Thursday, September 18, 2014

Rant-Rant-Ranty-Rant: When Your Teeth Get Stupid

            Yeah.  I know, it's a rant about something as small as "wisdom teeth."  But I have a few thoughts I'd like to share about the topic.  Seriously, I do!  Some of it is me voicing concern over being given general anesthesia, some of it is about how I have to fast before the surgery, but I hope that I'll give it a humorous spin.  Be warned: there is media in this post, so it's best that it gets loaded up on a laptop or desktop computer with a cable/wire/whatever connection.  It's also best not to be eating when reading this post….
            As for the optional theme song, it's "Hard Trance Techno Rave Music" by trancElovE.


            I've never expected this to happen to me; I just hoped that I didn't have to deal with this issue.  Unfortunately, my biology just laughed in my face with my own mouth.  In fact, it only started one or two days before I found out: my right lower wisdom tooth (which is number 32, in case you're a dental professional) was hurting so bad that I couldn't even sleep.  When I got up and talked to my parents that morning, I was terrified: what if they had to yank it out right there at the dentist's office?!?!?!  I was not mentally prepared for any of it!  Although I admit it's not my first rodeo—it's my second and I'm still not any better at it: my two front teeth had to be removed in two halves, the second being oral surgery with Novacain.  I hated it, since it involved the use of a scalpel inside my mouth!  (Sorry for the visualization, there.)  That and with Mama Squirrel's recommendation, I insisted on general anesthesia.  And with every choice, there are consequences: a whole new hellish hand basket of dread was delivered straight to me because I've never been anesthetized that way before.  But let me shed some light on the teeth themselves.

Unintelligent Design: Why Not Call Them Stupid Teeth???

            There's a lot of debate over how we got to be this way: Creationism vs. Evolution, Intelligent Design vs. Natural Selection, etc.  Of course, there is a shit ton of scientific evidence that tells us we evolved from monkeys, who might not be so thrilled about the connection:


And yet, we aren't perfectly evolved (Disproving Intelligent Design: why design us with these medical flaws, for fuck's sake?!), which brings me to this brilliant counterpoint from Dr. Neil Degrasse Tyson: Unintelligent Design.  There are so many things wrong with us, and some of them were outlined by Dr. Tyson in the 277thepisode of the Nerdist Podcast.

            First off, what's going on between our legs?!  We've got an entertainment complex in between two sewage systems.  It's unsanitary and we have to use our hands to keep ourselves clean in that area, which is also inefficient.  That and there's a ton of foliage in that area!  It's gross and stuff, seriously.

            Secondly, we eat, drink and breathe through the same hole in our human faces!  This ensures that a percentage of us humans choke to death on what we consume.  Not with dolphins: they eat and breathe through two different holes in their body, which means that they'll win in a sardine-eating contest!  But even then, if we don't find an early exit from life, we live 80 years on average; in spite of this, we die from starvation in 8 weeks, we die of dehydration in 3-8 days, and we die from asphyxiation (suffocation) in 8 minutes.  We're fragile human beings who fall prey to many illnesses that are the result of this chemical and biological balance being off inside our bodies.  Too many cells in one spot causing a riot is cancer; not enough endorphins being produced in our brains leads to depression; too much stomach acid leads to acid reflux disease.  If we're so "perfectly designed," then why do we have this happen to us?

            Then we have our "useless" body parts: the appendix is not really needed in these days, and yet, we all have them, thanks to our ancestors hunting for whatever food they can get.  There was no cooking in those days, no discerning bones from muscles and feathers and fur and scales and whatnot, so they would eat the entire animal, including the parts that give us no nutritional benefit.  That's where the appendix would come in: it creates a sort of acid that helps the remaining solids (bones, beak, feathers, fur, etc.) dissolve so it doesn't hurt them when it comes out the other end.  (All together now: EWWWWW!!!!)  But now it's quite useless, as the appendix, being completely BORED, will sometimes malfunction and burst—appendicitis, which can only be resolved with surgical removal.  The gallbladder stores whatever the liver produces, even though the liver can perform the same functions as the gallbladder.  Tonsils would have to come out when we get tonsillitis, but nothing is as much of a pain as wisdom teeth.

            Why have wisdom teeth?  They're the farthest back on our lower jaw, and we don't even get them to come through until we hit our later years, well after we lose all our baby teeth.  But they aren't perfect in their emergence: 90% of all people have at least on wisdom tooth come in impacted, or at an angle, pushing against the molars next to them, causing pain and infection, perhaps even damage to the adjacent teeth.  There could even be a cyst that forms, which is even worse.  Yes, it's common as fuck, but here's another issue: why not just remove them at an earlier age?  These teeth are easier to remove when the patient is younger, since their roots are not completely formed, and the surrounding bone is softer than in your early 20s; not only that, there is less of a chance of damaging nerves and other structures nearby.  (Source: pamphlet I got from my consultation appointment.)  Thanks, AAOMS, for taking the wait-and-see approach.

            One more point to make: why call them "wisdom teeth" when they come in incorrectly?  When I first went in to my dentist's office, I made the joke of my wisdom teeth being "unwise".  This body part, in my opinion, is completely stupid.  They have no current purpose except to be a pain in the ass, causing problems for 90% of all people, which can only be put an end to by way of oral fucking SURGERY!  That's why I want them to be renamed as "stupid teeth," because there is no point to them in today's world.  Not to mention how many drugs are involved with treatment.

Anesthesia: The "Fun Part"

            I've never done illegal drugs, I'm prescribed medication for depression/anxiety and my ADD (squirreliness), and I don't like not knowing what my brain is doing, and even just being unconscious with people doing surgical procedures on me makes me anxious.  I'm just not prepared for that idea.

            That and me going like this after waking up:


I'm terrified of having a panic attack and freaking out like that.  Seriously, the loopiness, albeit fun for my parents, is frightening to me as I don't know how much control I have; my pre-frontal cortex could be affected in ways I do not know if I like it or not.  What also sucks is that I have to go into Gremlin Mode the very night before; I'll wind up hungry and cranky and panicked and anxious and stuff—I'll be a total mess, trying to find my copy of Let's Pretend This Never Happened and re-reading the chapter titled "Draw Me A Fucking Dog."  It'll be a total trip, for sure.

            That and I better have a milkshake waiting for me after I'm awake and mobile!  (I'm going to look for milkshake and smoothie recipes after this and the next time I'm online.  Suggestions are appreciated!   Just tweet them to me with the hashtag #SmoothieSquirrel!)

            At this point, I think it's best to look at it as a nap I so desperately need, followed by a liquid diet I hope to extend into a week-and-a-half.  Again, not my first rodeo: I was on a liquid diet before, and I lost a lot of mass that way.  Not that liquid diets are the ideal solution for "weight" loss.  I'll update you as best as I can, and I appreciate you reading this blog, but it could be a while before I post anything again.  My next post might wind up being the week after, but who knows?  #RECUPERATE

            In any case, ENJOY YOUR BURRITO MILKSHAKE!