Monday, June 27, 2005

Getting Teeth Pulled Out: Not So Fun

On Friday I took the day off work and went to apply for my Chinese Visa. It was fast and easy, even though the place was packed. I was one of only 4 non-Chinese at the Embassy. I better get used to it!

Afterwards I went and hung out at Chapters, killing time before my appointment to get my wisdom teeth pulled out. I bought myself a couple magazines and a Japan guidebook, as well as a great coffee table book called 1001 Natural Wonders You Must See Before You Die. I would have bought all of my guide books had Chapter had anything in stock!

After about an hour there I hopped onto the bus and headed for the specialist. I wasn't too nervous, surprisingly. I arrived, went for x-rays, and sat in my chair. Then, I got nervous. But my dentist was nice and funny, and he kinda looked like an opera singer. He gave me two options: to go under, or to stay awake but get frozen. To be awake meant 8 shots to freeze my mouth, while to go under meant $500 extra not covered by my insurance company. I was really tempted to go with the easy route but frankly I can't afford it, so I decided to stay awake. And I got even more nervous. He shot me 8 times at different spots in my mouth, and it was not pleasant let me tell you. Those shots at the roof of my mouth were really bad, and tears rolled down my cheeks while he was poking me everywhere. But he was nice, and he wiped my tears.

When he returned about 10 minutes later I was pretty frozen. He asked me questions but I couldn't really talk. I think that he was trying to figure out just how frozen I was. Then it started: i got to lie down and he pulled out the instruments. He held my jaw and pulled like I never imagined. My teeth did not want to move! He seemed confused. "You have good bones!" wasn't very amusing to learn at that point. Finally one tooth gave away, but the roots stayed in. He had to drill and break my tooth to get them out. And then, it was the same thing with the next tooth. With half my mouth done, he moved on to the right side and then it got worst.

During the entire time, I was shaking uncontrollably, crying. I tried to control my shakes but I couldn't. They gave me a blanket but it didn't really help... and then we got started again. During everything I kept telling myself that if I could do this, I could do anything. But it's not true! This was nothing. 8 months in Asia will be harder. Giving birth one day will be extremely harder.

My left side was refusing to get, and stay, frozen. I had to get 4 other shots because every time he tried to pull or drill I would really feel it was it wasn't good. We had a language established: if I closed my eyes, I was in pain. I just kept closing them. He kept trying and trying but nothing would move. He cut around my tooth and it didn't help. Finally he decided to attack the other teeth and that one popped right out. So then we were down to 1. And he said that he might have to put me under for it. But regardless he tried again, and although I did feel things a little, I wanted it to be over with. And then I heard the cracking, and the teeth went off. But again, it left the roots in.

After more drilling the freaking thing was out and I was 4 teeth short. I sat there with gauze in my mouth and a puffy lip and funny feeling chin. I got up, grabbed my sweater and went to the reception to pay. Even the lady at the reception knew that my teeth had been difficult to extract. The dentist came to see me to tell me that I did great, and that I had really healthy teeth. Really? I wish at that point that I didn't.

I grabbed the bus home, puffy and drooling. I went to the pharmacy to get my 3 prescriptions without talking. I went home and went through 2 more pads of gauze. I applied ice but I felt ok. Hours later my chin was back and my face was unfrozen. I was lucky because I didn't look like a chipmunk when I unpuffed. I noticed that my lip had been nicked during the procedure: kinda looked like a cold sore. I applied lots of vitamin E to it and now I look normal.

The medication made me pretty tired though. We went for a hike Saturday and it was a big struggle to go up the mountain, even though the hike was super easy. I'm still not feeling like I have my energy back.

But the really annoying thing about the surgery was not the procedure, which granted, was hard. I feel no pain really from getting the teeth pulled out, and I can sleep on my side no problem or rest my face on my hand without feeling anything. David doesn't understand how I'm doing so good! But frankly nothing is all rosy. My tongue since the surgery has been half numb and feels like a nerve has been caught or something. I can't open my mouth more than 1/2 inch between my teeth without that nerve pulling like crazy and killing me. While hiking I tried to drink some water from our bladder and just opening my mouth to bike the end made me cry of pain. It's really annoying! I can't really eat and I keep biting my tongue because I can't feel it. I just want to feel normal again, and be able tom open my mouth. I'm afraid that I'll be stuck like this forever... I love eating... this would be the worst thing ever.

So I called my dentist after work and told them what was going on, and now I have to go in Wednesday morning for a check-up. Apparently, it's not unheard of, but I should have it looked at. Hopefully he'll be able to let me know how much longer this thing should last, without having me open my mouth. Because, well, that would kill. So we'll see in two days where we stand. But I really hope that it improves. I want to eat something else than soup on my birthday!


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