I have an impacted wisdom tooth in my lower left jaw. It was discovered on roughly 20th December 2007, which is the point where the pain it was causing me got bad enough that I visited my dentist for help. At the time I didn't know the tooth was impacted, I had simply been told that it needed extracting. Fine. I did that once in college. It was horrible, but the alternative was a lot worse. I was prescribed heavy painkillers and antibiotics over Christmas, which meant that I couldn't drink alcohol, which sucked. By New Year the antibiotics were finished and I was a lot better, which was good.
The effects of the antibiotics in quelling the infection which has apparently riddled my tooth then wore off. I had another dentist's appointment on 8th January, when I was told that the tooth was impacted and could not be extracted without surgery, and that prescribing more antibiotics was not a preferable course of action in case the bacteria built up an immunity to it. I was given more painkillers and told to wait a month for a referral to a hospital to have the tooth removed.
10th January was the longest, most painful day of my life. I was unable to sleep for more than two hours at a time on the nights of 8th and 9th January without waking up for more painkillers, and could not concentrate on anything other than the pain, not even highly distracting and difficult videogames (Ikaruga and Super Monkey Ball on the GameCube, if you're asking). I was in agony for several days. I took all of my daily allowance of painkillers within the first seven hours of 10th January and was advised by NHS Direct that I could not take any more for the rest of the day or else risk kidney and/or liver damage. I dragged myself to an emergency appointment at my dentist and by the time I was called I was actually rocking back and forth in the waiting room. I demanded and received more antibiotics. The rest of the day took an eternity. I do not wear a watch; this is a good thing.
Right now I'm over halfway through those antibiotics. I'm on the maximum daily amounts of both ibuprofen and paracetemol. I'm periodically applying Bonjela to the affected gums - not sure how much effect it's having - and keeping an ice pack on it whenever I have a free hand. Despite all of this it still feels like someone is slowly but forcefully attempting to insert an extra tooth into a lower jaw in which there is no room. It's not a throbbing pain, it is a constant forceful pressure which occasionally winds its way up into my ear. Sometimes it gets better and sometimes it gets worse.
I worry about what will happen when my antibiotics run out again and my dentist is unable to prescribe more. I worry about how long it's going to take for my referral from the hospital to come through, and how long after that it'll be before my actual time comes. I worry that I won't be able to visit Cambridge in early February or my own meticulously-arranged A to Z Pub Crawl the week after that. (If you know me and you missed out on the emails regarding that, by the way, email me and we'll cut you in. It's on 16th February.) I worry about not being able to do the new job I just started, and failing to live up to expectations. I'm working from home. I miss human contact.
By hell, does my tooth hurt.