Helping women with chronic illnesses

No More Abscess. Tooth Extraction Itself Went Well. Going To Go Rest Now. (UPDATED: My Nitrous Nightmares)…

I am very grateful my abscessed tooth was successfully extracted this morning.

The nitrous oxide had no effect on me whatsoever. Zero. The first batch of Novocaine didn’t quite do the trick. The 2nd round of Novocaine helped. It went quickly and I’m glad it’s behind me.

I’m going to go and lie down to read a book! I hope everyone is getting some rest with the holidays!

Take care! 🙂

P.S. If you are looking for something more to read, check out my holiday posts preceding this (including comment sections). We had an interesting power outage on Christmas Eve! 🙂

UPDATED at 5:46 pm:

I just woke up from about a 2.5 hour nap. When I tried to read, I got sleepy and decided to put the book down for a minute to rest my eyes. That is the last thing I remember. I woke up having had numerous, vivid, frightening nightmares.

Just some background… I have sleep apnea and fibromyalgia. I never get good quality sleep. When I had my sleep study to diagnose the obstructive sleep apnea, they said I got ZERO of the “restorative sleep” phase!

I haven’t used the CPAP machine lately (used to treat sleep apnea) because it’s impossible to use my machine when I have a bad runny nose (which I have had).

By the way, the oral surgeon confirmed my suspicion that the abscessed tooth and sinus problems/other symptoms I have been having could definitely be related.

I’m grateful my “regular dentist” put me on antibiotics a few days back for the tooth infection.

Anyway, I haven’t had a “good night’s sleep” in… well, in my whole life actually. Even as a kid, I never got proper sleep. I’ve spent my life needing people to wake me up. Sometimes a ringing phone works. Alarm clocks barely ever work (even the loudest ones they make).

When I lived alone after college, I had FIVE alarm clocks and still had a hard time getting awake on time to get ready for work.

I hardly ever, ever dream or have nightmares. Today I had several scary nightmares.

With my fibromyalgia, I don’t get high-quality sleep either.

The fibro and sleep apnea were only diagnosed in the last few years but my trouble getting good sleep goes way back.

Anyway, nitrous oxide (aka laughing gas) was no laughing matter for me!!

It gave me zero effects during the dental appointment (see above). There was nothing positive or negative. The air entering my nostrils just seemed like when regular air gets pumped into them during CPAP at night to treat my sleep apnea. I would have sworn they accidentally gave me plain oxygen… before waking up from that awful nap.

They gave me nitrous oxide alright! I just searched the Internet. While it appears to be a less common side effect of nitrous oxide, I am not the only dental patient to have had nightmares after nitrous oxide. (I would include links about nitrous oxide but I didn’t even finish reading the links myself yet… I just did some speed-reading, saw that others have had nightmares from it and started this post).

Anyway, the way nitrous oxide was described to me by multiple sources beforehand (including the dental assistants today) was that “people love the feeling”, “it’s relaxing”, “it takes the edge off”, etc.

With nitrous oxide (at least in my case) you do stay awake during the procedure but it is supposed to make it easier for certain patients than just having Novocaine alone.

I am NOT one of those certain patients!! These nightmares were really bad. I am so glad to be awake. I’m so glad they were just nightmares and not really happening. (One example of a nightmare I had was a scene that was similar to but far, far scarier than a very, very graphic Grey’s Anatomy episode where everyone is standing around in scrubs and then bad things happen).

Let’s just say I am not one to be phased too much by the sight of blood but this nightmare was more than I could take without getting really upset before waking up suddenly.

I never want to go through that again!

As I said, most people who have nitrous oxide (apparently) find it helpful and pleasant. I had no reaction at all when I needed it and the nightmares afterwards (just now) were just plain awful.

While my reaction may not be super-common, it does happen or I wouldn’t have gotten the Google hits I did from pharmocology articles.

Let’s just say that I couldn’t leave this post as initially written and felt compelled to write this update. Many endo patients I have met are more sensitive than most to various chemicals. Many other chronically ill patients are extra-sensitive too. Clearly I am one of those sensitive individuals.

I’ll take low-quality sleep with no dreams and no nightmares over what I just experienced any day.

Please pray that when I go to sleep tonight this will not happen again.

This article was posted by Jeanne via “Jeanne’s Endo Blog” at</em

This post was written by Jeanne at Copyright © Jeanne — All rights reserved.

