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Sunday, May 18, 2014


I managed to remain reasonably calm before my dental appointment, up until Wednesday morning.  I was rather amazed at how my panic levels were all hovering around the lower end of the scale.  I was like a volume mixer, with everything floating around the 'mute' area.  I went to Joe's for coffee, where he and I spent an hour discussing world problems, and how we would put them right!  My nail appointment was, as always, enjoyable, and my fingers, which seem to have a mind of their own, and do not always do what my manicurist would like them to do, (they are not rude, just unruly!) were rather uncharacteristically relaxed. 

My trip back to the office was uneventful, and I managed to get quite a bit of work done.  I went back to my house to deposit the mini, so that it would not be at the office all night, and Samantha took me back to work around noon.  Suddenly, and without warning, the volume mixer was tuned up, and all the levels shot up to the 'warning, about to explode' pitch.  Dana had placed some work in my 'in' box, and I went into anxiety overload!  I managed, somehow, to bring the control bar out of the 'red', and was back to a controlled level of mild hysteria when Samantha suggested we leave.

Since we moved away from downtown, the trip to the dentist no longer takes thirty minutes, and within fifteen we were from one door to another!  The ladies inside shrieked salutations as we entered, and they asked how I was feeling.  When I replied that I was terrified, they offered an array of amusing anecdotes which they found to be very funny.  Fortunately, I could not quite understand what they were saying, due to their accent and their inability to stop laughing.  I took it all in good part, and giggled where I thought it appropriate, whilst filling in a rather lengthy medical questionnaire.  I ticked 'no' to all of the 'are you suffering from', questions, most of which I knew were not ailments, and some of which I had never heard.  I decided that unless they were medical names for 'irrational fear of dentists', or 'inability to tolerate unsupervised children behaving badly in restaurants', (after all, everything has a medical name these days!) I was, to the best of my ability, telling the truth. 

My 'first' appointment was for a filing.  After placing a mask across my face, which was attached to the 'nitrous', the dentist and her assistant started to discuss their previous diagnosis (the reason for this appointment) in mumbled tones.  When the dentist asked the assistant, "Ouch, did I see that?", I started to ask questions of my own.  It would appear that a filling was not in order, as the offending tooth was actually a partial crown.  It would need to be replaced, but they did not have time to remove it, take an impression and put in a temporary before my extraction appointment.  Fortunately, the gas had been very effective, and despite finding it a little disturbing that the dentist had made rather a huge error at my previous examination, I could do nothing but giggle.  Both ladies were very quick to let me know that the procedure would be free of charge, as the crown was still 'under guarantee', but neither one offered an explanation as to how the mistake could have been made, and at the time, I really didn't care!  However, somewhere in the deep recesses of my mind, I realised that this needed to be dealt with, at sometime, and when I returnd to the waiting room before the 'main event', I mentioned it to Samantha, so that she could remind me when the time was right.

Just before 4:30, two very tall people in blue scrubs entered, pulling boxes on wheels, and walked straight through the waiting room to the back of the surgery.  Unfortunately, the gas had been rather effective, and my voice overtook my brain.  'Is that them, then?', I asked in my best northern England accent, and was told to be quiet by my daughter as 'someone might hear' me.  I closed my mouth and bit my lower lip, to stop me talking.  In an effort to make me feel better, Samantha went through the post operation instructions.  Apparently, I should avoid playing any musical instrument that needed to be blown, such as a trumpet! 

