Recovery

Tears look different under a microscope for different emotions.

I look at my cats cuddled up to each other at the foot of my bed, and my eyes well up and I start crying because I love them so much. They need each other, I need them. My love is also my inevitable loss. I don’t know what shape these tears would make. Emotions jumbled together in a shifting kaleidoscope, pain and love and fear, or if this feeling has its own tiny molecular shape, bittersweet.

I wonder if I’m withdrawing from the opioid the dentist gave me after wisdom tooth surgery. Since finishing the pain meds, my anxiety is high, I’m always on the verge of tears, my sound sensitivity is flared up. I either can’t sleep or can’t get out of bed. I’m alternating between hot flashes and chills. Is this healing? The jaw bone building up the holes, tissues forming. I’m not eating enough. I don’t want any more jello, I’m so souped out. I’m irritable.

I feel sick, but I’m not sick. I scan through all the body checklists in my mind and I cannot identify this. I can’t exercise this crushing feeling out, can’t soak it away in the bath, can’t calm it with emotional eating. I don’t even want to eat, and that is weird. Depression? I’m able to go to work, I just feel so off. I’m not in physical pain. Am I being too sensitive?

I’m drinking lots of water, I’m checking my temperature for fever, and the holes are pink, no sign of infection. On the two week mark from the dental surgery next week, I’m going to the doctor if I still don’t feel like myself.

Progress Report

I had an hour of sleep and a ten-hour workday, and I was going to allow myself to take a break from writing, but here come the words tumbling in my mind needing to be let out.

It’s now been more than a month of daily blog posts, in fact I didn’t even notice when I made my one month mark. It’s becoming a great archive of where I’ve been, where I am, and where I’m going with my writing.

In addition to the blog, I’m working on several writing projects.

The Last Shipmate- based on Survivor and Big Brother but in a shipwreck scenario. It came from an idea that was sparked in a blog post about reality TV. While typing out the outline I was laughing and having a great time. I love the twist at the end. I don’t know if I have enough in me to make a novel, but it’s going to be longer than I usually write. It’s at 2500 words with the outline and I’m almost on chapter 3 of 10 or so. I’m finding juggling so many characters kind of tricky. I hope they don’t come across as too stereotypical while poking fun at the stereotypical characters usually cast: the athlete, the ditzy girl, the tough older lady, the hot guy, etc. I’m not basing anyone on any specific cast member. The host is quite a bit like Jeff though.

Noise Complaint- a non-fiction story of dealing with misophonia (sound sensitivity) while living in an apartment. It’s coming out quite poetically, lots of metaphor. It was going to be my blog post today but it needs to grow more, maybe a lot more. Maybe take it into horror fiction instead of memoir. Last night was a rough one, hence the one hour of sleep last night.

Animal Fables- I have one story and a bunch of ideas and outlines typed out, it’s at 1700 words. I’m waiting for the weather to improve to go out to the park which is my setting. I’ve been procrastinating starting the illustrations too. I’m still thinking of how I’m going to write the story of how my city got it’s name to make it my own and not rewriting the existing folk tales.

Medieval Feast- a non-fiction description of a medieval feast I attended last month, that was also meant to be a quick blog post but needed more time.

Aylomerna- I have a great idea for the setting and building backstory for my human character based on ancient people in Mesa Verde and Mexico. Still thinking about big plot decisions I need to make. This one is getting put back together small pieces at a time, but I haven’t given it much attention with all the others going on.

Well, time to go watch this week’s Survivor and Big Brother episodes, I mean, do some research for my writing.

 

Creativity

What is the source of creativity? What if you could speak to it? What would it look like if you saw it in a dream?

……………………..

Hello. I always knew you were there. It was as though you waited for my mind to ripen, and now I understand.

Yes, you are ready to accept the task of creation.

You are the separate entity behind my eyes, a disassociated part of my being, my divine link to the Universe.

I am a mental construct of your struggling human flesh, it’s a coping mechanism.

