One Patient's Positive Perspectives

Reflection

This morning Lupus adventurer looked in the mirror and was relieved to see her face had returned to its normal size and shape. Cheeks were no longer lopsided and looking like half a chipmunk’s hoard was stuffed inside her left cheek. After having dental work done late yesterday, she arrived home last night to a decidedly different image reflecting back from the same looking-glass.

Dental procedures

This was no Alice in wonderland adventure, but it was an adventure, just the same. With lupus, every medical or dental procedure presents some challenges. My dentist had scheduled an appointment weeks ago for a couple of much-needed fillings to be done. The appointment was delayed by last month’s extended bout with bronchitis. Yesterday was “D-day” (no pun intended) and that meant spending two hours in the dental chair.

Between the injections of anesthesia, the impact of the procedures on the nearby jaw and cheek tissues and the extended stress on open arthritic jaw joints, there was visible distortion to my previously balanced face.

I looked into the rear view mirror on my way home last night and was stunned to see the most one-sided face swelling I have ever had after a dental procedure! On top of the swelling, the entire swollen left side of my face was drooping and numb from the effects of anesthesia. It was clearly one of my most “un-beautiful” moments.  My only remark in the solitude of my car was, “wow!”

Chocolate Shake... no thank you, not Bacon!

After a light pre-dental day menu, I was hungry, but didn’t think my mouth was able to chew and swallow at the same time. So I headed for a fast food drive through lane, and ordered up a jumbo chocolate (no thank you, not the time to try bacon) shake as a post procedural remedy. Even keeping my numb lips closed around the straw required effort and focus. Dinner would definitely have to wait until later!

The whole one-sided chipmunk look lasted for another 4 hours. When my husband arrived home after working three hours overtime, my face had returned mostly to its normal appearance, but the numb and aching sensations of the post- dental experience lingered the rest of the evening as the anesthesia wore off.  Dinner finally happened at about 8:30 p.m. after a quick trip through another fast-food drive through lane.  This time it was tacos!

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