The Recovery Process

Wisdom TeethA week ago, I mentioned that I would be having my wisdom teeth removed. In case anyone was wondering, that was a true story. Last Thursday, I visited the oral surgeon and he removed all the wisdom. Now I only have my looks to rely on.

I was nervous about the whole thing. I’d never had any kind of surgery before. I’d never even needed stitches. Despite my nerves, I remained calm. A nurse ushered me back to the operating room where she asked questions and took my vitals. She checked my temperature twice, because it came out to 99.6 degrees. Great, I thought, They’re gonna make me reschedule because I have a low grade fever. Which will cost me a bonus $100 for their inconvenience. Thankfully, they decided it was okay to proceed.

One of the nurses put the laughing gas mask over my nose and told me to take deep breaths while they set up the IV. “Should I be laughing yet?” I asked a few minutes into the deep breathing. She explained that nitrous oxide usually makes kids laugh, but everyone responds differently. As I felt the IV being inserted into my hand, I realized I was feeling no different from the gas. “Does it matter that my super power is that I cannot get drunk?” I asked, concerned that the IV anesthesia would not do its job.

“Don’t worry,” said the nurse in a soothing voice, “we’ll get you.”

I remember the surgeon entering the room and having a conversation with me. He asked if my temperature usually ran warmer than normal. I told him that I wouldn’t know because I only take my own temperature when I’m sick. I didn’t tell him that it’s actually, usually, a little below normal. He took a quick look at my x-ray and then the nurses helped me to my feet. I could feel something thick in my mouth. “Did you already take them out?” I asked through the gauze.

“Yep, we’re all done,” the nurse explained as she began giving instructions to my mom, who had been my ride and graciously volunteered to let me stay with her for the evening while the anesthesia wore off.

I had prepared for this by watching about a dozen YouTube videos of people’s behavior after this surgery. I expected that I would be really out of it and would say embarrassing things. Mom videoed the entire ride home with her iPad. I’d love to tell you that it was comedy gold and that I should expect to get a call from Ellen DeGeneres any day now with an invitation to be a guest on her show. But I was actually pretty quiet throughout the trip. Looking back, maybe I should have prepped mom with conversation starters.

In the days since the surgery, the pain has not been as bad as I expected it to be. It’s come and gone, but I never even felt the need to have my prescription filled for the heavy duty pain killers. My only concern, at first, was the bleeding, which seemed unending. That whole changing-out-the-gauze thing was pretty bloody disgusting.

And there are a lot of rules if you want to avoid the ever looming threat of dry sockets. Can’t use a straw. That’s okay, I can live with that one. Only eat soft foods. That’s fine, at first. I mean, I like Jello. I like pudding. But they weren’t clear on when I could have the good stuff again. By Sunday I’d have sold a kidney for a cheeseburger. No soda. Wait, what? Apparently the carbonation is bad. So that means, since I don’t drink coffee, I’ve been caffeine free since last Wednesday. Guess I didn’t notice the caffeine withdrawal headaches over the pain in my jaw or the constant stream of Advil.

I suppose, by now, I can go back to enjoying a Mountain Dew, but I’m curious how far I can take this life without caffeine. To say I was addicted is an understatement. Now, I assume, I’m not. But I don’t think it would take much for me to fall off that particular wagon.

I do know this: I will never have my wisdom teeth removed again. Good thing they aren’t something that grow back.

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