I had a wisdom tooth removed yesterday. My appointment was delayed thiry minutes because one of the surgeon's loyal patients had a toothache - and her (42-year old) son just died. He was diagnosed with stomach cancer five weeks ago, and after they removed most of his stomach they tried to connect his esophagus to his large intestine (I think), but the cancer had spread too much. I saw her at the front desk, too: a yellow pantsuit, white hair. She had returned for her sunglasses. I was standing next to her, wondering why I hadn't been called yet. She seemed frazzled. I caught her eye and smiled a little, sympathetically (because she looked a bit overwhelmed - I didn't know it was her yet). She sort of smiled back, sadly, with a look that makes more sense now that I know her son just died.

They gave me presciption-strength ibuprofen, a little yellow Valium, and two antibiotic pills...then started me on $63 dollars worth of nitrous oxide. After a few minutes, I was really high on it and the surgeon is talking about hiking. She asks me if I've ever hiked this particular mountain. I say no. She asks if I hike. I say no. She asks me what I like to do, and I draw a blank. I just couldn't think of anything. And I'm on nitrous. I say "I would like to apologize in advance for any nitrous-effects. No, I don't get outside much." She says she gets the idea that I work a lot, that she used to work six days a week, and eventually realized the importance of balance. She just went waterskiiing, on one ski. "Can you believe that? A fifty-year old doing things like that?" Fifty is young, I say.

First she did a comprehensive exam, which means that she told her assistant which teeth have old fillings in them. I don't know how many local shots she gave me but I couldn't feel the bottom half of my head. The extraction didn't take long. After it was over I couldn't stop shivering for a while, though I wasn't cold.

The left side of my mouth is really swollen. It hurts, kind of. I finally took a Tylenol/codeine this morning and had a cool dream about being in an airplane flying over Dallas.