At 4:30 on the dot, the female counterpart of very tall duo came out and looked directly across at me.  'Tracie?', she asked.  Unfortunately, the gas had been very effective.  Looking over both my shoulders, I received a rather sharp tap on my leg from my daughter.  I duly turned and smiled, rose from my chair, and followed the confused lady through the door.  'You look nervous', she said smiling very cheerily.  'I am very, very scared of dentists', I told her, sounding like a five year old!  'I have an irrational fear', I continued, hoping that it would make me sound a little more mature.  I do not think it worked.  The operating dentist was the male counterpart of the very tall duo.  He introduced himself, asked me to take a seat and then asked if I had any questions.  I certainly did!  I was curious as to why, after I had been told many times that my wisdom tooth was impacted, and in an awkward position for extraction, was it now necessary to remove it. He answered me with a question.  My answer was that I was 53.  Although he looked healthy enough, it appeared obvious that he had been sick on the day instructions were given out on 'bedside manner'.  As his assistant proceeded to place suction circles with wires across the top part of my torso, he told me that at 50, our jaws get very hard.  It is always much better to have this operation when we are in our twenties, even thirties, but by the time we get to our forties, it is a much harder procedure, and the recovery time is much longer.  Fortunately, the gas was still effective, as by the time he got to what happens when we get to our fifties, I was ready to walk out, but my legs we too relaxed!

My second question was the same as my first.  Why did my tooth need to be extracted.  I thought I detected a sigh before the reply, which was that the chronic infection that had apparently been building up around the tooth, was beginning to cause problems and could, eventually, affect my (very aging) jaw.  Although he did not ask if I had any more queries, I was not finished!

'Now that is an excellent question', he replied to my third enquiry.  As he attempted to insert the intravenous line into my arm, I had questioned the comment on the 'do' and 'don't' sheet, about why flip flops should not be worn.  It was the only question to which I felt I knew the answer before asking.  'It is to avoid tripping. You do not have so much foot support with flip flops, but it is more a recommendation for young people'.  He really did need a refresher course in the 'making patients feel at ease' category.  I am not sure if the 'be nice' lesson also included that of 'how to get the drip in the arm'.  Apparently, my veins were not co-operating, and he had to get the line into a second one.  I was slightly concerned, (fortunately the gas was still effective) as if there is one thing that is more prominent than my sarcasm, it is my veins!  I resisted asking if I would be able to play the piano after the operation.  I knew I would not be able to play the oboe!

Eventually, I felt my arm go cold and waited for him to tell me to count backwards from 10.  As I opened my eyes, after what seemed a couple of seconds, I was aware of a female hovering over me, asking,"'are you okay?'" After nodding, she left me alone and went to get the doctor, who had apparently performed the same procedure upon a young woman who did not need to be knocked out! My 'few seconds' had in fact been about twenty minutes. "Who is taking you home", he asked directly.  I replied, as best I could, but like I was auditioning for the part Marlon Brando played in 'The Godfather'.  "My dah'cher", I said.  I was then led to the waiting room, where Samantha was sitting patiently, and then led out to the car.  I did not bid my medical experts goodbye, but immediately brought down the mirror to see the damage and was interested to see a piece of cotton hanging from my mouth.  Samantha informed me that the dentist had let her know that the surgery was a great success, and that it had gone 'much better' than expected. 

The trip home was quite uneventful.  Had I realised that my dah'cher had posted a photograph of me on social media, sitting in her car, looking as if I had been drugged, with two pieces of string hanging out of my very swollen mouth, the trip home would have been more of an event!  Stopping at the supermarket, to pick up my prescriptions, (yes, plural!) I waited in the car.  I did not intend to smile inanely at the gentleman in the car next to me, but unfortunately my face was set in an 'inane grin' expression and there was nothing I could do about it! 

Before long, I was home and sitting up (as I was to keep my head 'elevated') in my bed, reading the 'post op' sheet of paper with which I had been provided.  It was tantamount to reading what we used to call the 'head paper'.  When my kids were small, should they have sustained any injury to their head, (and Samantha was constantly putting her head down to save her hands,) we would be given a sheet of paper that described all the symptoms to look for, which could mean concussion.  It was quite terrifying as a young mother to see all the things that could go wrong, and I remember using all my strength to refrain from waking up my children in the middle of the night, just to check they remembered their name!  The 'post op' paper told of all the things that could happen. 

