Thursday, April 29, 2010

Of Wisdom and Teeth

This isn't about art or anything fun. This is my Wisdom Teeth Extraction story. If you don't like Teeth stories, move on. I'm only publishing this because my friend Heather published her story on her blog, and it really helped me when it was my time to get mine out. So here you are. Gore and all. Important notes in all caps.



This is my face as of yesterday morning.

I got all four wisdom teeth extracted last Friday, April 23rd.

The surgery, easy peasy. I didn't go under, it wasn't really scary, it took all of fifteen minutes. I didn't have any teeth horizontal, and all were either erupted or partially erupted.

I got to see the teeth, they were neat. Some had roots fused together, one was splayed, other two looked pretty normal teethwise.

Unfortunately for me, I had an infection under my back left wisdom tooth. I did know about this infection for the past year and a half. It was one of those jobbies where your tooth half erupts, but there is a flap of gum. So food bits get stuck under the gum flap and if you don't clean it all the time, constantly, it can get infected. Which it did.

Thing is, I used to be afraid of the dentist (oddly only because I had never really needed dental work and basing it on horror stories from the media. Also, Steve Martin) so I waited and waited and waited to get them out.

Once I decided to get them out, I wanted to do it asap just to get it over with.

The extraction was easy. They gave me a local anesthetic around every tooth (which actually sort of hurt, but only minor pain) and then let that kick in for three or four minutes.

Then the doctor came in, talked calmly, and wiggled every tooth, then yanked em out, in order.

Problem was that pesky infected tooth. A bunch of the gum had gone bad, so he had to rip that out. Mercifully I didn't have to see my gross infected gum tissue, even though I was awake and it was right there. I'm sure it was foul. I got one dissolvable stitch there.

I got to see the teeth, but not take them home (what? I didn't ask to take them home, the doctor told me he had to toss them because of infection risk or something. Maybe I would've saved them though, you never know).

Literally the whole thing took maybe a half an hour, in and out.

He jammed some gauze in my mouth, gave me a baggie of more gauze and one of those emergency-squeeze-it-and-it's-ice packs and sent me on my way. Minus a check worth some amount of money.

I had originally planned on going alone and doing it while taller half was out of town. Stupid stupid.

Driving home while holding the ice pack to my face wouldn't have been fun. Even with the gauze my mouth was full of blood. I couldn't actually speak until Saturday evening.

DO NOT GET OUT ALL FOUR WISDOM TEETH AND PLAN ON TALKING AFTERWARD.

Learned that lesson the hard way. Apparently I like to talk. A lot. It was quite obvious when I was unable to talk. Also, taller half totally sucks at charades.

BRING A NOTE PAD FOR WRITING ALL YOUR HATE AT THE WORLD.

DO NOT TRY AND TAKE PAIN KILLERS WITHOUT WATER. ALL THAT BLOOD IN YOUR MOUTH WILL NOT HELP YOU SWALLOW THEM.

On the way back home we had to pull over so I could spit out some blood. Gross. We had to stop at home before getting my prescriptions for pain medicine and antibiotics filled so I could wipe all the blood off my face and hands. Yup. I told you this was gross.

Every half hour I had to replace the gauze in my mouth. We bought more gauze. I took my pain medicine and my antibiotics.

The fun part, the healing.

THE ICE, USE IT, I DIDN'T GET CHIPMUNK CHEEKS BECAUSE OF GOOD ICE PRACTICE.

It's weird, I thought the surgery would be the worst part. No. It's the aftermath. The surgery was a piece of cake. Loved my doctor, loved it all. So easy.

HEATHER WAS RIGHT, PUT A TOWEL OVER YOUR PILLOW THE FIRST NIGHT. YOU WILL DROOL BLOOD. IT'S GROSS, BUT TRUE.

No, Friday night I got my teeth out. Saturday was the worst day of my life so far. Period.

Turns out the vicodine substitution I was put on, Hyrdrocodone, makes me puke. So every four hours I'm taking something to make the pain go away, and it makes me puke. Took us most of the day to realize that I just should stop taking the pain medicine.

I spent Saturday eating jello, throwing it up, drinking water, napping, repeat. If I moved, I vomited, if I stood, I vomited, if I changed my gauze, I vomited.

I think taller half emptied like 20 trashcans of blood and jello vomit.

Oh yes.

EAT ONLY JELLO THE FIRST TWO DAYS. IT'S EASY ON YOUR TUMMY, AND TASTES THE SAME GOING BOTH WAYS.

Now I hate jello.

I couldn't even watch TV Saturday because it made me more nauseous. That's right. I spent Saturday without TV, vomiting and crying and eating jello. I have had mild alcohol poisoning and that had nothing on Saturday. WORST DAY EVER. I'm amazed taller half didn't run screaming. It is to his lasting credit that he stuck around all day and fed me and emptied my vomit bucket. I love this man.

Sunday, a bit better. Now I was without pain medicine, but at least we had figured out that it caused the nausea, so no more vomiting. (We were also unclear on how much the gauze was rubbing my ripped apart infected gum, so after the bleeding had stopped for the most part I stopped putting gauze in my mouth. AND we weren't sure how much me swallowing a ton of blood had to contribute to the nausea thing. But when I quit the pain meds, I quite throwing up.) No more ice, although I was now allowed to do light salt water rinses and apply light heat to the outside of my jaw.

Sunday however, the extent of my infection was becoming clear. I had thrown up my second dose of antibiotics, so my mouth smelled of death. I was still out of it from the pain, although now I could actually watch TV thank god. I don't remember much from Sunday except that I got to drink a milkshake and I wasn't throwing up anymore. I think we watched a movie and I napped, I have no idea. The bliss that wasn't constant vomit was all I could focus on.

Monday I had intended on going back to work but that was just not happening. Ended up essentially sleeping the entire day. I got up three times to eat and so forth, and slept the rest of the day. Pain was down for the most part.

Tuesday, back to work! Took tylenol to help with the pain. Worst part of Tuesday was that laughing hurt. And of course everything felt funny after spending three days convalescing. I was just glad to be up and moving. Minor chewing happening in the front area. Giant bruise appears.

Wednesday, almost totally better. Slightly more advanced chewing allowed.

Thursday, today, feeling good.

I'm still only really able to eat soft foods, but chewing is slowly becoming a thing again. I don't think I'll be able to eat properly again for two weeks (like pokey things like chips and salsa) but I'm up to vegetables which is a huge leap from jello, and if I rip bread into tiny pieces I can eat them.

I am seriously never doing this again.

Thankfully, I don't have to.

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