Sunday, March 25, 2007

Jaw'll Are Trying to Destroy Me (part 3)

People! Why the fuck am I getting a certified letter from my dentist? Why can't she just call and tell me this news? What is in there that she needs to make sure that I know...and in case of a malpractice lawsuit, can legally prove that I knew (that's the only reason to send someone a certified letter -- so that you can prove they received it)?

Because this is already too long, let me summarize the letter for you: a) we may have to wire your jaw shut for awhile; b) you have to go on a liquid diet for 4-6 weeks; c) don't forget, your jaw may shatter at any time. See ya in a few weeks, sucka.

I bitched and moaned and vacillated for awhile, but what could I do? All the dentists I'd seen were telling me that the benefits outweighed the risks. Essentially, the issue was this: I could get the surgery now and possibly get my jaw broken, or I could leave the teeth, develop the likely infection, and then definitely get my jaw broken when they had to go in later and take it out. So I went in. February 15th, Fergus C. Tucker escorted me to the dental clinic where I was placed under sedation and ... oh wait! Did I say that, sometime between them sending me the certified letter and the day I showed up for surgery, they decided that it was just too risky to get that terrorist tooth on the lower left side (the jawbreaker)? Like, the [new] oral surgeon just refused to do it. This was my third oral surgeon, by the way. No one wanted any piece of this procedure. They kept having to re-assign me. That's how fucked up it was. So as they're prepping me for the procedure, the third and final guy says, "We're definitely taking the other three, but we're going to go in and take only the crown of that devil tooth. Hopefully, your body will then reject the rest and push the roots further up so that we can go back in later and pull them out. Or something. Keep your fingers crossed, sucka!"

I went under, someone stood on my face and jackhammered the teeth out of my skull (or something -- I'm not sure about the actual mechanics involved) and abracadabra! I looked like the nutty professor. Just swole!
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I've had nothing but trouble since the surgery. It's been about 6 weeks, and I can only eat soft foods that don't require a lot of chewing. I mean, being the chubs that I am, I try to do it anyway, but I inevitably pay for it with hours of excruciating pain. They opened a passage between my sinus cavity and the upper left socket, so that I when I rinse my mouth the liquid shoots out of my nose. I still have to take the Vicodin and ibuprofen mix every day, and I got an infection in both upper sockets. I discovered that the night that I had my mouth fill with pus THAT'S RIGHT I SAID MY MOUTH FILLED WITH PUS and thought to myself, "You know, that seems out of the ordinOHMYJESUSCHOKEGASP."

What made it super exciting for me was when I went back to the clinic the next day in a panic and the resident who barely cracked my mouth open said "Ah, that's just food debris. You need to make sure you're rinsing better. So long, sucka!"

So, yeah...I got a new dentist,because I've been alive a long time, and I know the difference between "masticated noodle" and "yellow-green ooze that smells and tastes like a demon shit in my mouth." Because of my jacked up health insurance, however, I have to pay the new dentist myself until the month runs out, because you can't have two different providers in a single month.

And that concludes the saga of "Why I Haven't Been Around For Awhile." See! It wasn't just laziness this time!

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Jaw'll Are Trying to Destroy Me (part 2)

Part one of the story in the post below.

Here's the problem (or problem one): I've never had any surgical procedures before, so when the receptionist at the clinic helped me schedule the surgery, I didn't know to ask for a morning appointment. My surgery was scheduled for 3 pm, but I couldn't have anything in my stomach (not even water) for 8 hours prior. I get sick if my blood sugar gets too low, so in desperation, I had a handful of dry cheerios at 10 am on the day of my surgery. I almost didn't even cop to it. I mean, it was, like, 1 oz. of food! But I did cop to it, and the oral surgeon refused to do the procedure. Apparently, they don't put a breathing tube down your throat for these kinds of things, so if you are out and start to choke, you could die blah blah blah. Whatever. Now, I really wanted to take care of this whole thing before school started, so even though the prospect of being awake while someone prised teeth from an uncooperative jaw made me weak in the knees, I asked the surgeon if we could go ahead and do this under local anasthesia. And dudes, he straight up refused. He was like, "With what you got in there [pointing vaguely at my mouth]? No."

O...kay? Whatever. I hopped out of the chair and was about to go reschedue the damn thing. But no. Everyone in the room -- and new people keep coming -- wants to talk to me about the surgery. That's when they told me about my glass jaw and started talking to me about how there was a good chance they would break my jaw if they went after that one rogue tooth, but it definitely needed to come out, so here's how we put a titanium plate in your face and Jesus, take the wheel I almost passed out. After scaring the crap out of me, I was allowed to leave. I got a new appointment (for a month later-- right in the heart of the semester) and rolled out.

A week later, a certified letter was waiting for me down at the post office. It was from the dental clinic. There was more good news.

Part III of Jaw'll are Trying to Destroy Me coming up next!

Making the Scene

My peoples!

I know that's it been a long time. And you're right: I shouldn't have left you without a dope beat to step to. But mama's been dealing with the good, the bad, and the ugly this past month (and a half), so let's agree to dispense with the recriminations and come back together like the family we are, bitches.

News you can use: a few days after my last posting, I went in to the U of MN dental clinic for [fairly] routine oral surgery. I've reached the luscious, ripe, ready, age of 32 with four tangled up, crackhead wisdom teeth just causing all kinds of trouble in my mouth. Actually, the teeth weren't causing any trouble; but the dentist assured me that they were going to, and it was high time I had them out. And since it made sense to just deal with all the recovery at once, I scheduled all the extractions for mid-January (during winter break). So far, so good.

The problem is, my surgery wasn't going to be fairly routine. My wisdom teeth were all in very weird, very complicated positions; and because they had been allowed to grow unchecked for so long, one in particular had prevented the formation of bone in my jaw on the lower left side. How I've gone this long without jaw problems is a miracle, apparently, as the oral surgeon took a look at my x-rays and said: "your jaw could shatter at any time. Your jaw is paper thin right here. All it would take is biting down on something the wrong way, or being hit at just the right angle..."

I know, right?!

So, once the dentists start taking a look at what's going in there, everyone becomes a lot more concerned. I mentioned that I go to the U of MN dental school clinic, right? I started going there as a graduate student (the last time I had dental insurance) and because I never had anything complex to deal with, I kept going there. The vast majority of the time, you are getting worked on by students. Normally, that's cool. But now, that's an issue. I get passed up the chain of command from intermediate to advanced to resident to faculty member. There are whispered consultations galore. They keep calling more people into the room to look at my x-rays. I start to get very nervous.

The upshot is, I didn't have the surgery in January. I had to reschedule for mid-February. And that's when the trouble started.

Stay tuned for Part II of Jaw'll Must be Kidding Me