I have an infection spreading from my jaw into my skull and possibly into my blood stream. The pain is in my mouth, neck, shoulders, ears and skull. I will have to have some teeth pulled and my skull drilled on this coming Thursday at 10:30 AM. There is dire risk of the infection spreading quickly once the teeth are removed and the procedure begins. That dire risk is mortal.

I've been spending a lot of time reflecting on things I've done, good, bad. Achievements and failures. A lot about love that I have shared and places I've been.

I have lived all over the country, toured with bands, known amazing people and lived through some really dark patches I wouldn't wish on any human.

I'm willing to answer things candidly. That's what life is for, living the questions, so I'm happy to do it. Forgive grammar and spelling as I am on so much Vicodin for the pain.

For questions regarding my belief in an afterlife: see here

Tl;Dr: Might pass away. Always wanted to do an AMA. Never had a reason. Giving it a shot.

EDIT 0: Requests to be more clear about my procedure are popping up so now that i am on my laptop I will say more.

An infection that got into my bone/nerves through holes in both of my back upper teeth, 2 and 15, thanks to poorly removed braces anchors when I was a kid has spread to my neck, glands, tongue, eye socket, ear and maxillofacial nerve. I have not been told any special name for it and honestly didnt think anyone wanted me to focus on that while AMAing but I like it. Talking about specifics helps me to think of the overcoming it.

I am on two battery's of antibiotics, doctors wanted me to go through that before the procedure so that the risk of infection spreading even further after tooth removal would be less. I hope that helps.

PROOF!: Here's me with my clinical summary printed out. http://imgur.com/m2XtM

EDIT 1: please forgive my slowness again the Vicodin doesnt help. im also trying to figure a way to prove... i mean. I cant figure one any ideas help.

EDIT 2: Holy crap. I see why celebrities have PR people do this. Response is insane and I'm trying to figure proof right now. Thanks for pushing for it. Incidentally I dont want your money or anything like that. Just the AMA. I know I would have been interested and I figured I'd afford that to the internet.

EDIT 3: Here's a pic of me with my antibiotics looking like a putz http://imgur.com/UjyZm

EDIT 4: Here's me with fancy new iPad saying hi: http://imgur.com/et0GB

EDIT 5: Sitting in AMA IRC waiting for mod response. http://imgur.com/0fZMe

UPDATE! First step of procedure (extraction) complete. Now waiting to see if infection takes hold. I am convalescing. feeling weak in bed/couch but very happy to be through the first part. My thanks to all of your thoughts, questions, skepticism (which became ammunition for me to ask of my medico's) prayers, considerations and offers of friendship.

The waiting game begins here.

UPDATE 2: 8.22.12 My lymphatic system is swelling and causing a lot of pain all over. This may be the indicator of infection spreading. My doctor and I are going to wait and see if this is just it fighting back or if it gets worse and shuts down. I will update more as it changes and if I can.

Again than you all for your messages and support. I will go through all of them as best I can but I have been resting and also attempting to work a bit as I have a new job coming up this fall and the big move to Richmond.

UPDATE 3: 8.31.12 Infection has passed. Might not need bone graft. I'm about to travel across the country from Seattle to Richmond with my girlfriend. We are going to start life together. I couldn't be happier and thank you all. It's a pleasure to have learned some things about myself by asking your questions.

Comments: 2129 • Responses: 23  • Date: 



Shinkei152 karma

Sorry to highjack--physician here. This has happened before, so it's not medically impossible. But I would also wait for proof as this person should at the very least be in a hospital right now (getting IV antibiotics) and could take a quick pic of the room, nurse or something.

Shinyteeth44 karma

I don't mean to offend, but as a dentist, the braces anchors he states leaving big holes causing the infection doesn't sound plausible. The brackets and bands are just simply bonded/glued on and not meant to break teeth - that's why it's fairly common to accidentally debond brackets - thus they would have to be glued back again.

Dez_Moines25 karma

Not brushing your teeth can cause shit to build up around the brackets and cause cavities to form. The weakened area around the brackets can then cause a hole to form when the brackets are removed.

