Monday, December 20, 2010

Carpe Dentum!

Remember that scene in Mrs. Doubtfire where her teeth fall into the glass and she uses the utensils to get them out? That's all I could think of today while I was at the dentist.

I didn't sleep much last night because I was freaking out so much. I got up a little before 5 this morning and made some tea, chopped an apple, dished out some cottage cheese, and ate a hard boiled egg. On the way to the dentist, I ate the apple. I knew it would be my last for a while. It took a little over an hour to get there. Even though I was there before they opened, the place was packed (it's a walk-on place). It was mostly old people. However, I was brought back quickly for an x ray, reseated, then brought back again to see the dentist. They went over what I wanted, took impressions, reviewed the costs, what to expect, blah blah blah. I paid at the front desk then waited in the even more packed waiting room for a little longer. Then it was go time - all 4 wisdom teeth and four in the lower front. So no need for any upper partial, cutting the cost quite a bit!

They numbed my gums with some sort of paste. I put my headphones in (My Chemical Romance is my medical procedure music, in case I do die, the Black Parade can escort me to wherever I belong) and the dentists got to work. Or, I thought they did. There was an awful lot of digging and pinching and pain and pressure. After that, I had to sit there, and lo and behold, my teeth hadn't even been removed yet!! I did get a terrible, terrible headache though. There's nothing like a numb lower face and the top of your head ready to explode. But then the dentists came in and removed the teeth and I will never confuse extraction prep and the actual extraction ever again! The uppers came out fairly easily but the lower wisdom teeth had curved roots and they were a bitch. I could hear the cracking over my music. I started shaking and crying, because I was past the point of no return, then they were done. They packed my mouth with gauze and gave me instructions. I asked about my front teeth, and the assistant said they don't remove those. What? All that and the biggest problem I had isn't even taken care of? Fortunately, it was a misunderstanding - I did have a mouthful, after all, but one would think dentists understand gauze-speak. They did remove the four in the front on the bottom and I never even noticed. They gave me an ice pack and it had a hole in it so my white Hooters shirt and new school sweatshirt got dirty.

So now I had 3 hours to kill and nowhere to really go. I couldn't go sit at Burger King or Hardees with my mouth all fucked up the way it was. I didn't want to drive an hour home and an hour back. So I sat in my car and read on my Kindle, turning the car on every so often for heat. I got up the courage to look at my mouth. It looked weird. Bloody and swollen and like a 2nd grader. I did take pictures but I don't think I will be sharing them any time soon.

Finally, the time came for me to go back and get my partial denture. It was a lot bulkier than I was expecting. It's made out of acrylic, but I hope to upgrade to the new flexible material when my gums heal and they give my my "real" denture. As soon as the technician put it in my mouth, I felt like I was going to pass out. I wasn't in any pain, but the foreignness of it overwhelmed me. The technician made some adjustments to the denture and the swelling was pretty significant and the partial doesn't sit perfectly on the gums just yet. That will take time, and I just have to get used to this being there. After a few minutes of lying back with my eyes closed, I felt better and figured I probably needed to eat. The dentist wasn't really comfortable with letting me drive home myself but I assured him I'd be okay. I ate the cottage cheese I brought and I really did feel better. I drove back to the beach, got my prescription filled, and came home. 

Once at home, I was getting that icky, gunky stuff one gets when a tooth is extracted and while I was trying to fish it out from the wisdom tooth site, I dislodged my partial. While trying to put that back in, I pushed that gunky crap from my gums right down my throat. Repeat on the other side, but fortunately I was able to wipe my gums off. It was incredibly difficult to hold down the denture and try to get my fingers & paper towel back far enough to clean that icky thing off. I can't really maneuver my tongue around just yet. I can't brush my teeth tonight. I can't drink anything really hot, or anything carbonated. I can't take out my denture or rinse my mouth or drink from a straw. None of that until 1 PM tomorrow. I can eat, but it's a challenge. Again, not because of pain, but because it's different. I'm have been working on this little bowl of oatmeal since before I started writing this post, and I'm only halfway through with the dish.

I am done with this post though. I hope to adjust to this quickly. I miss my food.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The feeling of impending doom.

I am pretty used to feeling like the world is going to end, with death constantly on my mind, for no real reason at all. I get into these moods where all I think about is mortality - my own and my family. And it's depressing as hell. I usually come out of the funk after a few days. It's been a long time since I've felt that. There usually is no trigger. It just happens, then goes away.

But today (Sunday), I'm freaking out. I'm going to get 13 teeth extracted tomorrow, and I'm getting partial dentures. This has been a long time coming. I've always had this crazy fear of my teeth just falling out, like dreams of being able to just spit them out of my mouth. That's not happening, but I do need these suckers pulled. I've lost fillings and my gums have receded since I got pregnant 7 years ago. It's like I woke up one morning and things were a mess.

For the last year, I've been considering the work. Going to the dentist for work on one issue at a time would be way too expensive and time consuming, so I've opted to just get them ripped out. I was going to get full dentures but I decided that I'd be better off with partials because a lot of my teeth, though stained from coffee, cigarettes and antibiotics, are in decent shape. Once I made the decision and set a date, I felt better.

But on the eve of my dental work, I feel sick. I literally feel like I am going to die tomorrow. I don't even remember being this scared and nervous when I got my tubes tied last year. And that was pretty scary because when I woke up after the surgery, I was fighting like crazy to stay awake, like I'd die if I fell back asleep. I feel like tomorrow is going to be some sort of death.

I'm sure the psychologist in you is quick to point out that, like death, it's a transformation. I get that, really, and I know that's all it really is. But I'm still scared shitless. I'm an open person and I've admitted to a lot of things that would make people think less of me. I know I don't have to put this all out there, but it's who I am. On the one hand, I need the support (as much as I hate to admit needing anything or anyone!) but on the other, I worry about how people will view me because of my teeth. They are pretty bad right now, and a lot my issues with them will go away with the partials. I'm sure I'll have more self confidence and I'll be better off.

But right now, I am terrified. Even with all the research I've done, I don't know what to expect. I don't know how much pain I will be in. I don't know how I'm going to stay on Weight Watchers AND travel AND eat soft foods. I purposely decided to do this just before Christmas in the hope that I would not eat so much garbage. Plus, it was the only chance I'd have to do it until the end of April, and I really think I'm better off doing it now. Life is really good, despite my insecurities about my teeth. I want to get out and do more - get a second job, do more at the school and the PTA. I want to get my Turbo Kick certification and have the confidence to be in front of a class to teach it. There's just so much I want the self-esteem to do, especially now that I am no longer overweight. I'm happy for the first time in I can't remember how long.

But I'm still a wreck and I don't know if I'll be able to sleep tonight. And I realize this post probably makes no sense. That's how messed up my head is - I'm barely coherent and I can't concentrate.