Last night

Last night I was oddly stricken with a nasty mix of vertigo and tinnitus. I am certain as to what caused this –  a nasty bout of trigeminal neuralgia brought on by some dental work the other day. I had some work done on one of my lower molars – just a simple cavity being filled – nothing hard core. This did involve the dreaded Novocaine shots into my cheek and jaw, and even as he was doing it I just knew I was going to pay for this later. Thankfully I was numb for the better part of that day, but as the numbness wore off, I was in agony as the lightning shocks awakened in my face! My eye twitched, my jaw seized, and no amount of ice seemed to keep it calm or long. Lovely.

It had seemed to ease up some yesterday and I thought it safe to finally resume my normal eating habits. I guess I was wrong. I then got the worst pain shooting into my jaw from my ear. My TMJ seized up. Then came the tinnitus – my head whooshed and washed. The dysautonomia kicked in and when I stood up my BP dropped. It got so bad that by dinner time I didn’t even want to stand up from the dinner table! I barely made it to my bed. When I did, I laid down and didn’t move for almost 2 hours.

And then strangely for someone with Diabetes Insipidus who reminds people of that gotta-go-gotta-go-right-now commercials, I didn’t have to go at all the entire night even though I was drinking like a fish. But then, after I take my desmopressin, which is a diuretic and supposed to keep you from getting up all night, I got up about every hour to go to the bathroom. Yes, that means zero sleep for me. And I woke up with a nasty allergy headache (the same I’ve had all week, practically).

I am hoping and praying that my trigeminal neuralgia will stay away today, or at least behave and not get bad like it did yesterday. I need it to start calming down. It hasn’t been this bad in a very, very, very long time. I knew having work done on that right side would trigger it, but I didn’t realize it would be this bad. At least I am done with the dentist! Yay!

For those not familiar with Trigeminal Neuralgia, here is what Wikipedia says about the disease:

Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) or tic douloureux(also known as prosopalgia) is a neuropathicdisorder of one or both of the facial trigeminal nerves. It causes episodes of intense pain in any or all of the following: the ear, eye, lips, nose, scalp, forehead, teeth or jaw on one side of the face.[1]It is estimated that 1 in 15,000 people suffer from trigeminal neuralgia, although the actual figure may be significantly higher due to frequent misdiagnosis. TN usually develops after the age of 50, more commonly in females, although there have been cases with patients being as young as three years of age [2].

TN can bring about stabbing, mind-numbing, electric shock-like pain from just a finger’s glance of the cheek or spontaneously without any stimulation by the patient. It is often dubbed “The Suicide Disease” in newspapers and media, as many people who suffer from it for a long time end up committing suicide.


4 responses to “Last night

  1. Yay for being done with the dentist; hope things are better today!

  2. Endochick,

    First, I’m so sorry you are having so much trouble!!! 😦

    I too have to worry about what the after-effects will be from having dental work. I saw the dentist last week and was having TMJ pain last night worse than I’ve had it in awhile. Mind you, I’ve had it much worse and I’m grateful it didn’t get that bad. (I’ve had two week periods where sipping half-liquefied Jell-O through a straw was about as daring as I got for eating because I couldn’t move my jaw open wide enough to chew at all). Anyway, this was nothing like that. This was just bad enough to remind me how fortunate I am that it hasn’t gone into that zone in quite awhile.

    As far as the dysautonomia, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… I am amazed at how you have coped with that for so many years. After what I went through this summer, I can really empathize with anyone having any form of dysautonomia (or any condition producing similar symptoms). It’s scary.

    While I don’t have diabetes, I can empathize with the urinary frequency because of my interstitial cystitis (which is, thankfully, well-managed… if only some of my other medical conditions could respond so well to treatment). I’m sorry it was making it hard to sleep. (I also empathize with sleep issues and I, like you, have obstructive sleep apnea).

    As far as allergy headache, I have been having unwelcome flashbacks to all of the previous Augusts that ragweed made unpleasant. I have been cursing ragweed pretty hard today.

    As far as trigeminal neuralgia, I cannot imagine what that must be like. I’m so sorry. It sounds awful!

    How would you be able to differentiate between TN and the type of electric shock feelings that can happen if a filling “didn’t take”? I ask because last December I got a filling and proceeded to get “electric shock” pain. (This is an awful feeling, by the way)!!

    Anyway, my filling had been quite deep (I found this out once I called the dentist about the shock feelings). It turns out my tooth was abscessed and I had to have an oral surgeon extract it. I say this not to alarm you in any way but because I seriously wonder how someone like you, with TN, would ever be able to tell if the shock feelings were induced by TN or abscess?

    I hope you feel better soon!!!


    • That’s a good comment – on how one can tell between a filling not taking an TN pain. I had a filling come out and immediately recognize the acute sharpness as that. Even though it was on the opposite side of my TN, it was, in some way, different. It’s very hard to describe. I think, for most TN sufferers, and this may be due to what meds they are on for it, their pain is different. Mine is now no longer constantly sharp like when I drink cold beverages, my hair brushes against my cheek, or when I brush my teeth, etc. I just get a dull numbness that lasts for a little while. Sometimes, and more often than not, I will get a twitching nerve sensation in the upper nerve branch of my cheek and eye. With the current physical therapy, and the dental work I’ve had, it’s really helped the situation in my lower jaw. Although, my dentist confirmed that there are no cavities in my uppers and so everything I’m feeling up there is indeed, fully TN. Now, I can tell the difference because it’s like a hot knife-like pain. Nothing like a tooth ache. And, believe me, when you haven’t had it in awhile, it really sucks!! It doesn’t last long, at least for me, but comes in random spurts. Just when you think it’s gone, there it is again! What helps for me is an ice pack. Some people find ice aggravates it. This just dulls it, though. My doctor has me on a combination of Topamax and Baclofen to control the TN, and the Topamax also helps with the migraines. With the physical therapy I’ve been doing, I was hoping to get off the Topamax, or at least lower my dosage, but now I’m worried I won’t be able to with the TN. I’m not sure. I see my Neurologist in December to see where I am with everything.

  3. Thanks so much for sharing. These medical conditions are complex and writers like you help people not going through what you are understand.

    I’m definitely going to keep reading =)

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