Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Very RAW (and long!) Wisdom Tooth Surgery Diary

Every time I had an x-ray done at the Dentist during a cleaning visit, I would always ask how my wisdom teeth looked. They were impacted, and never seemed to change visit to visit. It seemed like everyone got theirs removed as teenagers, so I really thought I was sneaking past the age of concern. 

Then at my last dental cleaning, my Dentist said he was worried about the one on the bottom (I was born with only 3 wisdom teeth, 2 on top and 1 on the bottom.). It looked like it had started to move over and was pushing into it's neighbor. 

I got a referral to an Oral Surgeon in Gainesville, and had the consult in June. (Super great experience if you are local and want a recommendation!) He said that, actually, all three of my wisdom teeth needed to come out for different reasons, and even called it "moderately complex"! Here I was thinking I'd never have to do this. 

We picked a date to do my surgery after our trip to Europe, so that I wouldn't have to worry about recovery. And then I began my exhaustive research and started interviewing everyone I knew that had their wisdom teeth out. I'm very Type A, what can I say. (I even heard my nurse say that she thought  I was Type A to the oral surgeon as I was falling into the anesthesia! And I thought I had played it cool, haha.) 

Literally every single person I asked about their surgery had a vastly different experience. No two people are alike, but seriously, the variety of experiences is mind boggling. Frustrating, because I really really wanted to know what to expect! 

I decided to write this little diary, one, to entertain you, and two, to inform anyone out there who is like me and needs to know everything, how it went. 


Day Zero - The Surgery
(Thursday)
Because I was going to be under anesthesia for my surgery, I elected to have it done first thing in the morning. The instructions said that you could not eat up to 6 hours before the procedure, and I did not want to be hungry and nervous all day. 

You can be awake during this procedure, by the way. I was given the options, and decided I did not want to be aware of what was going on. My doctor uses a particular drug cocktail that does not make you say crazy things like you see on Youtube. (This was something I was worried about!) They call it twilight. My nurse explained that I would be very out of it, but able to respond during the surgery. However, because of the amnesiatic side effects, I wouldn't remember it. 

My nurse was awesome. She was also insanely nice, pretty and had the biggest biceps I've ever seen. She told me she had been in the army. Think Anna Faris meets GI Jane. I'm really glad that the drugs I was given didn't make me lose my filter because I would have told her all of that. 

I do this thing, when someone is upset or nervous or crying or whatever- I will just talk to them about nothing and just ignore that they are upset until they aren't upset anymore. I did it with my best friend during her wedding rehearsal. She disappeared, and I found her in the bathroom crying. She was just nervous. I just went in there and started talking about puppies or something until we were both laughing and she came out and went on with it. This is what my nurse did to me, and it was really funny to be on the other side of it. 

She just chatted with me and acted like I wasn't about to have surgery. It was really helpful. All the while, she was masterfully checking my vitals and got the IV going. Once she realized I liked information she explained everything she was doing and why. Bedside manner is literally a skill and a talent.

They had me swallow several antibiotic pills, and I know she pushed steroids and an anti swelling medication in my IV. She told me I was about to feel really relaxed, and that's when she pushed the anesthesia. I believe I also got Demerol for pain. I remember the doctor coming in and doing the numbing shots in my mouth. (At some point I had topical numbing medicine put on but I think that was earlier. My memory is foggy.) And then I drifted off. I remember her saying that thing to the doctor about being Type A, and then there is a huge gap in my memory. 

I did start to wake up before they were done. This was something I was terrified about, but didn't need to be. It was strange though, for sure. My eyes were closed and the doctor was telling me to open my mouth. (This is how I know I was somewhat aware, because he was giving me instructions.) I remember some tugging and I did try to make noise to let him know it wasn't comfortable. It felt like 5 minutes, but I couldn't know exactly. It did not hurt, but I did feel the tugging. (If you were awake during this procedure you will absolutely feel the tugging and here all the sounds that go with it.)  And I heard him say "That's it! We're done" and the nurse saying "Yay, you did amazing!" 

I fell back out of it, and then woke up again when they tried to stir me. I heard an "Awww" because I know I scrunched my face like I was crying. I've heard a lot of people cry coming out of anesthesia, and I remember feeling emotional.  This all happened in like 5 seconds, because I was out again.

A few people came in and out of the room, and finally Kari, the assistant (who is someone I know! I knew she worked there but hadn't seen her up to this point.) got me sitting up. She walked me down the hall to have an x-ray done. I have no idea how we made it down that hallway because I was so out of it. Someone walking behind me asked me about my t-shirt, which I still find hilarious. It was a t shirt for Apalachicola Oysters. Whoever it was asked me what it said. Yes, let's ask the delirious patient with gauze in her mouth to pronounce Apalachicola. I remember Kari giving a them a sarcastic remark about it. (New favorite person by the way.) 

