Saturday, August 25, 2007

Motivated by pain...

Even though I am 20 years of age I still don’t have the guts to go visit the doctor or dentist by myself. Maybe that’s because I am not sure about the procedure and all to meet them, and would probably make a fool of myself in the process. That… and the fact that I need to talk to someone whom I don’t know seems… really scary.

On Wednesday though, I finally broke a personal record by going to the dentist alone. I guess pain and suffering has a way to drive you to do the impossible, the totally unimaginable.

I had a gum infection at the bottom left wisdom tooth. It started on Sunday morning and initially I thought it wasn’t a big deal as I could still chew at that area though with minor pain. There doesn’t seem to have any open wounds or the like which made me think that it could perhaps be those minor pains I have in my gums every once in awhile when my white cell count is at the low side, as the gums tend to swell and hurt.

It didn’t get any better and by Monday I could see a wound at the side of my teeth, which made me go: Uh-oh, it’s another gum infection. Yeah, “another” as during college I once had a gum infection too near April (I think I did mentioned it in the blog somewhere), which was a double bummer as first of all I couldn’t enjoy food on my birthday and during then I had an English “interview” like oral. My teacher wondered and commented on why I was mumbling all the way through it when she was giving out the result. She was surprised when I said that I had a gum infection and asked me why I didn’t told her so then, which was exactly what I was thinking in my mind.

Back to last Monday, I still insisted on not going to the doctor as I could bear the pain. Tuesday it became worst but I was still as stubborn as ever. Perhaps the other factor that made me not want to go to the dentist was because my mom was out on vacation (meaning no one to “teman” me), and I didn’t wanted to bother dad to take me to the dentist since he’s working, and most probably he’ll just ask me to “be a man” and go see the dentist alone, and being me I was too afraid to go alone.

On Wednesday though, it was so painful that I woke up half way in my sleep and that’s when I thought, alright, enough is enough. It’s time to be a man! Thank God that my dad didn’t off his phone when I called him and was able to ask him to give me some money and borrow the driver to take me to the dentist. Thus, started my quest to search for a dentist.

It was easy to find a dental clinic, but trying to meet the dentist is a different matter altogether. The first place I went to was closed on Wednesday (Oh, great!). The second one was open, but they said they were filled to the brim with appointments, suggesting me to come tomorrow and gave me their business card that look like it drop into the longkang and got picked up again. The third one, which I skipped pass it initially to go straight for the second because it looks so ancient (it looks the same since I can ever remember staying in Sri Petaling), was also filled with appointments but was free at 4 in the evening. There was only one more left and if it closed or filled with appointments I would need to search further or just bear with the pain for another day. Thank God that this one was open AND willing to accept poor old me.

Thinking about it, I just can’t understand those receptionists at the dental clinic at all. If I come and visit you without an appointment it must mean an emergency where I am in pain right? And there they were asking me to come the next day or several hours later. Okay, maybe I should give them the benefit of the doubt that “some” really health conscious people come unexpectedly to check their teeth so they won’t mind making an appointment if the doctor’s schedule is full, thus making them not sure if it’s an emergency or not. But… when I came into the clinic, the second one only had one man, the third one was empty… couldn’t you just spare 10-15 minutes to check up on me? I bet the waiting time when one patient comes out till the next one goes in takes around that much time anyway. Then again, if their schedule is so hectic that would mean the dentist is really good, and that would me the one that I went to… hmm… let’s forget about that.

Oh, and for the first time in my life, when filling up a form I need to tick that I am a ‘cancer’ patient. It feels… weird in way, like you feel special, but at the same time very vulnerable. Just a minute after filling the form I was able to meet the dentist, and to my horror she said because I had leukemia and was just off treatment 2 months ago, she couldn’t do anything for the gum infection like what she would do for the other patients as I may bleed uncontrollably. Arghh… so you mean you wouldn’t do anything? Well, at the end all she could do was clean the wound with cotton, and prescribe me with some painkillers and antibiotics, not to forget a bottle of mouthwash especially for my gums.

Back home, I had another dilemma. I couldn’t decide whether to eat the pill or call my doctor to know if it’s okay to eat the pills that was prescribed. The antibiotics were fine, but the painkillers may interfere with the chemotherapy pills that I am taking. Even after checking the internet I still couldn’t find a solid answer, I couldn’t call my doctor as I don’t have his phone number, and calling mum wasn’t much help either as then she oh-so-conveniently went out of the mobile phone range in her area.

After thinking 30 minutes between being safe or relieving from the pain, I chose the latter. Thank God that as of now I didn’t collapse or anything, though I am sure if I visit my doctor again, I am going to get a scolding if it really is dangerous.

That wasn’t all, when I saw the amount of painkillers there were in the packet, I started to get a little worried. It only had 10 pills, and I need to eat 2 “whenever I feel the pain”. Last time when I had the infection and went to Wilson’s clinic I needed to take painkillers every 8 hours or so, being optimistic and say the infection last another 2 days? The pills couldn’t even last me to the last day! Or perhaps… these pills are different and could last me for at least a day. Thank God though, that after eating the painkillers once, I didn’t suffer that much pain anymore and didn’t need to eat another one.

Well… as of today, there’s still pain lingering at the infection site, I am still having flu, and another skin infection at my right thumb. I guess the combination of all 3 got me really worried as it may mean I need to stop the chemotherapy pills because my body was going on overdrive and could collapse anytime, which I couldn’t decide then. Then again, after reassuring myself that I have went through all of those before, there isn’t much that I need to worry about. Besides, why worry so much if all I need to do is pay the doctor a visit and more importantly, leave it to God?

Phew, really hope that all these infections would be cured, at least that would give me a piece of mind. Though, this is one experience to remember, at least I finally went to a dentist, alone… and boy, now I know why people wouldn’t want to be sick when they are working adults, medical fees are the bomb.

The business cards from the dental clinic. The middle one is suppose to be the one from the longkang, but due to my bad camera, it looks fine here.


Matthew<マッシュー> said...

Hey hey... so feeling better now?

Ju Liang said...

Yeah, thank God i am feeling much better. Both the infections healed already, though the flu still present.

amy 'purple' chen said...

Hey Ju Liang!
Remember me?
Just wanted to drop a line to say this post is really interesting seeing that i'm learning about dental fear/anxiety in my course this semester.

Great to hear that u r getting better. Hopefully we can catch up soon when I'm home at the end of the year.

God bless!

Ju Liang said...

Heya, of course i still remember though it has been awhile haha! Always, nice to know that my journal has some ways to help others.

Hmm... well from what you have written you are studying dentistry now? Congratz!

Yeap, God has been good to me, getting better this few days. Hope the Lord would be with you in your studies over there too, take care.