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Friday, 20 January
Thursday, I'm In Pain

It started innocently enough yesterday. I went to get my teeth cleaned, as I do three times a year, since I am a smoker with a frankly kickass dental plan. (Lisa needs braces! Sorry, reflex.) No big deal, although I wondered if the gal cleaning my teeth was a little wobbly that day. At one point, she was attacking an incisor with particular rigor, and then muttered, "Hold on. I've got to turn this up!" She abruptly left the office. When she returned, Billy Joel's "Allentown" was noticably louder on the speakers, and she remarked, "Now I can get this stain."

I just want to note right now that nothing in this post is made up.

Later that evening, I noticed that my lower left gum was a little inflamed. Nothing too bad, but it was tender. I still have all my wisdom teeth, and the left lower one is only partially emerged, so this has happened a couple times before. It usually fades soon. (Why do I still have all my wisdom teeth? Because I'm a big fucking chicken. And honestly, most of the time, they don't bother me at all.) I didn't worry about it much, and gave myself a salt gargle before going to bed.

Then this morning I woke up in some previously uncharted circle of oropharyngeal hell. My gum was hideously inflamed and tender, and even the mere act of swallowing triggered all sorts of awful pain waves. (Smoking did too, but somehow less so . . . gosh, I wonder why?) Despite all this, I went in to work--it'll wear off! Right? Right?--and made it all of about an hour before calling it quits. I rang up my dentist office and explained what was going on.

The receptionist listened to my situation and asked, "On a scale of one to ten, how bad is the pain?" I'll bet there's a reason that so many medical receptionists are female. The tiny sliver of male non-wussiness in me rose up at the question. "Three or four," I muttered. Three or four? Yeah, three or four hundred. But I sure wasn't going to tell that to . . . some woman I've never met before! I'M ALL MAN! But of course I am not all man, since I'm pretty sure my pain tolerance is pretty pathetic. I mean, I can't even handle getting hiccups.

ANYWAY. They agreed that I should be looked at, and so I bailed out of work for a 10:00 appointment. Dr. J. (yeah!) took a look at my ruined mouth. At first he didn't see it . . . which didn't make me very confident. But he had been looking in the wrong place, because then he made this "UH!" noise, like someone who has just discovered a dead cat in his easy chair. "I see what you mean," he said neutrally. "That was either one hell of an aggressive infection, or your cleaning yesterday really aggravated something."

WHO FUCKING CARES? My mind screamed. But I had a bunch of other people's fingers in my mouth, so I could only go, "Yuh."

He explained to me that my left bottom wisdom tooth was partially emerged (which we all knew), and that he could either 1. slice away the creeping gum that kept occluding the tooth, which would almost certainly grow back; or 2. right then and there rip the fucking molar right out of my skull. "You could go back to work today if you felt up to it."

Gee, can I?

Well, one of two horrible things was going to happen this day. And one of those horrible things would probably just happen again later, for, you know, more horror. So . . . I told him to pull the fucking tooth.

We talked about the details. "You won't feel anything but pressure, like this." He pushed down on my shoulder. "We'll give you a local." Needles in my mouth! Just like I planned when I woke up! "That's it?" I said weakly. He looked at me for a moment. "We could also give you laughing gas. It's--" I cut him off. "I totally want gas." He looked at me again and gave a nearly invisible sigh. "You seem nervous," he said. I stared at him. It was like he had said, "You seem to have skin." Nervous? He wanted to remove bony structures from my mouth!

He read my face. "Jenny, can we get a gas hookup?"

Good old Jenny really got a lot of balls rolling then as we moved into Phase II of Operation: Ruin Skot's Week. She dollied in a tank of NO2, and then gave me a delightful swab of topical anaesthetic to gnaw on. Presently, Dr. J. returned to fit me with my NO2 nosepiece and waited for me to be acceptably peaceful about the needle he held in his hand. All at once it hit me, and my extremities became exceedingly tingly. "Can you box some of this up for me to take home?" I asked.

"Ha ha ha," he said mirthlessly, and then propped my jaw open with a big rubber chock block, and dove in. I dimly felt him stab me way down in the back of my jaw, and then the entire left side of my face slid away. He got some plier-looking implement and went to work. I studied the ceiling with a monkish intensity while he worked. The thing about laughing gas is not that it's a euphoric . . . it's more like a distancing drug. I knew what was going on, but really . . . there were more interesting things to think about. Like, for example, the fact that I felt like Kid Flash. (Again: seriously.) I thought, "I'm totally like Kid Flash right now!" (BZZZZZ! GRIND.) "I'm definitely Kid Flash."

