Something I’ve been avoiding for over a decade out of a deep, deep, fear has finally happened. I got my wisdom teeth out! I can’t tell you how amazing I feel right now for accomplishing this. I’ve been scared to death of this procedure since I was 17. I’ve heard horror stories and I knew I was going to have one. My friends tried telling me, “Oh, you’ll be fine! It’s nothing! It’s a breeze! Don’t be scared! Hehe!” Yeah….no. I had a horror story. Ready for it? Ok, here we go….
The morning of my surgery was awesome. My food, drugs, and ice packs were ready for when I got home.
I took a valium a few hours before the appointment, had a few hysterical laughing fits, and I wasn’t scared at all. Here’s me in the fancy waiting room, being all chill about the fact that I was about to go under and have people cut up my body:
The nurses brought me back, sat me down in the dentist chair, I finally started to cry, and the surgeon just kept telling me “Michael loves you. He’s just right over there in the waiting room and he loves you!” (PS does this doc know me well enough to know that that’s literally the best possible thing to say to me?)
So, I wake up and we’re done. I’m four teeth poorer, and I have cow bone in my face to build back my jaw. No biggie. I feel pretty fine, we go home and I start the drugs and the ice pack rotation. Blake, my nurse for the day, came over with more movies and we all just chilled out on the couch for the evening.
Here’s me with my ice pack/socks on my hands/scarf to protect my cheeks/gauze packs in my mouth all set up:
And this is precisely where I stopped being a normal patient. By the end of the night, I was crying over the sink as Michael pulled the blood soaked gauze from my mouth. But it wasn’t pink, watery, normal bleeding like the pamphlets say it’s supposed to be by then. NOPE. It was like… thick, dark, red, goopy spoonfuls of bloody slop. So fucking gross. I knew something was wrong, but I decided to sleep on it.
The next morning, my mouth was full of said goopy blood and the gauze was soaked. I called the doc, and he told me to come back in just to see what’s up.
3:30pm that day, I go in, and sit down in the waiting room. The nurse slides open the little receptionist window, takes one look at me and while she says with her words, “Oh, well, look at you!” her expression says, “OH SHIT.” She brings me back and sits me down in the dentist chair, the surgeon comes in, pokes around on the one side of my face that got all swollen. A lot of “Does this hurt? Does this hurt?” Then, he says, “Ok, I need to look inside.” He starts poking around my teeth while the nurses are putting on protective glasses, gloves, face masks, and hair nets– so I knew something was up. Then the surgeon whispers to his nurse (as if I can’t hear him, he’s right there), “We need to cut this open, now.”
TWELVE gigantic novicane needle squirts into my cheeks later, I’m cut open, they’re in full-on-surgery with my face, he’s scraping the bone in my jaw, and doing a bunch of shit that my imagination is filling in with horrific scenes. How can you not when you can hear but can’t see what’s going on? Then the doc says, “Ok this is going to hurt, but I have to do it.” He then proceeds to push on the swell of my lower jaw/cheek and is trying to move the swell towards the back of my face. Just so you can imagine what’s going on here, I’m going to tell you what he was actually doing.
I had developed a hematoma under my gums on the lower part of my jaw, and that’s what the swell was from on my face. Not the normal cute chipmunk swelling that most people get when they get their teeth out. My face was literally filling up with blood and he had to stop the bleeding and squeeze out (or maybe break-down) the blood clot thing in my face. Fucking EWWW. So much disgusting ewwww I can’t even handle it.
Back to the surgery. Sixty terrifying minutes later (the entire time I couldn’t stop violently shaking, by the way. It’s something I do when I’m scared… convulse), I feel string systematically falling on my face, and realize he’s sewing me back up. When I’m all done, they sit me up, bring Michael in, apologize for the fact that I had to go through a second surgery AWAKE, and tell me that I quite possibly have a blood disorder. All my teeth were still bleeding and hadn’t clotted, and that in all his years of surgery, he’s only seen one other hematoma. He stuffs my mouth full of gauze, wraps my head with bandage, tells me not to talk for two days, and sends me home for the weekend.
(Side story: on the drive home from this second surgery, I hadn’t taken my vicoden in so long and I was in so much pain that I was swaying back and forth in the passenger seat and probably looked like the exorcist girl with my eyes rolling back. So much so that a lady yelled at me from her car while we were driving: “Oh god, honey, do you need a bag??” I’m not kidding.)
I used a little white-board for those two days of not talking. I also made up some sign language to communicate with Michael for the things I was saying a lot: I’m sorry, I’m scared, I love you, and Thank you. I stayed this way for two days (squirting water from my spray bottle into my throat so I didn’t have to swallow.)
Here’s me once the bandage came off, and starting to get better (if you can believe it):
And already even better the next day:
That was five days ago, and I’m doing great! I’m really excited to finally be eating food again, since I was really getting sick of those Ensure drinks. My friend Noah made and brought me the BEST mashed potatoes you’ll ever eat in your life:
And two days ago I was dying for Taco Bell’s mushy bowl of beans and cheese, but the only Taco Bell I could think of was the fancy one on the beach in Pacifica. So I took myself there, because, why the hell not.
And with that, I believe, I have gotten my health in order. I have changed so much in my life since I started this life list item. I got health insurance, a doctor, I changed a lot in my diet (this trip to Taco Bell being a blaring exception), I started vitamins, and next week will start a path to my spiritual health (meditation classes, blog post on that to come!).
Of all the life list items I’ve done so far, this one felt the best even though it was, by far, the most unpleasant. I knew it was going to be bad, I knew I had to do it, and I got the fuck over my fears and just did it. When I was just home from surgery #2, and hopped up on pills, I cried because I was so proud of myself. I’ve been so scared, and I even had complications, but I got through it. This is the kind of stuff adults do. You know it’s good for you, you know you have to do it, and despite whatever might be holding you back, (fear, laziness, whatever) you just do it anyway. You just do it. And I did it.
Onto health! Yay!