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Reading: No More Abscess. Tooth Extraction Itself Went Well. Going To Go Rest Now. (UPDATED: My Nitrous Nightmares)…


1 Yaya { 12.26.08 at 8:49 pm }

Oh good! I know from personal experience the relief that goes with having an infected tooth removed! Phew!! You can now breathe without wincing in pain!

2 Jannie { 12.27.08 at 1:34 am }

Jeanne, that’s just awful about your sleep problems all your life. I cannot imagine. Girl, you must have big rewards saved up for you in heaven!

3 Jeanne { 12.27.08 at 3:59 pm }


Yes. I’m glad it’s behind me! I’ve never had an abscessed tooth before.

I honestly never realized a tooth could hurt that much! It was soooooo much worse than when I’ve had (2) root canals and it was also worse than when I had dry sockets following getting all 4 impacted wisdom teeth removed.

It felt like electric shocks were zapping that tooth!! I was trying SO hard not to react out loud but some of these "shocks" caused me to yelp out loud!

It was amazing just how much it hurt. My dentist said the pulp was damaged and a root canal would run the risk of the tooth essentially crumbling during the drilling. That would make an extraction much more difficult.

That tooth had just been worked on too many times. So when my dentist suggested extraction was a much better option, I had no objection!

Besides, if I had an unsuccessful root canal attempt… and then an extraction ended up happening due to more problems, then I'd be paying LOTS of money on that tooth.

It's bad enough I paid for it to be filled 2 weeks ago and then paid yesterday to have the same tooth removed. I wasn't going to risk a root canal making the oral surgeon's job way harder… and that's what my dentist feared would happen.

So I was just glad to get rid of it. It really hurt & I wanted relief!

I love my "regular dentist". When I explained the pain to him, he knew exactly what I was talking about because he has had that pain himself.

He basically “patted me on the back” for calling the “dental emergency” phone number that he has (I had finally called last Sunday on my birthday after on and off “shocks” for a day and a half). He said it was good that I didn’t wait to call him. (He is so nice)!

That allowed me to get right onto the antibiotic when it got called in on 12/22 when they opened. (I needed to take the antibiotic for a couple of days before the extraction).

The “tooth shocks” felt like when I have had nerve conduction tests for my neuropathy… only in my mouth! It blew my mind.

The “shocks” became less frequent once I started the antibiotics. I’m so glad I called him on the weekend so he could call the Rx in when the pharmacy opened the next morning.

He had me take tylenol and ibuprofen alternating. This was amazingly effective at calming the pain. For example, I would take 2 tylenol at 9:00 am, 2 ibuprofen at noon, 2 tylenol at 3:00 pm, 2 ibuprofen at 6 pm… and so on.

When he had this problem himself, he couldn’t take narcotics for it because then he couldn’t do his job (as a dentist) due to narcotic side effects.

He told me the alternating tylenol and ibuprofen (as above) was more effective for him than Dilauded!

He was right that it really did lessen the pain and decrease the frequency of the “shocks”.

Now that my tooth is out, my nose is almost back to normal, my sinuses are almost back to normal, and my voice is no longer cracking (which was apparently from all of the post-nasal drip).

So the tooth infection really did set off all of that other stuff!

I’m just glad it’s over AND that I didn’t have any more nightmares last night!

The nightmares from yesterday’s nap were so vivid that I have had some “flashbacks” where the details of these upsetting dreams will pop into my head during the day when I’m awake. No more nitrous oxide for me!!

It’s yet one more chemical that I have the opposite reaction as opposed to most people.

It’s hard for me to believe that for some people it’s “laughing gas” and that people seek it out.

For me, I learned to never have it again. Clearly my body is not built to handle nitrous oxide!


4 Jeanne { 12.27.08 at 4:42 pm }


Yes. It’s really tough because even the most patient loved ones get REALLY sick of being the “waker-upper”!

Calling me loudly is often not enough. There were times in high school where my dear, sweet mother dumped a cup of water on me to wake me up so I wouldn’t miss the school bus.

There have been times when my husband has woken me up by putting ice on my arm. It’s ridiculous.

I don’t get the “deep sleep” that is restorative.

I do get the “deep sleep” that makes it very, very difficult for me to wake up every single day regardless of how long I’ve been asleep.

It’s incredibly frustrating. I have no control over it. 🙁

When I lived alone with the 5 alarm clocks, one day I woke up just enough to get ticked off (no pun intended… get it? “tick tick”/alarm) at the alarm clock closest to me. I threw it across the room (in my sleep!) and it broke… Then I was down to 4 clocks!

