Why do they call them wisdom teeth when nine times out of ten they rascals need to be removed?
Last week I had the luxury of taking both my sons to get their wisdom teeth removed. Now if you know me, you would know that I rarely do anything on a small level. I'm one of those 'all in' kind of gals so you can probably guess that I scheduled both their extractions for the same day, a mere one hour apart. Hey, if you have to care for one, you may as well care for two and just get it over with right?
Right about now might be a good time preface this story with my own wisdom tooth extraction experience.
Back in the day, we didn't have all the handy advice such as keeping your head elevated, applying ice 30 minutes on and 30 minutes off. It would have been a luxury to have that knowledge.
Rather, we went to the dentist, and if we were one of the lucky ones we were put to sleep, and walked out an hour later with our mouths stuffed with gauze, some pain pills, and a coupon for a shake at the local burger joint. Back in the day someone took you, someone hoisted you back in the car, and someone dropped you at your house. After that you were pretty much on your own.
My experience took place curing spring break in 1984. My mother and father both worked full-time so my brother was nominated to transport me, lucky guy.
I was one of the lucky ones to get IV sedation. I remember coming to part way through and I was trying to sing along with the radio, Hello Eileen was pretty popular and as you can imagine, with my mouth propped open, it must have been pretty amusing for the dentist and his assistants.
When I came to the next time, my brother lifted me out of the chair and pretty much carried me to his shiny, red Mustang GTO. About that time, I'm pretty sure the doctor dispensed some advice, but I didn't hear anything and my brother couldn't wait to drop me at home so he could go hang with his friends.
Fifteen minutes later, I found myself in the house trying pretty unsuccessfully to drink a vanilla shake. My mother, being one of those non-doting types, came home from work and I was primarily left to fend for myself. No advice, no help, no soft foods were brought to me, I started to feel some pain and popped one of those pills. Suffice to say with only a vanilla shake in my stomach I wretched all night.
Long story short, I couldn't keep anything down for 4 days. And wouldn't you know, I couldn't have been blessed with those short, squatty roots like both my sons had. Oh no, my roots had to be bigger than life and extend well into my sinus cavities.
After 4 days I was able to drag myself to the local Big Boy restaurant and eat three plates of mashed potatoes, bent on popping one of those pain pills and keeping it down.
Determined not to let my sons suffer the same fate, I was prepared. I laid out their blankets and pillows on both the sofas. I prepared a huge bowl of mashed potatoes. I had jello, pudding, apple sauce, soup, canned beans, scrambled eggs, and Motrin at the ready. I had 8 packs of frozen peas in the freezer, on top of the chocolate ice cream. I had trays set up with bells to ring for me, gauze, water, and pudding packs so they could get started eating as soon as they got home.
I enlisted the help of both grandma and my best friend. Though I spent hours preparing for this big event, no matter how much planning I put into place nothing could possibly prepare me for what happened next.
The youngest was first in. Seriously, if it took the doctor seven minutes to pull all four teeth out, that was an overstatement. My baby hobbled out doped up on halcyon and into grandma's awaiting car, doing some sort of strange Beavis and Butthead laugh. I was horrified.
My oldest actually had 5 wisdom teeth. Well of course he did. He also elected to get the IV sedation for an extra $900, thank you very much. I stayed just long enough for him to be sedated and then I ran to get their pain pills and antibiotics. $2400 later, my sons were finished. Oh, and that was just my part of the bill.
As I drove my oldest son home, he started making hand motions, like those made on the tarmac directing a newly landed flight into a bay. It was only later I discovered he was trying to tell me that he saw the road on the left, he saw the road on the right, and he saw we were driving between them.
The real fun started when I pulled up in front of our house. The neighbor was standing outside watching me help my son to the door. I am guessing he was there half an hour prior when my youngest was helped to the door as well. By now he was probably wondering what I did with my sons.
My oldest started gagging on the gauze, bidding them adieu on the sidewalk, and spitting up and spraying blood all the way up the walk and into the house. Suffice to say the front of my house looked like a crime scene. In fact, I should have put out some of that yellow tape and really freaked the neighbors out.
Once inside the house, my oldest son was drooling blood all over the half bath. As I sprinted across the house looking for the gauze rolls hastily stuffed in my purse, I spotted my youngest attempting to feed himself some of that tasty chocolate pudding I had left on the tray. I told him I would be right back to help him, but he assured me with, "I got this."
After rolling up new gauze wads for my son, who was now bleeding profusely over the sink, I left to get him some fresh clothes that didn't look as if he had murdered someone. I entered the living room just in time to see my youngest with half the pudding cup smeared on the right side of his face. Yes, I see he had it alright.
Thankfully, my sons had very little pain throughout the whole process. The roots on their teeth were about 1/3 of what mine were so I am grateful they didn't inherit my nasty roots. Go figure.
I believe they call them wisdom teeth, because you learn a little something about yourself when you have to care for someone who has just had them pulled.