Tuesday, April 8, 2008

... Now With 1/4 Less Wisdom!

Today I finally bit the bullet and allowed a man to remove one of my wisdom teeth. I did manage not to bite the dentist, although it was close a few times.

The tooth that has been discarded was my upper left one, aka Number Sixteen to those in the know. Dentists far and wide have been after me forever to get all four of them taken out. Why are my teeth in such demand, you ask? Are they made of gold? (No, but several of them are made of whatever fillings are made of, because having babies rotted my teeth, thank you very much, Stork.) The bottom two are hopelessly, if partially, impacted. They each have a flap of skin that covers the back half of them, like some kind of oral fig leaf. Or maybe like a tooth lunchbox, because they've apparently been saving tiny bits of whatevers for my entire life under those flaps, and now really, really need to be removed.

I have resisted having them taken for thirty-four years now (well, OK, maybe twenty is more like it, since they don't come in until you're a teenager, or something, right?) because it sounds like it will Hurt, and I'm not into that kind of thing. Why have something painfully jackhammered out of my head when it's not bothering me? That sounds like a bad trade to me. Kind of like childbirth - it causes a lot less grief when still inside me, and although it may eventually be better, the question remains as to whether the process is worth any eventual gain!

Anyway, like childbirth, the time has arrived where I have really no choice, so today I bravely took myself to the oral surgeon and was seated by my nice, tattooed male nurse in the comfy blue chair to await my doom (or at least the tooth's doom). He stuffed my mouth full of Poison Q-tips that burned my throat and tongue, but supposedly numbed my gums. Soon, a dentist, also male, wandered in, blathered away about something pricking, stuck a needle in my mouth, and electrocuted my face!!!!! I kid you not, I rose up out of that chair like the needle had gone into a totally different orifice!!! He had hit nerve jackpot, and injected the needle directly into my nerve, the one that travels up behind my eye. THAT, my friends, is Not Good.

Once that had subsided, the dentist had calmed down, and any danger of my having my cheek pierced had passed, I was left alone with the nurse to become Totally Numb. While I was sitting there contemplating the potential of accidentally swallowing one's own tongue, the nurse blurted out, 'was your face all red when you came in here?'

There's a comforting question. NO, I believe it wasn't, Einstein. He handed me a mirror, and I tell you, I looked like a circus freak. The left side of my face was ghost white except for the very outside of my face, which was bright red. I was undoubtedly going to asphyxiate and die from drug allergy. I started making my mental preparation to leave this world while wearing a drooly bib, and found odd humor in leaving the world as I had come into it.

There is little that is more discomfiting that being The Oddball in a doctor's office. The Nurse had never seen a reaction like that to the shot, which turned out to have epinefrine (I just know I butchered the spelling of that all to hell) in it, but the parade of nurses that came in to have a peek at the Freak told me that they had seen it a few times before, and it was just the shot constricting my blood vessels. Apparently, I wasn't going to die. Probably.

The dentist finally came back, looked at me, and mumbled some comment about it being nothing to worry about, and it would go away in an hour or so, and it wasn't an allergic reaction. He then wheeled over a table with Tools on it. Tools, as in, I'm gonna build a bookshelf, where are my tools. There was a little hammer thing, a plier thing, and a pick thing.

I have never had anything removed before, other than a plantar's wart on my foot when I was a teenager. Well, and I had two babies removed from my ass, but I suppose that's not quite the same thing. So, this having teeth yanked out was a new thing. I'm not exaggerating, either; that man YANKED my tooth out. I suppose there's no other way to do it, really, so I don't blame him, but it felt like.... well, like someone yanking part of my face out. It was the strangest, most disconcerting thing Ever. There was some hammering to loosen it, some picking at the gum, then in went the pliers, and about a minute later, out came my tooth. It made a weird sound, too, like the way styrofoam squeaks when you're trying to unpack a new radio that just Won't Come Out.

The weird (yet GOOD) thing was, it didn't hurt at all. Not one little bit. Afterwards, the nurse went through a whole litany of things I can't do, and I can't even imagine who WOULD do them. You'd have to be a real masochist, or a real MORON, to eat pretzels, chew gum, or use MOUTHWASH after having a tooth pulled (oh, the very thoughts of those things make my skin crawl!!!!). Good Lord, mouthwash!!!!!! Listerine hurts too much for use on a normal day, never mind with my newly constructed facial pothole! OW!!!!

In addition, I did get one little parting gift - a big fat script for Vicodin! Hooray!!!! I don't need it at the moment, since it still doesn't hurt at all, hours later, but boy oh boy, am I gonna cash in THAT baby! That's not something you throw away, my friends. What? A migraine, you say? Vicodin! Ooh, I broke my toe - here, Vicodin! Then my evil little self whispers, terrible summer day with the kids? Vicodin and Vodka tonic! No, I wouldn't really do that. Probably. But it does seem like a good thing to have around. I so rarely take anything for pain that when I do, it's like the clouds have parted and heaven has descended.

So, my first facial crisis is over. In the fall, once Patrick is safely in school, I will have the other three removed. Actually, it will probably be more like next February or something, when all the holidays are safely over and there's nothing to do but sit inside, anyway. At least I have this under my hat, and the next time since they're impacted I'll be knocked out all the way anyway. Hey, there's something to look forward to - a planned nap!


Kristin.... said...

Oh wow! I still have my wisdom teeth, but I did get my 12 year molars YANKED unceremoniously from my head at age 12 or maybe 13. Luckily, I got to take the planned nap (which of course I didn't appreciate at the time) and went home with absolutely no 12 year molars. I remember when my husband had two of his wisdom teeth yanked~he said that the dentist literally put him in a headlock and pulled. OMG. I'd rather be knocked out, thank you.

Swistle said...

YOWCH. I had all four of mine removed in the hospital under general anesthesia. Pros and cons to that. Pro: no shot IN THE WRONG NERVE. Con: the barfing afterwards.

desperate housewife said...

I had all mine removed under some sort of anesthesia, BUT had the lovely experience of having four regular teeth pulled TWICE. Once when they were baby teeth, to allow the others to come in without crowding, and then once again when they were adult, to make room for braces. Awake both times for that! I now have some lovely straight teeth to show for it, but am still unsure it was worth the considerable pain and trouble.

Susiewearsthepants said...

I just found your blog and I was laughing through the whole post. You have a great sense of humor. I will be a regular reader from now on.