News From The Woods - February, 2007


By Bob Ketchum

Originally Published February 3, 2007

"What happened to January?"

Hey! What happened to January!??

One minute it was New Years Eve, and the next thing I know it's spring! How did that happen? Oh yeah, I forgot… I'm now sixty and everything is supposed to be rushing past me now. It's all part of "Life's Grand Scheme" or something like that. Well, although time does seem to be compressing with each passing year, it's not going by so fast that my health doesn't remind me. I've had a sinus and respiratory problem that has stubbornly held on since Thanksgiving. I have almost forgotten how important the sense of smell is, and my head infections have been so severe this year that I actually "lost" my hearing. Not so much "lost it" as it has been muffled. The eustacean tubes that connect the ear to the throat and upper torso have been invaded by virus infection, and periodically I lose all the high frequencies in my left ear. In January I actually had the same thing happen to BOTH ears for almost a week. You can imagine how much fun that can be to an audio engineer!

Then there's the sore throat I've had for several weeks. It's only bad in the morning and just before going to bed. I am told it is from the infection draining down my throat and that it will go away when the virus finally dies, but it seems like it's taken forever. I've been on penicillin and other antibiotics for almost three months but this thing keeps coming back. I have noticed in the last couple of weeks that it seems to be S L O W L Y working its way out of my system.

Believe me, it's a lot better than it was several months ago, when we discovered that my teeth were the source of most of the infection. I have always had an abnormal paranoia about dental work, stemming from my youth, and in recent years I have been neglecting my dental situation, which has worsened year after year. This year I finally realized that I was poisoning myself because of bad teeth and vowed on New Years Eve to do something about it. I got a dental check up including extensive X-rays which revealed the extent of damages to my mouth. I elected for an oral surgeon to do the work. That way I circumvented the bad experience of being awake and aware of the heavy dental work. After they woke me up the surgeon informed me that it was worse that he expected and that the infection from an abscessed tooth had penetrated the wall of my sinus cavity and had been poisoning my body through my stomach for some time.

Well- THAT explained some things! No WONDER I had so much infection in my head! Now that all the "messy stuff" is done I am starting to feel much better in a lot of ways.

On a follow up visit the dentist told me he was surprised that I hadn't wound up in the hospital long before I went to see him. I guess I was just plodding along, dealing with the various illnesses as they came and went… Completely unaware that my teeth may have had something to do with the way I was feeling. In the past year I've consulted Chiropractors, M.D.'s, and medical specialists for a variety of ailments and have been treated and diagnosed in each instance. Some of it "went away" and some "came back" after the antibiotics ran out. But until I had this dental surgery done, I didn't realize just how much your teeth have to do with the general health of your entire body.

As I look back now I realize there is a division of sorts between the dental community and the medical community at large. When I thought about it I recalled that during the filling in of my general health questionnaire at the beginning of each "first visit" there was not a single question about my general dental health, as if it had nothing to do with the rest of my body. It covers literally everything else in my medical history BUT questions on my dental health and history. And as I never considered it myself I never imagined that my teeth might have anything to do with the other problems I was experiencing. It was only when I began putting things together that it dawned on me that this could be the root of the problem (pun intended).

It's now been a month after oral surgery and although I am still battling ear and throat infection, my overall general health seems to be improving almost daily. Oddly enough, my back and neck problems are now conspicuously absent from my daily list of complaints. I seem to have more energy lately and I am sleeping much better at night. Other than the persistent cough and hacking up crud from my lungs every morning I'd say I was feeling MUCH better than at the first of the year.

Why am I spending an entire article telling this tale? Because if I get through to just one other person who is suffering from mysterious ailments and dental distress at the same time, I might save that person from having to go through what I've been through in the past four months. Yes, I know it's a given that you need to take care of your teeth, but there ARE people in this world who have an unreasonable fear of dentistry, and who, like me, may be laboring with a constant daily dose of "dental denial". If this sounds like I am talking to you and you are also having other health problems as well, especially when you have ailments that go away when treated but keep returning, then you need to go to a dentist and have a full checkup. And you won't ever have to worry about the trauma if you have any extensive work (like extractions, root canals, and bone removal) done by an oral surgeon. All I remember is waking up with a mouth full of cotton balls. I went home and went to bed and the next day I woke up and it was ALL behind me. After over 40 years of dealing with this I now feel like the weight of the world has lifted off my shoulders.

Living in fear, for ANY reason, will eventually affect your quality of life. You can take control of what's going on within your own life and overcome that fear if you really want to. Just don't wait until God has to grab you up and slap you around to make you aware of the problem.

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