October 31st, 2002


Minor surgery

This time it took almost two hours, almost as long as the original surgery. It was a slow and tedious process, by the dentist's own admission. Lots of stitches.

First, they fitted the "stint" in my mouth. This is a plastic thing molded from an impression they took of the lid of my mouth last Tuesday. They added some sticky stuff, some kind of collagen or something, to the inside of it and stuck it to my mouth , molded the stuff to my mouth. When that was done, they took it out and set it aside.

Next, after sticking me with the needle is many many places - some were more painful than others - the dentist prepared the "receiver site". He was in there digging and scraping and cutting tissue and I don't know what else. AT times I wondered what it would be like to have a mirror available so I could watch - but I think I did better without it, just trusting.

That seemed to go on a while. I was glad when we finally got to the next stage - cutting the patch from the roof of my mouth. I didn't feel a thing! Thank heaven for all that novacaine or lidocaine or whatever it was. Finally the piece was out and into the saline solution and soon after the fitting began. The plastic stint was pushed into place and work began on the receiver site again. Stitching and then sealing with some kind of paste-like material, then more stitching and more and more, and finally some cutting of the first stitches because the tissue was not laying as flat as the dentist wanted, and more restitching.

I like his care, his meticulous approach. He kept checking and rechecking and adjusting as needed, so I felt it was a good job.

I am home, have taken one tablet of Vicodan, and am thinking I should take another, given my past experiences. I took out the gauze, thinking the bleeding had stopped, but then it began again, so I am just one big mouth right now. Can't talk. Don't ask me. I don't know how I will manage at work tomorrow. I usually have to talk quite a bit there, answering the phone, answering questions, explaining my thinking. But we'll see.

The method is different so there's less swelling. I feel hope. I don't feel too badly right now, just uncomfortable. Glad I'm home.

(no subject)

This stint is weird. It makes it difficult to drink any liquid because it seems to suck it up and under, and it gets in the way of my tasting anything solid. I could look at this as an opportunity to lose weight, but I know from experience that it won't make any difference, really. When I was in the hospital over 15 years ago, for gall bladder surgery, I spent a week having my stomach pumped. I didn't eat anything, was only allowed to sip on ice now and then. In that week I lost 10 pounds - you'd think it would be more - and after I got out of course I gained it all back, just by eating normally. I remember how good the clear broth tasted at the end of that time. I can see why fasting now and then can renew your senses.

Anyway, irritating. I made some potato chowder today and it tastes good, what I can get out of it, but I'm not getting enough out of it.

(no subject)

Halloween treats purchased. I decided to get that out of the way before taking another Vicodan, so I can stay at home. I seem to have let go of the notion of providing healthy treats. No raisins or nuts this time, no little games, although I did get some "Halloween erasers" at the dollar store. Also, though, lots of candy, most from Vons. The good stuff: Snickers, Three Musketeers, Milky Way, Hersheys chunks. It's perhaps a good thing that I don't dare eat any of this. I don't think my mouth would handle it well.

I feel pretty good, still, just need that Vicodan to kick in to feel almost perfect. In some ways.

conversation with the dentist

Somehow the subject of drugs came up in the dental office this morning. Dr. LaP. said many of his patients are on meds, particularly young women, particularly teens. And he said it's common knowledge that just about every psych tech at Atascadero State Hospital is on meds, and he treats a lot of them, too.

He said he feels meds are being prescribed for life stresses, things that one should learn how to deal with. And he suspects that the teen girls end up on drugs almost in a peer pressure kind of thing - "but Mom, Elsa and Janey are on Zoloft and they are feeling better, so why can't I be?" Maybe so.

It was unusual even to have the chance to talk, of course (I think this is the hardest part of dental work for me! Having to shut up!). I was waiting for the Novocaine to take hold, and so had a window to voice my opinion. It was nice to be talking to intelligent persons who didn't think I was crazy or misguided. I think even those who feel these drugs have helped them would have to agree that they are prescribed much too freely.