with severe MCS/ES, and our current medical system does not. I would need the assistance of an advocate to train every person who would be involved, and to go through every moment of the process from stepping foot into the building to leaving afterwards.
Living without a safe washer and dryer and spare non-toxic clothing to wear to leave home with is another obstacle I have not been able to solve. I only have a few pieces of safe clothing to wear at home. I cannot wear them elsewhere as they wouldn’t be safe to wear at home afterwards. I cannot detox/decontaminate new clothing from their new chemicals without a safe washer and dryer, and I haven’t found anyone or any service to help make some safe for me.
What might be my biggest concern now is my need for a safe (one that emits no VOCs when running) heavy duty blender to puree all my food with. I need a glass or SS container with no plastic contact with the foods, and minimal plastic elsewhere. Most motors are made from plastic with flame retardants and other off-gassing chemicals that totally disable me. For some reason, the manufacturers don’t make them with enclosed motors, they all seem to be vented = blowing the fumes into the air.
Benzene and toluene, among others… from everyday technology…