This is going to be one Christmas that I will be very glad to have over and done with.
A little over a week ago Ramón started complaining of increasing mouth pain, to the point where I was searching his gums with a flashlight and improvised tongue depressor to see if he had a canker sore. I didn’t see anything, but ran out anyway to get maximum strength Orajel because surely that would work.
It didn’t. And the pain got worse, to the point last Tuesday night where it was throbbing and he couldn’t sleep. I did the only thing I could do and promised that I would get up at Oh Dark Thirty, call the dentist, and see if I could get him an emergency appointment.
Which I did, only to find out that one dentist was on vacation and the other was home with his sick wife. But since the staff was there they said I could bring Ramón in and get him X-rayed by the hygienist, which would at least give them an idea if something was wrong.
So I woke Ramón up, poured him into the car, took him to the dentist, and waited outside while he went in for the X-rays. Around a half hour later he came out with the news that he had an abscess under his right rear molar (the films had been sent electronically to the dentist who wasn’t on vacation, and blessings be on that man for being willing to check X-rays while he was taking care of his wife) and needed a root canal by a specialist because his roots were “weird.” He also had a scrip for amoxicillin which was called in to our local Walgreens.
All this was happening on December 22, mind you. Three days before Christmas. Whee…
Luckily the dentist’s office gave us the number of a specialist, and I called as soon as we got home and scored a root canal appointment for the morning of December 27. But that meant that Ramón would have to get through five days on nothing but antibiotics and OTC painkillers because nobody is handing out opioid pain meds these days. (Not to mention that getting him to take a single ibuprofen has always been a challenge because he doesn’t like painkillers of any kind, even the OTC ones, but I digress.)
At this point I knew Christmas dinner at my editor’s house was a no-go. There was no way he’d be able to sit for long enough or eat anything that required chewing, and he’d be too miserable to enjoy it anyway. So I ran out and got a slew of sugar-free puddings, jellos, and yogurts, put the Christmas Eve dinner I had planned on hold, and we hunkered down to wait out the weekend.
Except that I had heard nothing from Walgreens about the phoned-in ABX scrip. When I headed over there to check on the status, I learned that their pharmacy was closed because there was no one available to work it. The clerk at the front register said that a pharmacist from another store would be there by 2:30 PM, but I couldn’t risk it. I called the dental office again and asked them to call in the scrip to the Walmart where Ramón gets his meds, explaining the situation. The office manager quickly agreed and we had the antibiotics by 3:30 PM.
You would think this would be quite enough disasters for one holiday, but you would be wrong. This was the point where my left hip flexor, which had been bothering me for a week or so, decided to flare up like a bitch and cause a full-fledged sciatica attack. So while Ramón was peering blearily at his work monitor in between lie-downs where he could hold an ice pack on his jaw and wait for the ibuprofen and ABX to kick in, I was hobbling around the house on my cane cursing my stupid legs, the stupid chair which had caused this problem, and the fact that we had a two-story house where the master bedroom was on the second floor. I spent Wednesday through Friday night sleeping in the guest room because there was simply no way I could make it upstairs, and let me tell you that I have been spoiled rotten by our Purple mattress.
Christmas finally arrived, but frankly I don’t remember a lot about it apart from the exchange of gifts, after which both of us staggered off to our separate beds and tried to get some sleep in between ibu doses. By Sunday, however, the antibiotics were finally starting to do their job on Ramón’s abscess, and me not climbing stairs multiple times a day and staying off the Torture Chair had caused my thigh to calm down.
By the time Monday morning rolled around, both of us were feeling at least semi-human again and after two hours at the specialist Ramón came out with a freshly root canal-ed and packed molar and instructions to return in two weeks to complete the procedure. I called our dentist to make an appointment for the crown that would be needed on that molar (all I can say is, thank God Ramón opted for an HSA and has been tossing some money into it every two weeks because that’s going to cover most of our out-of-pocket costs for all of this), then had the brilliant idea to break out the shiatsu massage pillow that I’d received for Christmas and try it on my thigh.
As I remarked later on Twitter, it felt like angels with warm hands massaging my thigh, and I still don’t care how dirty that sounds. Thanks to that wondrous little pillow I was able to walk fairly well without the cane by Tuesday, which meant I could make our delayed Christmas Eve dinner (it was that or we had to put the turkey breast in the freezer), including the miniature mince pies that Ramón had been craving. Granted, a lot of prep work was done sitting down, but I’m still impressed with myself that I put together a full holiday meal without requiring a handful of ibuprofen or a bottle of tequila.
And now it is Wednesday, I made word quota today, we have a buttload of turkey and fixings in the fridge, and I’ll be making Paul Hollywood’s Leftovers Chelsea Buns on Friday. Of all the Christmases we’ve had together, this genuinely isn’t the worst (that honor is held by Christmas 2010 when our plane to Heathrow got diverted to Paris due to a major snowstorm in the UK and we had Quite the Adventure™ getting back to England).
But I’m definitely hoping that 2022 is an improvement. Because damn, we need one.