Background, since I don’t remember writing about the appointment in January: The daily preventative medication has been causing sleep disruptions that have worsened as the dosage increased. Since the dosage I’m at now has resulted in the biggest reduction in dizzy spells, the hope was to keep the dosage and find something to help me sleep. The medication did nothing at the minimum dose, so I’ve been taking the full recommended dose for about 2 months. While it initially knocks me out, if anything wakes me I’m usually unable to return to sleep. The lack of sleep puts a strain on me, resulting in either more migraines and/or dizziness.
In addition, I believe it to be the cause of my growing comprehension and memory problems. Lookit, I know I’m no genius, but I’ve been having serious issues lately. Last Friday, I’d decided I had enough of it and stopped taking the sleep inducing pill without weaning off or my doctor approving the change. I felt it made no sense to get no sleep at night AND be stupid all day. (Please be kind in the comments about that last bit, okay?)
The results were bad. Very bad. Not only was I dealing with migraines and dizziness as usual, they were jacked up enough that I broke down and took my tier 3 migraine reliever on Sunday night. That’s the pill that essentially knocks me out so it doesn’t hurt anymore. I was finally able to sleep, but woke zombified. Literally dragging, mentally and physically. I still don’t feel quite right and it was three days ago. The pill usually takes me out for the next 24 to 36 hours, but this had me worried. Especially since I’ve had migraines since and honestly, I don’t want a pill that knocks me out for that long. Life is short, and I don’t want to be drugged out and miss it.
But the thing that really had me concerned was the near constant tremor in my right hand and also my jaw. I’ve had the hand tremor for most of my life, usually only showing up when my blood sugar drops. This was different as it was going on all the time, even after meals. And the feeling of a spasm-like trembling in my jaw that I was sure it was visible to others. Sort of like… you know when you’re cold for awhile and you kind of forget until you get a blast of warm air on you? That half a second of pre-shiver, almost painful sensation? Like that, only all the time with a “teeth chattering” kind of tremble. I know, I’m doing a terrible job explaining it, but it’s not easy.
I was afraid to continue any more without consulting him. If the tremble thing was a withdrawal symptom from stopping the sleep inducer and he felt it an appropriate change for me, then I’d deal with it. If it was a new neurological symptom or issue coming to light, then I needed him to know and do any necessary testing.
He ended up suggesting I return to a half dose of the sleep inducing pill, adding melatonin, and taking all 3 of my preventative migraine meds in the morning (instead of 2 in the morning and 1 at night). He also took out the useless tier 1 migraine breaker, so I now have two tiers of relief instead of three. He also let me know that for my now-tier 1 medicine, that insurance companies typically only allow for 9 to 12 of that pill a month (depending on the company) because it’s so expensive. What am I supposed to take for migraines number 13 and higher? Nothing, unless I want to take the pill that I mentioned earlier that knocks me out and turns me into a zombie. Thanks, insurance company. Thanks a hell of a lot.
After leaving that appointment, it was time for the dentist. I had a cracked filling replaced and two cavities filled back in the beginning of January, and I’m still having extreme pain. I haven’t needed fillings since I was a child, so didn’t remember what to expect. But I was only having minor discomfort before the fillings and they’ve been excruciatingly sensitive to temperature and pressure since the fillings. As in, a room temperature banana causing extreme pain because it’s too cold. Ridiculous, right? I haven’t had carrots, apples or anything of that sort since January because then we’re talking about serious pain.
I’ve been in several times since then, and he filed down the “high points” in the fillings, and later diagnosed me as possibly grinding my teeth, but more than likely clenching my jaw, while I sleep. This was because I was pointing out pain in a location where he hadn’t done a filling (the joint where your jaws meet). He decided that I need a $400 mouth guard to wear at night, but since we were broke I told him I’d have to come back after our tax refund arrived. Plus, I wasn’t entirely sold on the idea. It wasn’t mentioned during the sleep study I’d had recently after all, and they were able to watch my eyelids for R.E.M. state in the dark. But one discarded $30 over-the-counter mouth guard later (I had to try…), and I was still having pain. Once I realized the stress from the jaw pain began triggering migraines, I was able to get over my fear of dentists and scheduled to go back in.
Knowing it would take a while, Chooch dropped me off and the dentist ordered new x-rays. Turns out, he’s now diagnosed me with TMJ. He believes that is why the tooth cracked initially and now the filled tooth is apparently cracked below the filling. Since the root/nerve is inflamed, I now need a root canal and crown. After that, I’ll need to sleep with a mouth guard. I panicked and asked Chooch to return because I could feel the usual stress reactions kicking in and I needed his clear head on the problem. Brain fog and migraines make it difficult for me to sort through information and remember everything. (As usual, I’ll ask him to comment if I’ve mixed up anything here.)
The only upside is that the dentist says there’s a chance, a very small chance, that once the mouth guard starts doing it’s job, assuming it does, that it may… wait for it… ease or eliminate my migraines. Yeah, it feels like too much to hope for since at this point I’ll just be thrilled if my teeth just stop hurting. So I’ve decided to put that hope to the side for now and focus on what’s in front of me and what I can control. Yes, I’m a worse case scenario planner, but it hasn’t failed me yet.
It’s going to cost around $2,000 and insurance won’t cover any of it. Nor will insurance cover any future TMJ issues, if the dentist is right. Lovely. I told Chooch I’d rather pull the damned cracked tooth out rather than hand over that much money to fix it, but he thinks that’s a bit nuts. So we’ve scheduled it over three appointments and our tax refund / savings will take the hit. But I’m grateful that we are lucky to have enough in savings and are not having to take the dental office credit program. I shudder to think what the interest rate must be.
Luckily, the day turned pretty damned awesome after that…
One reply on “Roller Coaster Day, Part One”
Oh, hon, we sooo need to talk. I was diagnosed with TMJ when I was 18.