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My Overwritten Journey To SDCC 2017: Day 0 – Tooth Pain And Two Planes

Wednesday 19th July 2017 by Derek Kraneveldt

It’s been a rough few days leading up to what (hopefully) amounts to an incredible time down in ‘murica.

Last week, I dealt with several days of fairly excruciating mouth pain before finally accepting that it wasn’t going to go away and making an emergency dental visit. Turns out that I had a pretty serious infection in one of my lower molars, and that it was going to require a root canal asap or I would die. Okay, I’m hyperbolizing a little, but it pretty much felt like it.

I’ve avoided the dentist since I moved to Vancouver almost two years ago. Actually, I’ve avoided the dentist for most of my adult life. I’d had a dentist that I didn’t really jive with for most of my childhood, and an extremely painful extraction of a seriously messed up tooth when I was a teenager. Rather than making an adult decision at some point to go for checkups more regularly in an attempt to avoid having any further mouth pain ever again, I chose the way, way easier route and have been like once in the past few years. Then, you go when it hurts, and things turn out way, way worse than if you had just gone regularly in the first place.

So, a week of antibiotics as the (inside of the) tooth was gnarly AF (I’ve never used that unironically before), a Tylenol 3 every few hours that didn’t really seem to alleviate anything ever, seven days of essentially no sleeping due to some of the most constant, uncomfortable pain that I’d ever felt, and a week at my customer facing basic technical support day job made nearly unbearable due to the. constant. forever. throbbing. pain

Two days ago (It’s Tuesday as I write this on my flight down to San Diego, a few days later than I typically travel), part of a root canal happened. The experience began feeling like a typical filling — I wasn’t feeling much due to freezing, naturally, but I was still pretty grossed out because dental offices have a very distinct weird smell and I totally hate the feeling of breathing in that constant, white cloud of dust that just seconds ago was a part of your teeth.

That was cool for awhile (as cool as a high-pitched drilling in your mouth can be, and I thought that things weren’t too bad. Then, in a freaking instant it turned into the worst, sharpest, most excruciating pain of my life. My entire body began radiating heat, I could feel an instant stream of sweat begin to run down my back, and for a time, I was legitimately close to vomiting and had a pretty tough time controlling my breathing.

I never thought that I’d write so many words about dental work… damn.

To cut it short, I’m on a plane to San Diego with a tooth jammed full of cotton that’s been soaked in some sort of medication to hopefully cull the infection that’s still inside of it. I’m on another week of antibiotics, again as it was so infected that the first run didn’t bring it down enough (they kept saying that it was a very ‘hot’ tooth like it was impressive or something), and I can pretty much only eat soft food for the next week because there’s a thin, temporary filling overtop of said cotton, it’s pretty brittle, and if it breaks at any point over the next five days I’ll be far, far worse off financially than I already am because now I’m in the United States instead of Canada.

Approaching my first flight substantially later than I should have boarded it.

Also as this plane continues to ascend, the work in progress tooth keeps giving me a weird, popping feeling, and I’m fucking terrified that the incredible freaking pain that I experienced in the chair on Sunday is going to return. In which case it’s going to be a long, long two hour flight.

Update: Plane landed, pain did not return. Woo.

A two hour flight that I nearly missed, to boot.

I needed to make the flight down to San Diego later in the day, as I can’t take a lot of time off of work, and needed to get a shift in before flying out (otherwise I’d have been flying out tomorrow morning which would have led to even less time with the Geekscape family. I near-sprinted from work to grab the train to the airport (my lovely fiancé surprised my outside the train station with some delicious snacks for the plane, it was a super nice surprise). Usually I fly directly from Vancouver to Los Angeles, and don’t need to worry about connecting flights, so delays (there have been plenty of those over the years) don’t really matter. This year, my journey takes me from Vancouver to Portland, and then from Portland to San Diego. Somehow I booked a connected flight on Expedia with about 40 minutes between legs, and then, naturally my first flight was delayed by about 25 minutes.

My view as I began to run through PDX.

As I mentioned above, I’m on the flight to San Diego, so obviously I made it. This success definitely involved sprinting through the PDX airport, and I’m pretty sure that I kicked over the luggage of a small child as I tried to make it to the gate before cutoff. I’m Canadian, so of course I apologized profusely (and I meant it too, it was a pretty cool looking bag).

I planned to catch up on some Netflix during the flight (after finishing this week’s pre-SDCC Geekscape episode featuring Matt Kelly) – I queued up a few episodes of Adi Shankar’s Castlevania series, Netflix Original Documentary Don’t Speak (because I can’t make it a day without watching something that’s related to professional wrestling in some way), and the first episode of The Good Wife. It seems like a pretty freaking random assortment of content in retrospect.

But, as the flight progresses, and as San Diego approaches, I haven’t watched any of it, and I instead find myself becoming more and more nervous for what awaits me when the plane lands. The past ~10 months have been, incomparably, by far, the very worst of my life, and it’s been an inexplicably long time that I haven’t opened up about to essentially anybody, including my Geekscape family. I head to San Diego feeling substantially less close to some of these people that I have been in the past, and substantially less close to a lot of these people than I want to be. For the past 10+ months I’ve been closed off to them, not because I want to be, but because I just feel completely closed off from everything. I hope like hell that I’ll land and it’ll be easy, and at the same time I’m pretty terrified that it won’t be. Hell, overwriting this SDCC ‘diary’ (or journal if I want to be more manly) is more than I’ve opened up to these people in as long as I can remember. I miss these all of these guys a freaking ton.

If you’ve been a regular around these parts, or at least listen to the Geekscape podcast, you may remember last year’s pre-SDCC episode where I revealed on air, weeks before I told any of my friends, most of my family, and pretty much anyone else, that I was going to be a father. I simply can’t go into it (I won’t look cool to the dude next to me if I break down crying on this plane), but it’s a year later and Idon’t have a baby. Instead, I’ve got a little card with some incredibly tiny hand and footprints on it, a little tiny urn that holds about a baby’s worth of ashes, a bunch of extra pounds, and probably some serious depression issues that I’m too scared to talk to anyone about.

And… where do I go from here?

I say that I’m terrified of what happens when I land, but I also don’t think that I’ve been as excited about anything as I am about this in quite some time. I really hope that seeing and hearing these people again is the start of an upturn to my personal stock after a long and significant decline. I’ll be in San Diego for five days, with people that I love, doing what I’ve loved doing for years, surrounded by incredible events, installations, people I admire, and a week-long yearly culture that’s almost indescribable to people that haven’t experienced. It’s freaking San Diego Comic-Con, and it’s freaking hours away at this point.

Looking back on previous conventions, it’s hard as hell to remember who you see, what you do, and the experiences that you have each day. On top of standard news and event coverage, this year I want to get a little more personal, so I plan on doing a piece like this each day to chronicle everything that I’m experiencing. Shit got real on this ever darkening plane (the sun is setting now and the dude near the lights hasn’t turned any of them on), and I anticipate that further pieces will be much shorter, easier reads and will mostly just chronicle the cool shit that I’m seeing and doing.

In any case, if you made it this far, thanks.

Update: Plane landed and I almost forgot my iPad Pro on it. Big thanks to the lady that told me it was still under the seat.

Matt and I grabbed Subway at like midnight. Subway in America has much, much more meat on it than it does in Canada, and for less money. I’m moving to America.

Also, Matt Kelly got out of bed to come with me. We had a good chat and he’s a super supportive guy.

Lots of laughs so far, I’m glad that I’m here.

The views sure were pretty though.
  • Michael Duddy

    Sending much love to Derek! Man you’re going to have a blast and come back feeling brand new!