Reminder to Self and Reminder to You

Be brave. Do it scared. Refer to the sections “Scary, Scary, Scary” (page 12), “Defending Your Weakness” (page 16), “Fear Is Boring” (page 19), “The Fear You Need and the Fear You Don’t Need” (page 22), and “The Road Trip” (page 24) in Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Wisdom Teeth

Welcome to another week on my blog.(: Since I got the last of my wisdom teeth removed last week and am still recovering, I decided to write about them this week.

I had my wisdom teeth removed in two total surgeries. The first surgery was July 2011 for my bottom two wisdom teeth, and the second surgery was last week for my top THREE wisdom teeth—yep, I’m weird all over.

I was SO NERVOUS for both of my surgeries. I thought I was calmer the second time around, and maybe I was calmer but not as calm as I thought I was or had expected, ugh. It’s frustrating.

I was first introduced to the idea of wisdom teeth extractions (at least as far as I can remember) by a TV show called Brace Face. The main character (who has braces, yes) is nervous to get her wisdom teeth out and finds out it isn’t as big a deal as she thought. My brain hooked on to the worry, and I probably had anxiety my whole life so that probably made it worse. Then, I heard that my mom had to have her jaw broken to get hers removed, but hers were severely impacted. Then, my dad had a freak reaction to the anesthesia (no reaction before or since then and our dentist at the time did operate out of a trailer…). So all of that and my aversion to bones and teeth being in unnatural positions, such as being pulled out of cut gums and your mouth bleeding, had me FREAKED OUT. And I think I was, like, twelve when I saw that episode of Brace Face, and I was sixteen when I had my first wisdom teeth surgery—twenty-two for the second.

Fast forward to 2011 or so. I was so freaked out by the surgery that I got physically ill and close to passing out when I looked at my x-rays with my wisdom teeth in and imagining the procedure anytime it was brought up, even if the dentist said, “We’re not going to worry about them for now.” I would still think about one day when we would have to worry about them. So my mom finally schedules them. She lies to me at first to help me freak out less. She tells me they’re scheduled in December when they were actually scheduled in July. I think she told me this at the end of May or some time in June. It took my younger brother telling her she needed to tell me the truth for her to tell me it was less than a month than away.

I cried when I got on the dentist chair. I was given Valium before, but my mom thinks the adrenaline in me from panicking stopped it from working until after we left the dentist and were getting me soft foods at Walmart. I cried and calmed down, and my mom had to hold my hand the entire surgery for me to stay calm. The shots in the back curve of my mouth (where your top and bottom gums/jaws connect) were the worst part. It only lasted 5-10 seconds on each side and was like super clench-y feeling. I don’t really know how to describe it, but it was only for a moment that it was so bad. I tried using this to calm me down this time around. It didn’t work. So I got my wisdom teeth done fine and went to Walmart when the Valium kicked in, and I couldn’t walk, so I had to sit in the buggy. My mom pushed me around Walmart, and she said I would point and laugh at random people we passed. Sooorry.

The recovery was the hard part for me. I had blacked out at point the previous fall. I would eat junk food almost aaaall the time when I was hungry, so I ended up malnourished. And it was a weird black out—just one second I was aware and the next I could see and hear and talk fine and all of that except I did not know where I was. My friend told me later that she thought I was pulling some sort of prank joke. By the time I got my wisdom teeth surgery, we thought I was much healthier. Maybe I was on a normal diet, but the soft foods/liquid diet cut a lot of foods out for me since I’m a picky eater (the reason I opted for junk food instead of supper many nights). I don’t know if it was the pain pill or the antibiotic that made me nauseated, but that happened and was unpleasant. Then, when I got the steroids, that made me hot flash-y and dizzy—probably because I do not eat enough to keep up with a ramped up metabolism. I ended up blacking out again at some point during my recovery, but this one was way worse. Looking back, it may have been the dizzy side effect from one of the medicines that made me feel worse, but I felt like I was in a haze, and I felt stuck. I felt like the rest of my life was going to be like that, and it was miserable. I actually got suicidal-ish one night after it happened. I started convincing myself that people would get over it if I killed myself. But I scared myself with that one thought, went to sleep, and haven’t had a suicidal thought since then, thankfully.

Now, it’s 2017, so I’ve had a six-year break from wisdom teeth. I started going to therapy at the beginning of this year, so we talked about my wisdom teeth since it was coming up and super freaking me out, and I was so convinced that I was fine and not as worried as I thought! I even had a therapy session the day before the surgery because I go weekly right now. I was fine until it was time for bed. Then, I was scared. If I went to sleep, I’d wake up, and when I woke up, it would be surgery time for better or for worse. There was no going back, and I wasn’t allowing myself to postpone it. I had so much trouble breathing that morning. I felt like I just couldn’t do my deep breathing techniques that I learned in therapy. But being outside felt so much better, even outside between our vehicle and the entrance of the dentist office.