You are the one who shows me the finished product before I have started, filling me with the desire to work at it until others see it too. You guide my hand, you push me where I am reluctant to go.

You make yourself brave, you submit to your trust in fate.

You are my luck, lining up coincidences however impossible. You are the eternal Jungian collective unconscious. If I had to form you into a shape, it would be a vast embodiment of starlight, all at one darkest black yet dazzlingly radiant, an omniscient manifestation of the energy of life.

I am everything and nothing.

…………………….

Animal Fables: Magpie

treesI am writing a series of animal fables based on animals that live in a natural area near my home. I plan on making paintings as illustrations, and using as many references to the local landforms, climate, flora and fauna as possible. I have notes and rough outlines for several ideas, and I have finished the first draft of one of the stories. When the weather improves I plan to write while sitting in the park itself.

 

Magpie

Have you heard Magpie screeching and squawking? It wasn’t always so. Magpie once had a beautiful song. She trilled and she chirruped in heart-lifting melodies. Her song called up visions of spring flowers and warm sunshine on your face. Coyote heard her song, and saw how she was boastful and making other animals feel insecure about their own music. He challenged her to a contest, where the winner would forever hold the title of the Most Beautiful Song.

“Ha! Coyote and his mournful howls will never be as sweet as my voice,” Magpie thought to herself. Coyote was better suited at harmonizing, but he was actually very good. You would hear the sound of your soul finding its place in the universe, your heartaches would heal.

Coyote also knew how Magpie felt about shiny things. He had found a shiny on the path and hidden it away in his den. The golden hour before sunset came and the animals gathered to hear the animal songs. Owl would have the final say who-oo-who-ooo had the Most Beautiful Song after the audience applause for each contestant. Poplar tree settled the crowd with a gentle poppling of her leaves, and coyote began his song. He howled low and forlornly, he recalled the beauty of leaves turning yellow before the snow flies, a feeling of serenity after a good meal. The animals cheered, moved by his song.

He had the shiny hidden, and waited for Magpie to take her place in the contestant’s spot. She was putting on a show of primping and preening, checking that her iridescent blues and greens would be caught by the fading light. “Get on with it!” grumped Badger.

“I think we all know Coyote sings well, but not to my level of standard,” Magpie said as she began to get ready to sing. Suddenly she noticed the shiny. Her eyes would not stop looking at its reflective surface and her desire to investigate it grew more important than the contest. She swooped down just to have a quick peck at it, the audience could wait. It stuck to her beak, “kreee!” She tried to shake it loose, “waak waaaak wak.” Coyote had put sticky tree sap on it. When Magpie got the shiny loose, she cleared her throat for her song, but the animals had already began voting. Coyote was the winner!

She was so embarrassed she never sang her beautiful song again. She built herself a fortress of sticks high up in a tree where she could hide from the other animals. If anyone comes near she comes out to squawk at them.

Purple Hair

For almost a year I’ve been wearing my hair in vivid colours.

It started as dark chestnut with auburn highlights, which is a fancy way of saying brown. I loved playing with My Little Pony when I was a child, and I think that’s where the obsession with purple hair started. One of the anthropomorphic horse dolls that was my favourite had pinkish purple hair interspersed with strands of glittering purple tinsel. In video games where you decide what your avatar looks like, if there was an option to choose purple hair, I took it.

I was always afraid of bleach. My older sister once tried to lighten her hair and it went that ghastly brassy orange. I thought bleach would make all my hair fall out, or be so damaged I’d have to shave it. I dyed my hair all the time with box dye, black or burgundy, thinking that was fine, but to go lighter so that I could put in vivid colour was never something I felt comfortable doing on my own, and I was too cheap to pay good money to a salon.

After University I became friends with a hairdresser. She said she could make my hair purple. I babysat her cats while she was on vacation, and in return I would achieve my life’s goal of hair the colour of grape Koolaid. The day I was going to make my dream come true, she called to say she wasn’t feeling well and wanted to reschedule. The first red flag. It was the only day that worked, so I came in anyway. She showed me some samples of what the colour would look like, they looked pretty good. She then said I didn’t need to lighten my hair beforehand. The second red flag. Looking back, I should have insisted she bleach it and colour it the colour I wanted, not the brownish plum that looked almost purple if the sun hit it in a certain way.

