Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Wisdom Tooth Extraction- Pain or Relief?

The last week has been a painful period for me, starting with last Sunday when I noticed swelling, redness and pain around my lower right wisdom tooth (known as tooth 32). I was able to get an emergency appointment with an out-of-network dentist who took one look at my last molar and put me on a cycle of antibiotics and pain killers with a advice to go see my own dentist at the earliest so that I could be referred to an oral surgeon (who is the one who does wisdom tooth extractions) and have the tooth removed to avoid future infections.

After a visit to the dentist who was my assigned one under my insurance plan, I met an oral surgeon on Wednesday. By this time, my teeth were x-rayed under several images at the dentists. I've heard that wisdom tooth extractions are normal procedures done in this country and especially in a person's teen years, when the tooth are unable to come out and its easier to remove. Several folks at work told me that they had all 4 of their wisdom teeth removed when they were in high school or in college. This did nothing to assuage my fears that I was no more in my teens and of course the procedure was going to be more painful.

The oral surgeon who saw me advised me to have both my lower teeth out at one shot, since there was a chance that the same swelling etc. may occur on teeth 17, the left side molar and it would be wise to have both removed at the same time. There were 2 options given to me along with a detailed explanation of what my insurance would cover versus what wasn't going to be covered.

The first option was to go in for a general anesthesia, where I would be completely under during the procedure and would feel no pain at all during the extraction. Unfortunately, the insurance would not pay for this and this is the most expensive method. The second option was to take a local anesthetic to numb the gums and jaw and feel some little pain and have the tooth extracted, the insurance would cover for this.

My tolerance to pain is usually very minimal and never having been to a dentist more than for a few clean-ups in India, I decided to go with the first option of being under general anesthesia and having the tooth out. The oral surgeon's office gave me a 4 page hand-out for before and after surgery instructions.

The date for the extraction was set for Friday morning. Several online source readings, u-tube videos etc. had made me quite nervous and valium was given to calm me down. K had taken the day off to drive me and bring me back home from the surgery, since I wouldn't be able to drive back after the anesthesia.

After the procedure, I was so groggy and could hardly walk to the car (was brought in a wheel chair) and came home with gums stuffed with gauze pads that needed changing every 30 minutes or so since the bleeding continued for 24-48 hours. K was diligent about following the post-operative instructions and kept the ice pack on and off for the next 8-12 hours. My eating was restricted to jello, apple juice and yogurt for the weekend. On Sunday, I was able to eat mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese.

The last couple of days have been a gradual improvement with respect to my being able to eat normal food, but, my jaw movements are restricted and it still hurts when I talk. It feels like there are hollows on either side of my jaw and now its time for the heat packs to go on. I've stayed home for the past couple of days, relaxing, watching TV, catching up on sleep and reading and also doing some cooking and baking, things I enjoy doing.

Am planning to end the extended time off, by returning to work tomorrow, have to go see the oral surgeon tomorrow for a post surgery check up, hopefully, it all went well.

To all those who've had your wisdom tooth removed, Kudos for getting one painful experience over with in life. For those ones, who haven't had to have them extracted, stay lucky.

Happy Smiles!!!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Damon- Our puppy for 4 days

A lot of activity has happened since my last blog in January. K and I went to India for a 10 day trip to attend his brother's wedding, that was one hectic, packed trip. This was our second trip to India within the last 5 months and I am really done with my India travels for a while now.
I've wanted to have a dog, specifically a sheltie, since being around Codi (he is my aunt's sheltie in Boston). K and I have never had pets in our families while growing up in India. The distant memories of a dog as a family pet in India are the variety of stray dogs and the few selected ones named Jimmy, Mani, Rosy, Ju-Ju, Lily etc. that were always kept chained in the front of the house and barked their heads off. Codi was my first exposure to a pet in this country and he brings a lot of joy to the family and is a pleasure to be with, which is how we settled on getting a sheltie.
I've been in touch with several breeders from the Shetland Club of Northern California and K and I attended a sheltie agility and obedience show in February. One of the breeders whom I've been in contact with, had brought her 4 month old sable and white male named Damon for us to see. This was Damon's first big outing and he was in his crate, all cuddled up and cosy.
She let him out for us to get acquainted with him. Our first reaction was that he was so cute and adorable. He was initially shy and afraid didn't come to us right away, but did after a while and spent a good 10 minutes smelling me and K. Afterwards, the breeder had to go for her show and she put him back in his crate and we fixed an appointment to go over to her place the following week to see Damon again.
My first sneeze followed be several huffs and puffs occured during this day, right after we went to the dog show. I attributed that to some instant allergic reaction to the smells, dander and environment of several dogs and returned home to find that the sneezing had led to watery eyes etc. and a claritin allergy pill took care of it for the rest of the evening and night.
The following week we visited th breeder and got to spend some more with Damon in her house and again my sneezing perked up once we were in her place and I told K that this was due to several dogs etc. in her house and that once we brought Damon home it should all be fine. We planned to bring him home on a Friday night and spent Thursday shopping for his crate, bedding, toys etc. It was an exciting time to prepare for the new arrival to our home. On Friday night, we brought him home in our car. Once, we let him out of the crate and out of the car, we found out that he was car sick (he had thrown up during our ride home) and it took him a while to come inside our house.
K and I had scattered papers all over the place in order to avoid any accidents in our new carpet. After coming inside and running around and sniffing his new surroundings, he peed in the newspaper in our living room. We spent the next couple of days of the weekend training him to go potty outside and creating a routine for him. It was a lot of work, but the enjoyable part was when he would stand up on his paws when either K or me sat on a chair and rub his head against us to be petted, it was incredible to see how much of love he wanted and we cherished every moment with him.
During this time, my allergies perked up and on the third day I got myself tested for dog allergy and had a positive reaction to the allergy test they performed on me. This was my first visit to an Allergy and Aasthma clinic and my respect for them grew, seeing the multiple categories of allergy causes that they had to test on people.
As this was happening, we took Damon for his first vet appointment and got him his rabies shot, he was such a well behaved sheltie and the vet praised him for his good behavior. We learnt to praise him for his good deeds by changing our tones..."Good Boy"...etc. with lots of fervor and also learnt to say a big "No.." when he attempted to lift his feet to go potty inside the house. It was such a learning experience.
On day four, since my allergies came out to be positive, we had to make a hard decision of giving him back to our breeder, since the longer we kept him, not only were my allergies getting worse but it was going to be extremely hard for him and us to part.
While, my love for shelties has not diminished, I only wish that I had the chance to keep Damon forever with us.
"Best of all, Shelties have empathy, while many breeds do not. They feel with you. You can tell your wildest dreams and deepest fears to a Sheltie, and he will understand--not in detail, of course--but he will understand that you are self-absorbed, or that you are afraid".
- From Clan Duncan shelties
The Perfect Sheltie

There's no such thing as the perfect dog
People will say to you
And when it comes to Shelties -
Boy, is that ever true!

Some are too big and some too small
Some hardly have any hair at all
Some are too bold and some too shy
Some have a short tail or a big round eye

Crooked legs and splayed out toes
Prick ears and hound ears and odd coloured nose -
The perfect Sheltie just can't be made
But here's one thing that's really great:

To be perfect in their owners' eyes
Shelties only need one part
And every Sheltie I ever met
Had that loving Sheltie heart.

By Simone Ross, (dross@barint.on.ca), From http://dogpatch.org