It all started with a poky sensation in the right lower corner of the inside of my mouth. It came in spurts initially trying desperately to grab my attention, and when I refused, it decidedly took the upperhand and became a constant nagging pain in my neck (ear and mouth).
A sudden change of travel plans forced me to consider a visit to the dentist - something I shuddered at for the last time I went there for one complaint, I ended up with 3 painful root-canal treatments. Actually this incident was the preamble to the final showdown. Apparently there are three nerve roots for each tooth which need to be anaesthesized during a root canal treatment. But me being me, I apparently had 5 nerve roots in one tooth, which my veteran dentist could not locate. So I had to bear pains throughout the procedure while she shoved, dug, poked and pulled.
So after the initial shock of seeing me back in her clinic after many years (read - 2 years), Dr. Dentist peered into the hollowness of my mouth, did her customary hmms, shook her head and said "your wisdom teeth, all four of them, have got impacted into the bone. They're half out and don't have any place to maneuver and they're beginning to show signs of decay. (saving grace - she said my brush wouldn't reach the wisdom teeth and that's why there were beginning to decay). Let's remove them. Come tomorrow and I'll remove all four!"
Me: "all four? At the same time?" (Now, I am brave even in the face of Goliath, but removing four teeth at the same time?)
DD: "Of course. It's a small procedure. Each one will take just a couple of minutes. Plus, your school friend SA who is apprenticing with me also got hers removed last week. And she did the procedure on another patient this morning".
Me: "Oh SA, it will be so good to see her. (Then on second thoughts), But I hope you'll be doing the procedure on me".
DD: "Of course. Here take this prescription for antibiotics and gargles and I'll see you tomorrow".
SA: Gives me a bear hug. "So great to see you. blah blah blah. ... she got married.... blah blah blah.... im getting married... blah blah blah... when're u getting married?"
The nurse hands me the consent form. I take a cursory glance and then as an afterthought I look at it horrified as it warns me about severe swelling, other teeth getting dislodged, pain throughout and after the procedure, failure of the procedure and worse a temporomandibular joint (jaw joint) dislocation. Ouch! I don't why and DD wonders why I asked her, "what is the worst complication of this procedure that you've come across?". Portent intuition?
DD: "Relax, it's a routine thing"
So I slip into the large chair, swivel my feet up, gargle, laugh away nervously, and look up to see capped-masked-gowned-gloved DD and SA with syringe-needles and retractors and other scary looking things in their hands.
DD starts poking me with the needle to numb me. And my tissues swell. She takes the scalpel, I reflexly close my eyes and before I know it, she has taken a plier-like instrument and drawn out my first decadent wisdom tooth.
DD: "See. I told you so. But it's a large tooth"
Feeling better and more confident now, I let her take a sharp jab at both corners of my hard palate and lo behold, 2 more wayward teeth were out!
And then the battle began. What seemed as an innocuous tooth removal resulted in a 2 hour ordeal with naked vision, x-ray vision, imagined vision about the orientation, angulation and curvature of my 'large' wisdom tooth. Needless to say, it was disoriented compared to the normal way and so accessing the root was getting difficult. Moreover, each tooth has two roots so that they could be sectioned through the crown of the tooth and each half removed easily - but not mine! My wise tooth had decidedly fused the two roots into one and so it couldn't be extracted by divisive methods.
The drill of the bone grated my nerves, the flush of the suction tickling me but I kept my cool. And then suddenly,
DD: "H, I think I've drilled too close to the inferior alveolar neurovascular canal. I can't go further. Can you come with me to my mentor's place in Matunga. He's an expert in these cases and it would be over in a jiffy".
And in what seemed like after-a-whirlwind, an hour's drive later, my mom, DD and I were sitting Senior DD's clinic and a couple of minutes later, I was "lying on the operating table" (yes - like in the operating theater) and surrendered to the whims and expertise of SDD and DD. Another 10 mins later I was sitting in front of SDD chatting about my Johns Hopkins plans and we struck a deal that I'd pay him by being the conveyor of a gift to one of of his friends at JHH in lieu of Rs. 6000! Nice deal!
So 4 days later, I am sitting with my laptop in hand recounting my tale with a swollen face, toothache, bitten lips, cheilotic torn angles of the mouth hoping fervently that this be an end to my toothy saga - for life.