I found a new hairstylist. We are a better match, but I’m still too cheap to pay over $30 without wincing. I was at a point where I still didn’t believe it was possible that I could ever have purple hair. I joked about altering my DNA so it would just grow that way and never need a touch-up. She recommended a wig. I saved up some money so that I could afford the hair appointment, as well as colour-safe products and a straightening brush. It came to several hundred dollars but it was worth it.

She painted on the lightener, and in an hour my hair was a silvery white. It was already more beautiful than I’d ever seen my hair. I chose teal, blue, and purple and it came out brighter than all of the peacocks in the world at high noon. It was real, it was happening. Old men would stop on the street and stare at me, people would compliment how well it suited me, my students thought it was amazing. My mom worried the school would fire me for being unprofessional but it’s the twenty-first century and teachers no longer have to worry about the length of their skirts and their petticoats. The dress code says you can’t show your underwear, but doesn’t comment on hair colour. I would come home and look at my hair in the mirror, brush it, twirl it around, I just loved it.

It faded out to pastel colours of mint green, baby blue, and lavender. I found I loved the colours during the fading process as much as when it’s freshly coloured. I went back a few times before I realized I could use semi-permanent vivid colours at home with similar results. I’ve been using Ion from Sally Beauty, I’ve tried purple, hottie pink, sky blue, radiant orchid, and lavender. If I wait until my hair fades out I can reapply the colour at a fraction of the cost. The dark purple fades to a denim blue, and when I add pink it becomes the purple I was searching for all these years. As an artist, I like playing with the layers of colour. I am still hesitant to do any lightening at home, and now have to save up for a professional appointment to get my roots done.

When I see a woman with bright blue or faded out pink hair at the gas station or wherever, I feel like she is my soul sister. We are connected, the way people who ride motorcycles wave at other people riding motorcycles as they drive by. We have unicorn hair, mermaid hair, whatever you want to call it, My Little Pony hair. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to natural.

Crush

PhotoScanStarting in high school, I wrote poems about being in love and having your heart broken.

I kept several journals that I titled “Crush” that I would pour my heart into. I used to think it was such a beautiful expression that was filled with emotion, now it just seems like embarrassing bad writing. I didn’t think I was going to put any of my love poetry on the blog, but I’ve noticed on one of my writing groups a lot of women are writing stuff like this.

In my journals, I made little drawings and wrote quotes from Sylvia Plath. In one drawing, a flower blossom is on a tree, with an underripe fruit, symbolizing the first stages of a relationship that you can’t rush because the apple isn’t ready to bite into yet. I never got to the apple stage, the budding fruit was always plagued with worms and rot.

I’m going through everything in my Writing Portfolio and transferring everything I want to keep to the blog, so it will be kind of like an online portfolio. I had a poem that was made from pulling my favourite passages from Crush and compiling them together like a patchwork quilt, even though the poems were sometimes about different people. I submitted “Draws Sparks on My Heart” to a poetry competition and felt so proud when they said it was good! Except they just wanted me and everyone else who submitted to pay to have an anthology published. I knew right away it was a bit of a scam, but I thought about paying just to see my poem in a book.

Now several years later and I can’t even type up the whole poem without cringing, groaning regretfully, and face palming, oh man did I really write that down, whaaaaaat… delete delete. Here is an excerpt:

 

Like a young child hugging the legs of a stranger

Naive, oblivious to danger

That is how I love you

Like a dangerous animal

Tamed and trusting enough to rest its head on your lap

Forgetting past wrongs, acceding to your dominance

That is how I love you

I used to wonder how I would rebuild a shattered heart

Climb out of the dark and teach my soul not to fear love

Now I find

It took not strenuous effort

But the warmth and attention of someone truly deserving

You are the shining sun

To a cold and destitute heart

 

PhotoScan2

Healing

Since getting my wisdom teeth removed four days ago, I have been recovering well. I was feeling OK when I didn’t have to leave the house or do anything involving being near people. Today I went out to get groceries and I realized I actually don’t feel well at all.

