Wisdom Teeth, Hazy Skies, Twilight Sleep

My wisdom teeth have been impacted for a very long time. For the past few days, I’d been having a hell of a time deciding if this constant headache, stuffy nose, and sore throat were a result of allergies, a head cold, or if it was my teeth. My antihistamine, something like Claritin, didn’t seem to be helping after a day or two, so I bought a bag of HEB cherry cough drops to at least suppress the coughing while at work. Somehow, I ate thirty of them in two days and still felt like shit. Then I see this on the local news.

 

Alan Holt 3 News MeteorologistSmoke from agricultural burns ongoing in Southern Mexico and Central America continue to ride prevailing winds into South Texas. This is the reason our skies are hazy. Haze will persist into the weekend.

Posted by KIII 3 News on Friday, April 29, 2016

 

As you can see, many of the comments were from people complaining of their allergies flaring up and describing similar symptoms.

 

Allergies from Mexico Fires

Things I learned from this string of comments:

  1. Evan has asthma or a similar illness and needs his inhaler because of the Mexicans.
  2. Yellow Person doesn’t really care about Black Person’s comment or why it’s foggy outside.
  3. Blue Person also blames Mexico.
  4. Purple Person states the obvious.
  5. Maroon Person asks a valid question but receives no answer.

So that explains it: the Mexicans intend to smoke us out of Texas so they can take over. Fucking knew it. In a itchy-throated rage, I took our dog, David (yes, David can be a dog’s name), outside so he could take a shit, though I really wanted to see how hazy the sky actually was. Yup, I thought, pretty hazy. Have you ever walked outside and felt like God put an Instagram filter (maybe Gingham or Slumber) over the world? That’s kind of what it looked like. I played a game of Clash Royale, then another, losing both times, then went back inside.


Quick flashback to a couple of months ago:

I went to an oral surgeon because one of my wisdom teeth had been giving me a lot of trouble. It felt like I had dry socket, even though the tooth was still there. In fact, that pain is what initially led me to stop vaping, so at least one good thing came out of all that pain and anguish. The surgeon’s assistant gets some X-rays done and it is quickly determined that all four of my wisdom teeth are impacted and at risk of infection. I needed a wisdom tooth extraction. Not only that, but a total of five teeth need to be removed. The surgery was promptly scheduled for Friday, April 29th 2016 at 8:30 am.


Friday Morning: Wisdom Teeth Still Intact — Day of Surgery

My wife and I wake up early to get ready for my surgery. The skies are hazy and I’m still feeling under the weather, but my surgeon says that my allergies won’t cause any problems through surgery. Since I was getting intravenous anesthesia, I wasn’t allowed to eat or drink anything after midnight. I’m not a breakfast person anyway most days. We’re both showered and ready to go by 7. My mom and dad tag along to wait with my wife in the waiting room for moral support, and we’re all laughing our asses off at The Three Stooges on mute while we’re waiting for all the paperwork and insurance stuff to go through. I wasn’t sure whether the office’s distinct lack of Highlights magazine should influence my opinion on the place, but I think it did, if only subconsciously.

I say my goodbyes to my family just in case I don’t come back (we all seem to have this sick anxiety-fueled pessimism about stuff like this. It happened to my cat! He died while under anesthesia, so maybe I’m just traumatized.) and make my way into the surgery room, which is basically just one of the dental rooms. They have me swish my mouth for thirty seconds with some mouthwash, and then they had me in the chair right away. I was given what I think was a hairnet, had some round sticky things placed on my arms and chest and the back of my neck, a clamp on my finger, and we were ready to go within minutes. The IV was placed and I was ready to fall under. I remember one of the nurses rubbing my eyebrows a lot.

What must have been halfway through the surgery, I realized I never fell asleep. I opened my eyes and watched the surgeon, who said, “you’re alright, you’re alright.”

Luckily, I couldn’t feel any pain from what he was doing, but I felt the pressure when he pushed and pulled. I tried to say. “I thought I was supposed to be asleep,” but there was something in my mouth causing me to gag when I tried to talk. Looking it up, I realized that I might have just been in what’s called “Twilight Sleep”. OCMdental.com describes it as using “a combination of sedative and pain relieving drugs given intravenously to create a dream-like state of deep, calm relaxation for the entire duration of your dental procedure.” I’ve never heard of this before, and, honestly, I wish I would have been told I wasn’t going to be fully under when the surgery happened, but I made it through the entire procedure in one piece (and with five less teeth).

My experience with Twilight Sleep differs slightly from the one described by OCMdental because I do remember the drills and the smells, and it didn’t feel like I had woken up from a deep sleep. I do remember having what felt like a mild panic attack when I realized I wasn’t asleep. I was hyperventilating pretty badly, but the nurses did a good job of calming me down. Now that everything is said and done, the experience as a whole wasn’t necessarily a bad one by any means.

Now I’m at home on a diet of chicken broth, pudding, and mashed potatoes, which I’m totally fine with. I found myself binge watching the latest season of Hell’s Kitchen, maybe as a kind of wish fulfillment. I think I’m allowed to feel contempt for these people right now. They’re bitching about their risotto and arctic char while I’m over here gumming on some vanilla pudding. But I get hydrocodone and they don’t, so I guess there’s that.

My allergies have since gotten better, but it is still quite hazy outside.

 

Goodbye wisdom teeth. I won't miss you one bit.

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