Shinyteeth13 karma

While that's possible, most (at least, good) orthodontists would remove the braces and will refuse continuation of orthodontic treatment without patient compliance regarding oral hygiene and keeping up with office visits. I once encountered an angry teen (and parent) when they were told their ortho treatment would be discontinued.

transceiverfreq33 karma

They had to be rebonded several times. The signs pointed to it as that is when the symptoms of infection started. I am a regular brusher and rinser.

I have however been exceedingly poor so i was not able to afford dental work in recent years.

xSiNNx358 karma

Please explain how you got the infection, how long you've had it, and how you came to discover it. Also, symptoms?

I'm sure I am not the only one around here with teeth issues that would be interested in this information.

Edit: Just want to add here that like many who replied to my post, I have terrible teeth. I always have. Brushing, flossing, etc etc etc just doesn't help, they are too far gone, and dental insurance in America isn't cheap. I have had numerous abscessed teeth over the years (I am 27 now; anyone else see a trend in age in these comments?), and I have always wondered if I would have bad symptoms if things ever got bad enough to possibly be fatal.

I mean, are you CERTAIN to get severe swelling? Or a fever? I have light pain from time to time, it is just an ache in the jaw, and usually subsides rather quickly.

Due to a lack of health insurance, when I HAVE had abscessed teeth, I usually self-medicate with antibiotics (buy them at an animal feed store or the like), and I have been ok so far, but I know I am pushing it, I'm just not sure how FAR I am pushing it.

Jyana119 karma

I was in a similar situation and almost died from an infection in a tooth, and coincidentally it was last year when I was 28.

I had a wisdom tooth that never erupted that had been infected for presumably years. I felt great one day and then within 24 hours my jaw and neck had swollen out by a few inches and I was in incredible pain. The swelling put pressure in my TMJ on that side and I could only open my mouth to where my teeth were about 1/4" apart.

At the ER, they told me that the swelling could have put enough pressure on my trachea to suffocate me. Normally in this case they would do a tracheotomy, but they said that until they had the results from the scans it could be fatal because my trachea had been pushed the left by the swelling and there was a chance that they could miss. I remember those hours where any breath could have been my last and then seeing myself in a bathroom mirror and not even recognizing the face that was warped from all of the swelling. It was so surreal to experience how quickly our bodies could fall apart and confront us with our imminent mortality.

Once the scans came back, things were a little less urgent, but I had to wait in the ICU for days while they waited for the pressure in my TMJ to go down so they could open my mouth for surgery. I was pumped full of IV antibiotics the entire time, but it had little effect. They were worried that the infection could easily spread to by heart of my brain, at which point there wouldn't be much hope.

Strangely, the time in the ICU was some of most peaceful I'd ever been, even with all of the pain. Ever since, I've had a resilience to day-to-day stress and anxiety, although I've lost that sense of urgency to live to the fullest that I had right after I was released. This post gave me chills when I read the headline, and it's bringing back those feeling of just how close I came to not making it and how lucky I am to still be around.

Edit: Some sloppy wording.

transceiverfreq49 karma

I hoep I make it through and thank you so much for sharing the nuance of what you went through. I'm hoping it goes smoothly.

transceiverfreq36 karma

I've updated up top. Do me a favor and either find an emergency clinic or go to a dentist soon.

bvrmgnt276 karma


transceiverfreq93 karma

I assur eyou if everything is solid I will repost immediately or get someone else to.

chinagreenelvis120 karma

What caused the infection?

transceiverfreq197 karma

Many possible causes. Poor ortho work she I was a kid. I'm 28. But the infection itself has supposedly been spreading for near a decade unknown until a tooth of mine broke this weekend.

Not fun. I was eating a Rollito, which is a Springroll filled burrito. Truly delicious.

teeah22225 karma

As a dentist I'm confused by this. Did it start as a tooth infection then? Had you not been to the dentist in a long time? In my experience teeth don't just up and break for no reason.

I hope they can get this under control for you.

Edit: By "no reason" I mean there is generally an underlying cause if a tooth breaks: decay, trauma, large fillings, unrestored root canal teeth, etc.

transceiverfreq44 karma

I am was for a long time what they call poor and unable to pay for things.

