|(Not my actual dentist)|
I had oral surgery on Tuesday. As my friend Stella says, “Nothing goes easy for me,” and since my friend Linda loves when I write about myself, here is the story.
Tuesday I went to my dentist, Dr. William Freidrich, for a simple visit to check on a previously cracked crown that he had replaced. Should have taken about five minutes. While I was there, he decided I should have a teeth cleaning. Again, a simple procedure … for ordinary people. Suddenly, there was a blood-curdling, scraping sound. I screamed like a wounded gazelle, helplessly trapped in the mouth of a lion. The hygienist decided that it would be wise to call for the dentist to come in. The dentist, in turn, decided to take an x-ray to investigate.
Dr. Freidrich found out that the loosening of the crown revealed an unknown problem with a molar in the right back part of my mouth. I had two choices; neither of them pleasant. My first option involved a complicated procedure that involved receiving a painful root canal, planting dental implants, and other procedures that sounded equally scary and increasingly multifarious. After the first thirty seconds of hearing about this ingenious plan, I tuned out, and stopped listening about what else lurked behind Door Number One. Door Number Two perked my ears, and definitely sounded like a more viable and practical option; pull out the bad tooth. And… it would give me the appearance of having higher cheekbones. Because I have a round chubby face, higher cheek bones sounded good, so I took that option.
|(not the actual tools)|
The dentist jabbed into my gums about four times with his ‘benevolent’ shots of Novocain. After a 15 minute wait for the local anesthetic to kick in, the procedure began. Oh joy. The process of pulling a tooth is reminiscent of those scenes you see in the Wild West movies where the dentist takes a pair of pliers, pulling with all his strength to loosen the molar.
After much struggling, the offending tooth was yanked out. Dr. Freidrich packed the region with gauze, gave me extra gauze, told me to rest and not to talk until 7 p.m. that evening and all should be fine. I also could not drink Diet Coke or smoke cigarettes. Taking away smoking, soda and talking -- as you can imagine, a veritable nightmare! Pretty much limited my life to the bare bones of existence, since those are my three favorite activities! The dentist took my cell phone number so that he could text me, and check on my status, since I would not be able to respond to any phone calls.
|(Flanagan in Iraq)|
Tuesday evening, I was an invited guest at the private suite of White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf for a party being given in the honor of my dear friend, former Congressman Michael Patrick Flanagan. Flanagan had been in
for two years on special assignment for the State Department and I really wanted to see him. I was not going to miss this event, whether or not I could talk. Iraq
By four o’clock Tuesday afternoon, the blood was gushing from my mouth extensively. Luckily, I live across the street from
, where my dentist is located. I walked back to the hospital, holding a towel up to my mouth, so the other pedestrians would not be sickened by the unrestrained blood flow. Dr. Friedrich saw me immediately, shot me full of Novocain again, and decided to stitch up the wound. Because I take the blood thinner Coumadin, I have to be careful when it comes to open wounds. I am also allergic to all narcotics, so I could take nothing for the pain except Advil. Northwestern Hospital
I got home and the bleeding was still pervasive, but not to the point that I could not change into sports clothing and drive to U.S. Cellular Field. I wrote a BIG NOTE saying, “I cannot talk, I had a tooth pulled,” that I showed to people as I left my building and arrived at the suite.
Dr. Freidrich kept texting me, asking me how I was doing. I sat quietly in the suite, as people visited and chatted. I took notes on all of the fascinating comments that I wanted to interject upon when I could not speak. The seven o’clock hour arrived. Hallelujah! I could finally start talking again! Unfortunately, it was a BIG MISTAKE!! The flapping of my jaw caused the blood to start gushing once again. I frantically stuffed my mouth with gauze and exited stage left to go home.
By the time I arrived home, the blood was surging at a fast pace. I kept changing the gauze and decided to try to wait until morning and not go to the emergency room at the hospital.
My bedroom looked like a crime scene from Law and Order. There was blood all over my sheets and pillows. Upon reflection, I was stupid not to go to the hospital.
Wednesday morning, I went to at the dentist at 7 a.m., the second he opened his doors for business. It turned out that because I was spitting the blood out (rather than let it drool from my mouth), I was loosening the clots, thereby making the situation worse. Dr. Friedrich once again shot me with Novocain (I had now received more than a dozen in my cheek, total), took out the stitches, suctioned out the remaining clots, and stitched me up again. He told me to go home, rest and not talk, drink, or smoke.
I had a lunch appointment Wednesday that I did not want to cancel. Somehow I managed to dress myself and take a cab to go to the meeting. I told the two people present that I had to stay quiet, and could only sip some soup. I ended the meeting as quickly as possible ( for me that meant 90 minutes!) and went home to cry in pain and lie in my bed.
It’s been a cumbersome week.
I sent an e-mail to some friends to let them know what was going on. All of them offered to come over immediately to change the sheets, so I would not have to lie in that bloody mess, and to bring me anything I needed. I turned down all offers because all I wanted to do was suffer by myself.
My two favorite offers were from my friends, Patti and Linda. Patti offered to bring ice cream. The thought of anything cold in my mouth would have caused me to scream so loudly that my sister in
would have heard it. Linda offered to “drive like the wind” from her home in Dublin . I checked the wind speed in Oak Park and it was only 12 miles an hour so it would have taken Linda hours to arrive! Still, their immediate offers to assist me in my time of need were (and are) cherished and appreciated. Chicago
The dentist kept texting, people kept e-mailing and Wednesday night I just tossed and turned.
Now you know why I did not post a blog on Thursday; I was not being lazy. I think I had a good excuse. I will get a note from the doctor, if necessary.