Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Earlier this spring, Dear Hubby decided to try a new dentist near our townhouse in Houston. He was not impressed. A few weeks after his bypass surgery, he lost a big chunk of the tooth that dentist had worked on. He decided not to go back.

This time he scouted around for someone in the Hill Country, and found one in the next town over. I made sure he told them about his recent heart surgery, and they said "No problem!" They couldn't get him in for a few weeks, but fortunately, the tooth wasn't really bothering him. Yet.

The day before his appointment they called to say they had a flight conflict, and needed to postpone his appointment. He said fine. It's not hurting all that much. But then he had a work conflict, and had to postpone again. And then it was hurting - like a son-of-a-bitch! Like a worse-than-having-your-chest-sawed-in-two-bitch. He begged for an earlier appointment. They gave him a prescription for antibiotics, and promised to call if they had any openings. They did not. Luckily, he hadn't used all his pain pills from the heart surgery. Finally I told him, "Quit being so damn nice! I've never known a dentist that didn't leave some wiggle-room in their schedule for emergencies. Go park yourself in their waiting room and moan non-stop. They'll work you in!" But of course, he didn't.

Finally, they saw him yesterday. They ground the tooth down. They cleaned it all out. They fitted him with a temporary crown. They even cleaned his teeth while he was there. Then they set him up with an endodontist in Austin for having a root canal done today. Only when we got there, she took one look at his paperwork, and said "Uh, excuse me! Do you mean to tell me you just had bypass surgery a little over two months ago? I can't do a root canal on you!"

Turns out standard protocol is "no dental work for six months" - not even teeth cleaning! The grafted veins need that much time to become fully integrated, otherwise they could act as a magnet that attracts any bacteria loosened during the procedure, and cause all kinds of problems. She tried calling John's doctors, to see how they felt about it, but couldn't get ahold of anyone. Then she called Austin Heart, and they agreed, wait six months. So, they popped his temporary crown back on, and said come back at Thanksgiving. He felt sorry for the endodontist, who was very apologetic, and told her "Oh, don't worry. It's not hurting that much." Yet.

Meanwhile, I'm doing my best to block out images of little bacteria people with snorkels and flippers, loosened by the work the dentist did yesterday, happily making their way down to their favorite swimmin' hole, his heart!

P.S. Many thanks to padresteve.wordpress.com for the above image.


musingegret said...

Grrrr....it's gonna get to where we all will, by necessity, become medical researchers just to keep our various doctors from endangering us! Sure do appreciate that info. John is a fearless warrior! Don't know if this will help with internal sanitizing but check out this blog post on the bennies of green tea:


Stay strong "Nurse Becky", your positive energy will pull him safely thru this also!

Hill Country Hippie said...

We love our green tea!