Didn't come back from the nitrous as quickly. More gauze packing than before; couldn't talk at all, even to mumble, afterward.
First gauze change an hour after getting home seemed to go well -- Dale took the gauze out, I drank a Slim-Fast and a soda and took a pain pill, and he put new gauze in. Over the course of the next hour, the pain got worse and worse and worse, to about an 8, radiating up into my ear and down into my neck. (The three previous surgeries topped out around 6.)
Dale came and removed the gauze, and the release of pressure was almost worse than the pressure had been, although at least I stopped feeling nauseated. I started leaking tears, and then I started groaning, and the pain spiked to a 9+. I couldn't stop crying, which of course was making the pain worse. I was holding the flashlight Dale uses to see what he's doing for the gauze changes, not just holding it but squeezing as hard as I could.
Dale asked if I wanted him to call the dentist, and then did so for me. He got the answering machine and left a message. He sat on the floor in front of me, trying to find some way to hold me. After maybe 10-15 minutes, the crying eased off and I was able to put down the flashlight. Dale held my hands and grounded a lot of the pain for another 10-15 minutes.
We decided that since everything was seeping blood as opposed to bleeding, we would forego further gauze packing unless that changes. I think the hydrocodone started kicking in as well, because over the next hour the pain came back down to a manageable 2. I had Dale call back and let the dentist know that I'm doing better.
It's 4 p.m., three hours since the pain pill, and I can feel pain building back up, so I'm going to take another half now (the prescribed dose is 1 every 6 hours. I also know I've taken stronger meds at a higher frequency, and I'd rather stay ahead of the pain).
I'm also still feeling cold and slightly trembly, which is why I am wrapped up in Dale's heavy warm terrycloth bathrobe.
But I'm much, much better than I was at 2 p.m.