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Dental pain sinks sharp teeth deep into former 'tough guy'
Columnist thinks he's macho, until serious tooth pain takes him down

Date published: 5/16/2010

By Rob Hedelt

THERE'S NO personal history to back it up, but I like to tell myself that I'm a tough guy when it comes to handling pain.

Sprain an ankle? No problem, I grin and bear the pain until it mends.

Throbbing headache? Grab an aspirin and persevere.

Jammed finger? Exclaim something like "Rats! Doggone! Phooey!" and move on.

But last weekend, I found myself riding a wave of pain that wouldn't subside, the result of a tooth that wasn't a happy camper.

At first, I tried to deal with it like those maladies mentioned above, swallowing a pain reliever and moving on.

Until it contacted me directly, via the Real Deal Pain Runway.

That's a pathway that, it seemed last weekend, runs straight from a point at the back of my jaw to the core of my brain.

It's as though I'd been ignoring the minor pains and aches the tooth presented for a week, so they decided to get my attention Saturday morning with a bold "You can't ignore this!" shot straight to the head.

In the midst of my Cocoa Puffs, the white-hot sear shot from my tooth to my eye to my forehead and, seemingly, to every other nerve ending north of my shoulders. It nearly sent me to my knees.

So much for the tough-guy act.

Squinting with one eye, I quickly finished an inventory of every pain-deadening medication in our house.

None of which managed to make a dent in this electric wake-up call I had in my head.

Thankfully, a call to my helpful and understanding dentist started me down a path that eventually led to relief, and other steps will hopefully keep it from coming back.

But it's funny how quickly that sort of serious pain can change your whole outlook.

The game you want not on television?

The car you'd like to have too expensive?

The day's plans you had with family or friends not working out?

We tend to think of these things as real problems.


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