Wednesday, April 30, 2003
As scheduled, I had my gum re-sectioning yesterday. As I sat down in the chair, I noticed that they had a TV installed in the ceiling. My regular dentist has none of these new fangled ammenties, so it was a nice change. They also put these wireless headphones on me so that I could hear the TV. I turned the volume down to basically nothing though because I wanted to hear what was going on.
Basically as soon as I got into the chair, the dude was sticking me with a needle. He did the entire right half of my lower mouth. A few minutes of waiting and then he was off to work. He first used this non-powered tool on me. I thought he was going to use a scalpel first, but he didn't. He did a whole bunch of digging on both sides of my tooth.
Then he and the assistant got into this discussion about some boxes that just got delivered.
"Don't you think those boxes are in Paul's way?", said the assistant.
"Oh when did those get there?", asked my periodontist.
"Just a few minutes ago while we were starting here."
"Those shouldn't be there."
"Look, I can't be everywhere at once. Bonnie was out there when the delivery guy came. Why couldn't she have told him to put it in the right place."
"Hmmm... turns to yell out of the room Bonnie, do you think those might be in the way?"
At this point the attention is back to me. I'm starting to flip around the dial. Nothing is really interesting. Jerry Springer is on, but it's hard to watch when you know the real violence is happening in your mouth.
The digging goes on for a few more minutes. I see his latex gloves are stained with blood. Not a lot, but enough that I know this isn't a normal cavity fill. I'm also wearing protective glasses. The assistant says it's for potential water spray, but what goes unsaid is "and if some blood happens to arc out of your mouth and into your face...".
Next, he starts using this powered tool. It's not a drill I think but it had a long bit on the end. Who knows. He's working it on both sides as well. The assistant leans in says I'm doing great. I bet she says that to all the boys.
I'm waiting for the stitching to start because I know that's signalling the end. Soon enough, the tool is replaced and I'm biting down a gauze pad or something. I forgot to mention that they're suctioning the entire time and I'm thankful the hose is opaque since I'd probably be seeing red all along it if it wasn't.
The needle and thread make an appearance, and I wondering how many it'll take. I've had at most two or three stitches in mouth before. He starts the needlework and I count three before I kinda lose count of what's he doing. Suffice to say, he's threading a lot more than I had expected.
After the stitches, he places something over the area. I can't see what it is.
He takes a wet cloth or something and wipes my mouth and lips down... thoroughly. I must have been a bloody mess.
The chair goes back up and for the first time in over an hour I speak, albeit with a slight slur.
"How many stitches did you put in me?"
"Eight, we did a lot of work on you today."
Eight. That's a lot... for me. The most ever I've received in one area.
He goes over the post-op care with me. There are lots of things to remember but it's all on a sheet. There's rinsing. Icing. Painkillers... two types. What to eat... what not to eat. When to remove the dressing. Who to call. When to call.
When we're done, I hop out of the chair and into the waiting area. I pay an exorbitant amount of money for this which seems hardly fair. A grocery list of things flash through my head that cost just as much, but where I would derive waaaaay more pleasure from.
I also forgot to mention my father was kind enough to drive me to the appointment. However, he's no where to seen. I go downstairs and walk toward the car. He meets me halfway. He sees me and thinks I'm might be groggy. He reaches out to hold my arm.
"Dad, I'm fine. We need to go to Safeway."
"Ok, but you need to get me to Safeway."
We drive to the Safeway on 10th. There, we get my Tylenol-3, Advil, Listerine, eggs, yogurt, ice, ice cream, and meal replacement shakes.
We come back to SJC and I'm surprisingly fresh and not at all sore. The freezing is still in effect though. I take two Advil right away. I was told only to take the Tylenol-3 if absolutely necessary since it makes you loopy and constipated.
My father leaves me to be and I thank him for all his support today. I look into the mirror for the first time and nervously open my mouth. There is what appears to be white gum surrounding all my teeth on the lower right side. I can see red between the white gum dressing and my teeth. It must be quite a sight underneath that. I decide to rinse out my mouth. The water comes out only slightly rose coloured.
I stink and I need a shave so I take care of those things. I then drink of those nutritional shakes. It's not half bad, but it's certainly not a cheeseburger, which was dinner that night.
At this point it's about 5pm. There's croquet and soccer going on in the courtyard. I go out into the lobby to take a look. As I get there, Rhonda is coming in. She's holding a bouquet of flowers.
"These are for you... they're from everyone" she says.
"Thanks Rhonda, these are really nice."
I feel like I'm Miss America at this point. I go and put them in water, change my shirt and go to the courtyard. The men are playing soccer on one side and the women are playing croquet on the other. I'm no dummy. I make a bee-line to the croquet.
Rhonda's already out there and she's kicking some croquet ass. I talk to a few of the ladies sitting on the grass. They can't even tell I had dental surgery. Arash comes out and says it's 1-1.
Oh crap the game! I forgot it was in Minnesota. It's a beautiful day though, so I decide there will be many more playoff games, but only one Year End day at SJC. I stay.
Laura shows up after a while. I make a comment about my strong jawline being intact. She insults my masculinity. It's all good. Laura wanders off to dinner and I go back to my room to grab another protein shake in a can. I also grab my tupperware container.
At the dining hall, I get my burger to go in the container. I sit down and everyone is eating these huge burgers with fries. It's killing me. I pop open my shake and drink it.
For dessert there's an Oreo ice cream sandwich. I can't eat the Oreo top and bottom, but I can eat the ice cream in the middle. It's heavenly.
After the dinner, there's a quiz competition in the Social Lounge. I join Team Rhonda, composed of well, Rhonda, Bruno, and Jin. We're in the lead for the most of the competition. Then, right at the end, some highly irregular counting goes on and we're stiffed a bunch of points. We wind up like third.
I call shennanigans, but only some round-headed kid named Kyle in the back seems to care. The prize is a plastic dinosaur half-glued to a rock.
After this, there's a multimedia presentation of photos from the past school year. I'm having a glass of wine at this point and realizing I'm doing great. I'm not in pain, there's no swelling, and I can totally speak. I even manage to eat some fried zucchini sticks with the other side of my mouth.
The party went on after this with music and dancing, but my periodontist forbade any activity like this so I had to keep my boogie in check. At midnight, I left the party to go watch the 'Nucks highlights. I went to bed after that feeling like I had escaped major complications yet again.
Things were a little different today, but I'll write about that later.
posted by Erwin |