The noises were bothering me, kids screaming while being pushed around in carts, metallic voices on the intercom, bad music with whining vocals from the speakers on the roof. I am impatient, I am grouchy, I am ultra-sensitive. I can’t remember where to find what I need, I feel lost, everything I see I can’t eat because I am Protecting the Sockets and everything seems a danger to my aching mouth. I find the Jello aisle and pick out one of almost every kind. I find a white chocolate flavoured pudding but it’s fat free and made with awful fake sugars and I get irritated and thrust it back on the shelf. Gross. I can’t get pistachio because those little nut fragments could get all up in my tooth holes.

The pain killers started wearing off, I could feel how sore my mouth is without them. It feels like my jaw is stretched wide open, but it’s clenched tightly closed. There are ghost feelings of the teeth being ripped out. I feel overwhelmed, I feel like a cranky toddler about to have a temper tantrum, I feel frustrated. I want to crawl back into bed and shut out the world.

For lunch I had a large chocolate Frosty from Wendy’s. It’s exactly what I wanted, and my anxiety subsides as I go for a nature walk in the park. I’m feeling less stressed than in the store, but I know I need to go home soon for a nap and more pills. I walk along the path and think about my animal stories, as that park is the setting. I think about how the trees got so twisted, tortured trapped souls, former giant beasts. I hear bird calls and think about adding them to my fables. Cheeeeeeese-burger. Chickadeeeedeeedee. Wonk wonk! I need a book or a website for identifying bird calls.

Before heading home I drop some books off at the library and pick up some holds I had, a book about names of places in Canada and a book about Alberta animals. I’m too exhausted to look for anything else, like a bird call book, it can wait.

I’m home from my big day out, I’m not feeling like doing any work on my projects. Time for sleep.

Morbidity

In this short story I wanted a Lovecraft-inspired first person nameless narrative style. I am trying to portray what the mind of someone struggling with mental illness would be like. I worked on it and set it aside for awhile, I was over-editing and cut out a lot because it just seemed like too much. I didn’t want it to lose believability and I didn’t want to come off as stereotypical. I decided to keep it the way it is now instead of try and rework it any more. Maybe one day it will call me to work on it again, but I’ve moved on to other projects.

 

 

Morbidity

(diseased, gruesome, gloomy, unhealthy)

I began to grow weak struggling with life.

I felt my soul turn hard and black, crusting over all the silver-shine blue that had at the best of times provided me with the light of hope. I was dying and withering inside to a miserable loathsome mirror of all that I ever despised. I knew it would end, I just didn’t know when. Could I get to the point where I succumbed to selfishness and left my dear friends and family behind? I would not pain them so.

I became blank.

There was nothing I could do to control my mind. I would return to nightmares in sleep and the day only conjured worse. Carrying a glass down the stairs, I trip and fall, jagged shards stabbing my face and neck. Speeding down a highway I swerve into oncoming traffic. I leap from an airplane and deliberately not pull the parachute cord.

Staring at the numbers on the clock, seeing facial features in the numbers. 4:07 is happier with his jaunty smile than the queasy 4:05. Staring out the window. Staring at the wall. Staring at the roof. Thinking. Empty.

The best way to kill yourself is to overdose. For a few brief seconds you can escape the pain of life before everything that plagues you is gone.

The best way to kill yourself is to drown in a river. You put your body back to nature and the running waters wash away the stains and purify your corrupted soul.

The best way to kill yourself is to jump from a very tall building. Don’t look down, look to the sky, doesn’t everyone yearn to fly?

But just like how you blink when you try to poke yourself in the eye, it’s not that easy to decide how and when to die.

People would look at me as though I hadn’t seen them in years. There was nothing to talk about.

