Finally I had a date for my Wisdom Teeth Extraction under General Anaesthetic. The day arrived and I got up early to eat a couple of wheat biscuits, have a couple of cups of tea and brush my teeth before the 7am deadline. My husband took our youngest to school as the other teen wasn’t well.
Suddenly I got nervous about my HRT and that they didn’t know I was on it. But just after my husband came back home the phone rang and it was the hospital. It was because they wanted to know if I had eaten. If I hadn’t they could have squeezed me in there and then. Shame as husband was obviously free after all the trouble we had getting a suitable date. Asking about the HRT she just said I would have to ask when there.
The Teeth Extraction Ward
So the teeth extraction ward said not to arrive more than 5 minutes early. We found parking easily enough and so was super early. We had a walk around a little park and then found a toilet in the hospital. Next we went up to the ward and there was a long queue of people. The person who greeted us was really good and got us all to separate, so that we were social distancing.
The First Panic at the Hospital
Next she started giving out pieces of paper to the people who accompanied people to the hospital. Explaining this was their number and they’d tell them when they were done. Goodbye! This is where I realised that they wanted me to do this all alone.
My husband was amazing and just kept explaining to them why he needed to be there. They didn’t seem to know anything about it. At this point I think we were both ready for me to just go back home! It was more upsetting that I had spoken to loads of people about this – there’s just no way I would have coped with it all alone.
Then they brought someone through out of surgery crying in pain. Both my husband and I have had hospital experiences through our parents that aren’t good. Plus the whole experience with my bottom half hadn’t left me confident. So frightened that I would go in okay and come out with something wrong.
Non-Patients on the Extraction Ward
The first lady disappeared and I think she said it was a sister she had to ask, but she vanished to find out what could happen. Lots and lots of people asked us if we were okay whilst we were waiting.
Someone came out and explained that a lot had happened since Covid-19. That my husband would not be allowed in whilst I had the gas mask on because they needed to keep the theatre sterile. That normally only children, those with learning difficulties or dementia or allowed someone beyond this area.
The Stern Nurse
By this time I was upset a bit. This really stern nurse obviously thought that the no nonsense approach would work! Telling me that they had to do this for my own good whilst trying to put magic cream on the backs of my hands for the cannula. Not agreeing to the fact that I needed gas and the cannula removing.
This did not help. There was no way I could agree to go through with it and I was crying and my breathing was all over the place. She was a bit snappy in my opinion and told me that I needed to just breathe or that I would hyperventilate.
Meeting Lots of Staff Helping with the Extraction
During my short stay there I had lots of staff introducing themselves to me. It was really overwhelming. Luckily my husband was there and was able to advocate for me. Plus there was a lot of information and some of it I am sure we have both forgotten. Most of them did tell me I was not to spit afterwards, and they all kept getting me to tell them who I was and why I was there.
From there on in you can imagine my memory is a bit of a blur. By this point I had magic cream taped on both of my hands and it was stinging. An anaesthetist had come out and told me that I could have the gas mask but it wasn’t clear if the cannula would be able to come out. Although they did say if something went wrong (like my blood pressure was even lower than usual) they would bandage it up for me.
The Nice Nurse
A lovely student nurse called Kat looked after me from there on in. Kat tried to calm me down a bit more before we moved but I just explained it wouldn’t help and we just needed to get it over and done with. She then took me to my bed and allowed my husband to come with me.
When the anaesthetist Ali came Kat explained to her straight away and emphasised just how important it was to remove the cannula before I was aware of it. Never have I been so grateful to be listened to, it felt like she really cared about me.
Ali was also really nice and one thing I do remember was her saying about how she would see if she could get me up the list. That there were a couple of children who were due in first but she would see how old they were because she felt it was important to get me sorted. My appointment was at 12:30 and the list didn’t even start until 13:30.
The Extraction Surgeon
Anthony came and explained he would be removing my teeth and drew on my face. Again he told me lots of information. He detailed everything that could go wrong! Had a look how easy my teeth were to take out and gave me post-surgery information:
Post Teeth Extraction Advice
- No hot food or drink for 48 hours
- Soft foods
- No spitting or gargling
- Brush teeth twice a day and let the paste drip out. Do not rinse afterwards.
- Salt solution twice a day after 24 hours
- Paracetamol every four hours with ibuprofen in between if necessary
- No driving or looking after under 18s for 48 hours
- Don’t lower my head to my knees
Post-surgery a nurse also gave me some gauze to use and explained to get it damp if I was getting a dry socket. To hold it in place like I would any other wound. She actually told me to use the salt solution immediately – that it was just mouthwash I shouldn’t use for 24 hours but I took the advice of the surgeon.
There were many more people came and spoke to me; those working in theatre and anaesthetists. All explaining who they were and explaining things to me. Kat got me to do a pregnancy test – obviously it was negative.
The one really wasn’t happy about me having the gas. Explaining that it was harder to put the cannula in and had more of a risk. She also saw me with the bowl I needed to wee in and thought it was a sick bowl and said there was no way she was doing it if I felt sick.
Offering me a sedative tablet which would take about 20 minutes to work to help calm me down. This would have meant that I would have had to stay in hospital longer. Plus I am sure she was suggesting it because she thought that I would let them do the cannula without the gas mask. I declined.
Kat then helped to explain what I needed to do to get ready. She was so kind and patient. There was a trick to putting on the bed socks that she showed me using the bag. Even when I didn’t quite get it she just came back to help.
Going into Surgery
My husband left to do the school run just as I was going in. A very kind guy reassured me that I was getting the gas mask and the cannula out so that I had nothing to panic about. They took me a different way round apparently to help keep my calmer.
One minute I was in the room breathing in the mask. A voice telling me in detail what was happening. That it would smell different. That she was turning up the carbon! Then the next I could feel a tube in my throat! It was being removed and Sarah was telling me I was in recovery. That an overworked nurse called Sophie had to quickly disappear and grab a drink and biscuit or something.
It was done. They were pleased with everything and I was taken back to the ward. By three fifteen I had let my family know that I was back and okay. My blood pressure was taken and I was told that they would need to observe me for a few hours, so my husband took our youngest home.
Next I was asked if I needed the toilet, then when I had been if it was a good size. Then given some yogurts to eat, some orange juice and a mousse. It was weird all the blood over my spoon.
The discharge sheet was done by Kat but overlooked by the nurse who said I was really her patient. By four o’clock they told me to let my husband know to collect me!
Extraction Post Pain
Luckily the only pain has been where the tube was down my throat. My husband brought me up some ice-cream for that. Also my mouth was really dry and it was hard to drink because it felt like it would knock out the blood clots. Twenty-four hours later I have just a sore throat and have used the salt solutions.
Soft Cold Foods
So far I have had wheat biscuits, ice-cream, fromage frais, fairy cakes (which our teen cooked for me), cold scrambled egg and a pear. Tomorrow I am very much looking forward to having some hot soft foods again. Possibly even a cup of tea in the evening!