Wisdom teeth removal, part 3

Day six, and still not done? That’s right. I’ve been taking pain-killers three times per day, and I’ll probably continue to do so for the rest of the week. Problem is, I’ve almost run out. We’ll see.

In addition to the pain-killers, I’ve had to gargle the antiseptic mouth wash twice a day. Fortunately, I don’t have to take it undiluted, as I did before the operation. That left my tongue constantly feeling like I’d taken the “nuclear” grade spicy meal at an Indian restaurant.

What’s bothering me right now is the clove. It’s stuck in those huge cavities where the teeth used to be, and I can feel the taste all the time. I’ve removed most of it using tweezers (boiled them first, to avoid any infection), but the taste is still there. And my breath smells like shit. I can even taste it, and that’s pretty disgusting. So I’m constantly drinking water and chewing gum, but it doesn’t help too much. Yeech!

Oh, and I have another appointment in about two weeks, to see how it’s going.

Wisdom teeth removal, part 2

Day two…

Woke up thrice this night (02:46, 04:XX, 07:47), but I guess mostly because of the coffee beans in the ice cream :) Finally got up, and had only a small ache. Had a Brufen, a yoghurt with honey (yummy Greek dessert), some water and ice cream for breakfast. No bread, cheese, croissants, juice, coffee, eggs, or other stuff that might mess up the treatment.

Watched the last part of the Lord of the Rings, and went to see the dentist. Had a Brufen underway. He pulled out some cloth he had lain in the cavities of two of the wisdom teeth (presumably to hinder the bleeding), then the area was flushed with the same disinfectant I got yesterday, but using a suction device to remove it immediately. Then he stuffed something which he said was an ancient medicine, made from a flower, into the two holes he’d just uncovered. I didn’t recognize the German or French word for it, but I believe it was carnation, because it tasted strongly of clove. It was all done in about five minutes.

I was told I could eat hot meals again, but I should continue with the Brufen and the thinned-out Drossadin antiseptic mouth-wash (which I didn’t mention in the previous blog entry). Home-made cauliflower soup never tasted so good :-)

Wisdom teeth removal, part 1

It’s done. I didn’t record exactly how much time it took, but I’ll recall the details of the operation. Some of the parts can be a bit scary if you’re having the same operation yourself soon, but I assure you that your imagination is conjuring up a much worse picture than it actually is.

I arrived at the dentist this morning at 11. He briefly went through the routine: Since the left wisdom teeth were the ones giving the most pain, we’d take those first. Then I’d decide on whether to continue.

The operation started with gargling a mix of disinfectant and water. It didn’t taste much, but it had an ugly dark brown color. But, as with the rest of the process, it was necessary. Afterwards I got a glass of water with Brufen, a pain-killer, to drink.

The next step was injecting the anesthetic with a needle. Two injections (upper and lower left jaw), and then about five minutes of waiting. I’m not sure of the actual wording of the doctor (he spoke German), but he either said it was a derivative of heroin, or the drug itself. It sure didn’t get me high, so I’ll assume it was the former. The needle was just a small sting, but the feeling of the anesthetic was strange; a tingling feeling in the tongue and cheeks, like when your arm is “coming to life” after sleeping on it until you almost can’t feel it.

After the waiting, the doctor tested whether it was working by poking with the needle around the wisdom teeth. Couldn’t feel a thing in the lower jaw, and just a tine sting in the upper one. At this stage, the left part of the tongue was pretty much lame, so I just had to “uh-huh” him.

OK, ready for the operation. They had a portable CD player there, so I could listen to music all the time. This is a fucking great idea, as it took my mind pretty much off what was happening. The only downside was that the sound couldn’t drown out the more noisy equipment the dentist was using. If you ever go to have your wisdom teeth removed (or any other operation taking more than a few minutes), remember to ask whether they have something similar, or bring it yourself. In any case, you’d want to bring your own music. And I’d take a wild guess that Vivaldi or Darude is better than Evanescence or Rage Against the Machine. I listened to Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons”.

They also had one of those eye covers that you get on long flights, to “protect the eyes” from any tooth parts cut away by the previously mentioned noisy equipment. I believe it’s also used to avoid having to see the tools and workings of the operation, and better concentrate on the music. In hindsight, thank fuck for that!

