Friday
Jul312009

« Wisdom To Spare, Redux »

Here we go again. Time to go to the oral surgeon's office to get my wisdom teeth pulled. Only this time, I actually DID get it done. The evidence:

four of my wisdom teeth on the gauze. it only took 13 years to get to this pointSo much wisdom, so little space in my head

The background:

It was in late September of last year when I thought I would be getting my wisdom teeth pulled—all of about 12 years after I was first told to do so. It was the very thought of that procedure that helped condition me to stay away from dentists for um, let's just say, years at a time. Finally, the whole thing caught up with me, and for the avid readers of TAPKAE.com, you know it was a hell of a summer in 2007 which led me to getting gum surgery and all that. The plan for gum surgery was partially derailed by high blood pressure. Not surprising considering the whole dental chair phobia runs deep in me, and that year was just devastating to me. But it got done—in 4 procedures, not two—and I lived. So last summer I finally was told to get the wisdom teeth out so that other problems would be headed off.

But, the blood pressure thing reared its ugly head again, and this time it was enough that the doc couldn't operate. (You can read last year's anticipatory blog entry here.) Last year it was high enough that the surgeon said it was not just because I was in his chair, and that I'd have to get it looked at just to be in general health. It was a huge letdown that the surgery didn't go forward but it helped shine a light on some systemic problems that needed fixing. The answer was to get to work on doctor's visits at an office I had only gone to once before, biking, diet changes and all that, various aspects of which I have written about. A while ago the doctor seemed to think that it would be okay to revisit the oral surgeon. So, since then there has been barely a pizza or two, barely a burger or two, no sodas, far less cheese. That tackles some of the worst offenders, and I have been keeping track of the BP daily in addition to taking the meds. The biking is obviously more blog worthy than that routine, so you see more news about that here.

Anticipation Part 2: The day before

I do know that the vigorous 10-20 mile bike rides help, but those aren't the usual rides I do. The busy days at work and the commutes keep general activity up, as does a dog walk most nights. I took a ten mile ride home tonight for my ostensibly three mile commute. But still, with regards to tomorrow (July 31), there is still anxiety about meeting my demons head on finally. My escort tomorrow is a woman from church named Marla who perhaps knows a trick or two about relaxation and stuff, being into fitness, Tai Chi and other such things. This time I think I will take my relaxant pill earlier than last year. (I couldn't help but wonder if I had indeed taken it too late to do any good. By the time I was rejected and out taking care of other business an hour later, it seemed to have me pretty knocked out.)

And then, the good part...

This day started off with me taking the pre op meds at the right time, two hours in advance. I prepared a veritable cocktail of prescription meds between the antibiotics, ibuprofen, sedative-relaxant, and my usual couple for BP and cholesterol. I cleaned a little house to help keep my mind on other things. Last night's BP reading was a bit high so I was bracing for last year all over again, but trying to remind myself of how different today is from last September. Marla picked me up on time and we got there just in time to sit but not dwell for long, then I was in.

The room was cold which usually I would like but today I took the blanket they offered. There was the dreaded BP moment to contend with but no one mentioned any numbers. At least I didn't have to do mental math to compare to last night or last year or any of that. They let it go for another test cycle a few minutes later and I guess it was in the clear, particularly after I said that this was 13 years in coming and I had to get this out of my way finally. So the IV started up and I heard them busying themselves as I kept my eyes closed to be in my own world. I brought my stuffed pig Luau (a pocket sized piggy) and me and Luau were listening to the music. I was counting time as if I was playing the stuff myself. The next I remember I was having my jaw prodded a bit with gauze being crammed in, revived, and whisked off to the post op recovery room being told not to fall asleep. Marla joined me and collected my gift bag of teeth, gauze, and other stuff. Then it was off to the car, a bit groggy like a night of boozing perhaps, but on foot.

The post op time was hardly touched by pain. The greater annoyance is the numb and rubbery lip and tongue that seemed worse a case than the gum surgeries in '07. But as I write this just after midnight, all that has subsided. I took two vicodin at once in the afternoon before the initial anesthetic wore off. I took the antibiotic drug a few times. But the best part was that I got to gorge myself on yogurt! I think I had five cups of frozen stuff which, being numb like I was, barely seemed frozen. I had a couple regular cups too. Later on, as in '07 I had some dinner of mac and cheese with the girls (while they ate the bowtie pasta and seafood mix, I went lowbrow, but nibbled on their mix too).

Rinses have now been pretty clear, numbness is mostly gone, only two vicodin have been used so far. While it isn't a pleasure cruise, it does not seem as dreaded as it was for all those years. Tomorrow I start on salt water rinses and the prescription stuff to keep clean, but so far it has been surprisingly bearable. I get a four day weekend to boot.

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