The tooth had been decaying inside for a long time. Both actually. 2 and 15 is what I was told to say.

bigblueoni101 karma

Will you get a special mask that keeps you alive? Will you then be Gotham's reckoning?

transceiverfreq72 karma

Honestly I have been doing the voice for DAAAYS,

I love it so much.

maidenized666100 karma

next week might be the most important in your life. Any plans / or things to do?

transceiverfreq338 karma

I want to eat sushi and mashed potatoes in the same meal.

I want to tell some people I love them.

I've done so many things in my life. The only stuff I'd really want to do would've base jumping, skydiving and become an architect.

Other than those just talking to family is good enough.

You'd be astounded how much a diagnosis like this frees you mentally and emotionally.

My guess is I won't be kissing Anne Hathaway anytime soon so I'm making the little things count.

VileDevastation247 karma

It is my greatest hope that she [Anne Hathaway] sees this, and finds you.

juloxx189 karma

So she can get infected? OP is really an assasin

transceiverfreq9 karma

I hadnt thought on that.

fairwayks56 karma

Here, fap til you can't fap anymore.

transceiverfreq67 karma


cimarroni16 karma

I want to eat sushi and mashed potatoes in the same meal.

Don't do it. I was on vacation and decided to just eat the two best items on the menu: a shrimp cocktail and a chocolate shake. Sometimes the whole is less than the sum of the parts.

P.S. Best wishes and I hope you update us Friday.

transceiverfreq14 karma

Duely noted. I will still try it. food is good. i like food.

SC27583 karma

Does your possibly impending death influence your outlook on religion and afterlife at all? Like do you find yourself praying more if you're religious already or becoming religious if you were a non theist before?

transceiverfreq29 karma

EDIT: Forgive my poor spelling and grammar. The drugs are making me slurred and tired.

Let me say this, I would not begrudge any person their beliefs as long as they do not use it to subjugate, oppress or harm others. I respect many different views of the world. I do have a hard time with taking those seriously that would actively choose ignorance of the physically testable world infront of them and proof visible and explainable.

I was born into a Christian (Presbyterian) family. I was raised with the idea of original sin and being saved. Presbyterianism tends to lean a bit heavy on the idea of pre-destination which has always made me completely uncomfortable. It is a very large gleaming loophole in the machinations of Christian belief. God destroys him self in a poof of logic.

"You have free will." says God "I have a divine plan. It contains all things. I know what you will do before you do it. Yet somehow... free will." It just doesn't work. That was when I was maybe 12 when I started to question the belief structure of my church. I even gathered the Presbyterian Book of Order to find how we were organized. I read the Bible back and forth. I even picked up the questioned 'other' testaments. Enoch, Mary, Judas.

I enjoy the Christian mythology like I do any mythology but I started to not pay attention to what was surrounding an idea of Jesus as Christ figure, miracles and what have you, and started to just read what the fellow was saying about human interaction. In these regards I found him to be a social radical whose view I could appreciate. He didn't have to be God manifested as man. He was a person in my eyes with radical notions, in his part of the world, about ethics and compassion and the rights of all genders as equals 'creations'. I'd rather recognize all genders of which there are many than two, as equal. My church did not afford the equality and it was something I garnered from being young and having a single mother who is my hero.

So, I left the 'magick and miracles' of the church behind and just tried to consider Jesus as what he was, a teacher. That is all. I'm not a Christian as that would require me to believe in the divinity, transubstantiation and lordship. If it has the touch of 'magick' I disregard it. Especially the notion of God.

God as a metaphor I can respect in peoples beliefs. Otherwise, as an all powerful abusive, power/control based manipulator? No go.

I often find it odd that Christians whose faith is based entirely on a several 'magickal' rituals deride other faiths ad their rituals be they magick based or otherwise.

