Last year, I had to have an emergency wisdom tooth extraction.
It was rather brutal.
Today, under the advice of various professionals, I've had a second tooth removed before it too became an emergency.
Amusingly, there is nothing to report as I was knocked out for the operation.
Having previously experienced the removal of a tooth under macho local anaesthetic, I was more than happy to be unconscious this time round. I took Wednesday off work, eating nothing after 9pm Tuesday night. This morning I woke up, made a coffee, threw it down the sink after the first sip when I remembered I was supposed to be Nil-by-Mouth, and left for the hospital.
When I got there (the impatient's dream; I left late, the bus came instantly, I got to hospital bang on 8am and was seen instantly), I was forced to admit that I'd earlier sipped a coffee which caused a flurry of concern among the anaesthetists. Apparently, milk and general anaesthetics don't mix. The word dangerous was used.
As a result, they dropped me to the bottom of the queue for four fucking hours, all the other surly looking men in status-levelling NHS gowns being rushed in ahead of me. By midday, my patience had worn out and I told nurses that I was going home. My mouth felt fine and I saw no reason - particularly when the recently operated on came back into our ward disorientated and numb with pain - to continue to wait only to wind up in their predicament.
But there was only 20 minutes left. I was wheeled into Anaesthetics, grimacing as my left hand was attached to a drip.
'You're a big bloke; you should be able to take this,' the technician chided.
I was actually quite cheerful at this point. After all, I was finally being seen to and, to all intents and purposes, I wasn't actually going to experience anything.
I felt the general go in. It was as if my left arm was fragile and made of glass as a leaden black fog seemed to pump its way in and travel up towards my elbow.
I hate to say 'and the next thing I remember...', but I was chatting away to the anaesthetists waiting to feel drowsy or for my speech to slur but instead I blinked. And in that blink, I had gone from talking to them to being on my side thinking 'Shit, they still haven't operated on me.'
Except they had. It was all over. I was violently tired. Nurses kept waking me up to drink water as my neck was sore. A tube had apparently been thrust down my throat and I was vaguely aware of a pain where my tooth had been. I asked for painkillers and the nurse did something to the drip. Then I fell asleep, then woke up, then fell asleep again.
In a neighbouring ward, an anonymous man screamed out repeatedly. The other guys in my ward looked shell-shocked and seemed very sorry for themselves.
'Men are pussies,' I mused as I sat there with the listless expression of Paris Hilton stuck for conversation.
I felt very sorry for myself.
Large Northern Flatmate came to walk me home as the hospital doesn't allow anyone under general to leave unescorted.
I got to my bed at 3pm 'for a nap', and slept til 11. It was the best sleep I've ever had.
And in a few days, I'll be back in that blissfully ignorant state of No Actual Pain Anywhere, and taking my health for granted.