Monday, August 20, 2012

Oh, Stuck in Buffalo Again

The year was 2004, late February, and three of us were coming back to Pine Bluff from the Public Library Association in Seattle. A storm had come into the West Coast from Northern California to the Portland area.  We should not have any problems taking I-90 from Seattle through Montana and South Dakota and head south at Sioux Falls.  

Leaving Seattle late afternoon we made it to around Missoula and spent the night....just to awaken in the morning to the news that one of the lady's with me had no heat in her room, and the front desk was not helping her out, and she got zero sleep.  

Then we get towards Billings and have a flat tire.  I change it, and we stop in Billings to get new tires.  By the time we got to Buffalo it was snowing...I asked if they wanted to continue or not, and the sleepless one voted to stop, so we stopped.  I figured if one did not want to continue, then we would stop.  

[Note:  Here are two reports on this storm: 

2/26/2004 - 2/29/2004, Fremont, Johnson, Lincoln, Natrona, Sweetwater Counties:   Two potent winter storms dropped heavy snow across western and central Wyoming. General snowfall accumulations ranged from 3 to 6 inches in the lowest elevations of southwest Wyoming, increasing to 9 to 12 inches in lower elevations of central Wyoming. Upwards of 2 feet of snow fell in the Wyoming, Salt, Wind River, and Big Horn Mountains. Snowfall combined with some areas of 20 to 30 mph wind and created difficult traveling conditions.  (One of those mountain ranges you have to go over on I-25 to get to Cheyenne.)

2/28/2004-2/29/2004, Campbell, Crook, Weston, Northern Campbell - South Campbell - Western Crook - Wyoming Black Hills - Weston - Northeastern Crook:   A powerful upper level storm system moved slowly across the Central Rockies and then through the Northern and Central Plains, bringing abundant precipitation and heavy snow to much of Northeast Wyoming. The system began to affect Northeast Wyoming on the afternoon of the 28th as rain and snow overspread the area. Precipitation changed to all snow during the evening hours and continued through the overnight. There was a brief break in the precipitation during the morning hours of the 29th. Snow then redeveloped across the area in the afternoon and persisted into the morning hours of March 1st. Strong northwest winds developed late on the 29th. The winds caused significant blowing and drifting of snow into the next day. Snowfall amounts in Northeast Wyoming were generally in the 5 to 12 inch range, with locally higher amounts across the Bear Lodge Mountains and the Wyoming Black Hills.]

We awake the next morning to find out that I-90 was shut down in South Dakota because a large arm of the major storm swept like a broom right into I-90, which was suppose to miss the storm which was moving much further south.   I-25 was shutdown about 50 miles north of Cheyenne, (in fact, all roads into and out of Cheyenne were shut down due to snow, ice and winds), we were stuck in Buffalo!  

But then I remembered Highway 2 that ran just north of I-80 in Nebraska....if we could get to Highway 2, we could get to I-80, and eventually make our way south to Arkansas.  I called and checked on highway conditions, and we were on our and two ladies a little upset because it sounded like more fun being stuck in Buffalo than driving the rest of the way home to Pine Bluff.

That was then, this is now.....

We went over to the dentist, Dr. Matthew Hein, who slipped us in at 10:30.  The office staff was great, the dentist was great...only problem is that the swelling in my mouth was now along the roof of my mouth, and he was afraid that if this swelling continued, that it could obstruct my airwaves....that did not sound good, and it sure did not sound fun, as I was in HIGH LEVEL 10 hurt mode.  He suggested that we go over to the hospital emergency room, and they would contact them explaining the situation, and let the medical staff handle getting rid of the infection, the swelling, etc.  He wants to see me in a week...which is the 27th.

The Hospital staff was also outstanding, except.....and there is nearly always an exception isn't there....that after the GREAT RN experience, and the GREAT rookie/learning doctor, that when the "real, full" doctor comes in he decides that they needed to go one step further....a "CT" was needed, better known as a Cat Scan.  Problem insurance focuses on getting the patient healthy...and ER visits are covered at a low percentage, especially out of town, and after the high deductible.  So this was all going to be "on us", albeit a tax write off.

"Why is the CT needed?", we asked.  "Just to be absolutely certain that the tooth is not infected...I know they did a full dental scan, but they could not get a picture of that area, and with this swelling....the tooth might...."  

 "But I saw pictures of the full mouth, and the teeth roots looked just fine, and I don't have any tooth pain...I think we like what the Dentist said to us...."

"But I just got off the phone with the Dentist, and we think, to be safe, a CT would be the safest way..."

"But Doc, my insurance is a preventative insurance, and I would have to pay for the CT out of my own pocket....I just don't see this as an investment which is needed....I feel satisfied...."

"I am just telling you that in my professional opinion that...."

Marcia steps in...."If we tell you that we don't want the scan, are you going to refuse treating us any more?"

I thought the doctor was going to Skata his shorts!

Now mind you....I was in so much pain during all of this that the wording was not exact....I was more focused on "Get me some Pain Relief, PLEASE" than all this other crap...but I also know how much a CT would cost, and the penny pincher in me still was able to kick in for that....

Bottom line, no CT yet.  I went through the first of three times a day IV meds to fight the infection, and to be sure that I will keep coming in, a shot for pain with each treatment, and once a day steroid shot to help the swelling and to try and make my head look like the white Barry Bonds with long hair.  And they even gave me a prescription for Oxycodone.  

Marcia said, "We might need to sell those to help pay for the OR visits."   I say "NO WAY!  those are mine, and I will take everyone of them!!!"  I can't remember being in so much pain for so long as I have these past two days.  Of course, my lovely wife reminds me that "I told you that you needed to see a doctor....."  And I remind her that that was not going to happen in the middle of Yellowstone, and that Cody and especially Greybull, did not have what I needed.  I was surprised that Buffalo did, and I knew that Shreidan, Wyoming did, and it is only 35 miles to our north.

So we have extended our stay at the RV park, I have to get my daily fix at 5 am, 1 pm and 9 pm for the next three days or so, and I need to be sure that I don't take the Oxycandy too close to any of these time periods because that stuff does make you drowsy.

And the Pain Level has dropped from a 10+ to a manageable 4-6.  That pain shot is something else...I had so many areas that hurt....jaw joint #1, mouth in general #2, headache, #3, and different areas within each of these categories.  About 10 minutes after the shot I thought, "This isn't going to work!  My Jaw Joint is still....but my headache is gone.....but this area of mouth still hurts like.....but this area does not.....and about 5 minutes later, overall pain down to an the time we got home, down to 4 or 5.  

In times like this, I do try to keep my sense of humor......after we had agreed upon the IV shots, and everyone left the room, I turned to Marcia and said, "Well, I guess I'm not going to have to worry about that VD anymore, huh?"   I thought she was going to die....


  1. Yikes! You are having a time with pain, huh? So if the teeth are not involved, do you have a clue as to what's the cause? Anyway, we are glad that your pain is eased a bit. I'm sure Marcia won't mind driving that big rig if you are unable to because of taking the oxycandy! :-)


    1. Hi sis. Our thoughts are that once I hurt my jaw joint and could not open my mouth very much, that food particle(s) got between the back wisdom tooth and the gum that I could not get with a tooth brush, and then swelling, decay, infection.... Dentist can't get to that area yet, but we hope this won't be the case on Monday, and should be an easy fix for him at that point. --Dave


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