I finally got called to the back, and I started crying.): I thought I was going to do so much better, ugh. It makes me tear up a little right now just thinking about it. I don’t know why. If it’s a sad for me tear up or a remembering the fear and the disappointment—fear of the surgery and disappointment in myself for crying. And the assistant said that my mom was going to have to leave me at first! Like, nuh-uh, please, no. How is she going to hold my hand though this if she’s not even here??? (Legit tears now and running nose—I think it’s remembering the fear.) Like, my therapist even asked if my boyfriend was coming to the surgery with me—you know, as support or something—and I was like, “No, my mom,” and wrote it off as oh, she’s a nurse blahblahblah. Uh huh, sure, that’s what it is. No, it’s because I’m a titty baby. Crap, why did I lie in therapy? I’ll correct myself in the next session.(;

So I was told never mind, I could keep my mom. Good. Then, they offered nitrous oxide (laughing gas) to me instead of Valium, which I was scared of that, too. Like, I wanted to be all here, not knocked out or anything. What if I never woke up??? Ugh, I learned in therapy that “what if”s don’t count because half of the time they never happen anyway.): But still, I wanted to be awake. Nitrous gas keeps you awake, just takes off the nervous edge. I had to ask my mom if I should do it. She said I should, so I did. They asked me how old I was at some point...yes, I am a twenty-two-year-old baby. Please, stop judging me. We’re all scared of something, right??? You know how old I am. You have my chart.

So I get the nitrous gas and have to breathe through my nose, ugh. Deep breathing practice, huh? That I’m not good at. My mom says I breathe too hard for it to be relaxing. She says I sound like a woman in labor, lol. I keep my eyes closed for most of the rest of it, so what happens next is sound and feeling. Something gets put into my mouth to numb the area where I get the shots. They help a little. The shots were not as bad as the first ones, which my dentist said is normal and that the bottom wisdom teeth are always worse for a couple reasons. I still whined and wimpered anyway. I think it helped me cope or something. I guess I’ll be a vocal birther, sigh. I was hoping I could be a silent warrior. The worst part was those monsters being wiggled out. Like, what the heck were y’all doing????? I know it was just pressure, A LOT OF PRESSURE, which is still better than pain, but still—ugh!

I was funny throughout the surgery. The laughing gas got rid of my filter. The dentist asked the assistant for a tool called a Minnesota, and I told him a joke about Minnesota: Where are the smallest sodas sold? Mini-soda. I think he thought it was funny. It was the joke he was laughing at or me. Then, when he finally got my extra wisdom tooth out, he said it was cute, and I said, “Like me,” lol. I was so funny.

I had a list of, like, twelve questions about how long after the surgery can I continue certain foods, etc. Then, I asked the assistant if the dentist was related to the dentist who did my first wisdom tooth surgery because they were both Oriental dentists working at the same practice with the same last name. And there’s another doctor with their last name and is oriental that seems like he could be related to them. My dentist was not related to my first surgeon, so I apologized to the assistant for being racist, but she said it wasn’t racist and laughed at me. I also asked the assistant (after I was on laughing gas because I WAS too embarrassed to ask earlier) when I could kiss again, lol. She wasn’t very clear. Thankfully, I won’t see Aaron until after the magic five days when I could return to a normal diet and use a straw anyway, so it seems safe.

I was SO HOT after the procedure. When my mom was paying, I had to fan myself with a magnet the office had on their counter. I felt perfectly fine the first day. I didn’t want to stay home, so I didn’t. I went everywhere my mom had to go. I also used over 50 gauze pads the first day because I couldn’t stop checking whether I was still bleeding. The second day, I thought I was fine, but I got DIZZY at some point at the store. I didn’t know it was called dizzy. I don’t know what I thought dizzy was. My head felt funny, and even though I could see, I felt like I couldn’t focus on seeing without squinting my eyes. And when I closed my eyes, it felt soooo good. I could have fallen asleep so easily at that moment.

And now, I can’t stop sleeping it feels like. I took my last pain pill this morning, so I’ve missed two doses now, and I can’t believe I’m still so tired. However, I think I’m probably not eating and/or drinking enough.): Which is hard to fix because I don’t feel hungry or thirsty very often, and when I do, guess what I want—junk food. People make wisdom teeth surgery sound awesome with, “Aw, yeah, ice cream,” but it’s making me sick because I’m not very hungry, and when I am, I eat the junk food I’m told I’m supposed to be able to enjoy. But I can’t because I stay sick!


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