Friday, March 06, 2009

Squeamishly Brave

I'm feeling really brave today, and pretty squeamish too, which is taking quite a toll on my nerves and my one desire right now is to have a snooze. Unfortunately, it's only Friday and my next snooze-in opportunity isn't until tomorrow morning.

Why brave? Well, I have stopped wearing the plastic protection on my upper mouth which means the graft zone is open to being accidently touched by my tongue. I had the gum graft a week last Monday and have been faithfully wearing it at all times. However, I went to have the stitches out on Wednesday and my dentist told me I should only wear it at mealtimes, to speed up healing.

The squirm factor on this is pretty high, but had been off the chart until I took a mirror and actually had a look to see where the graft zone was. Luckily (and intentionally, I'm sure), it's over on the right hand side so my tongue goes nowhere near it when I swallow or when I talk. However, just to be on the safe side, I'm developing a new technique where I swallow with my tongue to the left and talk with as little tongue use as possible.

If successful, I'll write an article and publish my findings in Nature...

I was most apprehensive about having the stitches out. The last time I had mouth stitches out was when I was a student and trigger-happy dentist removed my wisdom teeth. He seemed to have a reputation for doing this whether really necessary or not. I suppose it was a good little earner... Anyway, he did it with general anaesthetic in the surgery (not sure if that's allowed now), and I went back some time later for the stitches. For some reason he didn't snip them with scissors, he cut them with a bistouri, but the damn blade wasn't sharp and he had to keep hacking away until he got through.

It was so painful I nearly fainted, literally. I've never actually fainted, but that was nearest I got, and I had to sit down, head between my knees, before I fell down.

So, with that memory of 25yrs ago fresh in my mind, I tottered my way to the dentist and expected the worst. Happily, my dentist does not believe in pain, so he took some VERY sharp scissors and snipped delicately until they were cut, and then gently pulled them out with some tweezers. He really is heroic.

I now have a new post-operative toothbrush that I use to caress the new gum gently (squirm squirm) and am well and truly on the mend.

I know it'll all end happily but, to be honest, I never ever ever want another gum graft for as long as I live and you can bet that I'll be keeping a very close eye on my gums from now on to stop them getting out of line...

I'm also rather tired of paying my dentist a luxurious lifestyle that I don't have myself.

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