I enjoyed silent seclusion. I wanted distance.

The mental illness ravaging my brain was never diagnosed, my doctor always assured me I was normal. I never trusted him enough to tell the truth. He would check my blood for imaginary parasites that were never there, and tell me to eat vegetables instead of pills. I was never told I was dying but I could sense everything going wrong inside. An oncoming brain aneurysm, heart attack, lung cancer, flesh eating disease. Everything was going wrong.

My skin cracked apart and bled. The rough callouses would flake off exposing red, inflamed tissue beneath. It always itched, and I always scratched. People recoiled in shock and disgust at the sores that sometimes looked like burns. Where it got under my fingernails it left them distorted with ridges and receding from the tips. I had no choice but to wear gloves, white cotton.

Avoiding social interaction was a must. The times I’d have to leave my solitude, I’d summon all my courage and go out and do what ever errand needed to be done so I could rush back to my sanctuary. I would replay every scene and analyze my behaviour. I shouldn’t have said that to the cashier. The look she gave me- I know she was judging me. I won’t go to that store anymore. It’s getting harder to take the bus because I don’t want the others to see me. The bus is so unsafe. What is stopping everyone from dying? It’s why I sold my old car, it was going to crash and burn, it was going to drive off a bridge, it was surrounded with a magnetic force that pulled in disaster. I didn’t drive much then anyway because if I didn’t know where to park I couldn’t go. What if I lost the car?

You try to stop crying, but you can’t.

Hands shaking, wet, clinging to the sopping mess of your face. Squeezing your eyes shut tight won’t stop the anguish of your mind. You revert to subconscious instincts for comfort in forced regulated breathing, tightening yourself into a ball and rocking back and forth. Soon you lose control of your sinus, which is a stream that matches the leaks from the eyes. Shortly after that, the pounding headache and pleasant but eerie sense of calm.

I stopped working. I didn’t deserve to be there, and I had to quit before they found out I was an imposter, a fraud. Some of the coworkers suspected. I could see their eyes rolling at me, their clothes so much more expensive and fashionable. Their lives so much more successful. I could hear their sighs of boredom and frustration at tolerating my presence, I could hear them talking to each other and it was about me. Even when I couldn’t hear them I still knew they didn’t like me because I was not as good as them and I never would be.

I lay in bed with the inner voices tormenting me, reviewing all the terrible things I’ve ever said and done. I’d recall a negative comment from someone again and again, and I believed it more than any positive thing anyone had ever told me. When spirits start flying around your head and into your ears they begin to convince you to move on. The wind is made entirely of these spectres, I found the more concentrated areas to be places where many feel the irresistible pull to climb all the way to the top of the trestle and dive into oblivion.

The sun set a burning red disk. The storm that came was severe.

Lights flickered and dimmed, the sky flared a green ghostly glow.

The audible hum of something being interrupted, as I swear the building had been struck.

I felt it pulsing through me, every hair on end, a cold rush, as the electrical field engulfed me.

Rain in torrents. Panic. Sirens.

Fiery cloud beds, sparking with intensity and bursting with fire and water and wind.

When the time came it was unexpected, a process required for survival but led to demise.

The fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil wasn’t necessarily an apple.

I was finishing the last bites of the peach, when the pit slipped into my throat and cut off the air. I was grabbing at the slippery stone with fingers just pushing it down farther. Like fainting, everything went black. When I awoke, all I could sense with my vision was this grey haziness surrounding me. I no longer have a body but I still feel all the aches and pains, a never ending struggle. All that relief and serenity I hoped to achieve was a lie. There is no comfort in purgatory.

What to Eat Recovering from Dental Surgery

My mission is now PROTECT THE SOCKETS. There is a fragile clot that forms in the hole the tooth once was, and if it is disturbed it will lead to a painful condition called Dry Socket. I planned ahead and made sure I had plenty of groceries that don’t involve much chewing or will get stuck in the sockets. Foods like:

pudding

jello

cool whip

applesauce

yogurt

ice cream

fruit smoothies (nothing with seeds)

mashed potatoes

banana

avocado

scrambled eggs

I also have all the ingredients to make three different soups. I posted before about my interest in cooking and creating a cookbook, I thought I’d share the recipes I plan to use this week.

