I had my wisdom teeth out. To be pedantic, I had a “coronectomy” which is what all the cool kids (with stubbourn teeth that have roots lying in close proximity to important nerves) are having done. They butterflied my gums and cheeks like a leg of lamb, exposed my wisdom teeth, gave them an experimental wiggle, the teeth resolutely declined to budge, so they mercilessly chopped each tooth’s head off like Ned Stark, stitched my mouth back together in an approximation of my normal anatomy, and sent me off to Recovery looking like a “beautiful chipmunk” (as coined by one of my friends).
Here are the highlights.
Dave wanted to take the “quick back street” route to the hospital.
Dave: “I always get these streets confused. Is this the right street? Oh, no, it’s the other one. Let me do a U-turn here. I totally know where I’m heading now. We are on track! Ummm, should I take this street or the next one? I think it’s the next one? Oh, no, it’s the other one. Again. Ha! Ok, just another quick U-turn. Totes on track now. Totes.“
Me: “Why did I not pop a Valium before this journey?”
I got to wear a Ronald McDonald-themed shower cap. This is because I am allergic to some important medical things (as well as vacuuming, drawing family trees where everyone marries a relative, gardening, taking the garbage bins out, ironing and doing my tax return).
I got cannulated by an experienced anaesthetist.
On the first go.
The cannula lasted through the entire surgery.
Holy mackerel, Batman.
I got to recite my name, date of birth, what procedure I’m having done and confirm that, yes, that is my signature about 25,000 times.
I got a nice warm blanket.
I got given Midazolam. Yes, siree, I did. Prior to a surgery they are usually not stingy with the dosage however there is always a lull of a minute or two post bolus where I start to wonder if I have had the misfortune to meet the one thrifty anaesthetist in the whole of NSW Health. Just before I can pipe up and politely quiz them about the dosage I start to feel the warm tendrils of drug circulating through me. Then: darkness.
I got given Fentanyl. Twice!
Dave was given an excellent opportunity to take humiliating photos of me.
Ice cream consumption was prescribed by the doctor.
Cooking for twenty-four hours after a general anaesthetic was banned by the doctor.
Who am I to second guess their omnipotence concerning ice cream consumption and cooking abstinence?
Dave joked that the surgeon called him halfway through the surgery to complain that I hadn’t shaved my legs. We discovered what my Death Stare looks like whilst I can’t feel or move the bottom half of my face.
The pharmacy had the medication ready for us when we arrived to collect it. It was like The Twilight Zone in that place. Waaaayyyy too efficient for our expectations.
I learned I can go seventy-two hours without caffeine. Thus, I have proved that I am not addicted to caffeine. The jury is still out about whether or not I am addicted to Fentanyl.
I got to explore the wonderful world of pureed food and tiny squares of toast. My eating habits are currently remarkably similar to that of my niece who is twenty months of age.
I have now had the displeasure of being admitted to (at least) six different hospitals, and I have to tell you, Concord General Repatriation Hospital is a total keeper. They were organised. They ran to time. They communicated. They listened to my lived experience. They promised that I wouldn’t wake up nauseous and vomiting – and they delivered. They let me wear my own underpants into theatre. They had good-looking anaesthetists. Oh, and they had Fentanyl! Bravo, Concord. Bravo. My butchered gums and I salute you.