Caution: This writeup is gross. Nightshadow just couldn't deal with it. WonkoDSane laughed until I thought he'd split open. You have been warned.

On December 1 I had all four of my impacted wisdom teeth extracted. The surgery went smoothly. I even fiddled with my Discman during the third extraction, which greatly amused my dentist. I went home, took lots of Demerol for three days, and healed nicely. I was a good patient, and I only had 1 or 2 cigarettes a day for the next three weeks.

When week 4 hit, I bought lots of pretty little cigarettes in fancy boxes and chainsmoked. Life was good. But... my mouth did not agree.

Dry sockets suck.

On January 3, the left side of my jaw was a little tender. On the fourth, I looked like I had a tennis ball in my cheek. The swelling was worse than it had been the day after surgery. I was supposed to go to Memphis on the 5th for my best friend's birthday, but there was no way I was driving 3 hours with that kind of pain going on. I called the dentist's office.

Dentists' secretaries are very special people. When their ear hears, "Miouf Suge. Turtsli Gell!" Their brain hears, "HEEEELP! I need an appointment NOW!" Unfortunately, my doc in shining labcoat had gone home. He wouldn't be back until Monday. Would I like to have him paged?

An hour later, I was speaking to the doc. He didn't feel like going into the office. Would I like to try to do it myself? He'd call in a prescription for an antibiotic if I'd do the draining.

I thought for 2.7 seconds. In Cincinnati, I was known as Ghetto Martha Stewart. Why couldn't I do punk rock oral surgery, too? I tried not to smile (that would hurt).
Yes, I'd do it. What would I need?
A toothpick? A really high pain tolerance? No problem.

I was supposed to poke the toothpick into my gum on the fattest part of the swelling. Watch it drain. Wait 15 minutes. Repeat until completely drained. Take antibiotics. Repeat process tomorrow. Not hard, right?

First of all, when I had my hand in my mouth, I couldn't see my target. Secondly, I needed light. Thirdly, I was laughing too hard to get the toothpick in. Finally, I had my little sister hold a clip-on reading light in my mouth while my mom dug in with the toothpick. This was payback for all the grief I'd put her through when I was in high school.
"Does this hurt?"
"OK then. We'll go deeper."
She enjoyed it immensely. And I can't really say I blame her. I was a little hellion back then.

Poke, drain. Poke, drain. Laugh. Repeat.

An hour and a half later, I was on the road. Tilt was blasting from the speakers, the windows rattled, and the trunk was still full of clothes from the last roadtrip. I'd be staying with Gary and Daniel and Sandy and Chris and Chrissi and Johnny and Haskell and two other gutter punks I hadn't yet met (damn squatters)... in a one bedroom apartment. I hoped they had toothpicks...

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