This Friday, I had a minor surgical procedure to repair my receding lower gumline. A small strip of tissue was cut from the top of my mouth, and grafted directly onto the gums, right in front of my lower incisors. Supposedly, this will make me look less like a scurvy sufferer, and prevent me from having to undergo many root canals later in life. Currently, it means that a big chunk of my gums appears to be tied to the front of my mouth with fishing line. I also brush half of my teeth using only a Q-tip, which would be quaint and charming if I were an anthropromorphic storybook rodent, but in human reality just makes me look like I'm developmentally disabled, not to be trusted with objects as sharp as toothbrush bristles..
Still, the operation itself was a thoroughly enjoyable experience, thanks to an intravenous visit from my new best friend, demorol. I was extremely nervous before the operation, with my pulse rate spiking to around 120 when the IV was first put in. Dr. Reed cautioned me that I would soon feel like I had ingested a "couple of martinis," but the first few minutes of the drip left me disappointed. I think it was right around the time I began trying to ask probing, specific questions about the hygienist's academic career, with a mouth full of gauze, that the demorol kicked in.
It was a lovely experience all around. I kept having little mini-dreams which usually ended with a mysterious voice saying, "Wider!" I tried to think of song lyrics, to distract myself from the cutting and the sewing and the spit-sucking-up. This was doomed from the outset, as I got only one verse, mentally, into Elliott Smith's "Say Yes" before getting distracted. I wanted to allow the acoustic guitar part after the first verse to finish, imaginarily, but I lost concentration before "It's always been wait and see" and began thinking about pirates and/or weightlifting.
Watching pieces of my gum tissue being rearranged didn't even bother me at all. I thought I'd be disgusted by the blood, or the cutting, but all I was thinking at the time was, "I'm going to get these people some flowers. This whole office. Flowers. Yes." I tried to tell them to expect flowers at my next visit, while my dad was walking me out to the car, but I don't think it was intelligible through my novocained lips. Later, one of the staff remarked how I had been a well-behaved patient, and "surprisingly affable."
Later on, the demorol faded, and so did my spirits. A few hours after the operation, I lunched on some Jamba Juice. I am not allowed to use a straw, for fear of loosening the stitches, so I had to spoon the Orange Appeal into my mouth. My mouth was sore, and my lip was still very numb. On my third attempt, the spoonful of juice fell heartbreakingly out of my mouth and onto my pants, and I shed one single tear.