Later, when the gas wore off, this was . . . well, humiliating. Kid Flash? Not only does it make no sense, but it's just stupid. I can't even fantasize about being the legitimate Flash? I have to be Kid Flash?

At some point, Dr. J. asked how I was doing. I reflected for a moment, or perhaps centuries. Dr. J. waited patiently. When no answer was forthcoming, he experimentally wiggled the damn tooth with his evil pliers. I clawed the base of my jaw frantically. I FELT THAT! "We can take care of that," said Dr. J. I felt him jab me way the fuck down in my mouth again, and now my neck was gone. "We sure have sedated the hell out of you," he muttered, and my whole Kid Flash thing was gone. Now I was Beast Boy or something. "Pain Lad! Who cannot tolerate pain!" Fortunately, the gas still acted as a deterrent towards caring.

When all was said and done, I was able to leave Dr. J.'s office under my own power, minus one tooth. I crawled into a cab and moaned, "Gemme da Bemon an Erger!" My jaw-hole was packed with gauze, but I guess cabbies have heard worse, and he drove me home. I deliriously overtipped him and wandered into my apartment; I then called the wife to report that I was home and needed SOUP, STAT! Then I passed out on the couch, presumably from the sedation, but I also figured my entire body was just fucking disgusted with me.

"What, he can't even get through this lousy day without some asshole drugging him and stealing some of our bones? Jesus Christ. Put him to sleep while we work on repairing this goddamn hole in his face."

And so I slept most of the day while my body fretted about the awful insult that it had received. I woke up only a couple times to 1. gingerly chew on some nicotine gum to relieve the smoke fits; 2. marvel at the incredible oozing grossness of my gauze pack ("It's like Elmo got run over by a tank!"); and 3. of course, fret about dry socket infections.

I bet Kid Flash never has to worry about this shit.

Whinging | Skot | 20 Jan, 2006 |

Note: Comments are closed on old entries.

Comments

Hi,

i love your blog and all. *pokes around in skot's mouth to look where the hole used to be* does that hurt? :)

btw, how come u spell ur name skot? instead of like, scott? not to be offensive or nuthin, but is it cos ur a bit of a retard? :D like, its okay if you're a bit of a retard. no really. like some of my best friends are retards so dont worry. so yeah, its okay if ur a bit retarded like. but i am just curious.

*waves*

chris.

Comment number: 006250   Posted by: chris on January 20, 2006 03:20 AM from IP: 202.168.101.124

Don't worry about dry socket. If you get it, you'll know.

Comment number: 006251   Posted by: Kate on January 20, 2006 06:28 AM from IP: 70.231.255.25

If it makes you feel any better, Skot, Kid Flash is the Real Grownup Flash now. And that's the tooth!

Comment number: 006252   Posted by: Steve on January 20, 2006 07:40 AM from IP: 129.22.115.127

laughed. my. ass. off. Hope you're feeling better skot... and i might save this story for one of my friends in a similar situation. maybe a little pre-emptive action could save some pain, yes? -Dr. MPF

Comment number: 006253   Posted by: Xiad DDS on January 20, 2006 08:49 AM from IP: 72.128.114.105

When I got my wisdom teeth out, I kicked off my shoes and kept interrupting the surgery to tell all the dental technicians how much I loved them. It was awesome.

What's Kid Flash?

Comment number: 006254   Posted by: kirsten on January 20, 2006 08:53 AM from IP: 24.151.45.242

I did two wisdom teeth with just novocaine ~because I am several orders of magnitude more manly than you~. The most fun part was when I could feel the dentist breaking one of the teeth. Or maybe it was when he braced his leg against the dentist chair to get more leverage. At one point, I wondered if he was removing just the tooth, or actual parts of my jaw. It was that much fun.

Comment number: 006255   Posted by: kaf on January 20, 2006 09:30 AM from IP: 63.81.40.65

I had 3 of 4 of my wisdom teeth removed in high school. They gave me laughing gas and about half way through, my mind wandering over to that Bill Cosby routine about getting novacaine and not being able to talk. I don't actually remember if it *is* funny, but my god - on that day in my mind, it was the funniest thing EVER IN THE WHOLE WORLD, and they had to keep stopping the digging because I kept giggling. They actually started to get worried (or annoyed) and they brought my mom in to talk to me, which made me want to explain what was so funny - despite my complete lack of ability to talk due to stuff in my mouth. Hi-freakin'-larious.