She had me lay back down, and she said she was going to go talk to Blake about how to take care of me. They had Blake pull up to the back door, which is probably because they didn't want me scaring anyone in the waiting room. I told him I wanted a milkshake from Chick Fil A! 

I vaguely remember him going inside and coming back out with my milkshake. We took the gauze out, and there was not a lot of blood, which was surprising to me. I took about 5 spoonfuls of my milkshake. Blake says I asked him to take a picture to send to my mom-which I do not remember. Do you want to see it? It's hilarious. 


I struck me when I inserted this photo into this post, that I was wearing my Fitbit during my surgery! Let me show you something really crazy I found. This was my heart rate during the procedure. It's crazy that even under anesthesia I was distressed. The peak was during the surgery, and the other little spikes are later in the day when I was in pain. 


On the ride home, which is about an hour from Gainesville, I slept. I woke up once, and it was bad. I was in a cold sweat and felt extremely nauseous. I told Blake to pull over, and he was like "Now?!" and I confirmed. I just remember opening the door to let air on my face. I asked him for something to eat, and I think he gave me a french fry-which was a joke because I couldn't even open my mouth. Fortunately the feeling subsided. It's funny now, because we were literally about to get off our exit when I had him pull over. I think that was just a side effect from some of the medicines. 

He helped me get inside, and told me he was going to fill my prescriptions. I just fell asleep again. 

That's how it was pretty much the rest of the day. I woke up, fell back asleep. Looking back, I still had a lot of the medications they gave me at the doctor's in my system because it really wasn't painful yet. Some swelling, but not a lot. I even tried to eat some soup at dinner time. 


They give you a whole list of instructions. No drinking from straws...you have to sleep propped up. We followed everything to a T, because I was not about to get dry socket. Blake was so awesome. He made sure I got my medications on time and even woke up during night to make sure I was sleeping propped up on a pillow. 

I have to say, the worst part of the first day is the numbness. I could not feel my chin or my lips. Trying to eat like that is almost impossible! I was also very worried about the numbness, because of the lower tooth they removed. It was a possibility that I would lose some feeling because of the proximity to the nerve in the jaw. 

Day One - Recovering 
(Friday)
All in all, not much worse than the day of the surgery. I woke up and had 99% of the feeling back in my lips and chin, so that was a huge relief. There was a lot more swelling (mostly inside my mouth), and I could hardly open my mouth. I pretty much stayed on the couch and we binge watched Parks and Rec again.

My in-laws sent me some gorgeous flowers, which totally cheered me up! A friend also brought over homemade chicken noodle soup, which was the absolute perfect thing. I could only eat oatmeal or soup for several days. 

I haven't mentioned the other drama going on in our life during this episode. While we were in Europe, we had a pipe burst and our entire side yard flooded. I'm so grateful that we had a very responsible house sitter, because who knows what could have happened. We have a super old, and quirky house-so things go wrong fairly frequently. Being out of the country was just the icing on the cake. 

Fortunately, we had a plumber fix the problem while we were gone, and we had cold water working when we got back. Our water heater (our newish water heater, mind you.) malfunctioned at the same time, or maybe because of the burst. So, we were without hot water when I had my surgery. I had gotten used to cold showers, but the last thing I wanted to do after surgery was take a cold shower. So, I went to my sister's so I could take a shower and that was about all I accomplished on this day...

This was my face on Friday. A little puffy, but not bad. I'm very flushed because I was running a low grade fever, which they had told us to expect. 






Day Two- The Worst Day.
(Saturday)
My doctor did warn me that this was going to be the worst day. They said it's like when you work out, it always hurts the most on day 2. 

The swelling was off the charts! The majority of the swelling was inside my mouth, but today, the outside was just as big! I didn't have a single wrinkle on my entire face, it was so full. This is maybe the worst photo of me on the planet, but here ya go:


The only thing that helped was keeping an ice pack on both sides almost constantly. By the end of the day it had gone down slightly and I was able to enjoy another milkshake.



I've mentioned the swelling, but the pain from the incisions was also challenging. There were two kinds of pain. Throbbing, and the sharp pain at the incision site. I was prescribed 2 different pain medications, Oxycodone and a 600 mg Ibuprofen. (Not to take together.) One of them was really good at dulling the throbbing, and the other for the sharp pain. So neither would take away the whole thing. The other challenge is that both of these medications would wear off well before it was time for a new dose. That breakthrough pain was very hard to control, and bring back down. Finally, I just started redosing about 45 minutes before I was supposed to. 

