I am the Chipmunk Queen!

Tamias striatus CT

Queen in exile, obviously, there being no chipmunks in New Zealand.

I had three of my wisdom teeth extracted on Thursday, and now sport a square, manly (if somewhat lopsided) jaw. I look “bloody, bold and resolute” – especially bloody, but let’s not go there.
I was expecting to have all four of my wisdom teeth out, but after the whole jaw x-ray (look! your spine on both sides of the screen!) the dentist decided one was too likely to pop into my sinus if messed with. And then apparently they’d have to cut my sinus open to get it out. No, thank you.

I’d never been sedated before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I remember chatting to the dentist after he’d put in the line for the intravenous sedation – mostly about blood pressure, as the monitor on my thumb was betraying my nervousness – and having great difficulty corralling my words into line when telling him about all the monitors I had stuck on me when I went to hospital.

According to the Caped Gooseberry, I got even more inarticulate and unintelligible after that – babbling was the word he used, as I recall – and when he left (no friends and family allowed in during the operation) I was beaming happily away in the chair. I have no memory of this. One can only presume I shut up long enough for the dentist to get the teeth out.

I was fully expecting to be foggy-brained when I came out from under the sedation, but to my surprise it was like flicking a switch: I knew where I was, what was going on – I even had a mutually intelligible conversation with the dentist, who insisted that I have a nap in the recovery room before being reunited with my husband (to ensure I slept instead of nattering).

To be honest, I didn’t think this was necessary, but to my surprise I found on rising that while my brain was working fine, my body was in overcooked spaghetti mode. The dentist and his assistant had to help me round the corner to the recovery room (reclining armchair and duvet) where after a brief spell of boredom I did actually fall asleep. When I woke, the dentist had returned with my Gooseberry, who took me home.

And that was it. Woozy, snoozy, and it was all over.

Of course, the biggest thing with wisdom teeth is the recuperation. I lie. That’s the second biggest thing. The biggest thing is, of course, my jaw.

Did I tell you they carved bits out of my jawbone? Apparently if your wisdom teeth don’t emerge from the jaw of their own accord, the dentist goes in after them and drags them out, kicking and screaming. (You never know. I’ll never know – I was out of it.) Two of mine had wedged themselves in sideways in a vain attempt to evade extraction – Action Dentist carved out the jaw to gain access and then took them apart where they lay. I have the pieces to prove it.

US Navy 090421-N-1688B-039 Lt. Cmdr. Shay Razmi, a dental officer embarked aboard the amphibious transport dock ship USS Nashville (LPD 13), administers Novocain to a patient before extracting a tooth during an Africa Partnersh

Recuperation seems to be mostly sleep, soft food and prescription medications. Soup, stewed apple, hummus, ice-cream, peanut butter, pills. Many many pills. Fortunately I have the use of the Caped Gooseberry’s brain to organize them, or I’d be taking the wrong ones at the right times. Or vice versa. Three sorts of painkiller (two in one pill) and an antibiotic. The round white ones (paracetamol 500mg with a kick of codeine) have to go in flat like coins in a slot because my mouth won’t open any further.

I think the worst of the swelling is past, thanks to the frozen-vegetable face-packs sandwiching my head on Thursday afternoon. I do detect some tendencies toward jowliness though – gravity at work, one presumes. Apparently the bruising doesn’t come in until about a week post-op, so hopefully I will be spared the indignity of being jowly and jaundiced-looking at the same time. The dentist has promised me that unlike this poor fellow, I will not have a black eye. Pays to go to a good dentist.

I’ve been passing the time in between my tortoise-paced meals by reading mystery novels – as is my wont. So far I’ve read four Agatha Christies (in the one I took to read in the waiting room, the dentist dunnit – glad I didn’t wait long enough to find this out), one of Laura Childs’ tea-shop mysteries, and a Miss Julia novel by Ann B. Ross.
This afternoon I intend to follow my other sick-leave tradition of curling up on the couch and watching the entire 1995 BBC Pride & Prejudice mini-series (all 5 1/2 hours). I may also knit.

What are your favourite things to do when recuperating? Had your wisdom teeth out? How’d it go?

4 Replies to “I am the Chipmunk Queen!”

  1. Oh my life – that sounds Awful. Going to the dentist is something I haven’t, but really should have, done since coming to NZ… I can’t bear metal on teeth. I had lots of bracework when I was younger and my wisdom teeth are pretty much ruining it all… I also had four teeth out – it. was. horrible. I wish you a rapid recovery! And you’ve hit on my favourite recuperation – BBC’s P&P and books – lots of books 🙂

    1. P&P and books – great minds think alike 🙂
      I used to avoid going to the dentist until toothache drove me there, but I married a man who goes for annual checkups, so now I find I do too. At my last checkup I didn’t have a single cavity – historical moment, slightly spoiled by the announcement that the wisdom teeth had to come out pronto.

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