Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Feeling wiser after surgery

We've all had those moments....You know you have to do something and yet everything inside of you is screaming no and trying to pull you back...Kinda like when I passed through security in the Syracuse airport on my way to the Philippines...I remember tears stinging my eyes as I fumbled to get my laptop out of it's case..I remember looking back and seeing Pastor Dave and Jean and wanting so badly to run back to them.  Instead of running in those moments, you pull your shoulders back, purse your lips, stand straight and walk on....Or totally fall apart..wait, yes, that's actually more like it for me..lets be real Olivia :)

Yes, today I had one of those moments..I found myself racing along in a taxi headed to the dentist to have my wisdom teeth removed...That is the LAST thing on my bucket list of "things to do before I die."  I consider myself an extremely brave person most days, but of course today did not fall into the category of one of my "brave days."  I kept having different thoughts like "maybe if my mom was here I wouldn't be nervous"  or " if I was in America this would be a breeze, I'm just scared cause I'm getting it done in another country."  Suddenly I realized I needed to come to grips with the fact that it wouldn't matter where I was or who I was with, I would still be in the same state of mind, and it was also time to come to grips with the fact that it was indeed going to happen today.

The elevator felt like it took ages to get to the thirty first floor.  Tori and the nurse chatted about what medicine I would need etc.  I tried to imagine it was four days from now, and I was back in my classroom happy as a lark. The elevator doors opened and within seconds I found myself seated in a comfy green chair, a floor to ceiling window giving me a generous view of the city of Manila. "At least I get to enjoy a beautiful view while I wait for my surgery," I thought. My sightseeing was ruined by the news that they would not be putting me under. I felt panicky. I did not want to be aware of what was going on around me when the surgery took place.  The very thought made me want to .. well..  you know what I mean.
 "Is there something that I can take to at least relax me?"  I tried to sound brave. The nurse said she would talk to the Dr.  I took a deep breath.
 Even though my appointment was not until ten we arrived at nine. The office was not busy so they took me back almost immediately.  First there was an x-ray, and then I was ushered into a tiny room and told to take a seat.  I was so grateful that Tori stayed with me as the Dr. showed us the results of the x-ray.  The Dr. asked if I was nervous. "Uh", I thought to myself.  "Do bears live in the woods?"  But of course I didn't say that. I just laughed and said that yes indeed I was scared. The Dr. said he only pulls two teeth per visit.  I held up four fingers, and told him I wanted all of them done at once. I said I didn't want to have to go through this nervousness twice.  He laughed, and I could tell he still was not convinced. I was not going to let this go. And then Tori (whose father was a dentist) said that he always took all four out at once. The Dr. paused and then agreed to it. I couldn't believe we had just talked him into it. I asked why they don't put people under for this procedure, and he said that in the Philippines you aren't allowed to use anesthesia unless you are in a hospital. He told me the best he could do was give me half of something that was similar to valium.  I told him I wanted the whole thing. He said he wanted me to keep my mouth open the whole time and didn't want it making me sleepy. Of course I wanted the whole thing! I was all about sleeping through the surgery! He gave me half. I begged him for the other half; he gave it to me.  Ahh, I started feeling good in quick order :)
As if I wasn't pushing my luck enough, I further asked if I could be allowed to put my headphones in and listen to music throughout the surgery. He said yes to that as well :)  I was delighted.

At first I was completely alert and aware of what was going on.  I kept my eyes tightly shut and hummed.  I thought I was humming in my head, but it turned out I was humming out loud.  And then after that I pretty much didn't remember anything until I woke up out of my drugged state at three
o' clock. But what I do remember is.....the Dr. telling me repeatedly to open my mouth wider (probably kicking himself that he had allowed me to take the whole pill),  having a nurse tell me to let go of her shirt (I think I was holding onto the edge of it for comfort),  telling the Dr. that Miami was a city full of crime (I have no idea where that came from),  opening my eyes and seeing thread weaving back and forth and realizing he was stitching up my mouth (definitely could have done without that one),  and staring up into the Dr.'s special glasses trying to see if I could see my reflection (I was so gone).

Two hours of surgery later four giant teeth were wrapped up in a little bag and handed to me. I sat up. My brain was about as numb as my mouth. I clumsily tried to wipe the drool that was falling lazily out of my mouth. This was super embarrassing to me.  I made it to the waiting room where Tori kindly helped me gather my things and then escorted me down to their car that was waiting outside for us. Tori gently helped me step up into the van, and I flopped down on the seat and was out again like a light.
And then suddenly I opened my eyes and was laying on Tori's couch, and I realized it was over!!! I never have to go through that again!!! I was ecstatic....until I went into the bathroom and looked at myself in the mirror... hahah just kidding :) Looking back it really wasn't that bad.  God certainly gave me peace throughout the entire morning (ok, maybe that little pill had something to do with it too ;))  But on a serious note, thank you so much for everyone who stood with me in prayer! And also those of you who so generously contributed to the bill. I truly appreciate your love and support! And of course your continued prayers are appreciated.  I hear there is this nasty thing called "dry socket" and I am hoping I do not get it.  I will be in Manila for a few more days and then head back to Boracay as soon as my stitches are out :)

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