oral surgery

Hello from the world of convalescence!

Things have been slow going since my oral surgery.

While I typically am unable to take sick time off…even when sick…I did manage to carve out three days for recovery. Wednesday (my normal day off), Thursday and Friday. While the idea of three days off sounds great in theory, its fun factor is significantly reduced when you are spending them in bed with swollen, bruised chipmunk cheeks.

Essentially, my life for the last 72 hours has consisted of three things:

1) Ice Cream

(Source and Source)

2) Soup

Turkey “Hodge Podge” Soup

(chicken broth, celery, leeks, 1 can (rinsed and drained) black beans, 1 cup leftover Kashi pilaf, half Safeway Signature Cafe (fully cooked, ready to eat) roasted turkey breast (shredded), ground cumin, and curry powder. Topped with avocado and Fage greek yogurt. 5 saltine crackers, crumbled and combined)

3) Sappy Young Adult/Teenage Drama

Sorry. It couldn’t be helped. I finished re-watching My So-Called Life and I went through the Star Trek TNG Netflix discs I had on the very first day (as well as disc one of “Square Pegs“…that show did not age well…). So, for the past two days I’ve been instant viewing “The Secret Life of the American Teenager“. I think part of me was drawn to it because Brenda Hampton created it. She created 7th Heaven, and as a teenager, I really enjoyed 7th Heaven. Well, until Mary Camden’s (Jessica Biel) life went down the crapper. Didn’t like it much after that.

Anyway, despite having watched 1.5 seasons so far, I’m not sure how I feel about the show. I like that it has Molly Ringwald in it. So far, I also love the younger sister, Ashley. Out of all of the characters, I think I am most like Ashley. Well, except for the belly shirt wardrobe choice. I believe all of my friends would agree. On personality and wardrobe.

(Source)

Is it awkward that I am most like the 13 year old? Um…she seems mature?

(P.S.  If you don’t know who Molly Ringwald is, I don’t think we can be friends anymore.)

So with the exception of pain medication, ice packs, my post surgery pain survey (almost done filling it out…hello $25!) and hours spent staring at my computer, these three things have been what my life has consisted of.

As far as recovery goes, I’m feeling much better than Wednesday, but still not 100%. I’m still fairly swollen and the bruises are turning a lovely shade of plum. I got some really uncomfortable stares at Safeway yesterday when I went there to pick up the soup ingredients. I also am feeling kind of fatigued and weak, which I noticed after the afore-mentioned trip to the supermarket made me want to crawl into bed and take a 6 hour nap. The extraction sites still hurt and it is difficult to brush my teeth. On the bright side of life, my range of motion is much improved, it’s easier to talk and I haven’t needed to take too much medication. Mostly I’ve stuck to ibuprofen, as the pain isn’t that bad and ibuprofen is an anti-inflamatory. Anything that can reduce these cheeks in size is a friend of mine.

Fairly unhappy about having to go back to work tomorrow, but those are the breaks. Nothing like having a swollen, bruised face when working with the public….nothing like it at all…..

If you were me, what 3 things would you have chosen to keep you occupied while convalescing?

Sorry for going silent there for a few days.

I had a lot to get done at both work and home before Tuesday.

What was special about Tuesday? It was THE day. The day I had been trying to schedule, pay for and make happen for months (actually, years..) finally came.

I had oral surgery to remove my 4 impacted wisdom teeth.

While this was completely and totally necessary, I have been dreading the procedure ever since I learned that I would need it several years ago. You see, I’m terrified of dentists, and to top it off, I was even more scared of the IV sedation. I’ve partied, in my day, but never have I lost any period of time. I always have had the capacity to recall how dumb I behaved while under the influence of a substance. The idea of being pumped full of drugs and simply losing 2 hours of my life wasn’t really something I looked forward to.

I spent all of Monday feeling anxious. I called and confirmed my appt. with the dental school’s oral surgery department. It took like 5 phone calls and an hour of my life. I kept trying to reach the “appointment” line of the department, but every time it would just shove me on hold. As a last ditch attempt, I chose the “billing” option and I got right through.

Interesting, no?

They confirmed my apt for 2pm on Tuesday and reminded me that it was going to cost $1,366, since I couldn’t get a payment plan for the school. Can you say financial ouch?

I spent all of Tuesday morning hungry. You can’t eat or drink for 8 hours prior to surgery, and unfortunately, since my case was complex, I had to be seen by a resident or instructor. They don’t come in until the afternoon session. Lucky me.

At 1:30 pm, my friend Peter came to pick me up and take me to the appt. We got there at about 1:45pm and I checked in. First I was called in by a woman who explained that I had been chosen to participate in a study. I pretty much just have to write down my pain levels and adverse effects for 4 days, mail it back to the school and they will give me $25. I consented to be part of the study…might as well get something positive out of this experience!

Shortly after that I was taken back to the surgery room. I met my surgeon and the nurse in charge of anaesthesia. They got a little medical history from me, told me there was nothing to be scared of, and then hooked me up to a heart rate monitor, oxygen flow and an IV.  Then they turned the overhead lights off and covered me up with a blanket, as the doctor said it gets cold in the room. I don’t remember too much more, as within 2 minutes of the IV drip starting, I was out.

I woke up at one point, heard mumbling about only one left. I think I heard the doctor tell the nurse to give me more of something. Then seconds later I felt like I was waking up again. My suspicion is that I started to wake up one tooth too early. It all kind of blends together. I remember the room looking all rainbow-colored as I started to come out. The second time I remember waking up, all of the equipment was being removed. I tried to talk, but I was packed with gauze. Everything was a little foggy, but I knew where I was and what had happened. I heard someone say they were going to get Peter. Then I remember asking if I could see my teeth. They showed them to me…two were whole, the other two broken into pieces. I guess I must’ve asked to keep the whole ones, as they were wrapped in a plastic zip loc bag and put with my things.

Then they brought Peter in. They explained what I was supposed to do afterwards to him, and I found out later that before they brought him in, someone had sat out in the waiting room and explained that they were going to bring me out in a wheelchair and he should watch for profuse bleeding. He said it kind of freaked him out and he had asked them if I was okay. They reassured him it was normal. I ended up not needing a wheelchair. Peter helped me up and got me out and to the car. Then to Walgreens where I sat pathetically in a seat while he got my prescriptions for me, pointing to me and reassuring the pharmacist that he was picking up pills for me because I couldn’t talk. Apparently I looked so awful that the pharmacist threw in 2 ice packs for free. Thank you, Walgreens!

Peter got me into my apartment, helped me figure out what medicine to take, wrote down a note for me so I would know when to take the next dose. He then went to the store to get me milk and supplies. Once he was really sure that I was going to be okay, he took off for home and I settled down for a long evening of watching Star Trek: The Next Generation on DVD. He called and checked in on me at 7:30pm, made sure I was okay and reminded me of when I could medicate again. He told me today that I had seemed so pathetic and sad yesterday that he felt really bad/worried about me. I have such good friends.

I felt pretty awful for the rest of Tuesday, but thus far, Wednesday hasn’t been as bad as I expected. The pain has been mild, but the swelling is out of this world.

In order to avoid scaring/scarring you, I’ve dolled up the pictures. Let’s do a comparison.

Alexa: Grumpy at work…all teeth accounted for.

Alexa: Grumpy at home…missing 4 slightly useless teeth.

Due to this incredibly “not cute” swelling situation I have going on, I’ve spent most of the day doing this…

…while looking at this:

I foresee a lot more of these two things in my future.

Do you still have your wisdom teeth?