« The Exorcism (3 of 3) »

We now return to the gripping drama of dental exorcism, TAPKAE style...

Today was to be the last of my surgeries, and it was to be the most involved for one day, taking on the remaining half of my mouth (left). I woke up at about 10 am for my 1:30 appointment. I was a bit disappointed that I had gone to two pharmacies on Sunday only to find them closed. I had to get some more drugs to get past this third date with the periodontist, and then I supposed I would be on my way. Since my pharmacy attempts were foiled on Sunday, I had to again scramble around in order to get the meds. I wish that the doctor had just prescribed me enough to do the whole procedure, because I've now purchased the same order three times, and I am sure that at least part of that cost could have been avoided. This time I also was prescribed a valium to mellow me out before the surgery. My blood pressure has been too high to get the first half done in one shot, and later after today's session, even with valium, I was told I'd need to do only a quadrant, not the remaining half. So there goes about $11 for a single valium! Oh well, it's all been expense after expense. I bleed money on this the same as I bleed blood.

Anticipating a very arduous day of sore-mouth that might make me loath to eat for many hours, I fixed myself a king's breakfast of a few eggs, bacon, and hash browns, and Kelli ate likewise. Today was the last day she'd have to knock out the last of her papers to wrap up her fifth semester at school. Since I would be on valium for today, she had to drive me. Maybe the valium did some good, but I didn't notice it on the way to the appointment nor during it. If anything, it was able to put me to sleep for a few hours after I got home. But that is getting ahead of myself, isn't it?

By now, it was getting to be a routine. Sign the consent form, lay out the plastic and get reamed for another $650 for two quadrants' work, a few tense minutes in the waiting room, a trip to the pisser to calm a bit, and then to the electric chair for a few minutes of BP checks, chit chat, and prep. Cookie, the assistant of NuYorican descent, made a few jokes in her thick New York accent, and said the last time I was in she was quiet on account of a headache. Today she was a bit chatty but still not as chatty as the first time when she went on about mothers-in-law and their not-so-subtle requests for grandchildren. I wasn't shivering today as much as the first time, but I felt a bit antsy and wasn't as comfortable as the second date on Wednesday. I was beginning to think about what it would all mean once this was done, and what else the doc would have to say about the next plan to fix what still needs fixing, and I know that extractions are in the plan one way or another.

The doc came in and fairly promptly let me know I may have to do just one quadrant again. My heart sank. I just wanted to get this over with during December. Their timeline was either to do it this week or wait till January, and I have work plans for then, and I don't want to prolong this any more than I need to. So I asked if he might do the top left first. He said we'd go through that then see how I was doing, and maybe the bottom could be done too.

Numbing is great once you're numbed, but the needle plunging into not-yet-numb tissue just kills, and I think they worked a bit faster in getting me numb, moving toward the needle faster than it took the topical, Q-tip stuff to kick in. I seemed to feel more tooling this time than the first as they drew back the gums and did some scraping. I don't know if it was a bit less anesthesia or whether the gunk took more pulling at and chiseling, but I felt jerked around more. The first day's bone grinding was not pleasant in the sense of a nice summer breeze, but the subsequent ones seemed to make tones that rocked me deep in my head more than that first day. Still, it all goes pretty fast. It is probably about 10 minutes of that sort of thing. It seems that it's just a few minutes for each process, according to real time, but with four tools in there at once, tongue being held back, and unable to breathe, each bit is an eternity until I can relax. Even with the valium, I don't think I was relaxed one bit. With that realization, the doc said I'd need to come in later to do the last quadrant. I was able get the last one done but it was sooner than I planned—tomorrow at 8:30!

Before long it was over and time to have the dressing put in like a "worm" of silly putty packed in along the boundary between gums and teeth. Then it's pretty much up and out with my ice pack. Today Cookie took out the top right dressing and stitches from the first surgery. I called Kelli and she hurried up to meet me at the street, then it was back for a couple hour's reading (Henri Nouwen's In The Name of Jesus—a short little thing, nice reading about the role of ministers in the 21st century), rinsing, and for once, biting down on a wet tea bag in order to let some tannic acid hopefully stop any bleeding. Don't know if it did, but the peppermint flavor sure was a nicer thing to taste than the bloody gauze. I found that the top right has a real sensitive spot in the back now that it is officially cleared out. I had been rinsing with cold water, but this surely made me rinse with lukewarm water! I read my book all the way through in a couple hours then thought I'd try to watch a long-awaited movie, Patton, but found myself a half hour in with a very sleepy head. Maybe it was valium, but maybe it was just nap time and I was trying to forget. I slept about three hours or so till about 10 pm. Kelli was just getting done with her paper and emailed it to her professor. Instead of getting all happy that she is done, it was a quiet, fall into bed night with not much talk. She was excited but totally depleted of ability to think anymore, and I was sore, with three-quarters of my mouth in some sort of pain or ache—today's work, Wednesday's on the wane, and the first sensations of the first days' work being cleared out and on their own.

See you tomorrow morning. This time, there won't be that king's breakfast to start off with.

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