I do not consider Jesus alone. Much of my personal growth I afford to teach Thich Nhat Hanh, Master Thay. He is a Vietnamese Buddhist Monk exiled for many years to France. His "Zen Keys", which a friend guided me to, helped me regain mindfulness of myself and my life after the end of a particularly brutal abusive relationship. Buddhism, though not my religion anymore, did help me solidify my compassion, thoughts, my love of silence, my lack of need of material things (iPad, I know. I know but believe me I own like 130 lbs worth of material possessions). I did attempt to take on the robe and become bhikkhu but manstic life is not for me. I miss the simplicity of it.

All of the characteristics I gathered from reading and learning are things my parents gave me and taught me so I thank them above anything else. My upbringing has effected me more than anything aside from my love of David Lynch movies.

As I approach close to the day of question I do not find myself changing my beliefs. I do not believe in an afterlife. I find comfort in friends and interaction. Talking, be it here when no one else is awake and around or with people around me that I love.

I fear that religion can be a vice grip, a kind of slavery of the mind. It can be a Schrödinger's Box that no one inside can ever look out of, be it by fear, social pressure etc. and no one outside can truly know the inside unless they have moved back and forth with respect. I see too much derision of faith and not respect of beliefs. I understand the danger that choosing faith can become like a choice of ignorance. Religions also tend to spend a great deal of time having straw dog arguments about other religions and non-believers. In this since they never learn from one another or from those without belief.

If the great fantastic atheists of the world would take, not a stance of derision or refusal to understand (because lets be honest, understanding doesn't mean you have to believe the same as others) but instead just listened to what theists say about where their belief comes from. We could probably get to the bottom of why humans cling to faith, be it fear or other things i mentioned above. I am a fan of compassion and understanding above all.

I was pleased upon returning home for the first time in 7 years to find that my childhood church had invited monks from monastery to come visit and share knowledge with them. One woman spent the entire time deriding the monks for believing in no God. As for the rest, they spoke on what their actions on Earth should be REGARDLESS of reward or afterlife. I have really started to enjoy speaking with my mother's Bible study. I am the youngest when I join, in a group of people between 50+ and up. I love talking to them about these things. They say I should become a pastor. I tell them one religion is too small for these ideas and their are already greater teachers than me.

I just received a text from her that the congregation prayed for me today during service and in small groups of study. That isn't offensive. I dont believe as some do that they are wasting time. I am thankful and appreciative that they would take an instant out of what I know is a finite amount of life to think on me and consider me. I'll take prayer any day because I know the weight it carries (as i've told many redditors that are considering me in their prayers).

My view on the afterlife is that I can not know at this point. I do not believe in one as such but that is because I can neither see it nor feel it. Nor can I see it's actual cause and effect on the world I do see before me. (Noted; I can see the effect the IDEA of an afterlife has but not the actual afterlife).

If this is all I got, then I had it and it was. Good and bad all get mushed into the value of being able to even experience such things.

Look around you. This physical manifestation, no matter what the inspiring and beautiful Bill Hicks ever said, is not a ride. It is not a game or a level or a tier of a greater reality. Not a dream nor a system of control.

This is life.

We dont need other words to describe it or name it. I understand the value of language though and I know that we use metaphors and analogs to understand and engage ideas. But life isn't just an idea. It is the sum of everything human and otherwise. Life is imbued by us with meaning and valuing your meaning alongside others meaning is a true way to survival.

Value life in yourself and others. Protect life in the ways you can. Give life when others are waining in it. Recognize life as not just when things are good. Learn about life and the ways to expand it for everyone. Respect the right to leave life and start life (especially in the reproductive/sexual rights of women).

I am not an atheist. I'm not agnostic. I'm not a believer.

Let me quote Adam Savage here:

"I have concluded through careful, empirical analysis and much thought that somebody is looking out for me. Keeping track of what I think about things, forgiving me when I do less then I ought, giving me strength to shoot for more than I think I am capable of. I believe they know everything that I do and think and they still love me and I’ve concluded after careful consideration that this person keeping score is me."

I am me. What is me cant be categorized and I would challenge each of you to know that in yourself. find the particularities, granularities and nuance of yourselves. Variety isn't the spice of life. Particularity is and variety blooms from that.

