Okay -- I've been thinking that I should write an account of getting my wisdom teeth pulled. Not only because it was something big in my life and thus belongs on my blog if I want it there, but also because I think others who get their teeth pulled deserve to have accounts to read ahead of time to help prepare them. I'm officially adding my experience to the hundreds that are probably on here somewhere already.
We went in and first talked with the oral surgeon for a long time about different things that you will find boring and thus are not included.1 Then -- and I didn't know this going in -- Justin was not allowed to go with me into the room where they did the actual pulling! Augh! Didn't they know I needed him? I wish I had been forewarned on that one.
After going in and sitting down they strapped the heart rate monitor to my finger and put a blood pressure cuff on my arm. This was unhelpful -- it let me know exactly how stressed out I was. I was trying to calm myself down with little success when they put the thing over my nose for the nitrous oxide. I was breathing it in, wondering if it was going to be okay or if I was going to seriously regret this later, and nothing was happening. I asked what percent the gas was.
"100 percent," they tell me. Now I know they're trying to kill me for sure. But why am I not feeling anything?
"100 percent nitrous?" I ask in a disbelieving voice. Then they laugh at me and tell me it's 100 percent oxygen right now. That makes me feel a little better, but I'm still pretty tense at that point.
They turn on the nitrous oxide at a 50/50 mix and it makes me feel unbelievably dizzy. I ask them to turn it down. They proceeded to numb me up and forcibly yank my teeth out.
It was a really weird experience, like having two levels in my brain. There was the stupid level that was high on drugs and thinking really dumb things.2 Then below that was my sane brain -- I was fully aware and could think about how surreal the experience was and how stupid my other brain was being. I spent a lot of the time thinking about what my cognitive limits were and testing myself to see how fast I could think, which wasn't very fast. It was like my brain was slowed down.
Also, they kept talking to me like I was an idiot or a child. My high brain was okay with this, but the sane brain was kinda peeved. And it was interesting that while the nitrous oxide made me care less about what they were doing, my hands were still involuntarily clenched pretty much the whole time. My body was still stressed and definitely not relaxed. I remember at one point asking if my pulse was too fast. Every time I almost fell asleep my sane brain wouldn't let me. I know it's irrational, but I felt like if I did I might lose myself.
After it was all over I left with a mouth full of gauze and no feeling in the lower half of my face. Word of caution -- go straight to the pharmacy for your pain meds. We got stuck in traffic and had to pick the kids up first, so the numbness wore off completely before I got my prescription. It hurt really, really badly.
The biggest surprise for me was that it took me days -- more than a week -- to feel okay again, No one had mentioned that having your teeth pulled makes you feel like you have the flu. I was lethargic, dizzy, sometimes nauseated, and shaky for days. It was miserable. Add to that not being able to eat anything other than soup and pudding and such stuff and it was not something I would want to do again. I'm glad it's over.
1Well, not first. First was the x-ray machine that swiveled all the way around my head, making me feel like they were deliberately trying to give me brain cancer.
2Every time they said, "that one's out. We're going to clean now," it made my high brain want to say, "I love you guys!" My sane brain didn't let that happen.