My first indication that recovery was about to be just plain awful was when I woke from general aesthesia (another indication- no nerve blocks or localized anesthesia for me), was when I was confused as to why my mom was waiting for me. (Why wouldn’t she be?) I then immediately asked my boyfriend at the time, of all things, for a cupcake. After that I tried to walk, a wheelchair materialized. (Or was it there the whole time?) Later, as my boyfriend pulled the car around, I asked why he bought a new car (He didn’t), when we were going back to college (ummm, 2 months still, it was only May), and if Zoe was here (My Golden Retriever, the glaring answer is a definite and resounding no.)
After sleeping my stupor off, my mom gave me the news that 2 of my impacted wisdom teeth actually broke during the removal process, meaning that each tooth had to be removed piece by piece. This meant that things might be a tad more painful during the next couple days, and the swelling might be a little more than normal, even more so than what was initially anticipated.
Well, friends, I’ve always had a bit of a large, round face, but the swelling from this was unreal. I had to keep ice on my jaw around the clock, and my mom even cleverly designed her own “wisdom teeth ice pack” for me to use. She took two long socks, tied them together at the end, placed the bottom of the now U-shaped socks under my chin, filled each sock with ice, and then secured it in place with a knot at the top of my head. I was humiliated. She was proud. When the doctor called to check up on me, my mom told her that she had a new idea for a patent. Thanks, Mom. (I would show you a picture of this but..ummm….I don't have any. yeah.)
The next few weeks (yes, weeks!) of recovery were intense. Even though I followed all the strict guidelines, I developed dry-socket in 3 places, meaning that 3 of my nerve endings were exposed to the elements. I couldn’t eat anything solid for the first 10 days. Pudding was even too intense for me. I slept 12 hours a day; meal replacement shakes became my best friend. I tried to eat a French fry once and I cried from the pain. A friend brought me an ice cream cone, and to my dismay, I couldn’t even finish it. There are few things worse than wasted ice cream. (I've been making up for it ever since ;) )
I received some prescriptions for fancy medicine to help with the pain, but the most effective treatment, by far, were gauze pieces soaked in clove oil by the doctor, then packed into my open wounds. Since my dry-sockets were so bad, I had to go to the doctor’s office every 2-3 days to get these clove-y gauze pieces taken out and exchanged. This was also one of those “ah-ha” moments for me: I realized that sometimes herbs, plants, and food, are actually a much more effective treatment than any prescription.