I think I offended the surgeon just a little bit with my level of suspicion. After all, how could it go well? He was removing 1/36th of my mouth!
Typically, I arrived with Vicky all jokes and quips. This just got worse as the procedure neared. Some people shake when they’re terrified. Some people cry. I crack wise.
They took me into a little waiting area with a recliner and a video monitor where they showed me a tape from 1987. It was a “scare you out of your mind” kind of tape. “You may develop a serious infection after the procedure.” “Your jaw may need to be broken.” GREAT! I mentioned this to the doctor afterwards, trying to explain that the old tape didn’t really ease the patient into the procedure – but he got a bit defensive. A new tape (I’m hoping it would be on DVD by now) would cost him $1,100 and he had to play it for full disclosure! Only later did I work out the four or five bullets he could have on a 3x5 card to deliver the same information in a more personalized, sympathized manner. I miss marketing so much I’m doing it at the dentist!
Actually, he’s an oral surgeon. Dr. Paul Braun in Orange. Great guy. The receptionist told me, “He’s just like a doctor.” I replied, “Point of fact, he really is a doctor. Right? He’s not just kidding?”
They were backed up, so I was asked to remain on the recliner and try to relax. Try to relax? How would I do that? Well, the receptionist (Phyllis) dimmed the lights and brought me a blankie. That was nice. So, I waited. When my time came, I was brought into the procedure room, where I was met by two young ladies named Erin. After they told me their names, I promised to try not to get them wrong. I lied down on a comfy looking bed and the Erins got me prepped. A nitrous oxide mask was strapped onto my nose and EEG tape was put on my chest. The girls and I were joking around so much that I wasn’t getting the nitrous oxide – you have to really breath it, you know?
When Dr. Braun came in, he set up my IV and I huffed nitrous while he give me my general anesthetic.
“Oh yeah,” I said, feeling something happen. “That’s it.”
As they prepped, one of the Erins asked, “You feeling it?”
My body slipped down into itself, that feeling you get when sleep is pushed upon you. I replied, “You bet. G’night folks.”
“What did he say?” Dr. Braun asked.
“I think he said, G’night folks.”
I tried to laugh. “That’s right. G’night folks.” And that was it for me.
Next thing I knew, I heard the doc say, “Okay, Ken, you can wake up now. We’re done.”
And I did wake up. I wasn’t groggy. I wasn’t medicated. But best of all, I wasn’t in any pain at all. That’s the important part. As we were walking out, I asked one of the Erins (who can tell them apart?) what happened to the tooth. She said they provide them dental schools to help their education. That’s nice. Still… I wanted to see it. “Can I see it?” I asked. “Sure,” she said, and went and got it. Holding it in gauze, it was a mother of a tooth. It came out in one piece, perfect, and huge. No wonder my mouth was hurting. I had a rhino molar in my mouth!
I went home, started taking my vicodin, and eased back with Vic to watch some TV. (Oh wait. She went to the store and bought me Orange Cream sherbet! Apparently, ice cream is good for this too! What doesn’t the magic of ice cream cure?) At around 9pm, Dr. Braun called to see how I was doing. I was grateful that because I wanted to thank him for the great job he and his people did. They really put my mind at ease and made the whole thing go smoothly.
So, there you have it. Well, at least, there I don’t any more.
(This blog is dedicated to those folk still nervous about their wisdom teeth. Get a good oral surgeon and you’re set.) (This means you, Jenn!)