Saturday, January 17, 2009

"I was, but I changed majors" - a trip to the oral surgeon


Friday began normally enough. We all got up and got ready. Shan and I loaded up the kids and took them to school. After that, Shan wanted to stop in Hope on the way to the oral surgeon, so we stopped for gas and a car wash. The only problem is that the car wash was closed because the outside temperature was 25 degrees. Well, the plus side is that because she paid for the car wash at the pump, she can still use the coupon for a week.


Since we still had time to kill, I showed Shan how to play solitaire and bubble breaker on my phone. At some point in there, I took the Valium the surgeon had given me to use prior to the surgery.

We headed to Texarkana. I don't remember the trip down there being out of the ordinary, other than I remember seeing large rocks at various places along the way on the Interstate. Thinking back, I'm not sure if they were rocks or big chunks of ice that had fallen off trucks coming from points north and/or east...

We arrived at the doctor's office and the receptionist checked me. Within in just a few moments, I was being led to the room where I'd have my wisdom tooth and my 'extra' tooth removed. The surgeon's building is deceptively large. It does not look as big from the outside as it is on the inside. I was led down one hall, made a left, and then led down another hall until we got to the room.

I sat down in the comfy brown leather chair and then tilted back in a slightly reclined position. As the nurse got the equipment ready, she asked if I wanted a blanket before she left. I didn't think I needed one, so I declined. The only thing I can figure is that she pushed some button on the way out that suddenly turned the blower on ultra-high because I found myself sitting beneath a wind turbine, wishing I had not only accepted the offer for the blanket, but that it was also an ELECTRIC one! Holy cow!


Somewhere in my Valium-induced state, I thought of looking around for one of the nurse emergency buttons, but before my brain could make whatever connections are necessary for actually movement, she was back with more surgical equipment and the doctor followed close behind.

Before the day of the dental work, the doctor's office called to remind me to wear a 'comfortable short-sleeved shirt' for the procedure. I chose my "50th Corvette" anniversary polo shirt. It is very comfortable, and was more than a t-shirt. Why i thought I needed to look decent for an oral operation, I have no idea. In any case, the doctor said that when he was younger, he wanted a Corvette and now that he could actually afford one, what he really wants is a new tractor. :-) I told him that I still want one, but that the older I get, then less likely I am to buy one for the simple fact that getting in and out of one is no where near as easy as my truck!

The doctor prepped my right arm for the IV that would deliver the anesthetic. He poked a little but couldn't get the vein to cooperate. I am not a big fan of needles in the first place, and this was not helping matters. So, he moved to my left arm and had the same result. I have no idea how much time passed, but after beating my wrists and the back of my hands for a while, the doctor finally tried my right arm and again and found what he was looking for.

As the doctor and his two nurses were getting everything in place, the doctor said, "Was he pre-med?" And I answered, "I was, but I changed majors." I vaguely remember the sound of chuckles. That was the last thing I remembered for a while.

There are a couple of things I remember, or at least I THINK I remember... At one point, I am pretty sure that I was SNORING during my operation. My brain kicked in and I thought, "Holy cow, I am snoring during my surgery! I cannot believe I am snoring! I have got to stop that." I have no idea if I had actually snored or not.

I don't remember anything about the wisdom tooth portion of the show, but the 'extra' tooth I had in the front of my mouth was a raucous occasion. I remember hearing the sound of drilling or filing or both. Later, Shan said the doctor told her that he had a heck of a time with that tooth. so, did I really hear all the trouble or was it just my imagination? The nurse said I was asleep during the whole thing. All I know is that I am pretty sure I really heard all the trouble, but never felt a thing.

I kinda remember the nurse telling me that everything went well and that Shan had to bring her vehicle to the back door where the covered area was in order to get me loaded up. I was led down another hallway to a wooden door. When the door opened, I remember seeing a large white truck, thinking, "That is NOT Shan's van..." I don't remember actually getting into the van.


I also don't remember much of anything about the trip home until we stopped at Sonic. Shan ordered a sweet tea for me so that I could take my medications. Oh, I do remember trying to talk to Shan but I could not get my tongue to work right. I remember looking in the vanity mirror, trying to figure out where the tip of my tongue had gone. I could feel the back and sides of my tongue, but not the tip. I worked very hard to get the tip into view, but I could not figure out how to make the blankety-blank thing actually FUNCTION!