When I’m grocery shopping, I usually pick up a fully cooked rotisserie chicken from the deli. I eat the wings, thighs, and legs while they are hot, then pull off the breasts and any other salvageable meat to save for other meals. I throw out most of the skin, but the rest of the carcass and the bones from the wings/legs goes right in the crock pot with water, garlic, herbs, and seasonings. In the freezer I save odds and ends to throw in there too, vegetable trimmings, the ends of onions, shrimp tails, whatever could add a layer of flavour to the stock.

I simmer the stock in the crock pot for 24 hrs. It’s usually when I get home from work that it’s ready. I set a cheesecloth-lined mesh strainer over a pot and strain it all carefully. I put the boiled mush back into the container the rotisserie chicken came in, so I don’t worry about leaks in the garbage. I do a final taste test to make sure the seasonings are perfect, and it’s usually so delicious that you can just drink it as is. It makes a lot of stock so I freeze the leftovers. I never buy stock at the store, it’s not even close.

So that is the secret ingredient in all the soups I make.

I start most soups the same. In a deep soup pot I melt a big lump of butter and fry up chopped onion. How much? As much as I want. Like, a small chopped onion and a few Tbsp of butter. Just wing it. When the onions are getting to be that nice golden colour, I add the next ingredients. Then top off with that delicious stock until everything is submerged and simmer low until everything is cooked. If there is sour cream in the soup, it goes in last when the soup is almost done. I get out the immersion blender and smooth everything out into a silky texture. I taste again, but that stock is liquid gold and I don’t usually have to add any more seasonings.

Here are the ingredients I have assembled for three kinds of soup.

Golden Prairie Squash Bisque:

butter

onions

green apple

butternut squash

sweet potato

potato

ginger

stock

thyme

seasoning

cayenne pepper

maple syrup

 

White Fish Chowder:

butter

onion

potato

stock

cubed fish, I’m using sole

sour cream

seasoning

 

Hungarian Mushroom Soup:

butter

onion

paprika

dill

milk

stock

sliced mushrooms

lemon juice

sour cream

seasoning

After you’ve been cooking so long, you learn about how much you need. If I wrote a cookbook for beginners, they most definitely need measurements until they get the hang of it. Maybe a cookbook with just recommended ingredients and possible substitutions would be marketable to cooks with more experience. I would read that cookbook. When I read recipes I always change it anyway. One clove of garlic? That’s going to be at least 2. Whipping cream? I’ll use sour cream. 1/2 cup chopped apple, I’m just going to use the whole apple whatever it measures after it’s chopped. How much salt just went in to the water before it boiled? Who knows?

It’s important to point out I’ve learned a lot from failing many recipes. Timing of adding ingredients is important so they cook to the same texture, like add the carrot before the mushroom before the herbs. Some things need to wait their turn, and if the cook is impatient the texture can be off. Without measuring, it’s also easy to get the proportion of ingredients wrong. Like adding too much of something, but then you learn from your mistakes and think, that was WAY TOO MUCH CAYENNE. One time I made a chicken noodle soup, only I added too much macaroni, and for lunch at work the next day it had turned into pasta with chicken flavouring when the noodles absorbed all the liquid. Still tasted good though!

Everybody eats every day. Each meal is a chance to have something amazing, even if you can’t put anything in your mouth that can break apart into small sharp pieces that could affect your healing wounds.

The Dentist: Part 2

I was going to take the rest of the day off from writing after my dental surgery. I planned to sleep the whole way home in the car, not get home until dark, and then just sleep until tomorrow afternoon. As it turned out, I was home before my cats expected their dinner at 5, and I feel alert. I was trying to read and I kept composing how the appointment went, so I came in from the last rays of sunshine on my balcony and sat at the computer to get it down before the words go away.

