Monday, September 29, 2008

Sick Note

That picture was taken last Friday at the Cahercalla Clinic in Ennis, just before I got my wisdom tooth pulled.

In advance of the surgery, I was advised to take a week off to recover. I was looking forward to the this process, thinking it’d afford me a few days to write and blog and job-hunt with the kind of zeal my present obligations have a tendency to interfere with.

For the past few days I’ve felt a desire to defend the procedure, lest anyone think any less of me for the fashion in which it was carried out. This compulsion is enforced by the phenomenon that most people I’ve talked to have had more teeth pulled with much less ado.

Y'see, my lower right mandibular third molar (to use its proper title) was removed whilst I was under general anaesthetic, on an operating table, wearing only a hospital gown. My father couldn’t help but compare this with his experience, in which he had four wisdom teeth removed in a dentist’s chair (whilst conscious, wearing his own clothes) on a Friday, and was back at work on Monday. Any efforts by myself to situate such incidents as belonging to a more barbaric time are immediately rendered fallacious by my girlfriend who underwent essentially the same procedure not too long ago.

For these reasons, I feel the need to regurgitate half-understood buzzwords from my dentist’s diagnosis to elevate my seemingly childish ailment into a testament to how severe the situation was. When someone innocently remarked “I’m surprised they knocked you out for just one tooth”, I couldn’t not stick up for myself: “The one tooth I did have was coming in horizontally!” I spluttered, as if such an orientation gave it explosive properties. I followed this up with a swift appeal-to-medical-authority to quell the quarrelsome lay-person: “Also, it was so close to the nerves for my tongue and lips that they didn’t want to take any chances”.

When dealing with more-credulous profferers of sympathy who unwittingly stumbled into the realm of undermining my condition, I’d occasionally indulge in some purely speculative exaggeration. “My wisdom tooth came in horizontally, and was pushing against my teeth – in time they could have looked like a line of collapsed dominoes!”

Anyhow – whether or not I managed to impress upon those around me that my recent “surgery” deserves the quotation marks or not, I can at least assure you that I believe it was an ordeal. The amount of pain and swelling I’m experiencing is still on a sharp upward trajectory; whereas the lump in my cheek was the size of a ping pong ball yesterday, it’s more comparable to a tennis ball today. As my face balloons, I can hear my speech growing increasingly indistinct, and I’m starting to sound a poor man’s impersonation of Marlon Brando in The Godfather.

Needless to say, the first day of my well-intentioned week hasn’t been very productive. Not only has my work ethic been kicked squarely in the nuts, but my level of concentration has taken a hit also. Whilst driving my car earlier on, I noticed the lack of the symbiosis between man and machine – I was on edge, trying hard to focus on what I was doing, but having little success and feeling quite unsafe in the process. There was an editorial-piece that I was going to get around to writing today, but if I can’t trust myself with the mechanical operation of a motor-vehicle, I’ll hold off on any attempts to provoke-thought for the time being. Instead, I’ll post something that I wrote last week, decided ‘nah’, and figured I’d touch up before posting at a later date.

Since I’ve spent the past 600 words hedging the following entry with a ‘don’t blame me, I’m on medication which affects my judgement!’, I think I can safely post it without the edits I planned on making whilst of sounder mind. Enjoy!

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