[Cdt-l] The tooth..

Charlie Thorpe charliethorpe at att.net
Sat Mar 21 09:20:52 CDT 2015

Hello All -

I have a few crowns and have had a couple come off while long hiking (once on the AT and once on the CDT).  Homemade jerky did me in on the AT and it just came loose while chewing gum on the CDT.  Both times local dentists glued them back on for me.  

Once was in Pearisburg, VA -. I called and he was ready for me by the time I walked to his office.  The other was in Pinedale, WY - the side trail I used to bail off the CDT ended at a horse outfitters, where the cook loaned the handyman her car so that he could drive me the thirty miles to town (he hit the bar while I hit the dentist).  I had to wait a few minutes while the dentist squeezed me in between patients.  It took 5 minutes to glue the crown back on and then we (including the next patient) talked hiking gear for at least another half hour.  Neither dentist charged anything.

My most complicated tooth story -

My friend (Paul) and I had panned a section hike from Cuba, NM up to Stony Pass on the north side of the Weminuche WA.  We enjoyed a great hike up to just below Wolf Creek Pass (the South San Juan WA was fantastic!), where he woke up one morning with half of his face "on fire".  He said that if you drew a vertical line from the crown of his head down through his nose and chin, everything on one side was OK and everything on the other side felt like a painful burn.  He was in so much pain that we left the trail down to a FS road where we hoped to catch a ride.  We spotted a cabin well off the road with a couple of ATV's parked outside and smoke coming out of the chimney. 

It turned out to be a refurbished FS cabin which the FS rented out.  The couple inside very graciously offered to take us down to US-84 on their ATV's so that Paul could get medical help (twenty bumpy miles on the back of an ATV with a pack on my back was the longest ride of my life...took me 3-4 days to get the kinks out of my back).  Almost immediately got a ride on US-84 to Pagosa Springs with a kid from the Philippines (first fruitarian I ever met) who hung around for an hour or two to help Paul get to the doc and to look at my backpacking gear while we waited (might have a fruitarian hiker on the long trails one of these days).  The doc immediately referred Paul to a dentist and she took him right in.  She spent an hour trying to figure out what was wrong and then referred Paul to an endodontist in Durango

We gathered up our stuff and hitched to Durango (60 curvy miles on the back of a restored 58 Freightliner flatbed truck - cab full of dogs, driven VERY fast).  The endodontist took Paul right in and then wouldn't allow him any pain meds while he spent three days trying every test he could think of (multiple x-rays, cold, heat, etc.).  Finally decided that Paul must be exhibiting neurological symptoms of West Nile virus and referred us to the Regional Medical Center in Farmington, NM (hotbed of West Nile virus research).  

We gathered up our stuff and hitched the 50 miles down to Farmington (second ride was with a freshly one-legged outlaw motorcycle gang member being driven down to a bar gathering by his lady friend...got at least 30 miles worth of interesting motorcycle gang stories).  The docs in Farmington decided that both of us had been exposed to West Nile virus, but neither of us had an active case of it.  We guessed that we probably picked it up at that incredibly buggy spring just south of that wonderful river (don't remember its name) just south of Ghost Ranch.

Paul gave up on western medicine in general at this point and got a plane back to Alabama.  His home dentist found the problem in short order - a very thin file had broken off inside a root canal and had much later caused an infection.  We decided that the dentist found the problem so fast because he had been looking for the rest of his file....

I hitched back up to Pagosa Springs where I ran into Merlin.  We enjoyed a very nice hike through the Weminuche, except for Knife Edge (I still get chills thinking about the dumb stunts I pulled there).  I pulled off at Stony Pass to hitch down to Silverton as originally planned and Merlin kept on hiking north.

- Charlie

>       No one talks about teeth much, but on the PCT I lost a crown. On the CDT I  had a bad molar infection. Worse was the disappointment of finding no dentists who would treat me. it's nearly impossible to schedule an exact appointment, but worse were the universal phone rejections.  
>      So, have a thorough dental check before the thru hike, and bite the bullet and have any needed work done then. And carry a bottle of antibiotic prescribed by your dentist in the event that a tooth goes south.  
>    The tooth had cracked and had to be pulled when I got home.  
> Uncle Tom 
> Sent from my iPad
> On Mar 20, 2015, at 11:41 PM, Matthew Edwards <iceaxehikes at gmail.com> wrote:
>> I shared this story with a friend and i re-read what i had written and had to laugh out loud.
>> I will share it with you;
>> "You know, i am 46.
>> When i was 43 and on the CDT i had a tooth break in half.
>> I freaked.
>> This was the first time in my life a tangible piece of my body.. fell off!
>> In a motel room in Grand Lake CO, i tried to glue that piece of molar back in place with an epoxy cement i bought at the hardware store.
>> It was part of me.
>> I wanted to put it back.
>> I felt desperate.
>> No pain except for pride.
>> It didn't work.
>> When i reached Steamboat it was July 3rd and the dentist was nowhere to be found.
>> My molar, and a few others, are cracked and missing a few chunks today."
>> Getting old and coming apart isn't so bad.
>> It is becoming predictable.
>> Like an old car losing a fender.
>> The real question is; 
>> Am i the lightbulb, with it's finite filament of tungsten..
>> Or am i the light from the bulb itself,  and eternal.
>> Now where could i find an answer to that?
>> iceaxe
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