I saw the dentist yesterday who verified that my wisdom teeth were indeed coming in (had come in) and that they were problematic; I have a “very very very small jaw” and the teeth are “quite large” and coming in “transverse” – “very problematic”. There is no question that they have to be removed and, given that I’m going to have a series of infections until they are removed and suffer the pain – the sooner the better. Normally, the dentist told me, he would be able to do the extractions – but my case was “so difficult” that he referred me to a dental surgeon.I saw the dental surgeon for a consultation this afternoon. The dental surgeon took a look at my mouth and winced. He looked at the x-rays from the dentist and winced some more.
“Will you be staying here a long time?” he asked.
It turned out to be a rhetorical question.
Not only are the gums (slightly) infected right now, I have tonsillitis. I’m on antibiotics (again!) for five days and have a follow-up appointment with the dental surgeon in a week. If the infection is cleared up, we can move onto operation number one – apparently the two extractions are going to have to be done separately. One side is a soft impaction, the other a hard. (One has broken through the gum, the other hasn’t.) The right side is significantly more threatening to the other teeth, due to the angle, so he wants to do it first. (The left side is more painful – go figure.) I’d need at least a week to recover from the first operation before the second, and at least two weeks following the second operation before I’m ready to start traveling again.
That adds up to a month – another month in Chiang Mai – a month absolute minimum, a month without any complications and or delays. (And with my track record of luck and health – haha.)
I’ve talked to my parents and we decided I’ll stay in Chiang Mai for the extractions (referring to it as “surgery” or “operation” is freaking me out) and probably have them done by the same surgeon I saw today; dental care in Thailand is known to be quite good, I trust the recommendations that lead me to Dr. Khongkhunthian, and when my mother googled his name and clinic she found out that he’s extensively published and has a good reputation
Not to mention the fact that, love-hate relationship this city and I enjoy, I’ve at least got a support network and people to take care of me here – both in town and at You Sabai. The idea of going through it all alone in Bangkok – I’m told I’ll be pretty much “out of it” for 48 hours following each extraction – isolated in a hotel room is almost as frightening as the operations themselves. Plus, I have no idea what I’d do with myself in Bangkok for a month; I’ve already started asking around regarding volunteer work in Chiang Mai that could keep me busy – I do have a month I can commit to, but I’ll be in and out and my health will be questionable which devalues me considerably – I’m sure I can find something, though. I’m also going to need to find some sort of residence that’s more long term – so far I’ve been bouncing between Samantha’s couch and a couple of guesthouses – that’s both in town and involves food – I need to ask around.
First, however, I’ve got to go get a visa extension. I bought a bus ticket back to Mae Sai for 6am in the morning; I’ll go straight to the border, cross it, get stamped, and catch a bus back to Chiang Mai – if I’m lucky I’ll even have time to make it up to You Sabai the same day.
I’m trying not to be too depressed by the situation – at least now I know why I’ve been “under the weather” for so long and I’ll get it taken care of, permanently, and then be on my merry way… For a grand and impressive total of five weeks.
I’ve got five weeks to see Laos and Cambodia, trek in Borneo, and see Bali (before I fly back to Bangkok to meet my friend Kristin, who’s flying over for two weeks to relax on the beaches in Southern Thailand and celebrate my birthday, and then go to Nepal). Teaching English in Cambodia is definitely off the schedule, Vietnam had already been scratched, and I’ve got to decide if I really want to jump up from my sick bed and run to the jungles of Borneo – I think I’ll see how the first operation goes before deciding definitively, but if I do skip Malaysia/Indonesia in favor of seeing Laos and Cambodia (at a decent pace) I’ve got a nonrefundable airplane ticket I’m wasting – and if I do try and do it all, I’m going to need several more airplane tickets.
I don’t even want to think about my budget right now.
(PS. Uploaded photos to Flickr. A LOT of photos. Sorted them into sets but haven’t titled or added any descriptions yet – explicating a month’s worth of pictures is a daunting task and I may or may not get around to it…)