the wisdom of teeth. for my niece who’s getting hers yanked tomorrow.

Wisdom teeth? Really? Who decided on this term? So they come when you’re older. That is certainly no guarantee of wisdom, as our elected officials have shown us (which you can agree with no matter what side of the political fence you’re on).

But I digress.

If you’ve read my post about orthodontia, you realize the herculean, nearly soul-destroying effort that got my mouth into some semblance of order. I was not about to give that up for some back-of-jaw, late-to-the-party interlopers. Especially when two of them didn’t even have the courtesy to grow in the right direction.

Maybe the “wisdom” in wisdom teeth refers to the career choice of the oral surgeon. Yes, that’s where I went. Not to Dr. McCoy of the military buzzcut and kielbasa fingers. I went to a place where they would knock my ass out completely. Cuz I’m brave like that.

I remember lying down, and looking at posters of the ocean on the ceiling. A nice lady told me to count backwards from 100, and by 97, that ocean was moving. I’m pretty sure that by 95 I was out cold.

I think I remember hearing a crack, but the next thing I really knew, I was being told to wake up, and then was propped up on a bench in the back to await pick-up. There was another kid there, probably 10 years old, who I think had had a cyst removed from his mouth. Didn’t matter, because we were both completely whacked, mouths packed with gauze, blankly staring and drooling. We stared at each other for over an hour without blinking. Okay, maybe three minutes. When you’re drooling time doesn’t really matter.

So at some point my mom collected me, and seated me securely in our luxury vehicle. Which happened to be a Ford Courier pick-up that farted when you shifted into fourth. I believe I lolled a bit, and wasn’t really paying close attention, but when we got close to home my mom started yelling at me. Really, Mom? Yelling at someone clearly not at full capacity? Who couldn’t grasp a witty retort with a pair of barbecue tongs? I had no idea what she was yelling about, but she only got louder the closer we got to home. Like I cared about anything at that point.

So we got down the driveway, and I managed to extricate myself from the seatbelt and get out of the car. Clearly not content with her verbal harangue, my mom came after me and slugged me. Really!

Okay, not really. What she did was slap me so hard on the back that I nearly fell over frontwards. My mind registered only an enormous WTF, but fortunately my body mechanics were more on track. The blow to my back dislodged the big hunk of gauze that had slid halfway down my throat and blocked my airway.

The yelling had been about my breath ceasing and my lips turning blue. Impending death – who knew? Thank God it was before the Heimlich was known, because if my mom had tried to hug me at that point I probably would have freaked entirely.

The next several days passed in a blur of ice bags, pineapple juice, yogurt and Demerol. I survived.

Thanks, Mom.



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