WRITERS NOTE: We both were inspired to write about the same event. Enjoy this double perspective on what happened that brought us each gratitude and joy. I’ll go first.
For a couple of days now, I’ve spent a lot of time asking, “how are you feeling?” A few weeks ago, my husband learned one of the wisdom teeth he never had removed in his teens needed to come out — NOW! The news was shocking and a little unbelievable. I mean … who makes it to 60 with all four wisdom teeth intact? Apparently a lot of people.
He visited the oral surgeon and set the appointment for the extraction. On the appointed morning, after spending at least two days warning all of his co-workers that he would actually not be checking his phone or email on his day off, we drove to the office. Just before they called him back, I snapped a quick “before” pic.
I’d spent a fairly restless night. I’ve nursed two kids through this procedure. Even in your teens, having a wisdom tooth pulled can leave you in pain for several days. I braced myself for the worst while promising his peers I’d do my best to capture a “coming out of anesthesia” video.
He spent the first several hours seemingly none-the-worse for wear. Then the novocaine started wearing off. The throbbing started. I knew he would be uncomfortable. I’d spent a day making him soup, buying yogurt, gratefully accepting a container of sorbet from a neighbor. I thought I was ready.
I’m very lucky. When Greg gets sick, he isn’t your typical guy. He doesn’t lay around moaning and acting like he’s dying. I didn’t trust that he would be able to maintain that this time. I’ve had wisdom teeth removed — it was 45 years ago and I remember it well! I expected pain. I readied the ice pack and pulled out the heating pad for later.
Within a day he had switched to over-the-counter painkillers. The swelling had dropped to almost nothing. The bruising is coming in. We can laugh about how he looks like he was in a bad bar fight. He’s on the mend and for that I am grateful.
There’s a whole world out there just waiting to be explored. For us … the exploration will have to wait a bit for now, but not for long.
Greg Weighs In
When I saw my dentist for my regular check-up and cleaning in February, he informed me it was time to get one of my wisdom teeth pulled. For some 40 years, my dentists have maintained those teeth would be fine where they were since they never broke through the gums. The caveat: as long as they didn’t start to decay or impact anything else. Over the last few years, we’ve been watching ‘ol #17 (lower left) and it finally became time. Dr. Noll hooked me up with oral surgeon Dr. Don Johnson at the North Valley Center for Oral & Implant Surgery for a consult.
Surgery of any kind is never fun, and oral surgery is especially trepidatious. I’ve seen others go through it and was worried more about the recovery than the surgery itself. From the moment I walked into Dr. Johnson’s office, he and his staff put me at ease. The doc explained the procedure simply and honestly along with the variables and risks. They scheduled my appointment – a brief two weeks away and sent me home with prep instructions. The text reminders for my appointment were thorough and often. When we had neighbors over for dinner the night before the extraction, I even managed to pass on the wine to be ready for the next morning.
I put on a brave face, but there was real apprehension (not fear, because I’ve always been comfortable with dentists). I was mostly concerned about the degree of pain I’d be in during and after the surgery. I knew I would be “put under” but would that ease everything? I needn’t have worried. The great and efficient staff brought me into the procedure room, hooked me up to the EKG and blood pressure monitors, and got me comfortable. Dr. Johnson slipped the needle into my arm for the anesthesia, and said he’d be back in a few minutes. I woke up 45 minutes later, certain I’d been there for only five. The whole left side of my face was numb and my mouth was gauze-filled. They were finished!
They eased me out of the chair and walked me to the small recovery area, where I came out of the anesthesia surprisingly quickly (I can’t say that for the last time I had surgery). Judy came in … the assistant gave her the post-operative instructions and called my prescription meds into our pharmacy so all we had to do was swing by and pick them up. Dr. Johnson came by to check on me. He honestly seemed a little thrilled he was able to get the whole tooth and mentioned an unfortunate gentleman earlier that morning who needed a lot more work. Judy took a video of me as we got into the car as potential entertainment for our friends, but I just didn’t really feel that “high!”
In the sunlight, I started feeling a little more normal. That’s when I realized I was thirsty — REALLY thirsty … and I needed caffeine! Judy stopped at a convenience store to get me some water and an iced coffee. Ahhh!
We planned to spend the day lazing around the pool and doing nothing else. I started out with the antibiotic as directed and a couple hours later, the pain meds, mostly to stave off the throbbing that was already kicking in as the numbness waned. Judy fed me soup and stew — all soft foods per the post-op instructions. As the sun settled, I did too … in front of the TV for a personal movie fest, grateful the pain meds were doing their job and I was almost pain free.
The morning after the surgery, I woke up fully rested. The vicodin did its job. I’ve switched to ibuprofen. Except for some swelling in my jaw and a very dull ache, I feel great. Judy and I even got out for a stroll before the heat of the day rose to unwalkable heights. I’m truly grateful for the capabilities of modern medicine that turn a potential issue into a non-existent problem, and of the professionals who have the skill, experience, and tools to make the procedures as efficient and as painless as possible. Thank you, Dr. Johnson and Team, and to Judy, who ALWAYS takes care of me!
There’s a whole world out there waiting to be explored. Sometimes you have to take care of the medical issues first so that you can continue on your adventure!
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