Watch out for the Cow!

When you have a Congenital Heart Defect, nearly every medical event in your life is affected by it. Even having your wisdom teeth pulled.

Before I go to see the dentist, he has to prescribe antibiotics to help prevent Endocarditis. Usually the drug is Amoxicillin, since I am not allergic to Penicillin. An hour before my appointment I am to take SIX large capsules of the drug, and follow it with two capsule taken six hours afterward. I take my drugs exactly on time, because I have dealt with Endocarditis before. To say that it is not fun is like saying that a nuclear explosion could cause a slight disturbance.

So I pop my pills and go see my local dentist. The cleaning goes well, then in comes the dentist. He is masked and gloved up with a face shield. I remember the pre-AIDS days, when he would just come in, wash and dry his hands, plop down on the stool and get to work. That will probably never happen again.

Everything is going well when he suddenly says “Hmm….” I hate it when they say that that. “Hmm….” is doctor code for “Ut-oh.”


“Looks like you need to have these wisdom teeth removed.”

Oh, great. I hate going to the dentist. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against him personally, as far as I know he is a nice guy who loves his wife and coaches Little League. But his occupation has never impressed me and now he wants to start chopping.

“Ok, doc, can we do it today?” Let’s get this over with.

“Not on your life. I’m sending you to an Oral Surgeon.”

My dentist has always be very cautious about working on me, which I appreciate. But if I have to have this done, I want to get it done ASAP. So after a week of waiting and jaw pain (which very well might be imagined) I’m off to see the Oral Surgeon.

“Your local dentist has forwarded your records and we have spoken on the phone,” he says. “Because of your heart, we’ll do the procedure at the hospital and I’ll admit you overnight.”

Well, I’m not a fan of the hospital either, but if it has to be done, so be it. “How about anesthetic?” I ask. “You’ve got to be careful because I have low blood oxygen.”

“I don’t plan to knock you out,” he says, “but we’ll give you enough to keep the pain away. You’ll probably doze off.”

The wisdom tooth extraction took place in one of the operating rooms with everyone and everything fully sterile. True to his word, the Happy Juice the doc gave me had me quite drowsy. it also made me slap happy — I told his nurse that she had beautiful blue eyes (she did!) and I’m pretty sure I even proposed to her!

As the surgeon predicted, I dozed off and woke up several times during the extraction, but I was too loopy to care about much of anything. Once I woke up to find the doc across the room, with someone holding a phone to his ear. Uh, doc… I’m over here! I thought. Deciding that I was just dreaming, I dozed off again.

I woke up with my mouth full of gauze and the doctor leaning over me, dressed in his street clothes. “Everything went great,” the doctor said. “We’ll keep you overnight and if there are no problems, you’ll be released about noon tomorrow. I’m not going to speak to your parents because I have to go. Someone was kicked in the face by a cow and they need emergency surgery.”

And I thought that I was having a bad day!


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