Thursday, January 17, 2008


Reading the informed consent forms at the oral surgeons was the grown-up equivalent to sitting in the pediatrician's waiting room listening to some kid screaming their lungs out, obviously getting the world's most painful shot, the brother of which was waiting for you.

Every line on this form ended in "and/or death." And the middles weren't so good either. "...may hit a nerve causing nerve damage to the lip and cheek which may result in permanent disfigurement...and/or death."

I asked the surgeon how he was going to pull the tooth. The tooth had broken, so what was there to pull? He said that 'pulling a tooth' was actually a misnomer. Really, they do everything but pull. They pry, they push, they crack, they drill, they twist, anything to result in getting that tooth out..(and/or death)

He told me dry socket was a possible complication of tooth extraction, and if I had pain continuing past 2 days, I should come in again. I asked what IS dry socket anyway. It turns out dry socket has nothing to do with dry anything at all. It is a nerve reaction; the nerves become inflamed and cause a great deal of pain. Sometimes one loses the clot that was lodged in the hole the tooth left.

Ten minutes was the time an extraction usually took. I figured all I had to do was count to 600. I could get through practically anything if that's all it took. 600.

When I was all numbed up he took up a wicked looking, not quite miniature, prybar and I took up counting. I only got to 278. But I figured I counted to 278 about four times. "78, 79, 40, 41..."

I left the office a little more than an hour after going in, went home and slept all afternoon. "Pry, crack, twist, clot, socket', never reaching 600.

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