Mom: “Do you want anything for lunch? Feel like you can eat?”
Me: “I would like one of my easy mac bowls, I think I can handle that.”
Mom: “Sounds go-”
Me: “And a side of vicodin, please.”
Readers, I am currently recovering from surgery to remove my wisdom teeth. Fortunately for me, this is actually a pretty great way to close out break. I am supposed to lay around in bed or on a couch watching TV all day (as long as I keep ice on my face). The drawbacks are that I’m not supposed to move around much, I have to make sure to get tons of sleep, and I’m still incapable of eating truly solid foods. Even getting the easy mac down was a real struggle earlier (although I ate the entire bowl, which is good – my appetite has been almost nonexistent for the past 24 hours or so, which has been a really weird experience).
I was knocked out with general anesthetic via an IV in my arm for the procedure itself. I woke up afterwards in the oral surgeon’s office but barely remember anything until I got home. Almost immediately I started watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on Netflix (it was the first thing I could find, I guess) and have been doing that, pretty much, for the past day and a half (plus eating, sleeping, icing, etc.).
What’s annoying about the procedure is that when you mention that you’re having it done everyone who’s had it done will follow one of two patterns in their reply:
-“Oh, man, it hurts SO MUCH – it’s just an awful week afterwards. Good luck getting through that.”
-“Don’t worry – no, really, don’t worry. Seriously, it’s not as bad as you’re imagining. No, really, you don’t have to worry about it.”
The first one is annoying because it’s simply not true. (I knew this beforehand but having gone through it just confirms it.) These days are kinda boring and my mouth is a little sore, but I’m not in severe pain even after waking up (when I woke up this morning I hadn’t taken any vicodin or motrin in over 11 hours, and I was fine). Also, don’t be that douchebag who tries to make people scared about the surgery they’re about to go through if it’s not actually scary or all that painful.
The second one is equally annoying because it’s condescending and stupid. It assumes that I’m scared of the procedure and need consoling (in fact, I was never very nervous about it – I planned to be under anesthesia and drugged out on pain meds so I was totally unworried about significant pain from the process. I also handle blood and stuff pretty well so the prospect of bleeding a fair amount from my mouth was not really a big deal). It also makes it sound like anything I say in reply (e.g. “Yeah, I’m not too worried”) is all thanks to my conversation partner’s magical powers of calming persuasion, and not just because I’m a calm human being who tends to be fine with medical procedures.
If you’re going to get your wisdom teeth taken out anytime soon, here are the five pieces of advice I can offer so far. (Keep in mind that this is only Day 2 of my recovery, but still…)
- Prepare yourself for the fact that you will bleed from your gums for awhile. This is totally normal even days after the surgery. It looks a bit freaky, but it’s totally fine and not something you should stress about. Keeping gauze on the holes in your gums for the first few hours will help a TON; even though it can be a bit uncomfortable, it’s totally worth it.
- Stay put. Don’t move around. Ask your family members or friends to do things for you. The more you put stress on your body, the more stress you put on those healing wounds in your mouth. Let your body spend all its energy on fixing itself up – don’t waste it on walking across the house just to pour yourself a new bottle of water because of pride or whatever.
- Take the drugs. Do the procedure under anesthesia. Take vicodin or whatever your doctor prescribes on a regular basis afterwards as well as something like motrin and an antibiotic to reduce swelling and risk of infection. Don’t be “tough,” just let yourself be pain-free and relaxed.
- Watch a TV show. You can probably get through a few seasons, and it will help you sit around for hours without getting antsy (remember, movement is the enemy!).
- Thank everyone! If your family is taking care of you, always remember to thank them every time they do something for you. Same goes for friends. Without help, the recovery process would be pretty rough, so be conscious of that and make sure you offer lots of thanks.
Okay, back to icing. I hope all of you are enjoying your breaks or returns to school!