Story 2 - Mark has all 4 of his wisdom teeth out just a few years ago, right around the time that we'd just begun dating seriously. During the procedure, they accidentally nicked the his sinus cavity. Apparently this happens. It's not wildly common, but it's not uncommon either. The only thing you can do is just wait for it to heal. In the meantime, he couldn't drink anything without having it drip out of his nose, and he constantly had this ... well, bad taste in his mouth, accompanied by an odor that only he could smell. I mean, it's the goddam sinus cavity, right? Jesus. Poor dude. Good thing I was already loving him like mad because - let's just say he's not the most delighful convalescent.

Comment number: 006256   Posted by: Peggy on January 20, 2006 09:55 AM from IP: 128.95.169.35

God...you're such a baby.

Comment number: 006257   Posted by: el on January 20, 2006 10:41 AM from IP: 156.74.250.7

Yea, don't sweat the dry socket...but don't go poking in your tooth-hole with your tongue, either.

How sad is it that I enjoyed this painful post so much more than the previous terse post that barely even qualified as a post? Gosh.

Comment number: 006258   Posted by: spygeek on January 20, 2006 12:57 PM from IP: 192.28.2.52

agghh. I can't believe I read all of that. I think I'm developing a dentist phobia.

The guy who got out my wisdom teeth had the brilliant idea that I would be just fine with gas, nothing else. I still hate him for that. At least I got to freak him out a little when I screamed my way out of gassedness the second he started to cut. Novocaine is a good thing! Maybe someone just forgot.

Comment number: 006259   Posted by: yensen on January 20, 2006 03:18 PM from IP: 172.133.47.55

Speaking as someone who still has all of his wisdom teeth, I can say with some security, "Gummy Joe, where would you be without the dental plan?" "Well, I wouldn't have ol' Chomper here, that's fer sure."

Also, don't denigrate Kid Flash. He's matured a lot since his days as "Impulse". And, he may have just sacrificed himself in Infinite Crisis.

Think before you geek.

Comment number: 006260   Posted by: Joe on January 20, 2006 05:02 PM from IP: 68.164.202.41

I had all 4 wisdom teeth out at the same time, but they put me out, or under, or whatever they call that. It was awesome, but I may have become briefly addicted to painkillers in the weeks following.

In any case -- I totally ignored their warnings about not smoking afterwards, just cut back a bit, and my sockets were totally fine.

Comment number: 006261   Posted by: Amanda on January 21, 2006 01:57 PM from IP: 72.225.225.71

I had all of my wisdom teeth pulled by an elderly dental surgeon named Bobby. He was able to get all four in under thirty minutes using only laughing gas to put me under completely. My awe of Bobby was considerably undercut by his office trappings, chosen by his lavender-obsessed wife. I woke up in a purple dentists' chair, surrounded by purple Siamese cats painted on the walls.

Comment number: 006262   Posted by: Nik on January 22, 2006 07:51 AM from IP: 24.127.40.172

...She dollied in a tank of NO2...

No it would have been N20 (dinitrogen monoxide)which is laughing gas. N02 would be nitrogen dioxide which is an "insidious deadly poison by inhalation" according to wikipedia. You really don't want to get those two mixed up.

Comment number: 006263   Posted by: DW on January 23, 2006 08:30 AM from IP: 209.183.138.198

Because you care: They gave me the gas when they took out all the wisdom teeth at once. However, they failed to recognize the inefficacy of such a thing for a person suffering from a tremendous head cold. So I tried and tried and tried to get a little of that gas through the old mucus-tubes, but the aid of what little I managed to breath was outweighed by the subsequent gagging. And the two hour train ride home. I spent the next four days on the couch cuddling with my dear friend Percocet.

Comment number: 006264   Posted by: liz on January 23, 2006 10:11 AM from IP: 208.253.159.66

And mashed potatoes. Lots and lots of mashed potatoes.

Comment number: 006265   Posted by: liz on January 23, 2006 10:12 AM from IP: 208.253.159.66

As a southerner, the only thing left to say is, "Bless your heart."

Comment number: 006266   Posted by: Mickey on January 23, 2006 04:05 PM from IP: 65.1.99.24

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