One day I’ll always remember is the day I had to get one of my wisdom teeth out and how scared I was. I had never gotten any kind of operation done before as I have a great fear and phobia of surgery – it makes me body feel incredibly weak and tingly just to see or hear about it.
I’m twenty years old now so I think it happened when I was eighteen, still at university. My rather expensive but supposedly ‘amazing’ dentist told me that one of my wisdom teeth was close to growing upwards into a nerve ending on the side of my face. I could wait another couple of years to get it out but there was a really high chance that it would collide with the nerve ending and I could end up with some parts of my face paralysed forever. At first I thought he was just trying to scare me into getting it done quickly but actually he was right because I saw the x-rays myself and it was pretty urgent that I get it done soon.
I really didn’t want to get my wisdom tooth out because of my great fear or surgery and operations. I can’t stand to watch those TV shows where they undergo procedures and I can’t even stand listening to other people talking about it; my body feels too weak. So as you can imagine, I really didn’t want to get my tooth out, even though I knew I had to do it.
The building was one that I had never been to before, right in the middle of the city. It was a stormy day with torrential rain pouring down. I remember looking out the car window at the horrible weather, thinking that it looked just as miserable as I felt. I’d met the surgeon before the actual day, he had really wide eyes and never seemed to blink. Who knows, maybe he didn’t even have eyelids. I remember him staring at me at the previous appointment and it made me feel nervous and creeped out. I didn’t like the idea of him looking at me while I was under the general anaesthetic.
My mum had to stay in the waiting room while I followed the nurse into this really small room with a set of sales on the floor and a stiff looking bed shoved up against the wall. She told me to get undressed and gave me one of their ugly gowns to wear instead. I felt uncomfortable taking my bra off – terribly exposed – even though I was covered by this rather thin gown. Was this really necessary?
The nurse was gone for ages. She was gone for so long I actually wondered if she had done a runner but realistically she had probably just forgotten about me or lost track of time. I opened the door on the other side of the room and ask a nurse passing by where I was supposed to go. She told me to wait in that room for the nurse to come back. I was standing awkwardly by the door when she finally emerged after what seemed like an hour later.
She told me to step on the scales so she could record my weight. On the paper I had to fill out prior to the operation, I had written that I weigh 40kg or 88 pounds but when I stepped on the scales it had sunk down to 38 or 39kg. It was slightly less than I was expecting to see, but of course she couldn’t resist making a snarky comment to me about my small weight as she wrote it down on her own piece of paper. Yes nurse, I’m small and petite – get over it!
I followed her into a large room down a bright hallway. At least six people were there, all standing around different parts of the room fiddling around with various things. There was another stiff looking bed directly in the middle of the room underneath huge, bright lights like in real surgical procedures. Now that I could see it was the real deal, I felt extremely nervous as I approached the bed because it was all so intimidating to me.
A nice man helped me onto the bed and wrapped the blankets around me, like he was tucking me into bed at night or something. If that was the case, I would have asked him to turn that bright light off and shut the door on his way out. The creepy wide-eyed surgeon wasn’t there yet so the man kept chatting away to me like it was the most normal thing in the world. That being said, it did help me feel a little more relaxed when he asked me what I was studying at university and things like that.
Suddenly there was a nozzle thing above me and he told me that I was just going to breath in fresh air. What did he think I was, an idiot? Of course it wasn’t fresh air – it was some sort of gas to knock me out so they could start the operation. The next minute though, I was gone and couldn’t remember anything until I woke up a few hours later.
I woke up because an impatient woman was shaking me awake. She was tugging at my limp arm and I could tell by the annoyance in her voice that she had been trying to wake me for a while. Didn’t she know about the strong knock-out gas they use on patients? Of course it was going to take a while to wake me up from inhaling that stuff.
I sat up, completely sleepy and groggy, in a large dark room. My ‘bed’ (more like a hospital gurney) was parked right in the middle of the room, and there was no-one else in sight apart from her. Where was everyone? She looked like some sort of receptionist because after she woke me she walked back over to a desk near the back of the room. It’s kind of weird to think that I had been sleeping in a gurney in the middle of this huge room with no curtains or anything – just dumped in the dark. Well, it’s nice to know how well they look after patients post-operation (I hope you’re sensing my sarcasm). Even though I was so scared at the time, at least I can laugh about it now.
Lucy Rebecca x