Ain’t That A Kick In The Teeth?

Nita had her wisdom teeth taken out. Like me, she waited until her 40’s to do it. Like me, she was out of commission for the weekend.

They always say you should get your wisdom teeth or tonsils out while you’re still young. In fact, I told AJ to get his wisdom teeth out before he’s 30, then he won’t have to deal with it when he has kids underfoot and work to do. However, I never really saw the wisdom in waiting until you’re older. You only do it once, and it hurts like hell no matter what.

Nita was lucky. Her surgeon had an elaborate setup where they could move sedated patients in and out on an assembly line basis while taking great pains to make patients comfortable. Since Nita is considerably smaller than me, her anesthesia lasted all day, letting her sleep most of the first day after extraction off. Mine started wearing off about three or four hours after I got home. Had I been more lucid, I’d have swallowed a dose of Vicodin* when I got home. Nita did for hers. I did not on mine. So a couple hours after I got home…


In a panic, I took two. Don’t do that. Don’t take two Vicodin on an empty stomach. It’s no fun being doped up on morphine trying to heave cookies that aren’t there. Nita slept.

The wisdom tooth extraction diet is unappetizing. I subsisted on yogurt and pudding for two days. Nita opted for Spaghetti-O’s and queso dip. I eventually attempted a hamburger during that two-day recovery by chewing with my incisors and mashing it with my tongue. Not fun, but doable.

My doctor was different from Nita’s. He was a depressed-looking neo-hippie who didn’t take well to the humor between me and my wife while I was going under. She made a joke about my life insurance being paid up, and the doc flipped out, saying it was bad karma. My normal response to this would be, “Hey! It’s my jaw getting carved up. I’ll tell you what’s funny.” Since I had an IV of vercet in my arm, all I could manage was an eye roll. Just as Nita had to leave the room, she squeezed my hand and wished me luck. I said, “I’ll see you on the other side.” Once again, the doc got offended. I passed out from the morphine before I could say anything else.

My time as caregiver was more boring than Nita’s. This past weekend was cold and rainy. I spent it shuttling AJ to drum corps, getting groceries, making carry out runs, doing homework, and rereading Holland Bay. During my time on the recliner, Nita bought and assembled a gas grill, mowed the lawn, and re-landscaped the front of the house. I still feel like I’ve got points against me on my man card for that.

But it’s over now. It’s not likely either of us will lose our tonsils at our age, so unless we have a bad appendix between us, this type of surgery is over for us.

Unfortunately, we now have all that stuff that breaks down in old age to look forward to.

*Bill Engvall is correct. Half a Vicodin and a Bahama mama make for a wonderful morning**

** Drugs? Drugs are bad. Don’t do drugs. M’kay?

Post Op Post-Mortem

Last Friday, I got my wisdom teeth extracted.  It was an overhyped experience.  The last thing I remember is the doctor sticking a needle in my arm, asking me if I felt anything yet.  The pictures on the walls went blurry, and then…

“OK, you’re done.”

Nita took me home, where I became acquainted with Vicodin.  I also became acquainted with what Vicodin does to one on a liquid diet, which is to make one violently ill for five to ten minutes every couple of hours.  Honestly, I was only a little sore.  I was on Advil by the end of the day.

Sorry, the Bahama Mama test will have to wait until we grill out.  There was no way I was drinking that much rum while taking a narcotic.  Yes, I’d make a lousy recreational drug user.  Disappointed?

A brisk walk around the block was good for circulation, but not good for recovery.  I was pretty much confined to the recliner all weekend reading, working on writing and on school work, and watching NASCAR and Family Guy.  I’ll get around to being bummed about that later.

I suppose I’m not quite the wimp most people are at the dentist.  It’s not that I don’t worry about it.  After all, your mouth and tongue are numb when you first get out, even for simple fillings.  A strange person is sticking sharp objects in your mouth and sometimes pulling out pieces of bone.  This is not a relaxing experience.  I am aware of this.

But since I am, I’ve learned to relax in the dentist’s chair.  It helps to have a sense of humor.  My oral surgeon needs one.  When Nita and I kidded about my possible death in the chair, the doc got very upset.

Which doesn’t sit well with me.  Maybe because my regular dentist has a better sense of humor.  He has to.  He spends his days sticking sharp objects in people’s mouths.

Now, if they could just do something about the sound of the damned drill…

“Oh, the pain. The pain.”

Because I do everything later in life than most people, today I will be getting my wisdom teeth pulled less than three weeks before my 43rd birthday.

This weekend, I will get to test this little nugget of wisdom from comedian Bill Engvall:

“Half a vicodin and a Bahama mama make for a wonderful morning.”

And my wife knows how to make Bahama mamas.

See you Monday, shorter of teeth, and one day closer to death.

UPDATE:  Never take the vike on an empty stomach.  My dentist overhyped the post op effects.  Thanks to some bitter pills (literally), I’ve had no swelling,  and I controlled the pain with Advil.  (The two vicodin doses were needed, but not the nausea and cold sweats it brought on later.)  The doc got snotty with my wife about a life insurance joke she made, then with me for jokingly saying, “See you on the other side.”  Hey, doc, when the joke’s on me, STFU.  I’m the one in pain.  I’ll tell you what’s funny.