If I dont make it. Go to space for me. Touch another planet with bare human hands for me. Share what is 'us' as a whole. Go explore reality away from this tiny sandbox for me and all of us that pass. Be certain that above all human wonder lives forever until the heat death of the universe and by that time, touch other universes. Evolve life and change to grow in those places. Per ardua ad astra.

I am born a feedback loop that becomes an echo, for the good of all, no exclusions.

Ouellette02353 karma

Have you told your family and friends yet? Also, i'm sorry to hear that :(

transceiverfreq101 karma

Oh yes. The outpouring of support is so much that i can barely respond to it all. My mother is somewhat devastated but has her chin up. My girlfriend is being beautiful. She is keeping my optimism high.

She is in Alaska and has been for the bulk of our relationship. She is just planning on moving back here at the end of August and we are going to start living together.

megustafap60 karma

Tell her how much you love her! I've never gotten a chance to do that properly with my ex girlfriend.

transceiverfreq162 karma

I haven't shut up about it but she and I have just spent time looking at apartments we plan on moving into in Richmond Va.

Last night she asked me what I would want a kid to be named.

She knows. I hope she doesn't just know though. Sometimes you love someone so much that you want them to be able to internalize it, that it becomes part of their personality. That's how much I love her.

Where you can be 4,000 miles away but even the size of the planet isn't big enough. To make you feel separated from her.

despiseDAmiser47 karma


transceiverfreq107 karma

Apologize to an ex of mine for taking part in a downward spiraling abusive relationship.

Taken my father to see Frank Lloyd Wright's Falling Water house.

Kiss Anne Hathaway. In a canoodling way.

I never became the architect I wanted to be.

Visit Tigers Nest monastery with my friend Shikhee. I toured with her band Android Lust and her friendship and music helped me get through some hard times.

I never told Alfred Molina I think he's the greatest actor of our age.

I never swam in clear natural blue water.

Never visited Biobay where the water is bioluminescent.

Never piloted a MiG-29 Fishbed Jet over Russian airspace.

Never drove a Lamborghini Reveton.

Never finished writing a book.

I never made something cool with my friend Rupa.

hoorayforboobies47 karma

Man that's f*cked.

What sort of infection is it? How much skull will there be drilled?

Good luck with your operation!

transceiverfreq462 karma

Enough of the skull will be removed that some bone will have to be grafted back in. They've told me it will be cow bone which... Honestly I get a big kick out of the idea of being a chimera.


JonnyShips44 karma

Is there another procedure with less risk? Like could you get your entire jaw removed?

transceiverfreq438 karma

Somehow that sounds like more risk.

The infection is in my skull also. I'm afraid we don't have the technology to replace those.

My only regret is that I have... Bonitis. ಠ_ಠ

aldennn41 karma

I can't even think of a question in light of your situation. Keeping you close to the heart these next few days and hope you pull through this.

transceiverfreq32 karma

I have great friends and loved ones.

Some I can't talk to any,ore but those I can I do and spread my care. I'm also thankful for Reddit. It's a big honking distraction well needed and well appreciated.

Much love to user dasrupa for getting me on here and active.

alphaba17 karma

How did you get the infection?

transceiverfreq53 karma

Bad orthodontic work as a child. When braces anchors were removed small holes were left on my secondary molars. They allowed infection.

I've had what I thought was nightmarish strep throat several timesaver the years. It turns out it was the infection manifesting.

My body has fought hard for me.

My only regret is that I have Bonitis.

downstethoscope16 karma


transceiverfreq19 karma

I' only recently stated secretly doing stand up at open mics without telling my friends.

I'm sure the vicodin helps the comedy flow but mostly laughter has gotten me through awful times.

Comedians like Jimmy Pardo and Todd Glass always made me laugh through dark times of my life. I'd like to be able to tell them that someday.

cherrycherrybangbang15 karma

Just wanted to say I'm sorry this is happening to you. I hope you do another AMA telling us about how you kicked this things ass and are now living as a perfectly healthy man-cow hybrid.

transceiverfreq9 karma

I look forward to narwhals baconing at midnight for many years to come.

[deleted]12 karma