241 // Almost Unbearable

This is the first moment I’ve had in days that I could sit up and think clearly enough to write anything. The short of it is I had to get an emergency root canal after a tooth I chipped many, many months ago decided to start causing problems.

It started around lunchtime last Wednesday with a strange discomfort while chewing. By the end of the workday, the left side of my jaw was throbbing. That evening I was mixing acetaminophen with ibuprofen and trying desperately to find a dentist in network that would see me the next day.

I made it into work the next morning, running on little more than caffeine and deep guilt. I didn’t want to leave my coworkers hanging. I didn’t want to leave the kids confused. Luckily I was was able to see a dentist that afternoon. The good news was they could save the tooth. The bad news was the pain would only get worse unless I took care of it as soon as possible and damn, were they right!

By Friday morning, the pain was almost unbearable. I was sleeping on the couch with an ice pack on my face and fighting the impulse to pull the tooth myself. Anything would have been better than how I felt. I knew I couldn’t give the students my best care when I could barely think through the pain, so I did what I felt was best for them and for me, I stayed home.

That afternoon I was in the endodontist chair awaiting a root canal and within an hour I was feeling…different. The pain I went in with was relieved, but I left with new pain and there was more to come. Stomach pain from the medication, headaches, soreness, and getting used to chewing and talking with the temporary filling has been hard, but with plenty of rest and a little TLC from my wife, I am slowly getting better.

Today is easy enough, so easy that I’m worried I’m doing something wrong. I’m working, sure, but I don’t exactly feel challenged, but I’m also not sure I want to be. I know that doesn’t make much sense. I guess I’m conditioned to believe work should be hard and stressful and when It isn’t I worry I’ll be perceived as lazy. At the same time, I love when work isn’t hard but I also feel like I’m missing out on opportunities or growth because I’m not constantly pushing myself if I wallow in the comfort.

Productivity is super confusing.

But it’s my last day before I take an extra, extra-long Labor Day weekend so I’m trying not to fret about it. I took off tomorrow for my trip, and Tuesday too for my wife’s birthday though we have no plans yet at all. I already gave her her gifts and I plan to pick up something for her while I’m in the Carolinas too but she deserves so much more so I’m keeping my schedule open for whatever she may want to do.