Monday, January 27, 2014

The Wisdom Tooth Saga: A Comedy of Stupid

Okay, so it's probably not a saga, but my teeth are sparkly. Other things that aren't really sagas but involve creepy, sparkly characters get called sagas and then make ridiculous amounts of money. I'm just hoping for a five film contract here. Nothing outrageous.

The stupid in this story is yours truly. I'm not labeling myself stupid. That would be stupid. I'm just saying that like many human beings throughout history, I'm a smart person who sometimes makes stupid choices. Like when you touch the hot plate the server just told you was hot or when you eat Velveeta on purpose. Temporary lapses of judgment.

My lapse lasted 20 years. Most people get their wisdom teeth out by high school graduation or shortly after, and dentists like this because the roots aren't fully formed, so the removal tends to be easier and carry less risk. I put it off until last week.

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National Honor! Except about teeth.

There are many reasons I give people for waiting until I was 37 to get my wisdom teeth out. For instance, I mention that for the first 8 years of my first marriage, I was pregnant or nursing or both. (This is only mostly true.)

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Use my babies as an excuse? Me?

I tell people that every time I considered having the surgery, I'd end up needing another...gall bladder, ACL reconstruction, hysterectomy...  (You're simultaneously curious and afraid to click that link, aren't you?)

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Looking this beautiful twice a year would be beauty overkill.

My most recent excuse was provided by an article I read that said professional dental organizations no longer recommend preventive wisdom tooth extractions and are urging dentists to only remove them if they cause problems, like the more modern approach to tonsils.

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Yeah...yeah! That's the ticket!

Confidently telling this to my dentist caused him to look me deep in the eyes and speak very slowly so the smart/stupid woman in his chair could understand.

"Sarah...your wisdom teeth have caused you, on average, one week of excruciating pain per year for the last 20 years. They're...causing...problems..."

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Logic bomb DROPPED!

The true reason for the delay was a debilitating fear of dentists. Wow, Sarah. Afraid of dentists. That's so...not different from everyone else on the planet.  

No, really. We're talking choking, sobbing, dizzy panic attacks. PTSD. Complete system shutdown. I didn't see a dentist for ANYTHING for 13 years and only went back a year ago when the choking, sobbing, panic attack caused by an abscess on a molar felt worse than the prospect of a dental visit.

Also, Richard just started making my appointments for me without talking to me first.

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You're so lucky you're cute.

A year of dental visits later, my panic has abated. When my annual excruciating wisdom tooth pain arrived in December, I was DONE. I made an appointment with an oral surgeon and scheduled the procedure for January. "Knock me out and yank them. I just want this over with!" I was NOT going to cancel this time.

Except I was.  I was totally going to cancel.

But I forgot.

A week ago today, I woke up to the awful, sinking realization that I was having oral surgery TOMORROW. I hadn't prepared anything. No easy menu for the week. No super special soft foods purchased. No ride to and from arranged. No heads up to the boss or time off planned.  My 24 hour cancellation window was shut tight.

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Extend palm. Insert face.

My online convo with my boss at Datawise went something like this. (Italicized dialogue represents everything my long suffering boss didn't say but probably thought or at least would have been justified in thinking.)

Me: If you were looking for a reason to call me a dufus, I've got one!
Tearsa: Looking for a reason? She thinks I'd have to look for a reason? Lol, what's what?
Me: I completely forgot that I'm having my wisdom teeth out at 11 tomorrow.
Tearsa: She's trying to kill me. She's literally trying to KILL me. Oh man :( Bad timing. I was JUST about to send you this note.
Tearsa: (Note containing the list of projects she'd hoped to throw at me at 11 tomorrow). I can't believe we actually pay this woman.
***Conversation in which we work out which project I can do ahead, which can be farmed out to someone else, and which I'll try to complete hours after the procedure***
Tearsa: Okay. (Man! No fun!) For me. Thanks for the heads up. Not.

With work at one job squared away, and no work at the other until two days post surgery, all I needed was to pick up a few supplies, secure a ride (Richard had a similar convo with his boss) and get a good night's sleep before the big day.

So, naturally I agreed to fill in overnight at the group home where I'm sometimes needed. And even though this is a job where I'm allowed to SLEEP once the girls are in bed, I decided to stay up until 3:30 am getting a jump on Datawise work that probably could have waited. So when I got to the oral surgeon's office, I'd had exactly 3 hours of sleep.

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Don't give this woman sharp objects.

The surgery itself went okay, though my one impacted tooth put up a fight, and I got a nice little wound where my lip almost tore open, Joker style. The nurse got to see my stupid side when I started laughing at a small joke she made and couldn't stop. She said, "Ah, I can see the meds are working." This prompted me to argue vehemently that, no, it wasn't the sedative. She was JUST. THAT. FUNNY. (Don't you know how funny you are, funny nurse?!)

I spent a good amount of the first 24 hours vomiting enthusiastically from pain meds, so I cut down to just ibuprofen and have managed fine since then. (Not that enthusiastic vomiting isn't fun and all.) Overall, this recovery has been fairly easy and the pain, what pain there has been, doesn't hold a candle to the agony these teeth used to put me through ever single year for 20 years.

Moral of the story, kids: If your wisdom teeth hurt you, don't maintain the relationship out of some codependent need for togetherness or identity. Don't make excuses. Get them out, and get them out young. Dentists are your friends. Be nice to your bosses. Sleep is not overrated, and if you're medicated, the comedy stylings of nurses probably are.

It was a really funny joke, though...