I used to Scotch tape the clock radio switch so that I couldn’t turn it off without getting awake enough to undo the tape! I set clocks far away so I had to walk to get to some of them. I had other ones closer to the bed so I’d hear the noise more.

The hardest part is when people (my mom when I was younger, my husband now) get mad at me that I don’t get up. I simply do not hear them calling me!! It is totally out of my control.

It is really, really frustrating. It’s also not a pleasant way to start the day! Who wants to start the day being yelled at, right?

I think I had sleep apnea long before it was diagnosed. Long story short, I have had some problems with my CPAP machine (various) and I haven’t been able to use it every night like I really need to.

The lack of oxygen to my body affects all of my illnesses, according to the pulmonary specialist I saw.

He was the one who referred me for the sleep study. I was sent to him by the cardiologist after my lung pressure was high on my echocardiogram/stress test.

The high lung pressure can be a sign of pulmonary hypertension (different than regular hypertension).

PH can be fatal in some cases so that whole evaluation process was scary.

So I was actually relieved that it was sleep apnea because PH would have been a more challenging diagnosis.

I think the pulmonary specialist’s theory about the sleep apnea worsening all of my illnesses makes lots of sense. For example, my Reynaud’s Disease is certainly worsened by any lack of oxygen I’ve had at night.

Anyway, I do the best I can with what I’ve got. 🙂

I just hope that by sharing my experiences about all of these conditions I can help others.

It amazes me when I write about these “offbeat” subjects and then I see searches on my FEEDjit traffic meter of people looking for info on them!

So I often write about whatever is happening to me. It seems that whatever health issue I write about matches up with someone else’s experience in some way.

Maybe by reading my blog, some people can at least get a little comfort that they are not the only ones going through xyz experience.

I think the isolation typical of a patient feeling like he/she is the only one with a certain set of unusual symptoms or a particular constellation of issues is really challenging.

I think knowing there are others who “get it” can make all the difference!


5 Shauna { 12.28.08 at 12:29 am }

Jeanne sweetie,

SO SO glad to hear your tooth was
pulled!!! I KNOW the pain and discomfort you were in and you don't need that to add to your list of problems physically dear.

I had a cyst under a tooth that had a root canal done years before, and then it went into a fistula, up through the tooth, showing finally as a little pimple one day on my gum. One touch of my tongue and wow…out it all came. I was so sick for weeks, even after it was checked to see if the tooth could be saved, but a cracked tooth and into the root proved a pulling was in order.

I am hoping and praying for you that you have felt better since your surgery. Much love and I am thinking of you more than you know…need to write you to explain why I haven't been around…

You know I luv you,
Gentle Hugs always,
Your friend,
Shauna <3

6 Shauna { 12.28.08 at 12:35 am }


I just wrote a comment about your tooth. Then I read your comment return about your sleep problem.

You are right about anything that you write about, another is looking for help about that issue. I have found that since I started writing my blog. That’s why I write about many issues, not just pain.

My son, (22) has had a problem waking up his entire life. He will get sleep, but he is hard to wake up. And ‘hard’ is a gentle word. Sometimes, he’s ok. But for the most part, it is like waking the dead. (Hate to use that old line, but for lack of a better use of words….)
so I read about your sleep apnea, and I never thought about that for him. I have watched him sleep, and he seems to be sleeping and breathing fine. I have given him every bit of into I can about sleep that I know as a Nurse, that I have researched for him…but your 5 alarm clocks just totally reminded me of him. He will not even remember turning OFF his 2!!

Oh well, we will figure it out one day. He was on his own in an apt. up North for 2 years, and kept 2 jobs, working more than 80 hours a week….so he did it ok…it is on and off like I said, and I really don’t think it is sleep apea…but thanks for telling of your problem. Since you have such a myriad of physical issues, (join the club!!) , you do help others just by writing about them, and not JUST Endo. You know that honey.

Much love, and look for my email, ok???
Shauna 🙂

7 Jeanne { 12.28.08 at 3:31 am }


Thanks for the note. Yes… I am relieved to have the tooth removal behind me.

Unfortunately, the burden my healthcare has put on my family’s finances made getting proper dental care unavailable for awhile.

When you have to choose between getting a filling for a tooth that doesn’t hurt or paying for a prescription that prevents daily pain (in my case anyway), the tooth has to wait.

Healthcare costs have had such a massive, crushing blow to my family’s finances.

