“How are you not in excruciating pain?” asked the nurse at the oral surgeon’s office. I just shrugged my shoulders; my wisdom teeth had never bothered me before. My dentist had long been asking me to get them out, but if they didn’t hurt I didn’t see the point. Back in February, though, while on vacation in Puerto Rico, I felt one of my wisdom teeth split in half, leaving a sort of volcanic crater in my mouth. Perfect spot for lots of food to get stuck in and fester.
Most people get their wisdom teeth taken care of when they are younger, usually high school or early in their college career. Me? I waited until I was 32 before I did it. Too long, said my oral surgeon. But again, it never hurt so I never worried about it. The problem with waiting until later in your life is that it causes more complications. You don’t have a bunch of days to lay around to recover. You don’t have a built-in caretaker (i.e. a mom). And, you kind of have to pay for it all yourself; I don’t know too many 18 year olds whose parents made them pay for it.
So Friday morning, R drove me to the oral surgeon to get this taken care of. I wasn’t allowed to eat or drink anything after midnight, so by 10AM I was starving but it was go time. I was nervous, as I’ve never been put under before, just local anesthetics for different things. The nurse took me to the operating room, put on the nitrous to calm me down, then started asking some medical questions. Shouldn’t you ask those BEFORE you start doping me up? The doctor comes in, says he’s going to put the IV in and that I’ll feel a bit of a pinch. I feel the pinch, say I’m ok, and he says he’ll give me something in a minute. Swear to God, next thing I know, I’m laying on a couch in the recovery room with R and our friend Nikki, the head assistant in the office. I remember nothing else.
As soon as we got home, Ro went to fill my prescriptions and get me a milkshake. She’s been an excellent care-taker since then, making sure I’m on top of the three different pills I have to take (all at different intervals, too), giving me food and drinks and keeping me on top of my salt water rinsing. I actually don’t feel much pain at all, though yesterday the swelling was getting bothersome. I was icing my face every hour or so, 20 minutes on each side. This morning I finally had some soft scrambled eggs. I am absolutely paranoid about getting dry sockets, so I’m avoiding most solid foods, refuse to use straws or anything else that might lead to them. I’ve heard they are a pain in the ass, so that’s my number one priority.
From a finance perspective, my insurance covered 40% of the procedure, so I was on the hook for $800. Thankfully, my budget had more than enough room in my health services category to cover it. Obviously my dental insurance isn’t awesome; my sister had her wisdom teeth out a few months ago, and she spent less than $200. I budget $100/month into my health services category, which covers most things (I don’t have medical problems that would require more). I’ll probably use some of my extra money in July to restock that, as having only $100 left in that category makes me nervous.
I’m supposed to go back to work tomorrow, but I’ll probably work from home instead. I don’t think I should be at the office if I’m taking Oxycontin or having to rinse my mouth out with salt water every hour or so. I certainly enjoy three-day weekends, but not when I’m doped up, sleeping and drooling throughout the day.