Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sheepish Grin

I made it through the surgery well. As usual the anxiety was most of the battle. I must publicly thank Judy who was my designated driver and caretaker. She held my hand from the car to the waiting room as my knees were week. She waited while they worked and got all the instructions on how to take care of me afterwards. She brought me home and got me all set up. And she checked in on me to make sure I was OK. She's done this before for me with oral surgery. She is a Saint, I tell you.

The oral surgeon (Dr. Sasi Narra, Issaquah) had listened well to my tales of dental numbing woe. They knocked me out well. True to their word, they gave me laughing gas, then general anesthesia, followed by what must have been a horse load of Novocain as it took me until this morning to thaw out. They put in a dose of anti nausea drugs to the IV at the end. I was nervously tensed up sucking in the laughing gas as hard as I could and the next thing I knew it was over. Hardly any bleeding at all. And the best news was that they were able to take care of the extraction, the bone graft and the titanium screw for the implant all at the one sitting. Which means I don't have to go back for those things separately. I was so doped up I didn't even cry when I had to sign the Visa slip. That's the thing that hurts most today. Everything else is not too bad.

I do have to decide whether I want to go through the expense and hassle of having a temporary to fill my new gap which shows from the side. I will have a gap until the implant screw has grown to the bone which is a 3-6 month process, after which I can be fitted with a crown. The only options are a retainer with a tooth attached or some other kind of similar contraption that goes over all teeth. Both would have to be removed when I eat anyway. And the cost of $400-$600 would be just for a temporary fix. I may just get used to looking like a hillbilly for a while. I do have more empathy for the homeless and marginalized who have to walk around with big gaps in their mouths. Without dental insurance that covers half of my costs and still puts a major cramp in my account I would probably be in the same boat. I wonder if the National Health Plan includes dental services?

Now I can almost laugh at myself for having so much angst over this. Almost but not quite. I can't help but remember how I was so angry at my Wasband for putting off getting his vasectomy for years and years. In fact, he put off seeing a doctor in general. We had been married nearly 20 years and the last time he had had a physical was for his High School football screening. I think he said he did the last one over the phone with his friend's father who was a physician. So that hardly even counted. Finally, and only after a scare, he went in to see the vasectomy doc. I had to get the referral from my doctor and the vasectomy doc didn't even require a physical or precheck up. They just scheduled the thing over the phone. By this time I was so seething that I prayed that he would experience the amount of pain that he had put me through. Nice, hunh? He was white as a sheet when I drove him there. Imagine my dismay when he walked out whistling, saying it was a piece of cake and that it didn't hurt a bit. I was crushed. Nice, hunh? But, even this good experience didn't change his call on seeing a doctor. He still wouldn't go for a check up. In fact, he wouldn't take in the little sample after the V to test to make sure there were no more swimmers.

Ah, but I digress (easy to do when he is concerned I guess). I think my point was that anxiety over medical/dental work can be paralyzing. And even though I know the anxiety is usually worse than the experience, it still doesn't connect in the head. Childhood pain runs deep. I am pretty hardwired by now.

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