But, back to the operation itself. I didn’t see shait, so I can’t describe who did what (there was an assistant there as well), or how the equipment looked (phew). What I remember best, is trying really hard to concentrate on the music, while my bastard brain was constantly inquiring just what the hell was happening. Something else I remember very well are the sounds. The deafening “meeeeoww” of the saw thingy used to cut both upper wisdom teeth in half before removing them, and the cracking sound when the teeth where squeezed something awful (I really felt this for one of the teeth) and pulled out. There is something alarming about these kinds of sounds being transferred directly through your skull to the ears…

After finishing off the two first wisdom teeth, I had to gargle the disinfectant mix again, and blood was flowing steadily. Then the dentist asked whether I’d like to continue with the other two. I just wanted it to be over, but putting it off would mean a larger total of pain – I gave the go-ahead.

The second part was not much different from the first, except the upper left tooth took longer than the others to remove. After sawing the tooth in two, the doctor (I assume) clamped down on the rest, and tried to pull it out. He used my lip corner as leverage point, and at some point he was using so much force I was afraid he was going to give me a bigger mouth.

Afterwards, I had to do the gargling routine again. Then I went back to the dentist’s office with him, and he laid down some hints, rules, left-overs, and utilities. He put the teeth in a plastic bag, just like any garage. The I got two pills of Dalacin C to take today (dunno what they do), a small pack of tissues, a prescription for Brufen (same pain-killer as I got before the operation) and Nexcare (hot/cold gel compress), some ice cubes in a plastic bag, two pieces of gauze, and an appointment for tomorrow, to remove some things he put in at least one of the holes.

The ice had two purposes: To be put on the cheeks to keep the swelling down, and to put in the mouth if the bleeding didn’t stop. It was probably for the best, because I spit out two mouth-fuls of blood on the way home. I’ve heard that you can throw up if you swallow several decilitres of blood, so naturally I tried to avoid that as far as I could. When I came home, I tried keeping two ice cubes on the bleeding until they had melted away. This didn’t stop the bleeding, so I opened the pack of gauze, put a piece on the spot, and kept my mouth shut. That worked wonders, and I’ve been bleeding very little since then. The Nexcare is still in the freezer, and I’ll be using it for LOTR: The Two Towers.

I was told not to go to work after the operation, even though I felt relatively fine. I was also told to avoid lying down (even with the ice patch), because that would make the swelling worse. I didn’t ask about walking, but I don’t want to scare too many pedestrians or get too far away from my pain-killers and a glass of water. Another recommendation to keep the swelling down was to avoid eating or drinking anything hot. Anything cold (ice cream, yoghurt, juice) was OK.

The whole thing was over relatively fast. Comparing the arrival time to the bus ticket home and taking into account the time I used to get the medicine, I’d say the operation lasted about 25-35 minutes.

How do I feel? There’s a sort of “distant” pain in my jaw, but nothing really bad; the pain-killer seems to be working fine. And last, but certainly not least, Carte d’Or coffee ice cream tastes great!

Wisdom teeth removal, part 0

Tomorrow I’m going to remove at least two, hopefully all four, of my wisdom teeth. My lower left jaw hurts just spelling that out…

This is going to be the biggest operation of any kind I’ve done since, well, basically, ever. Naturally, I’m not looking forward to the operation, but all the same I’m hoping this will put an end to the recurrent tooth-ache, and prevent any displacement of teeth because of pushy molars.

So, have you got any suggestions for how to handle the days after the operation? BTW, is anyone actually reading this $#!7?

Stay tuned for “the pain blog” ;-)

The road to driving, part 8

Today I visited the DRIRE Centre de Controle de Vehicules (car control centre) in Viriat to have the (hopefully) last check of my car. I left home at about 8:15, got there two minutes late to the appointment 10:30, and got back to work just in time to lunch 13:00.

The check itself took between 10 and 15 minutes, and I didn’t even have to start the engine! The guy just looked under the hood (mostly at the ID and model numbers), and that was it. Did I really use half a day to go somewhere to check what could have been checked practically anywhere? Seems like it.

After the check the guy told me they would send the papers to the Gex sous-prefecture, so I should be able to get a carte grise in about five days. If you’re reading this, would you mind crossing all available fingers and toes, pray to whichever god you pray to, and just generally focus your mind-power on wishing that this thing goes through soon? Much obliged :-)

del.icio.us power tag filtering

In an attempt to ease the filtering of del.icio.us bookmarks, I have created a more flexible interface than the current “+” operator in use at the main site.

The idea popped up when trying to filter my almost 500 del.icio.us bookmarks to find a very specific link I knew had to be there somewhere. However, only adding tags did not provide enough accuracy; I still had to skim through several pages for the right link. At that point I started looking around to see if there was any way to further limit the search, but I found nothing except for the “ignore” functionality. However, this serves a limited purpose, and it has to be turned on and off manually.

Documentation is available at the homepage.