Sunday, 20 February 2011

Dental Emergencies! What do you do when you're bedbound???

I've been thinking a lot recently about how there are so many disadvantages to being confined to your bed with M.E. that healthy people would never even consider!

Right now, I have a bad toothache. One of my wisdom teeth broke badly, months ago. Now, if I was one of my healthy friends or family ... actually, even semi-healthy, I could just zip down to my dentists, and get it pulled tomorrow! No problems.

Woman with Toothache - How does a Bedbound M.E. patient get to a dentist?

Not for me. For the last few months I've survived on a couple of visits from the domiciliary dental service, who have put in temporary fillings - there's little else they can do. The last one fell out right before Christmas ... and I've been so ill since then that I haven't even been able to deal with a quick home visit from the dentist. So, predictably, the tooth was eventually going to start causing some major pain. And it looks like now's the time it's going to start playing up.

What to do??? Obviously I'll have to get the dentist service to come see me ... but I KNOW this tooth needs more than just a temporary filling. In fact, I'm not sure if it's not broken so badly now that that might not even work temporarily. But, I have to try at least. It will make my symptoms flare up to have to deal with a) having people visit me here, and b) messing my sleep patterns around, because my body clock is reversed and I sleep in the day. But it's either that or this toothache is going to get worse and worse. Especially with it being a wisdom tooth.

If they can't do a filling, or if it doesn't work, I honestly don't know what I'm going to do. I won't, I suppose, have a choice but to find a way to drag myself to the surgery, deal with sitting upright, in a busy, noisy, bright, overwhelming, germ filled waiting room, (it's a dr's surgery too) in order to get it pulled. God only knows how I'd cope with that ... or what kind of relapse it might cause afterwards, not just from leaving the bed/house but also from the trauma of the treatment itself (especially as I have bad problems with my TMJ joint (my jaw) which makes dental treatment really painful)! I still haven't recovered from ONE family day at Christmas, 2 months ago, and I didn't even leave my bed for that.

So yea, there are so many things that healthy people wouldn't have to give a second thought to, that are major missions for people like me - especially with the post-exertional issues that come with M.E. - this just being one example! I wish more people understood what life is like for us.

Anyone have any experience with situations like this, or ideas on the best way to deal with it? Has anyone ever had a dental surgery 'rush' you through the people waiting so you don't have to sit in a waiting room for ages, or give you a room to rest while you wait, or something??

Twitter Responses
From Pantoeffelchen, who send over a really good idea for if my surgery isn't able to rush me through waiting, I could perhaps lie in the backseat of a car and have them come get me when they're ready for me. Definitely could help at least, especially if I brought my body pillow etc in the car.

Susannah's Signature
I'd love to hear your reply and I know it'll be valued by other readers too! I always try to respond, please just be aware that it can take me some time to find the energy to do so as I've been particularly ill recently and struggling to get online. Thanks for reading! :)



  1. I've heard of one dentist who actually makes house calls. And another office that allows you to string two appointments together so that you don't have to come back another day for the filling after the checkup.

    They're far and few between, though.

  2. Heh, I wish! I think I'm lucky to have any kind of domiciliary service at all in this area - I sure can't get a doctor out when I need one, lol. They're very limited in what they can do in a home though because they don't have all their normal equipment, etc.

    The domiciliary service were meant to call my carer back today about an appointment, but they didn't - good thing I'm not in quite as much pain today as I was yesterday!

    It's crazy they don't have better services for people who're bedbound - there's an awful lot of us in the country!!!! :p

  3. Susannah... I am facing this very problem right now! It's been an ongoing issue for me. I desperately need a dental appointment, but have been too sick to go, and can't find any willing to do housecalls.

  4. I'm so sorry you're stuck in this position too! Gosh, you'd really think 'they'd' have thought this whole thing through better and realised there are gonna be people who can't get to a surgery ... and that if they don't find a way to treat them it'll eventually end up costing the NHS more money anyway!!

    The domiciliary service that I (almost accidentally!) found out about isn't from my own surgery .. it's some kind of city council project, I think - where surgeries can refer patients who really need it. I'm just wondering if maybe there might be something like that in your area - perhaps a local surgery might know, or a council helpline?? (Here, we have to self-refer to our occupational therapists through our council helpline which is why I wondered if they might know. Not sure if that's normal for this kind of stuff though - or if it would work the same outside of a city, either - I'm in inner-city Liverpool) In fact, it might be worth asking an occupational therapist if you have one?

    The stupid thing is though that even if you manage to find someone to do a house call, the likelihood is that they can only do a temporary patch up - so we'll both be stuck back in the same position in ..... weeks/months anyway!

    I hope you find someone to help. I know when I was at a similar place to you M.E. wise it would have literally been impossible to get to a surgery. I wouldn't have known where to start!

  5. Had the domiciliary service come out yesterday, but as I had wondered, they indeed weren't able to do anything at home this time - I have to go to a surgery. Possibly going to be on monday morning. They were really lovely and helpful, but the tooth is just so badly broken that the only thing really to do is get it out, which they can't do at home.

    Honestly, I'm terrified. They're trying really hard to make it a bit easier on me ... arranging an appointment where they will get me in asap rather than leave me waiting in the waiting room, etc ... but this is still going to be a huge mission for me - and the consequences afterwards could be awful. I'm just so scared that I'll lose the tiny bits of independence & the ability I have right now to do some of the things I want to, like be online sometimes.... and that everyday life is going to get much, much more of a struggle.

    I'm just not sure I can take it if I get sicker because of this completely unavoidable situation. (I'll end up with a huge infection if I don't get the tooth taken out asap so there's no way around it really!!) :(

    *Susannah is officially freaking out*

  6. Susannah, I'd never even heard of a dentist making house calls. I haven't been since 2003...when I fell ill I kept thinking I'd go when I was feeling better, and I only got worse. I've been bedridden since Xmas 2007. I hope you can find a way to get it fixed at home. I know when we have to take me to see my local GP every six months or so, we leave me lying down in the car until they're ready to see me, then zip me up to the exam room in my wheelchair and get me lying down again immediately. Wish I had a magic wand to make it easy on you and all the rest of us too.

  7. Hi :) Nice to meet you!

    I hadn't ever heard of it either - perhaps it's worth asking around just to see if there might be something in your area. I'm guessing though that it's not a usual thing, :( as the ones I see seem quite proud of the fact that the service is available here. I hope you find something though!!

    Sorry to hear you've been bedbound for so long - there aren't really any appropriate words, are there? I get it, though.

  8. There are many dentist who provide emergency dental service why should not you googled emergency dentist you will find thousands of results. I know a dentist who provide 24 hours emergency service and best in his work its