Unfortunately, my dental issues had to be put on the back burner because of my many, expensive conditions.

I honestly don’t think I would/could do it any differently if I had it to do over.

It is incredibly frustrating to me that universal healthcare is not available. Healthcare costs are crippling so many families!!

I really never knew a tooth could hurt so much… before this past week.

I’m sorry you had to go through what you did. It sounds incredibly painful! Honestly, that sounds really awful!

My dentist knew a root canal was not a good idea for this tooth because it was very deep when he just filled it 2 weeks ago.

He knew that a root canal would have a good chance of crumbling the tooth — which would then need to be extracted anyway. (Only it would leave a real mess for the oral surgeon to clean up, from what I gather).

I’m sorry you had to go through that.

I’ve had 2 root canals previous to this incident. This was so, so much more painful than either of those by a large margin!!

I can’t imagine what a fistula like you had would feel like!

Thanks for thinking of me. I slept a LOT today! This nitrous oxide just did NOT agree with me at all!! I was really sick earlier today but I’m feeling a little better tonight.

The tooth infection was DEFINITELY behind my sinus and throat symptoms plus my face pain, though. So at least I feel some relief of that stuff.

Today was about dizziness, losing my balance, GI problems (probably from the antibiotic), and sleeping a lot.

I don’t know much about sleep disorders other than the sleep apnea that I have — but perhaps your son should be evaluated at a sleep clinic to see why it’s so hard for him to wake up??

I know there are other sleep disorders besides apnea… I just don’t know much about them.

I too write about a variety of issues because it seems like the sometimes ‘offbeat’ posts I write end up somehow connecting for readers anyway.

So I think an occasional tangent from just my “standard” chronic illness blogging is worthwhile. In this case, I was blogging about a very acute care problem! It sure did hurt!

Besides, it gives a bit of variety to the blog to mix things up. Hopefully this is a helpful thing for people overall.

I haven’t yet written an “off-topic” post that hasn’t gotten some degree of “receptive response”. So I will keep being a bit tangential occasionally.

I have certainly been told many times over the years that waking me up is like “waking the dead” as you had referenced.

So even if he doesn’t have sleep apnea, there is obviously something that makes it so difficult for him to wake up.

Finding the cause for his issues might even prevent him from having health problems that are worsened by sleep disorders if he has some type of sleep disorder.

The sleep clinic I went to was very thorough and organized. It was quite impressive actually.

My husband had seen shows over the years like “20/20” – with video of sleep apnea patients featured and he had told me that I looked like that when I’m asleep (i.e. especially the snoring).

However, it wasn’t until about 2 years ago that I finally got diagnosed when the cardiologist sent me to the pulmonary specialist who in turn sent me to the sleep clinic.

I had looked online for alarm clocks a couple of years back (after one morning argument too many with my husband) and had found a clock that was rated as one of the loudest (if not the loudest) clocks available.

It even has an attachment to the clock that you place under the mattress to literally shake the bed when the clock goes off!!

It was more effective than standard clocks but certainly not a dependable way to wake up for me.

Also, I quickly got used to its sound and slept right through it like the rest of the clocks I had tried. So my poor husband still wakes me up every day!

The story I told of the 5 clocks was actually back when I used to work about 80+ hours a week on average.

I was a manager (i.e. no clock to punch) plus I was working terrible hours. So I didn’t really have to be there at an exact, specfic time — because I wasn’t punching a clock and because so little time had passed since I had last worked that I wasn’t about to “get in trouble” for “being late”.

However, there were certainly many times I got to work later than I had hoped or planned.

So, ironically, the long hours worked in my favor back then (as in ‘not-getting-in-trouble-for-being-late-wise’) because the distribution center manager of the drug wholesale company I worked at wasn’t going to give me a hard time for coming in 30 minutes or so later than the other managers when I was putting in about 80 hours a week for a salaried position. (In other words, I was getting paid as if I were working 40 hour weeks). So I was “volunteering” the other 40 or so!

Yes, I was really dumb to put my health at risk trying to “prove myself” at a new, challenging job that was quite consuming.

It’s not like they were going to give me a hard time over arriving 30 minutes “late” if I had worked until 1:00 am or something, you know what I mean?

I used to turn off all 5 clocks and not remember having done so at all. I literally had no recollection of it! This can be kind of scary. (I sometimes talk in my sleep too. I just hate that).

It was nice to hear from you and I look forward to your email. 🙂

Take care,


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