Dana returned home shortly before 7, with my meds, that apparently had to be 'made up'.  I took an antibiotic, and under duress, half a pain killer, as I was not really in any real pain, other than an ache in my arm where the first line had been removed!  Samantha made several gauze paddings for me, tying them up with dental floss, so that I could remove them easily, and told me to change them every half an hour.  Along with the 'head paper', I had to pay attention to matron!  My dah'cher offered to spend the night at my house, in anticipation that I would need additional attention, but I declined.  (Dana has been suffering from gout, and had found it difficult to walk, so she was being very sympathetic!)  After another round of strict instructions, and a good old fashioned telling off, as I had attempted to do something that apparently was a definite 'no' on the dreaded 'head paper', I told her that she was not a very good nurse!  She disagreed, profusely, and stated that she was a very good nurse.  It was I that was a very bad patient!

I slept, in small increments, sitting up.  By the morning, I felt well enough to get up and get ready for work.  So that I did not 'over do' things, I opted to go along for the ride when Samantha left the office to pick up some papers for one of our clients.  However, by the time we had left the car park, I knew that I needed to go home.  I slept for two hours, and once again felt a lot better.  My day was spent doing not a lot.  By the evening, although I felt ready to 'trip the light fantastic', I was sensible enough to realise that I would probably end up 'fantastically tripping', so I continued to 'take things easy'.  Dinner was a baked potato with cheese.  This fulfilled my 'soft' food option, and Dana's 'gout friendly' diet.  My thumbs were twiddling quite extensively by the time it was 'lights out', and I thought I would be ready to put in a full day on Friday. 

Being my own worst enemy, I went into work and was once again taken home, although I did manage to stay alert until mid afternoon.  The trip to the restroom caused raised eyebrows from one of our fellow tenants.  Asking me 'how I was doing', I slurred that I was 'guud'.  Starring slightly longer than normal at my glazed eyes, she dropped her attention to my very bruised arm, and perhaps did not put two and two together.  I felt the need to explain my predicament, but just smiled inanely, albeit without two pieces of cotton hanging from my mouth!  My dah'cher took me home, and I promised I would not do any heavy lifting, nor play the oboe! 

Saturday was pretty much a normal day.  I did not deviate from my usual chores, although I vacuumed around the furniture instead of moving it.  Samantha took me to Costco, where I did not partake of all the goodies that were on offer (and it was a particularly good goody weekend) and we continued on to Walmart to do a grocery shop!  The afternoon was spent by the pool.  It was slightly busier than usual, with Frank (the German), Fabien, (a French lady,) a girl from Switzerland, and of course the two token Brits.  Quite the European Invasion, was Samantha's 'post for the day' on social media!  A post that was somewhat more agreeable to me!

Despite the enormous bruise on my arm, and the bigger bruise to my ego, (the constant reminder of my aging jaw,) I am convinced  my dentist was only absent for the 'nicety' part of his course, as I have had no pain, nor real discomfort in the affected area of my mouth.  The swelling was not particularly noticeable, and there was no bruising. Apart from the odd 'spitting metal' where the stitches have disintegrated, I have had no negative 'after effects' from the surgery.  (Perhaps it was not playing the oboe that helped with the recovery.  I am still unsure as to whether I can now play the piano!)   Although 'points on a social level' would be very low, as a medical practitioner, and surgeon, I would give him top marks! 

Despite his gout, Dana has put on a brave face, and decided to ask Joe and Gail over for dinner this evening (Sunday).  After the invitation was extended, he looked rather pensive, and suggested that it may have been a good idea to check with me first, to see if I felt like entertaining guests!  I told him that one way or another I would, indeed, be entertaining.  I could perhaps give them a rendition of my 'nitrous' period, or perhaps my 'inane grinning at strangers' era, to be followed with 'why has she got string hanging out of her mouth, mummy' series!  I did apologise for being mean, and have started preparations for what I hope will be a rather delicious meal.  The entertainment I think I will leave for ..... another story.

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