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I Found Nemo

June 8, 2007

As I starred at the Nemo looking fish in the office of my oral surgeon, I was filled with anxiety. I had not had teeth pulled from my head since the fifth grade. Back then I had a total of nine taken out – five baby and four permanent. An attractive blonde nurse called me back. She reviewed to me how the next 40 minutes would go and asked who would be picking me up. I told her that I had nine teeth pulled before and she asked me if I had the laughing gas before. I replied that I had done it old school – just a local anesthetic.

As I sat in the exam chair while she prepared everything, I began to think about how easily we trust people when they are in some position of authority. In a matter of minutes, two near strangers were going to drug me to near unconsciousness, pull four teeth out of my head and demand $1,200 for doing this – and I was letting them do this completely willingly and without question.

She fitted the mask over my face and told me to breathe normally. And within minutes, I began to float around the room. It was one of the best experiences I ever had. I was pretty high when the doctor walked in and asked me what I did for a living. I told him that I worked for a nonprofit… …doing fundraising. My voiced sounded like it was slowed down and very deep. I vaguely remember him telling me that he was putting an IV in me for the painkillers. The next thing I remember was the nurse telling me that the top wisdom teeth were gone. And that they were going to drill on the bottoms to get them out. Moments later the doctor was gone, the IV was out and I was holding the hand of the nurse to the recovery room. The whole procedure seemed like it took minutes but the clock on the wall told me it had been an hour.

My friend Katherine was in the recovery room waiting for me. The nurse went over the instructions with Katherine and me and before I knew it, the gas had completely worn off and I was feeling pretty good with all the painkillers in me. I filled out my prescriptions for Hydrocodone (commonly known as Vicodin) and Penicillin. Once home, I took a couple of Hydrocodone pills and basically slept on the couch for the entire day.

Today my mouth hurts to open it. But I am armed with soup, ice cream, movies and magazines, so my next couple of days looks pretty relaxing. I looked into my mouth today and it looks weird in there without my wisdom teeth. But I am glad that they are out now. I originally had this appointment scheduled a year and half ago but I kept on pushing it off. So yesterday, I had my reckoning and now I am up to having 13 teeth pulled from my head.

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