Friday, June 21, 2013

i wasn't very wise to begin with...

A couple of months ago, I went to meet with the world's most adorable oral surgeon to discuss getting my wisdom teeth out. While they grew in just fine, my dentist recommended I get them out now, before they get full of cavities and while I have dental insurance. "You're actually really old to get them out."

So I went to the fabulous art deco 450 Sutter Street and met with Dr. Craig McDow who should be in movies cast as a warm and friendly 1920's baseball coach. He's a winker. Anyway, during our consultation, I was sitting in one of his examination rooms and asking lots of questions about my "oral surgery." Having filled out tons of paperwork details my physical stats and medical history, I started asking Dr. McDow about the process of "going under." I wanted to be fully anesthetized when they chopped my head open. I had lots of dumb questions.

"I saw this 20/20 where people were supposed to be unconscious but they could still feel everything. They were just paralyzed and couldn't move. How do you make sure I'll be all the way out?"

Dr. McDow looked at my paperwork. "Well, we just base it on your weight."

I froze. "Um, I'm going to need that paperwork back."


Today, my mother picked me up and we drove to 450 Sutter for what I am dramatically referring to as "MY SURGERY." I forked over $500 ($250 anesthesia addition which was generously funded by Mrs. Spotswood who didn't want to deal with the aftermath of my being awake through MY SURGERY) and was brought into a whole separate hospital-y section of Dr. McDow's office on the 11th floor. I was taken to a bathroom and told to put my hoodie and handbag in a locker. I then put on a hospital gown, a shower-cap-type hospital hat, and shoe slippers, all in hospital blue. I was, after all, having SURGERY.

I emerged from the bathroom to find a man laying on a gurney with tissue sticking out of his mouth. We made eye contact so I asked, "How bad is it?"

"With-oo too? Nah bah." He gave me a thumbs up.

Linda took me to the back corner surgery room overlooking all of downtown San Francisco saying, "He just had two teeth out. You know, I think you two are just about the same age." Fantastic! We will be like Liz Lemon and Wesley Snipes agreeing to marry in the post-surgery recovery room.

Linda and another clinician hooked me up to an IV. There was a little plastic cup taped to the side of the tool table, and when I mentioned that I wanted to keep my teeth, Linda took out a Sharpee and wrote "SAVE" on the cup. Then Dr. McDow showed up, teased me in a 1920's warm and friendly baseball coach kinda way, and clicked on the IV drip. Right away, we started to have one of those awkward conversations where I could tell they were just wanting for me to pass out, and my nerves kicked in. Would I feel my eyes closing, what if it wasn't enough, what if they started too soon?

The last thing I remember is instinctively trying to hide my slurring (not an act with which I am unfamiliar). Then, I felt in what seemed like a dream, one tooth slide out perfectly and my trying to say, "Wait, don't start yet." It was 40 minutes later, and my mouth was full of gauze. I couldn't believe it. Anesthesia is no joke, and totally worked. It took me 10 solid minutes to marvel at the pharmaceutical miracle of it all.

Seeing I was awake, Dr. McDow kissed me on top of the head (I am 90% sure this really happened and I loved it.) I was walked to a gurney in the hospital section waiting room, where Wesley Snipes was gone. I lay on a gurney feeling pretty alert when Dr. McDow walked my mother in while telling her how young she looks. He then made some appropriate but funny jokes about Michael Jackson and anesthesia, and I tried to chime which was nearly impossible. The whole lower section of my face and entire tongue was completely numb, and tons of gauze was shoved in my throat.

Everyone seemed pretty surprised I had no trouble walking around. After 30 minutes and a couple of impressive trips up and down the hallway, it was agreed I could leave with some painkillers, some gauze, ice packs, an old time-y toothache headband, and my surprisingly disgusting wisdom teeth.

I was home by 12:30 and my mother stayed with my all day. We watched Law & Order SVU ("Everyone on this show makes their exit while screaming") and Kitchen Nightmares, about a soul food restaurant in Pittsburgh where my mother was "on Marissa's side." Mom was a real trooper, crushing up my painkillers and sprinkling it over a beautifully presented bowl of yogurt. She'd take my bloody gauze, and wrap ice packs around my face with the toothache headband. When mom complained that her feet were getting cold, I offered her my Uggs, a shoe choice she's previously mocked.

"Ooohhhh!" She looked at me as she slid them on. "These are nice!"


Mom is now gone, having worked a 12-hour day as my caregiver and discovering that it's "kind of fun sitting around and watching TV all day!" Hell, that's what I'll be doing all weekend. I've figured out that one painkiller lasts almost 3 hours, I have Eve's Hulu Plus password, and this might be the biggest jinx in oral surgery history, but I predict I'll be back to normal by Sunday night, normal being relative and all...

4 comments:

AphotoAday said...

Oh My God! You have my sympathy as I've been through some of that myself but I won't go into detail, because my fear of dentists and oral surgeons is only exceeded by my fear of snakes. My dentist lives near me, and even driving by her house gives me the weebie-jeebies. But speedy recovery, Beth--you are a trooper!

Clair said...

No photos of the teeth? The oral surgeon wouldn't let me see mine because they were deemed a biohazard. I'm jealous. Hope you're recovered soon!

Occasional Commentor said...

Speaking of Liz and Wesley in the recovery room, I do hope you're aware of this while you're recuperating.

Seana said...

Sunday sounds like a perfectly reasonable time to be back to normal, especially if you get to convalesce (sp?) all weekend as planned. Feel better soon! I wanna see the teeth :)