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Tuesday, August 8, 2000

4:30 PM. Let's start with how I feel right now (I just got home from the dentist). First, very sleepy — so forgive me if I drop off in the middle of writing this. I'm under the influence of nothing stronger than Advil, so I don't know why "drop off in the middle" should strike me as so hilarious, especially since I am at the moment physically incapable of laughing, or even smiling.

In fact, I'm still biting down on bloody gauze and can't open my mouth wide enough to talk. Well, I guess I could talk out of one corner of my mouth, like Peter in the Brady Bunch episode where he says, "Pork chops and applesauce." Remember that one? I should have bought applesauce. I could probably get it down. All I have is pudding and yogurt. Maybe some soup, if I feel up to it.

Where was I?

Did I mention food? I can't eat or drink until seven o'clock, and I'm starving. Also very, very numb, the way you'd expect to feel if you'd taken a fist to the jaw. Maybe not, I've never actually been punched so can only imagine that the sensation is similar to what I'm feeling.

Lots and lots of shots did that to me. I don't know how many, and the only way I know that Dr. G filled cavities in three teeth (in addition to pulling the wisdom tooth) is by looking at the bill. Statement. Billing statement. Whatever. I just know that he filled #13, #15 and #18, and extracted #16.

The extraction cost less than any of the fillings, even though it seemed like the biggest production from where I was sitting. He used all sorts of hardware and appliances, clamps, drills, chisels. I saw something that looked like a putty knife.

I was told afterward that the tooth came out in pieces. They stopped everything in the middle of the whole process to take an x-ray, to make sure the tooth hadn't fused to the bone. Apparently it hadn't, because they let me come home.

Getting back to how I'm feeling now, I'm ever so slightly nauseous. I was having sinus drainage problems all through the procedure, and I was in no position to stop mucous secretions from oozing down my throat. (Funny, even after writing that, I'm still hungry.)

Also, sore. My jaw is sore from holding my mouth open ("Wider, please." "Aaarngggh.") for almost the full two hours. He was kind enough to give me a couple of breaks. Or maybe he just needed a rest himself. I heard him tell another patient that he was at his mother's birthday party over the weekend, and his plane didn't get in until last night at two o'clock.

He kept telling the nurse how much he needed a nap. "Yes," she said, "I can tell that you do."

I believe it's time for my nap. More later...

8:30 PM. For about an hour, after I could start eating and before I started hurting, I was in heaven. I didn't sleep long, but it was intensely restful.

I started with chocolate pudding, and when that went well I went on a quest for something with a little texture. I found that I could eat anything that allowed me to take small bites and didn't require an exaggerated chewing motion. After a few thin tortilla chips and some deli potato salad, I moved on to a bowl of vegetable soup. That's when things began to go horribly wrong.

As soon as I finished gulping down the soup, I felt a gassy pressure in my chest, reminiscent of my "episode." I took aloe vera, Tagamet and Tums, and that eased the discomfort some. Apparently eating too much too fast is not a good thing.

This was bad enough, but by this time the back of my mouth was throbbing and I had to go back on the Advil. So I was pretty much a mess, and I'm still feeling kind of crummy, and I definitely think I've written enough about it. Maybe after the drugs kick in I'll regain my sense of humor about it. This part is no fun. At all.

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