Friday, January 11, 2013

Goodbye Wisdom Teeth: Day 1

For days (okay- really weeks) before my wisdom teeth surgery I researched the experiences of others looking for the positive stories and trying to give myself hope for the day that I was terrorizing myself about.  I was convinced that the actual surgery portion was just going to be awful, when really it was not too bad at all.  So, I just want to share my own experience so that maybe others can find comfort and reality in the whole wisdom teeth removal... journey.

I really wanted to eat all of my favorite foods the week before the procedure... however, life decided to give me food poisoning instead so I was unable to eat a real meal until the night before the surgery.  My last meal consisted of half a Bobbie and half a Philly from Capriotti's, plus brownies with vanilla ice cream (that was a little over kill considering my stomach was recovering).

I was super nervous the night before, especially since I was not able to drink any water after 11:30 pm.  I have always had a really weird thing where water calms my nerves... or sometimes it makes things worse.  When I was younger I would drink so much water that I would end up throwing it up.  Really strange, but it's a mental block that I have.  So, I went to sleep early and tried not to focus too much on the water obsession!  The morning of the surgery I was a nervous wreck... my stomach was even more upset than it had been when I was sick, but thankfully Nick was very calm and we left the house at 7:15 am since my appointment was at 7:30 am.  When we arrived, we had to watch a video about wisdom teeth that was made back in the 1980's... more than anything, it scared me all over again because it really emphasized the risks of surgery.  But, again, Nick reminded me that thousands of people have this procedure done every day and are just fine.  Then, there was MORE waiting... and I really just wanted to get back there and get it done and over with.  Finally, at about 8:10 am, they called me back and I kissed Nick goodbye.  They took my blood pressure, which was of course sky high.  In fact, they took it multiple times to see if it would go down.  My medical history was reviewed... and then they made a huge deal over the fact that I have mild asthma.  I did not bring my inhaler because I have not used it in months, and my asthma is typically brought on seasonally with allergies.  So, they had an inhaler on site and asked me to take a puff before they would do surgery because they were afraid I would panic and have an attack.  In addition to this, the oral surgeon confirmed with me that I really wanted all four out at once because I had 2 partially erupted teeth on top and 2 impacted teeth on the bottom, one of which he said had grown in sideways and may be difficult to take out.  But, I definitely wanted them ALL out.  I was not going to put myself through this again.  He also warned me that women generally always get a dry socket and they are not sure why, and that I may wake up weepy and/or hysterical.  Super- this was also a big fear of mine!

I waited some more.  It felt like days until someone finally came to get me.  Everyone was generally nice, one nurse even complimented me on my shirt (Walt Whitman FTW).  The room that the surgery was performed in was far smaller than I had expected.  I sat in the chair and they hooked me up to the heart monitors, the blood pressure cuff and that little monitor that goes on your finger.  Then came my biggest fear- the IV.  Not because I am scared of needles, but because my veins are super tiny and nurses always have a hard time finding one to stick.  But, surprisingly they found one right away and started me on a saline drip.

Oh, and then more waiting.

I remember looking at the clock on the computer monitor in front of me and it read 8:47 am.  I know there was some fuss because they had run out of paper for the machine that reads my vitals, but one of the ladies left to go buy some more.  An oxygen tube was put in my nose which felt really weird and I did not feel loopy from it as most people described.  The surgeon came in and told me that he was going to put something in my IV to make me relax.  I watched him inject my IV line with two different syringes (I'm assuming one was an anti-nausea medicine and the other the general anesthesia).  Someone asked me to open my mouth as wide as I could, and they put a foamy block thing in to hold it open and then I was out.  I don't remember feeling sleepy or closing my eyes.  Nothing.

The doctor had told me before the surgery that I would be able to follow their commands and answer questions during the surgery, but the anesthesia would cause an amnesia affect so I would not remember later.  However, I do remember some of the things that went on during surgery.  None were really bad and I was so out of it that I did not care.

At one point, I remember gagging and hearing an assistant say, "She just gagged" and the surgeon replying, "Did she?  I didn't see."  Then someone called my name and told me to take a deep breath through my nose, so I did and it made me feel better.  Later, I remember hearing a tool in my mouth on the lower right side, but then I fell back to sleep.

Toward the end, when I had gauze in my mouth, they began asking me questions to see if I was waking up.  I remember being asked "Do you know where you are?" My reply, "Dentist."  "Do you know why you're here?"  My reply, "Wisdom teeth."  "How many teeth did we take out"  My reply- I held up four fingers.  "Do you know what day of the week it is?"  My reply "Thursday"  "Who is here to take you home?  My reply "My fiance"  "What's his name?"  My reply "Nick."

My eyes were not open at this time, but I remember this all very clearly and I must have fallen back to sleep for a bit.  Then, someone came in with a wheelchair, helped me put my sweater on and into the chair.  I did not cry or fight like most people said I might.  I just felt very serene and like I had waken up from a night of deep and pleasant sleep (with my mouth packed full of gauze).  She took me into the x-ray room, helped me put on the vest and took an orbital x-ray of my teeth.  I remember her handing me back my glasses and I said, "Thank you." and she looked quite surprised and responded with the standard "You're welcome."  Maybe recently drugged up people are generally not so nice afterwards?

Then, I was wheeled out to the front, through a different entrance/exit and Nick was waiting for me with the car pulled up and I hopped right in.  I felt great, coherent and immediately went for my phone to spread the good news.  We went to Walgreens to fill my RX and grab some soups and drinks.  I didn't go inside, because while I felt quite awake I was still a little dizzy.

When we got home, it was a rotation of gauze, ice, jello and pain meds.  I did accidentally pull out a clot when changing my gauze, but it re-clotted itself soon after.  The whole day was breeze until I got a killer headache in the evening that not even the medicine could take away... and that leads us into day 2 which I will conclude tomorrow!

The moral of it all- the surgery and general anesthesia were not so bad.  I wouldn't want to do it again, but I'm glad it went well and it's over now!

Disclaimer: This post was written after recently taking a pain med.  Sorry if parts are confusing!

4 comments:

Landen Worley said...

For an after-surgery post, you were able to write quite coherently. This is a good sign that you were not writhing in pain (cause I would surely only write about how it hurts if it were my blog XP), and that the meds were working just fine. Anyhow, I hope that the following days were not as painful as how I experienced them.

Regards,
Landen Worley

angelica said...

Days 1 and 3 were definitely the easiest to get through! I did however develop dry sockets around day 4/5 which lead to a terrible few weeks. :(

Cody Zieba said...

The most common misconception of people who haven’t had their wisdom teeth removed is that the main surgery is awfully painful, but it is actually the after surgery that is more painful. Getting your wisdom teeth removed is not a scary thing, but it’s normal to be terrified, particularly if it’s your first time. How are you feeling now, Angelica? ->Cody Zieba

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i'm angelica. a twenty something, newly engaged, lover of literature and coffee.
   
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