August 1, 2002

What if?

by Chris Feeney

What if we didn't come complete with unnecessary parts? I put together one of those computer desks in a box projects last week and when I was done I had a handful of leftover screws, bolts and nuts, which I like to call "pocket parts". They always make you a little nervous, because those instructions are difficult enough to follow, making one fear they have missed a step or two and that three-hour project ,might crumple under the first keystroke.

I guess I shouldn't belittle these manufacturers when the greatest builder of all made human beings complete with pocket parts as well. Come on, who really needs an appendix? Tonsils are only good for getting some extra ice cream when you have to have them taken out. This week I dealt with the worst of all human pocket parts, wisdom teeth. They don't make a person more intelligent as their name might indicate. They didn't help me chew food or give me a scary vampire look. All they did was make me sick, give me an overcrowded mouth and make me go through a week of misery to have them removed.

It's funny that all three of these body items I mentioned serve no real value to our bodily functions yet require surgery to be removed. I've been fortunate enough to avoid having tonsillitis or an appendectomy but I believe I made up for it on this procedure, having one wisdom tooth pulled and the other three cut out.

I have to admit that the procedure itself went really well. Of course that had a lot to do with the anesthesia which knocked me out cold for the whole hour. Shoot I don't even remember getting out of the chair and writing the enormous check to cover the bill (I imagine that's part of their plan, to give you enough of the painkiller to make it through that difficult part of the procedure as well.)

It's the recovery period that's difficult. Apparently my wisdom teeth were dug in pretty good. I'd guess they had to drive a backhoe into my mouth to get them out. I say that now because as much swelling as I have, I look like I have some form of heavy machinery hidden within my puffy cheeks. I did make sure the surgeon told my wife that I had a small mouth (much to her dismay). Of course I don't know that small victory was worth the results as my lips and chin were nearly as sore as the actual surgery areas from the tools they used to pry my mouth open wide enough for the procedure. Okay I wouldn't have won any beauty contest before this day. But now I'm worried that patrons of the newspaper office may think that one of those many readers which I offend from time to time may have came in and worked me over. I've seen losing prize fighters that didn't look half as bad as I do.

Like I said, I'm not to beauty conscious, so the cosmetic effects are not my biggest concern. My top priority is attempting to stop that thunderous bellowing coming from my stomach, which feels I have betrayed it. The rumbling cries of hunger really are no surprise considering they make you go into the surgery without eating or drinking anything for the previous eight hours. That in itself is bad enough, as anyone who takes a look at my growing belly would know this man has not gone without food or drink for more than eight hours in many a year. Then after the ordeal my mouth was so swollen I could not have got a spoon inside it and even then what would I put on the spoon since I couldn't chew? In four days since the procedure I have eaten applesauce, ice cream, pudding and mashed potatoes. That doesn't sound so bad, but there's just something wrong about eating an entire meal that doesn't require any chewing.

So there I sat, pathetically I might add, on the couch for three days watching television, taking truckloads of pain medicine and doing nothing productive at all. Fortunately for me it was a John Wayne weekend on TBS, so I caught up on my old westerns. I guess I never really paid that much attention before, but it seems to me that every other commercial on TV is for a restaurant. Wonder why I noticed that now?

Of course my family was very supportive. It was typical bad timing on my part as I scheduled my suffering for the same weekend as Abi's 3rd birthday. Smiling hurt just as bad as trying to chew. So that was a tough afternoon let me tell you. Apparently no one realized I was suffering because after the party the entire family dug into like a 10-course supper with beautiful barbecue, fresh corn on the cob, and on and on. There were heaping servings of homemade bread, garden green beans and the works. I had cherry jello. I wonder if I was lost in the desert for a week, if at the welcome home party, if these folks wouldn't drain the last sip from the punch bowl right in front of my face?

I guess the weight-loss factor is a benefit of all this trouble. I'm starting to feel like I really needed to go on a diet because a few folks that saw me after the surgery acted as if nothing was wrong.

I'm sure this will be worth all my trouble. I should be healthier, minus the teeth that were always getting infected and causing me sinus problems. I likely will lose 10 or 12 pounds before it's over and I might even get a special make-up birthday dinner later when I can chew if this written guilt trip works. The only thing I missed out on is the tooth fairy. You'd think after the bill I paid at the surgeon's they would at least let you take those miserable teeth home with you. It's a recession and all but I'd suspect the old guy would still leave me a little cash under the pillow considering all these four teeth put me through.

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