Stylized line drawing of mark playing the flute

A restrospective on my wisdom teeth

I am 20 years old, living in Boston and my job has dental insurance.

This is why I am now at the oral surgeon about to have my wisdom teeth removed. The dentist at my last visit said they need to come out, I don't have to pay, let's get them out.

All four of them.

Looking back, almost 20 years later, I don't even remember how I got the arrangement I ended up with. Did I lie? Did they just not care?

For the sake of the story, we'll pretend the conversation happened like this:

Them: We were planning to put you under. Do you have someone to pick you up?

Me: I drove myself and I don't want to be put under. Can't you just use local anesthetic?

Them: Sure, why not! We'll numb you up real good and then go to town on your teeth.

Thinking about it almost 20 years later, I can't believe they agreed to it.

They put me in a chair, inject me about a million times with novocaine. They have, helpfully, tuned the radio to the local alternative station that I like. The surgeon tells me to wave my hands around if anything starts to hurt and then they get to it. The poor man loses, I think, several years of his life when I forget and reach up to scratch my stomach.

It's a gory process, full of horrific sounds, smells and spatters. My head is getting jerked around from the force of their pulling.

After an indeterminate period of time, it's over. I get my post-op instructions and head out.

I have to drive past my office anyway and the traffic is terrible so I stop and work for an hour.

My boss asks "What are you doing here?".

"Just killing some time." I reply, still blissfully numb.

I start to feel a dull throbbing when I'm driving toward the pharmacy. By the time the pharmacy assistant has bungled my order twice and is on the phone with my insurance company, the throbbing is now excruciating pain enveloping my entire face.

But, at last, I get my Percoset and drive the last quarter mile home.

I pop two pills and collapse into bed fully-clothed. Warmth, starting in my arms, and spreads over my body taking the pain with it.

And then I am asleep.