There is an inordinate amount of trust placed upon a surgeon. I walk into one of the offices in a multi-office building. This one office is for Dr. William Ardary, MD, DDS. I was scheduled to have all three of my wisdom teeth extracted from this man. I’ve never met him before. I know nothing about him. All I see is a professional atmosphere, many nurses who appear to obey his every command, and huge plaques on the wall certifying that he is, indeed, an oral surgeon. How do I know that? I don’t. My trust is all based on faith. I find that phenomenon amazing.

I’m on the operating chair. A kind and stout Hispanic woman in maroon nurses’ garb commands me to put all my belongings on the table against the wall. She then says that she’s going to take my heart rate. Two other maroon-garbed nurses walk in. One puts a suction cup designed to monitor my breathing between my clavicle and the other is on a mission to put everything in place. Dr. Ardary walks in… all non-chalant. This is something he does everyday. He digs into people’s gums with as much ease as I dig into people’s financial situation at work. My left arm is placed on a cushion. Dr. Ardary disinfects the crook of my arm, preparing the area for the insertion of the general anesthesia IV needle. The prick was uncomfortable. The sharpness of it reverberated across my torso. A nurse assists him in placing securing tape to prevent any moving and he straps my wrist to prevent me from bending the arm. “We wouldn’t want to start over again,” he says.

He slowly turns some kind of dial. I am staring at the wall, at the full x-ray scan of my teeth. I am trying to absorb all the sensations: the smell of the doctor’s cologne, my body fighting the anxiety of the impending invasion, the patience of the nurses… and then there is a tight burning sensation around the entrance of the IV. He is increasing the flow of the sleeping liquid. I’m waiting for the effects. “Am I supposed to feel that pressure?” I ask the doctor. “Yes, there is a slight burning at the entrance while it takes affect.” I continue to look at the x-ray of my jaw. The light is blurred. I seem to be looking at the x-ray with water in my eyes, with all the light defracted. That was my last thought before I woke up.

I remember nothing. One moment, I was looking at a blurring picture of my jaw, then I was awake with the kindly Hispanic nurse unstrapping the heart monitor around my arm. She led me to a fine leather couch where my dad was waiting. I sat there for some time, waiting for the effects of the general anesthesia to wear off.

What an incredible experience! I was woozy still, and the painful aching of my jaw did not settle in, yet. “I’ve never had this experience before,” I tell the nurse. “Thank you very much. Your customer service is very good.” She says I’m welcomed, and proceeds to debrief me of what I need to do post-operation.

Here I am. Under a good dose of vicotin and antibiotics. I feel nauseous because my porridge and strawberry-mango yogurt is not settling down very well. However, I am very happy for my health. I am ecstatic about life. I love my parents for taking such good care of me. I love L for being here for me in spirit. Life cannot get any better under the circumstances!

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    1. Only Three

      Yes. I had the first one taken out on my last year in high school. I spent six hours on the dentist’s chair. Some family friend “suggested” to take it out for me. She maxed out on the morphine shots and spent hours literally jack-hammering my lower-right jaw. By the end of the ordeal, there was only a crescent moon shape left of that wisdom tooth. She sewed me up like a partially-gutted pig and sent me home. I bled all night. The next day, my father drove me a couple of hours to the best oral surgeon in the three counties. He extracted the remaining tooth in less than five minutes. I wasn’t charged (thankfully) for anything because the surgeon was doing a favor. In other words, he was covering that dentist’s sorry ass. If the dentist wasn’t a family “friend,” my parents, my relatives and I would slap a heavy malpractice suit on her by now. Needless to say, this little history implies that I went through my recent extraction with more trepidation than I led everyone to believe.

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