24th November, 2012
It’s been a long time since I wrote and I’ve been meaning to but it’s only on this foggy November day that I’ve decided to get to it. Things have been pretty busy at work. Pushing through data analysis, working on weekends for data collection of experiment 2 and have had other things going on; like Visa applications, renewals and wisdom teeth extraction.
It was crazy. My dentist recommended to take all 4 out, simultaneously! I can’t tell you how many horror stories I heard before I went in for the surgery. Mostly from my colleagues and some from flatmates but some also tried to reassure me. When I went in, I was nervous and it didn’t help at all that each of them asked if I had someone with me to take me home. I said no, why? They said it is in case you are so affected by the anaesthesia that you fall over when you try to walk. This was scary and the nurse told me not to worry, that if I feel weak, they would come with me to the bus stop. I have to say, the worst part of the experience was the injection they gave for local anaesthesia! It was a long thin sharp injection. I cringe even now just thinking of how far into my jaw it got. And it was over and over again; 4 on top and 4 below. Each time it was deep and painful. So much for pain prevention! My body was quivering from the pain by the time she was done. The nurse was sympathetic. The dentist came back 15 minutes later by which time my mouth couldn’t feel anything. Everything from my chin to just below my nose was numb. I couldn’t even feel my tongue or the back of my mouth so I initially didn’t know if it was ok to swallow. It felt like I might accidentally swallow my tongue! I had stopped shivering by the time she came back. They started with my lower left one. Both lower ones were impacted, meaning they were growing sidewards crushing my lower teeth together; but they hadn’t broken the surface so they had to cut my gums open to get to them. They broke my teeth to pieces before taking the parts out and stitched up the gums to the side of my mouth. They repeated the process on the right side. Then started to pull out the upper ones which had already grown out. The whole process was painless and took around 45 minutes. I was pleasantly surprised at how fine I felt directly after. My face felt swollen mainly because of the aneasthesia. I walked by myself to the bus stop with a cold compress pack they had given me. I felt fine. The bus ride took very long because of bad traffic (in Oldenburg that is rare) and I was ok to drink water but not eat until it wore off and I could feel everything again. I had picked up some painkillers on my way out.
As the anaesthesia wore out the pain slowly began and I took the painkiller. I made apple juice and mashed carrot for my dinner which I didn’t have until late because I had eaten a full lunch as a precaution. I managed with such baby food for the next 2-3 days, eating softened bread for breakfast instead of cereal because I was asked to avoid milk products. Apart from that on the to do list was; avoid smoking, drinking alcohol or coffee; which was easy because I don’t normally do those things anyway. It also asked me to rinse after every meal to make sure particles didn’t stay in wound regions. And for me to use the surgical cloth they had given if gums continue to bleed. And to brush carefully. They had also asked me to talk less which was also easy because I spent that day and the next two in my room watching movies, series and writing. When I ran into my flatmates, who were very sympathetic and caring, I realised how much it hurt to smile or talk and how much I normally smile at everyone. It’s not often that you realise such things!
On Thursday, the day of the surgery, I had taken 2 painkillers, Friday 1 in the evening, Saturday onward, none. Although there was a nagging residual ache on Saturday and some when I spoke on Sunday, it wasn’t enough to warrant use of those pills. I realised they were important for the recovery process, as was the cold compress for my poor swollen jaws but at some point you do want to feel what is really going on in your body to make sure you don’t need them.
On Monday I had a presentation at my department meeting and left directly afterwards to Berlin for a UK visa appointment. There I stayed with an old friend and met another one after the appointment before my ride back to Oldenburg. It was a very nice trip by the end of which most of the swelling was no longer visible and it no longer to hurt or talk. Discomfort remained when I ate things I needed to chew more mainly because of the stitches that remained. I had them removed the following Friday and things have been much better since. I think most of the jaw swelling and pain was more from the invasive anaesthesia injections rather than from the actual removal of teeth.
So now that I have lost my wisdom teeth, I sometimes miss them when I chew or brush but I am getting used to the ones I have left. Dentist appointments are dreadful, I’m hoping not to need something like that ever again! But overall, I think the hype and nightmarish stories people tell you are worse than reality.
Meanwhile there was a dip in my musical activities, but they are picking up again. And socially too, I am hosting a
Not-The-End-Of-The-World Party on the 8th of Dec. Ideally we would party on the 21st into the 22nd that the world didn’t end but I’m visiting the UK then so… if the world does end, at least I will be with family members 🙂
On the 5th of December, I will have exactly one year until my contract ends here. One year within which I must finish my PhD projects, writing the thesis and defend it. My plan is to take up something related to psychotherapy training or music (or both) after that in an English speaking country. Whether it is research related or in a clinic is secondary. On one hand I would love to return to India but if an interesting project comes up in say, a warmer region of the US which would suit my learning and growth better, I’d be up for that adventure too. I should start looking for actual positions soon. If any of you have any suggestions do let me know.
I would like to leave you with this.
It is quite something; for the eyes and the heart..
Be well, and live every moment fully,