An old dental abcess from some eight years ago carved a huge hole in the right side of my skull. I had that tooth rooted, but something has clearly gone very wrong with it again. I first noticed it was going south a while ago, but I’m an eternal optimist even though I really know this pain. “I’ll be fine,” I told myself. Nevertheless, it’s not my first rodeo. I went to the medic and asked him for some antibiotics in case of emergency.
I hate taking antibiotics. I held off as it got more and more persistent. That deep internal twisting sensation in the gum up near my brain. The beginning of a course of pain in waves – pain so all encompassing that it made me sweat in air conditioning and made me shout in empty rooms. The night before last I woke up semi feverish, but then it abated. Last night again it flared with pain and propelled me from deep sleep at about 2am. I went into work on fire, barely rested with my breakfast banana soaking up sad ibuprofen. I needed to be clear headed for driving. Pain wakes you up. No codeine. Bad idea. Not with passengers. But ibuprofen wasn’t touching the sides. I went to the chemist. Ketoprofen in a packet? Worth a try. “Will it make me feel tired?” “No.” It makes me feel sick though.
I’m glad of Lou. She can be clear headed.
“Why aren’t you taking the antibiotics?”
I didn’t want to have to. That is the main reason I left it this late. I didn’t want to have to. Last time, I didn’t take the antibiotics until it was much much worse, but last time… it was so bad that the emergency dentist in some out of hours student clinic in Kings Cross said I could have got septicaemia, and that it was boring into my skull. Waiting that long again would be foolish in the extreme. In the heat of the afternoon, just as the last race started on site, just as my stomach recovered from that ill advised burpy ketoprofen and I started to walk back into the land of constant pain, I chucked that first dose of cipromax down. I’m allergic to penicillin. This is Saudi cipromax – part of the haul from Doctor Jesus. “It might give you diarrhoea,” the medic said when he gave it to me. I didn’t care anymore. This needed stopping. Fast.
Two hours later, I was trying to help take the ped down while occasionally nipping off to the nasty on site portaloos. I had informed a few people I had toothache but didn’t want to make a big fuss.
My phone rang and somebody wanted a lift back. Reader, I took the opportunity. The boys watched me leave them to their labour. With a full car, I went back to the hotel. Dougie was in with me. He knows his way around toothache. “Get some rest,” he suggested. Bloody right mate. I looked at my phone. One of the drivers needed picking up… It wasn’t directed straight to me. I very very nearly turned round and collected him anyway. I think if I had been directly asked I would have done despite my pain. But no. Sometimes I can look after myself. I went to my room, drank a sachet of burpy ketoprofen, put on the Aircon, showered and fell into bed. About an hour and a half later I woke up and realised that I’d been feverish. It was breaking. I could feel it leaving. I hadn’t noticed until it went. Too much to do. I no longer feel the weight of it.
I got up, still in pain but no longer all encompassing. I thought to join the lads at a party at Aldo’s, just to get some food to line my stomach for those painkillers that will get me through the night. Part of me wanted to avoid joining the group just to leave, but I wanted the chance to say farewell to some and figured a brief show was better than none.
“Where you going,” asked Todd though as I tried to sneak off. I explained.
“Oh that’s convenient. You’ve got toothache. Are you sure you’re not hungover?” That’s Joe. He’s still got the knives out, bless his heart. “Always looking for the low blow,’ says Lou of him when I describe such behaviour. I think he just needs a bit more time. He’s got the bones of a decent man. The sarcastic streak seems to be mostly directed at me alone – the unwanted old man he had to share with in Saudi. Lucky me – although: “The job of a bouncer is to instinctively spot the troublemaker in a group and put them down,” Lou said at one point regarding him getting pushed over.
I still like him though. He’s a solid man and a good worker, and he knows his to smile when he lets himself. He’s just a little wrapped up trying to look cool cos he hasn’t realised that it’s more fun to be an idiot.
We have a late start tomorrow, although I might start earlier. I’ll be asleep soon. Just popped a codeine on top of my chicken and bread. Antibiotics. Magic. Phew. Thank you medic.