Day Three - So much better!
(Sunday)
I was still dealing with the pain and swelling on Sunday, but it felt infinitely better than the day before. My family was getting together to celebrate both my parents' and my sister's anniversaries that evening. Anniversaries are a big deal in our family, and I really did not want to miss the dinner. I knew I wouldn't be able to eat much, but I still wanted to go. 

To prepare, I iced my face the whole day, and got dressed for the first time. It felt so good to put on makeup and try to feel like a human!

The side that had two teeth removed was way bigger than the other, and I still couldn't smile. 


Dinner was so fun, it was just hard not to be 100% myself. I couldn't really laugh too hard, or talk loud enough to be heard at the restaurant. I ordered soup and mashed potatoes, while eyeing everyone else's meals! I was so sick of soup and oatmeal, I just wanted to chew something!

We had to take a traditional selfie of our group, and I REALLY tried to smile. It hurt so bad, but we managed to get a kinda sorta good one. My mom posted it with a caption that pointed out how hard I was trying...way to make it obvious mom! 


Day Four - Turning the corner.
(Monday)
I felt so much better on Monday. Swelling and pain were ever present, but I felt like I could get up off the couch and do something! And, I could close my mouth! Finally.

I ended up deciding to tackle my desk. It had become a catch all since our vacation and I hadn't had any time or energy to work on the pile of stuff. 

I reorganized a little but, filed some things away, and finally I was able to work on some crafts!! I hadn't really touched my Cricut since we had been back, so I was happy to have some time on my hands. I think I worked on a total of 8 (small) projects throughout the day. 





I was able to go to bed with my office looking like it should! The whole top of my bookshelf was also full of cups that were a commission for a friend. All finished! 

Earlier in the day, Blake and I ran out to Lowes (for the part to fix the water heater! It's fixed by the way!!) and I realllllllllly wanted a cheeseburger. He obliged and took me to Wendy's, where I got a tiny kid's cheeseburger. I cut it up into miniscule pieces and still could barely eat it. This is a photo of me afterwards, completely defeated and miserable because my pain had started back up. Lesson to you, researching reader, do not try to chew yet. It's not time!

You can totally tell which side had two teeth taken out:

Day Five - Back to normal?
(Tuesday)
Nope, not yet. I was at about 75%. This was the first day I did not wake up out of my night's sleep in pain. I also noticed later in the day that I had missed a dose of pain medicine. Up until that point I had been counting down the seconds until I could have more. 

Smiling and talking were still a pain, but I was able to chew my dinner! It felt like I was over the hump for sure. 

One thing I had not anticipated was having side effects of the medications. For one thing, my sinuses were draining weird colors, and my digestion has yet to go back to normal. I'm not eating a lot, but it's still uncomfortably slow. I finished my antibiotics on day five, and was so thrilled to start taking probiotics to get my gut back to normal.

Day 6 - Feeling 85% 
(Wednesday)
Today is day 6. I was supposed to be back at work today, but decided to go back in on Friday. I'm feeling SO much better, but I know better than to push it. 

The swelling inside my mouth is down significantly, compared with yesterday. I can chew meals, they just need to be on the soft side. I still have puffy cheeks, but I can actually smile!! That felt like a huge milestone! 

As far as can'ts go: I can't lick my lips, or even rub them together. I don't know if that has to do with swelling, or if it's my nerve still healing. I do have a strange twitch at the corner of my mouth once in a while that I know is related to the nerve healing. I can't open my mouth very wide, but I can at least see the top two incisions, although not completely. 

Tomorrow morning I go in for a follow up, and I am very nervous about that. I have no idea how they are going to see anything with my mouth opening halfway. My friend suggested I take the Oxycodone before I go, even though I haven't needed to take that in a few days. 


A real smile!!

Well guys, I can't believe you stuck around for this epically long post. I have to say, it was fun to write. It reminded me of the old school blogging days. This was a true log of the last week in my life. No glitz, no filters...just me, after surgery. 

I have to say. I am not a baby when it comes to pain. When I'm sick, the show goes on. So I really thought I'd be one of those people up and at 'em really quickly. This knocked me down a few rungs. It really humbled me. I am not invincible and I do need to rest. It's also truly incredible that our bodies were designed to heal and to fight. 

I would LOVE to talk to you in the comments below! Have you had your wisdom teeth removed?! How was it for you? Were you one of those crazy people back at work the next day? What other surgeries have you had? This was my first ever operation, and I have no idea how people with chronic illnesses or serious conditions do it. Let's chat! 

No Comments Yet, Leave Yours!