For a long time, I was convinced that I would never need this surgery because my wisdom teeth actually had grown in and fit in my mouth comfortably. A couple years later, my dentist told me that because of the lack of space around those teeth, my toothbrush was not cleaning them effectively enough to keep cavities away, and that this would continue over time. So, he recommended that I have them removed. Even after getting a consult with an oral surgeon, I instinctively pushed this off for several months. THEN, a piece of the tooth broke off (probably from the cavities – gross, I know…) and the remainder of the tooth was sharp and jabbing into my gums. So it’s no surprise that two weeks later I found myself in the surgeon’s chair.
Let me start off by saying that the surgery went well and was relatively easy – I didn’t even need stitches! That being said, going into the surgery, I was a nervous wreck. I wasn’t crazy about the idea of being put to sleep, I’ve never had surgery of any kind, and honestly I’ve had very minimal medical issues. Still, I probably should have been more chill about the whole thing.
I was already feeling uneasy this week leading up the the surgery, and I woke up playing a list of worst case scenarios over and over in my head. I was strangely sensitive all morning and my anxiety levels were high. (Quick shout out to my amazing boyfriend Ryan for doing what he could to put me at ease.❤) Those levels were further increased by two sets of strangers in the waiting room making small talk about the details of their children’s procedures. Phrases such as, “root canal” and “synthetic stitching” had me praying that they would either leave or just shut the fuck up.
By the time I was in the surgeon’s chair, I was doing everything I could to not go into a full blown panic. I told the doctor I was nervous as she put three little monitors on me, one on each side of my collar bone and one on my left side. I wasn’t even hooked up to the IV yet, and I was getting more nervous by the second. She then put the blood pressure cuff around my arm and as I felt it getting tighter and tighter, I started to panic that it wouldn’t stop and it would just keep squeezing my arm until it injured me. Contrary to the mania in my head, the machine did stop tightening, but honestly it was extremely uncomfortable and was taking an awful long time to release. The doctor was looking at the machine and said that she was going to change the cuff. She manually released it and put the new one on, saying, “Don’t worry – this one is brand new!” Oh thank you so much, you’re just making me feel so much better about this whole thing! (No, actually she was really nice and the machine took my blood pressure correctly that time). After she took all my vitals, she left the room without taking the cuff off my arm like I expected her to. A minute or two went by and the cuff started to tighten again, putting me back into a small panic. My mind started racing. Wasn’t she supposed to take this off of me? Is this supposed to be taking my BP again? Should it be this tight? I complained to Ryan that it was hurting me and he kept reassuring me that everything was okay, but I was feeling more anxious by the second. My eyes started to well up, so I shifted my gaze upwards and tried to blink it away. In one hour, it’ll be done. In just one hour, it’ll be over. When the doctor came back in, I was given laughing gas and the instructions to breathe in my nose and out my mouth. The blood pressure cuff started to tighten again.
Me: Is that going to keep happening every two minutes?
Doctor: Every five minutes, but yes. You doing okay?
No, not really.
Me: Yeah, it’s just a little tight.
Doctor: Okay, Ryan now do you want to go back into the waiting room now or do you want to wait until after we do the IV?
Ryan: I —
Me: He probably wants to stay.
Doctor: Ryan, do you want to come hold her hand?
Me: Yeah, he does.
Once I had Ryan’s hand in mine, I closed my eyes and the doctor took my arm. She wrapped something around me above my elbow to get a good vein for the IV, but that made me really internally freak the fuck out. I could feel my legs shaking and they had to remind me to keep breathing or else the laughing gas wouldn’t work. (Ryan has informed me post-surgery that I actually did, in fact, stop breathing for a second.) I forced myself to breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth, but my exhales came out shaky.
It’s not even like the needle itself was painful, it was everything else that really freaked me out. The weird IV bag, the things hooked up to my collar bone, the blood pressure cuff. Everything made me nervous and anxious and scared. I couldn’t control my breathing or stop my body from shaking. It was scary to not be able to calm myself down, especially after Ryan had been told to make his way back to the waiting room. Luckily, that meant that the IV was in, and after a few minutes of panic that it wouldn’t have any affect on me, I guess I finally fell asleep.
Let me just remind you again that this was just a normal wisdom teeth surgery – and an easy one at that. I usually don’t have any problems going to a medical appointment, but then again, I’ve never had to be “hooked up” to anything. I pray that I don’t find myself with any serious complications in the future, because I don’t know if I could handle it. To anyone who has been put through surgeries, procedures, or any other scary medical experiences, please know that you are a stronger human than I am! Respect.
Anyway, waking up from surgery was fairly easy. It was much less dramatic than I was picturing, and there was no “David After Dentist” camera opp. (By the way – no, I am not high on pain pills as I am writing this or anything like that.) Truly, the worst part of the entire procedure was being so ridiculously in my head about it.
So yeah, that’s how my first surgery experience went. Thanks for reading.