How I’m doing now

It’s been more than four days since the surgery that removed half of my teeth including all four in the front.

Before the surgery, I worried about the surgery itself, how I would eat afterwards, and the pain.

I don’t know if I’ve been lucky, if I haven’t noticed, or if the worst of it is still to come, but the pain hasn’t been anything at all. I’ve taken the good drugs right on schedule, as directed, and I haven’t noticed pain at all.

The surgery itself was as trouble-free as I’d been promised: I showed up, they put in an IV, and then I was having the oddest psychedelic trip while waking up from the surgery just before I had a mild bout of dry heaves as they got me into the wheelchair for the trip to my friend’s car. Seriously, it almost didn’t feel awful enough for the seriousness of what they did to me, if that makes any sense.

The eating part? Not so awesome, to be honest. I’m hungry. Really, really hungry. And I will be very happy if I never, ever see another nutritional shake product again. Same with applesauce. And plain Greek yogurt. I want a sandwich and chips and meat and a salad. Oooh, and I want coffee! (No caffeine for the first week.)

But none of these are the worst part of my new life. I feel like a freak and a monster. I have these plastic things where my teeth should be and they’re huge and awful. I can’t speak properly, I’m terrified that they’re going to come out and oh my God I do not want to see my mouth without teeth. There, that’s it, that’s the biggest most awful thing about this whole situation: I can’t even stand the thought of seeing my mouth without teeth. I want to keep these awful things in forever and ever so that I never have to see what I look like with all of my teeth gone. I was such a baby about it on Wednesday that the dentist left them in for the weekend so the swelling could go down enough to take them out without pain. But it’s not the pain that I’m worried about, it’s the horror of facing myself with no teeth.

Why does it bother me so much? It’s not like anyone else is going to see except the dental professionals, but that doesn’t matter to me – I don’t want to see. Me. I can’t bear the thought of seeing the Godawful mess that is my mouth with just a few poor little pegs sticking out. I feel sick just thinking about it. And yet I’ve got to deal with it. I’m really sick of dealing with things, you know. I was doing just fine not dealing with anything and eating my way through life. Why did I ever decide to try something different? This is where it’s gotten me – toothless and scared to death. How is this better than before?