The other thing I recall is rubbing my chin, thinking they had covered my entire face in gauze. I had not shaven that morning, so apparently, my stubble felt like gauze in my current mental state. I couldn't figure out what could have possibly gone wrong that they would have to wrap my entire head in gauze! It was not until I was looking in the vanity mirror to figure out how to work my tongue that I realized I did not have gauze wrapped all over my head! Yeah, put me in the special class, folks...

Now, remember, I wore my corvette polo shirt... Yeah, here is advice to any oral surgeons out there: tell your patients to wear comfortable short-sleeved shirts that they DON'T MIND SLOBBERING ON! I could not figure out how to get the tea in my mouth without it spilling all down the front of my shirt! I am not allowed to use a straw, which I think is actually some twisted humor on the doctor's part! I think they really just want the patient to provide as much entertainment as possible following surgery! I felt like Bill Cosby did when he tells the story of going to the dentist "Ribinse!? Youbu want muhbe to ribinse!?" (For those of you not familiar, it is in his "Bill Cosby: Himself" routine. A true classic. See it here!)

Shan gave me half a Phenigrin for nausea. I put it in my mouth, but once i took a sip of tea, I couldn't tell if I had swallowed the pill or if it had spilled out my mouth with most of the tea. Shan said I kept saying, "I can't find the pill. I can't find it in my mouth. I don't know if I swallowed it!" She said she was part laughing, part gagging. She has a very weak stomach and watching her husband spewing tea all over himself was tripping her gag reflex.

The only thing I kept thinking was that I did not want anyone I knew to be at the Sonic while I was making a slob of myself! I kept trying to figure out if the guys in the truck across the way were county employees (namely, Shan's Dad) or not. Evidently, a teacher had pulled up next to us, and I waved at her, but don't remember any of that. (Shan said it was Mrs. Marlar, for those that know her.)

The next thing I remember, we were home again. Emily's Honor Roll program was Friday afternoon and Shan was going to watch that and then pick up Tyler from school. I told her I would be fine. She reminded me that I needed to change out the gauze in my mouth. As she walked out the door, I remember thinking that I needed to get up.

And then I fell asleep. I was out for another hour or so, but when I woke up, I remembered I had to change my gauze. I also realized that the pain medicine was wearing off in a severe way! I felt like someone had not only beat me with a stick, but that my bottom teeth were evidently soldered to my top teeth! Every time I tried to open my mouth, it felt like I was pulling the bottom teeth out of their sockets! HOLY SMOKES! I finally did get up and change out the gauze. As I sat back down on the couch, I remember hearing the van pull up. Apparently, I fell asleep so quickly that when Shan and the kids came in, I was snoring VERY loudly.. so much they couldn't even talk to themselves over the sound! Man, how bad is that!?

The rest of Friday was spent in and out of consciousness. I barely remember my Mom coming down and at one point, Janette had come over to give Shan some stuff but I could not wake up enough to say anything. Or if I did wake up, I don't remember any of it. Tyler decided to play Guitar Hero and I told him I would play bass. I watched the colored circles come down the fret board, but I could not make my fingers match the colors and strum at the same time. All I can tell you is that rock stars who are doing drugs are certainly not on Valium or hydrocodine, because there is no way to make your fingers press the strings while your other hand strums, and still make any kind of coherent music! Tyler said we actually beat three of four songs! I have no idea how that happened.

Shan made taco soup and gave me a bowl to eat for supper. It is not easy to eat anything while your mouth is full of gauze, but I managed to spoon it in and it was delicious!

I took my pain meds as often as I was allowed and Shan kept up with the timing. By the time it was bedtime, I had taken the gauze out completely (I had to switch it out every 30 minutes or so during the day). I opted not to take any pain meds before going to bed, and when I woke up Saturday, my mouth was killing me.


I got up and took my meds, then Emily and I watched tom and Jerry cartoons while I began typing this out. I have to say, I have no idea if the words on this post make any sense at all, but I'll do a quick review and fix what I can. I don't know how hydrocodine affects you, but it gives me a distinct feeling of loopiness.

And if you really want the whole story, told with a HUGE amount of funny moments, ask Shan to tell you all about it. :-)

2 comments:

  1. OMG if my sister's version is any funnier than your own tale of events I will fall out for laughing so hard! I laughed and laughed after reading this! I hate that u were in pain and hope u are feeling better but this was too funny!!!!

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  2. Hey David, I followed you over here from Tribecards. Glad your surgery went well. You may not know this, but, I'm a dentist. I always like to get things from the patient's perspective. It sounds like things went reasonably well.

    I will say that the straw thing is WAY more important than you could imagine. You could put yourself in a world of hurt.

    As far as the rock stars on valium and vicoden, I think those guys just get a lot of practice!

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