Pending diagnosis

So, a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned how I was having pains in my jaw and mouth and thought it was because I was grinding my teeth in my sleep. Before that, I thought it was sinus related. I’ve had a long-term sinus complaint and, more recently, had superficial symptoms of it.

Not long after I wrote that, I switched my mind back and decided it was a sinus issue – just a bad case of sinusitis. I figured that because the symptoms had further evolved. I felt tightness and sensitivity under my right eye next to the nose, where the sinus canal is. On top of that, I experienced some temporary relief by simply sucking on a butter menthol.

I’ve since changed my mind again and don’t think it is either of those, mostly because that while the superficial signs of a sinus issue – the blockage and runny nose – have passed, while the pain has got worse. And because the symptoms have further evolved.

It’s pretty odd. I’ve never experienced this before. Initially, the pain was in my mouth and gums and extending into my cheek and jaw. I actually went to the dentist at one stage to get his diagnosis, which was sinus.

Since then, I’ve experienced pain in different parts of my face and head, in seemingly random order.

Most of what I feel is on the right side of my face. I still feel occasional gum pain, and it’s spread to my bottom teeth at the front. I get the pressure pain across the bridge of my nose and under my eye, but I also occasionally will feel pain at the corner of my right jaw, behind my eyes, across my forehead, my right ear, and the back of my head.

I guess you could describe it as a headachey sort of pain, except that it also seems to resonate through the bones of my face and right into the roots of my teeth, which feel sensitive. The pain is rarely extreme, though it’s certainly uncomfortable. It’s more of a dull, heavy, persistent pain.

It’s a bit of a mystery, and as a mystery, a bit of a concern. Concerning also is the shifting, spreading nature of it. A couple of days last week, it wasn’t so bad, but it’s got worse since then, to the point that it will disturb my sleep occasionally. That didn’t happen before.

More than the pain, what concerns me is the discomfort it induces, which is as much psychological as it is physical. It just feels wrong and unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before.

At times I feel as if my head and jaw are out of whack, and my teeth not set properly. There’s an uncomfortable sensation of being crooked. Sometimes, the right side of my head feels swollen, though it isn’t, and my mouth is tender – as if I’ve had some dental treatment and the anaesthetic is wearing off – a sensitive awareness. I feel this most of the time.

I’m on painkillers to manage the pain, though I’m wary of taking too many and so will wear a little pain early in the day to minimise them. Still, I’m taking four to six a day, and sometimes eight. It’s strange to think that over the last 10 years, I’ve probably averaged taking no more than a couple of painkillers a year, no more than that. It was rare I got headaches or anything like that. I’ve now taken dozens in the last few weeks.

I went to the doctor, obviously, though it was a Telehealth consultation in lockdown. I knew what I wanted – I wanted tests to be done, mostly to rule out things, though I’m also desperate to know what’s causing this and how it can be treated. Not knowing is hard.

I can’t help myself, I’m always trying to figure things out. If it’s not me grinding my teeth, and if it’s not sinusitis, it seemed to me that it could be nerve or neurological. When I spoke to the doctor, he mentioned the possibility of a clot. Whatever – something pressing upon the nerves in my face.

I’m going to have a brain MRI next week. I wish it was sooner, but they can’t fit me in until then. Until then I have to endure it.

Time for my first painkillers of the day.

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