Monday, April 24, 2006

Adventures in Surgery

Wow. My face hurts. Okay, not all of it - just the left side. And I'm not too swollen, although my jaw is turning a lovely yellowish black and it looks for all the world like I've been punched.

Last Thursday, I went under the knife (or pliers or whatever) to have my wisdom teeth removed. They came in late last spring - I was competing with my friends' kids for teething rings. At first, I tried to go to a surgeon recommended by my dentist at home but the timing just wouldn't work out. And I have to confess that I've been stalling. I've never gone under anesthetic before and it wasn't an experience I was looking forward to, not by any means.

But, I could feel them pushing and crowding for room, and I am not willing to go through another eight years of orthodontical hell to straighten out my teeth. Not again. Nope, nope, nope. Maybe not all orthodontists are sadists, but you couldn't prove it by me.

The surgeon was recommended by a friend, whose two teenagers had their wisdom teeth taken out within a few months of each other (and me, as it turned out). There was quite a wait for the first appointment - three months or so. Once I got in there though, it was all systems full go - it was less than a month before the teeth were coming out. It would have been a week or two, but I wanted a Thursday appointment as opposed to a Monday appointment. No sense in missing an entire week of work.

When your wisdom teeth come in, there are two possible problems. On the top, the tooth can grow into your sinus cavity. This happened to my brother. At the time, I found it hilarious - he couldn't get any suction to smoke. On the bottom, the tooth can grow very near or into a major nerve - leading to complications ranging from permanent numbness to partial paralysis of your face. Just my luck, on my right side, I have both. Yay for me. Fortunately, I guess, only the ones on the left have actually broken through, so the doctor made the decision to leave the ones on the right alone and just hope they don't come in. He did leave me with the cheery news that should they come in, and need removed, nothing I'm going through this time will compare to the agony of next time. Lovely. Thank you.

My mom flew in for my surgery (and that'll merit a post on its own - she's never flown commercially before) and first thing Thursday morning, we were in the doctor's office.

Wow, they've got GOOD drugs. He sprayed this freezey stuff on my arm and I never felt the needle for the IV. I watched the liquid come through the tube and the next thing I knew, it was two hours later and my mouth was full of gauze. I remember getting into my Jeep, 'cause I had to get in on the wrong side (my jeep = I drive, except this day). Then we flash to walking up the drive to my apartment. One of my neighbors was out on her balcony and I attempting, through the gauze, to introduce my mother. Then we flash to Mom waking me up to hand over the prescription meds that she had run out and filled. Then a couple hours later, I realized that the walls and ceiling were pulsing. Note to self - we don't like the prescription pain medication. Next stop - about 12 hours later, when I finally wake up and determine that yes, the ceiling is still pulsing. Walking across the floor was like being on a small boat, in the ocean, during a hurricane. Ugh.

Friday, once I was up and moving - around 3:00 pm or so - I felt fine. Mom and I actually went walking around the town, ate out (carefully, with squishy food, on my part), and rented movies. By the time we were walking home, though, my face hurt. I spent most of the first movie peering past the ice pack.

Saturday, Mom's plane left early so I dropped her off at the airport, came back and went back to bed. Sunday, I did laundry and slept some more. Of course, I must confess that this is pretty typical for me. I (along with the rest of my family) prefer to be nocturnal. This doesn't really agree with my company's take on things, so I tend to spend weekends catching up on the sleep I missed during the week.

So, all things considered, it went quite well. Mom and I actually got along in a small space for several days. I don't really hurt, and my face isn't too puffy, and hopefully the other side won't ever bother coming in. I'm keeping my fingers crossed, anyway.

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