Saturday, July 19, 2008

In which I learn that wisdom teeth don't actually grant you any wisdom at all.

Thursday afternoon found me sitting in a dentist's chair for the first time in six years. A constant toothache had finally driven me to make a long overdue appointment. Now, there I sat, berating myself for years of neglect as my teeth throbbed. I could feel it through my neck and up into my temple, a constant drumming of pain.

My dentist looked young. Too young to know what he was doing. But I have to keep reminding myself that I am 27 years old, now. Dentists and doctors are starting to look closer to me in age. My first reaction when he walked into the room was "Oh, god, he's 12 years old." Then I realized that he was probably not much older than me.

He pointed to various things on the X-Rays, prodded around in my mouth, and then delivered his verdict. My wisdom teeth had to go. One had actually killed the molar it was pushing against, so the molar was declared to be a loss as well. Other than that I have two cavities. One shallow, one possibly in need of a root canal, but he "had his fingers crossed" on it. He gave me two prescriptions. One for Vicodin, and one for an antibiotic.

I left his office with mixed feelings. On one hand, I was happy to hear that my teeth are not as bad as I had feared. On the other, I cannot delay having my wisdom teeth removed any longer. I have no dental insurance and I know it will cost a small fortune. I also feel regretful that my molar has to go as well. But I let it go too long, and my tooth is the price for foolishness.

I took a Vicodin when I got home, as his probing had sent my toothache into a full blown frenzy. It felt like demons were hammering spikes through my jaw. My gums were raw and swollen.

Vicodin is interesting. Within half an hour my head was swimming. My bones and muscles felt as though they had turned to liquid and were rolling through my skin like the tide. I couldn't walk without falling and my thoughts fuzzy and slow. Eventually my fiance forced me to lay down so that I wouldn't hurt myself. I stayed in bed and watched my arms, halfway expecting to see the skin drag back and forth in time with the swirling feeling inside it.

The next morning I felt terrible. It took hours for the fog to clear from my brain. I was groggy and slow and every bit of food I ate wanted to come right back up. Luckily I was able to keep my breakfast down.

I think I'd rather live with the pain until the antibiotics calm the inflammation down. I'm saving the vicodin for when I have my wisdom teeth out and don't give a damn if I'm groggy the next day.

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