If you’ve been following my latest adventures, you know that Monday I discovered I need a root canal. This wasn’t the best news I’d had in a long time. With knee surgery looming next week, the conventional wisdom is that I needed to get it done before the surgery so any infection is contained.
Honestly, I was stressed enough about the surgery that I just couldn’t face the thought of a root canal as well. If my tooth was painful (which it’s not) and I was screaming for relief, then I would be running to the endodontist and begging to have it done. Instead, I kept imagining all the things that could go wrong — like a cracked root, or a broken tooth or who knows what. Then I’d be right in the middle of that situation while trying to deal with knee surgery.
So I yesterday late afternoon I went to see the endodontist. I’ve already spent some time in his chair, so we’re old chums. He took his X-rays and he poked and he prodded and I pushed on him to see if he was sure he could get it complete in a week in time for surgery. And then I pushed some more. And we talked some more. And finally we agreed that I could wait until AFTER the knee surgery for the root canal. [Yeah!!!] But I have to stay on antibiotics. He wouldn’t have made that determination if he wasn’t comfortable that the infection was very minor and very localized. But he also didn’t want to feel pressed to complete the procedure by next Tuesday if there were any complications. Better to know he’s got whatever time he needs to complete the procedure properly.
This morning I met with my surgeon. I think the world of him. He’s done my hip and some other procedures. He’s a great surgeon and treats the “whole patient.” He’s also very conservative.
I feel I have to be very open with my doctors with what’s going on, so of course I told my surgeon that I was on antibiotics for the tooth situation and his first reaction (as expected) was to wait until the tooth was fixed and all the infection was gone. Now you have to understand, I have exactly a six-week window to get the surgery done and healed (for reasons I won’t go into here), and delaying the surgery did not work into those plans.
So I told him about my discussions with the endodontist and all the reasons that he said that I could wait until after surgery and finally suggested my surgeon call him. After a scramble to find the phone number, my surgeon left me in the exam room to go make a phone call.
And I waited. And I waited. And I waited.
Finally he comes back in. He’d not only talked to the endodontist and got the reassurances he needed there, he called my PCP and got them to fax him the lab results early so he could make sure that my white cell count and my sed rate were good. Both were solidly normal. (Whew!)
Armed with those pieces of medical evidence, he agreed we could move forward with the surgery as planned. So next Tuesday, I’m first up on the operating table. Should be home by noon with happy drugs.
Yes, I still have to deal with the question of the root canal, but I figure I can get that done when I’m off after surgery and am lying around the house anyway.
So over the last couple of days I feel like I’ve done full-force broken field running jumping over multiple obstacles. With all the factors involved, I feel like this is the best course of action and I’m delighted that my [very conservative] doctors agreed with me.
I hope all your plans work out the way you’d like. Thanks for checking in.