Since we last met, I’ve had dental surgery. So…here’s how that went.
I was nervous going in–more than I’m proud of, in fact. It was less the dental surgery itself than it was the anesthesia. I read years ago that Peter Faulk (TV’s Columbo) went into a coma and then died following being put under for dental surgery. And I know there are very small odds for that kind of thing to happen. But every time it doesn’t, those odds go up, and I guess I was feeling lucky. (Spoiler alert: I’m not in a coma.)
Dad drove me to the appointment, because I was going to need a ride home. We sat and talked about nothing for a bit in the waiting room, then I was taken back for the surgery. They asked me some preliminary questions, confirmed I had a ride home, etc. I asked a few questions, all of which were answered with the totally committal, “it’s different for everybody” bullshit… Then they put an oxygen mask on me and left me sitting with a blood-pressure reader on me for probably 15-20 minutes. Eventually they wheeled in an IV that was going to be putting me to sleep. And I watched my pulse and blood pressure go up a little.
When the doctor came in, he seemed to be in a weirdly good mood. Told him I was nervous and he said, “we get a lot of that.” Then he explained about the IV and prepared me for when I’d feel “a little pinch” at it going in. Then it went in. I said, “I apologize in advance for anything I say when I wake up… I mean, I think I’m a good person, but who knows?” And the doctor said, “We get a lot of that, too.” Then they put a thing in my mouth that was designed to keep it open while he was working… And then I woke up.
Okay. They say that you wake up without knowing you were asleep. That’s bullshit. I had no concept of how LONG I’d been out and no memory of anything that happened or anything like that…but I KNEW I’d been out and I knew the surgery was done. They led me to a comfortable chair for recovery and brought my dad back. My memory of that is in and out. I know they were talking to him about the prescriptions I was going to need and told him I did well and they used less anesthetic than anticipated, so we’d be getting some money back. At one point, I remember pointing to the poster on the wall behind my dad and saying, “Is that the Beatles?” He said yes, and I said I saw four of them and two of him… And that’s when I realized I was stoned off my ass.
I have limited experience with drugs. We’ve all made mistakes and smoked or swallowed something handed to us by a friend…but I don’t regularly partake in anything these days. I haven’t even been drunk in five years come May 27. So this was an interesting experience. And I’ve got to say it’s one I could get used to. (So I’m not taking the narcotic pain-killer they recommended.) Colors looked brighter. It was raining, but it felt sunny to me. They gave me an ice-pack to put on my face, and I’m pretty sure it was what Jesus must feel like. Drugs are neat. Don’t do them.
Went back to Dad’s condo, where he could keep an eye on me for a bit. As the drugs wore off and some pain settled in, I got pissy and so forth. Eventually, I was feeling normal enough to go home, so Dad took me home and I’ve been there recovering ever since.
It hasn’t been too bad. I can feel a ***little*** bit of swelling in my gums. But I haven’t had any significant visual swelling and not a ton of pain. My jaw is a little stiff and I’ll get an occasional shot of pain if something touches the wounds. Also, it on and off feels like I’ve got a mild sore throat… But all of that’s normal. The swelling is slowly going down and I’m getting used to the missing teeth. I had four molars removed on the left side (two wisdom teeth, two not). It’ll take a bit to get used to, but I don’t need any partial plates or anything like that. Just time to heal and soft foods to eat for a little while.
It’s been a long journey since my first dental appointment in 2011. Here’s what the damage was like then:
That’s a mess. My grill was so banged up, it looked like I just hit a deer. There’s still more to do, but here’s where we are now in 2018… The red marks are extractions, fillings, and so far one root canal:
As I’ve stated elsewhere, I hope the extractions from Thursday (that whole field of red Xs) will help with the migraines I’ve been having lately. We’ll see…but so far I’m already feeling the benefits within my mouth. I’ve been in pain for 10-15 years since the wisdom teeth came in. With them out, there’s a lot less CONSTANT pain. I think the reason it seems like I’m healing so well is that when you’ve been in pain for 15 years and the source goes away, the pain of the surgery wounds healing is really no big deal. If nothing else (sorry this is gross), today marked the first time in I-don’t-know-how-long that I’ve brushed my teeth and didn’t spit out blood. So that’s kind of a good feeling. As is the fact that my left cheek is actually healing up now instead of being constantly accidentally bitten and slashed by broken, jagged teeth. There’s been a swollen section to that cheek for YEARS that is receding this week!
I’ll be going in to see my regular dentist in about a month to make sure everything’s healing okay and to presumably do more work on my remaining issues. But the worst part is over for now. So yay!
I’ll let everybody know when I’ve eaten my first post-surgery steak. All this soup and mac and cheese and stuff like that is getting boring.