I have given birth to four kids. And had I known what a pain in the tush extracting my four wisdom teeth was going to be, I would have opted to have eight kids and skip the teeth thing altogether.
Although, then there would be the four extra mouths to feed, which would eventually lead to the removal of 16 wisdom teeth from said four mouths. I suppose that would be a cumulative set back and that is not even taking into consideration braces and college.
This week, the mere mention of my impending procedure prompted veterans of the oral surgery to provide me with an oral history of their experiences. I heard everything from “Oh, it was nothing, I went out to Chinese food that same night” to “That was the worst pain I’ve ever experienced.”
People asked why I hadn’t done it sooner or why I was having it done at all. Were the teeth impacted?
The best piece of advice I received was in an e-mail from a friend: “Buy two bags of frozen peas. Put a bag of them in each of two tube socks. Tie the ends of the socks together so you can suspend the bags against each cheek for ice packs. It really works to keep the swelling down… Then tell the children to act out a skit about how weird you look.”
I heard about dry socket and bruising, nerve damage and adverse reaction to medication. I was told how important taking the medicine is and warned not to drink from a straw. It reminded me of being pregnant and having women everywhere tell me about their labor and delivery in detail, making me wonder how my own baby would arrive.
Similarly, I wondered how my big extraction day would go and hoped I would be one of the lucky ones. I imagined cracking a fortune cookie at the end of the day that said something like, “Your wisdom knows no bounds.” And then my family would laugh at the irony and I would sip my tea and say, “I better not eat the cookie, it’s too crunchy, plus, I’m full from all that chow mein.”
Unfortunately, my actual story didn’t include a fortune cookie.
The good news is, it’s over.
But I think I was overmedicated. My body did not react well to the anesthesia and the drugs. My sister came to pick me up but I was so sick I couldn’t imagine how I would ever lift my head again, let alone manage to get to her car (which may as well been on the moon at that point).
After a long time, the doctor gave me a shot in my butt to help with the nausea. Time went by and I still felt helpless. Finally, I was pushed in a wheelchair to the car while my head spun in my hands. I crawled into the car and slumped over like Raggedy Ann.
We barely made it to my mom’s house, two miles away, before I puked into a bag in my sister’s car on mom’s driveway. I somehow made it onto the couch and hardly moved again for 24 hours.
My sister took care of me, bringing ice packs, broth, smoothie, making sure I had anything I needed.
“I am never getting my wisdom teeth pulled,” she said.
My husband, mom, and friends all pitched in and helped with the kids, brought ice cream and soft food.
It’s been two days now. I am feeling human again and well enough to notice the pain in my lower right jaw and the chipmunk cheek to go with it. That is the gist of my story and like the others, who came before me, I felt compelled to tell it.
Confucius says, “A woman with much to say cannot keep her mouth shut for long.”