Pulling Teeth

Watching the England game yesterday felt like pulling teeth, and I should know, because two hours after the final whistle I had all four wisdom teeth out. Apparently, in football, if you raise your arm to someone, it’s a penalty. But a full-on Roman Reigns-style spear in the box doesn’t qualify as a foul.

BAR! (Huh, yeah) What is it good for? Absolutely nothing.

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About an hour before my surgery I watched an online instructional video. It appeared as though it had been filmed by students, sometime between 1997 and 2003. Although, thinking about it, the cavalier nature of both the script and editing can only have come from a pre-9/11 America. One of the actors, playing the role of “concerned patient #2”, looked like a brunette Gillian Jacobs. She even acted the way Jacobs acts in Community, whenever she’s playing Britta acting badly in a class play. I then remembered to stop laughing, and paid attention.

The video was complete with mis-matched cuts, where we see the host turn her head away from camera one, as we begin the shot from camera two. Even though, if I were to guess, it was a single-camera set-up. Meaning that camera two was in fact just a repositioned camera one. It’s the sort of cut you’d get in a 70s documentary, an 80s news report, or apparently, a 90s dental video.

The video told me that I might die, as is the case for all surgery. I told Audra that if that happens she should self-publish my terrible novels, and donate all proceeds to whoever Donald has screwed over that given week. This week, innocent migrant children. Next week, who knows? I decided to make that joke directly to her before we arrived, just in case my surgeon supports the current regime, and would find himself in a position where he could nick a major artery while his liberal, snowflake cuck of a patient was under.

“Yeah, I did it, I killed him. But it was worth it to have one less lefty in the world!”

“He defends freedom of speech! Give him 48-hours community service and a medal!”

“We have the best dental surgeons. The best. They might kill a few people, sure, but they’re all crisis actors. My hands are big.”

I arrived at the dental surgery, hungry and thirsty from the whole eight-hour ban on anything that keeps you alive. A few signatures on an electronic pad, and my mouth was in their hands. Or more, their hands would be in my mouth.

Hopefully not their whole hand, of course. Although today I feel like someone decided to fist away at my face at some point in the last twenty-four hours.

After a short wait, and a joke that the receptionist didn’t find very funny:

“Sorry for keeping you. He’ll be ready for you in a couple of minutes.”

“That’s okay. He’s got to have his double-whiskey and a Twix.”

*Stunned silence*

“Don’t worry, he’s only having half a Twix.”

I make jokes when I’m anxious. Humour, meet brain and procreate to develop an unhealthy defence mechanism.

After a few more minutes, I was called through to the pulling-room and quickly reminded my loving but mischievous wife not to film the aftermath of the surgery. They hook me up with all the usual surgical garb; Some pads on my chest, a blood pressure armband, an IV, the giant oxygen cucumber. Then, I was left alone for quite a while.

Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever been left alone with nothing but your visible vital-signs for company, but speaking from recent experience, it’s a pretty fun game. I began some controlled breathing and light meditation, and watched my blood pressure slowly drop from “bloody hell is he going to explode?” to a healthy level.

Then there was the heart monitor, this one’s more of a tricky mistress to tame, because the louder the beeps become, the higher your BPM gets. The noise is pretty stressful.

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So you have to point the finger-sensor away from the monitor. For whatever reason, this reduces the pitch of the sound output. That way you can focus, become zen and get your heart-rate down to a healthy resting 75 BPM.

Which is pretty good for someone with a load of tubes and wires hooked up to them, who doesn’t exercise much, and has an anxiety disorder. I’m proud of my 75, okay?

After my wait, which was about the length of a standard half of association football, the dental surgeon interrupted my vital games and briefed me on the surgery. He had a very serious face, so I decided to abstain from making jokes. I came to the conclusion that he definitely wouldn’t like the comment about Trump, or the bit about the whiskey. He looked like a gin man anyway.

After some final checks of my medical history, he began legally drugging me with a general anaesthetic. Four tubes of the knock-out juice were tapped into my IV, but by the time he loaded up the third I could feel myself passing beyond waking existence. I hope that’s how I get to die. None of this murder nonsense. Just pump a load of liquid into my pipes after I’ve said goodbye. I suppose that’s all any of us can hope for.

I wasn’t dying today. I came around in what felt like a blink of both eyes. It took me about five minutes to be totally lucid, at least to the point where I could ask the nurse how things went. I don’t think I said anything inappropriate before becoming fully conscious, and if I did, she was too polite to say anything.

They wheeled me out to the car, where Audra was waiting for me. As we pulled away from the surgery, we immediately passed by a store that excessively sold olive oils. I found myself compelled to shout “Olive oil!”, then proceeded to give two-thumbs up and a smile to all of the olive oil patrons inside.

As we got back to our apartment building, I attempted to convince Audra to park in a disabled spot.

“I’m going to feel pretty disabled for the next thirty minutes, so it only seems fair. If they have any problems, they can take it up with my bloody mouth!”

I was pretty out of it for another fifteen minutes or so. I remember watching an episode of Peep Show and trying desperately to decide if I’m Mark, Jeremy or Super Hans. Probably some awful cocktail of the three. Which obviously makes me a Jeremy.

My wonderful mother-in-law arrived with lots of cold, soft foods. Ice-cream and milkshakes have been a life-saver. It feels good being able to eat unhealthy for a bit, even though sugary snacks are what got me in this mess to begin with.

I’m feeling good today, and would give multiple wisdom tooth extraction a 7/10. As long as you actually need the procedure. Don’t just start yanking them out for the hell of it.

Unless you’re really bored.

Today is Tuesday, June 19th and according to recent statistics I had a 33% chance of being able to make jokes about Trump around my dentist.

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