The lower half of my face does not feel like it belongs to me. My fingers can feel my chin, but my chin is completely oblivious. I use my tongue to rest the opening of the water bottle, as my lower lip is not aware of anything touching it either. Putting on chap stick was a bizarre experience, like putting it on someone else’s mouth, not sure if you are applying enough pressure, if it is going on in the right place.

The morning of the appointment, the lack of eating did not bother me as much as not being able to drink water. At 5am as I lie awake with insomnia, I almost decided to take a small sip of water, but I was too scared if I disobeyed the rules I would wet myself while I was under. I fell back asleep to dream about wading in the ocean in the darkness of night, strolling down the beach, feet sinking into the soft sand, coming to a waterfall and letting it splash over my head and down my face.

We left a little early to allow for construction delays on the Crowsnest Highway, and I wanted to stop in at Chapters since my city doesn’t have one. Not that I can afford to buy books after this pricey procedure anyway, but it’s close to the dentist and I thought I could squeeze it in, unlike visiting friends, restaurants, and places in the river valley that I miss. I need to take another road trip out to visit properly. So when we were about halfway, they called to ask if I could come in early. I don’t know if they realized we were coming from another city, but as chance would have it, I got there for the earlier time.

By this point when I usually go to the dentist, I’m fighting hard to keep it together. My breathing and heart rate increase, sometimes my eyes water, or I tremble. I have to regulate my breathing to calm down, and I can’t look at a magazine or my phone because I’m too anxious to make out words or focus. Sounds usually start making the anxiety worse, I brought ear plugs and my noise cancelling headphones but didn’t need either. This is probably the most serious procedure I’ve had to do, and I was calm. I think it was because both my mom and my little sister were with me. I did not experience any physical fight or flight symptoms, and I was really surprised. I was brought to the first room where I didn’t have a problem with them inserting the IV needle into my left arm. The nurse explained everything I’d already read on Google. I was not panicking at all, my mom asked the nurse if they were giving me a sedative through the IV. They weren’t. They said I couldn’t have the wisdom teeth when it was done. My mom was relieved.

The second room I was escorted to without my family. I said hello to the team of three women and one man, and lied down on the green bed, scooting down to the very cushiony pillow area for my head, looking up at the alien-spaceship lights that were surrounding my head. They put a mask in front of my face and said it was oxygen, the air had a stale plastic taste, and felt like I had to really gasp in my breaths. They told me I’d feel sleepy. At one point I asked a nurse if I was supposed to breathe out into the mask too, or just breathe in, but she was like what? And I was all, nevermind. The last thing I remember is saying “thanks guys…”, but it sounded really far away.

I woke up what felt like minutes later, they were telling me I did really well, everything went fine. What did I do well? I guess I was really good at being zonked out with my mouth wide open. I guess that’s what they say when you don’t need to use the change of clothes they ask you to bring, or when you wake up and you weren’t in a coma for several days. So it all went well, and just like almost everything I lose sleep worrying about, it was no big deal. I had my first sips of water since midnight, and watched the monitor that was hooked up to my pointer finger. My pulse was high, almost 100, but the nurse with me said it was normal. I tried to slow down my breathing anyway, because then she could let me get out of this room with the privacy curtains hanging on tracks on the ceiling, a large rectangular digital clock with red numbers I could see without glasses, a desk in the corner with the computer positioned so you can see the room and not the wall. She takes out the IV and the tape hurts peeling off. I joke that that was probably the most painful part of the operation. I bet she’s heard that before. I can’t tell if she thinks I’m being friendly or annoying.

I felt slightly woozy heading through the parking lot, and my mom and sister held me up on either side in case I lose my balance, this is probably what the elderly feel like leaving the hospital, all frail and vulnerable and people concerned for you. I had a sore throat and a light headache, I felt a little drunk, but not as hazy as I expected. I inspected my puffy cheeks and gauze hanging out of my mouth in the reflection of the car window. Time for a selfie and post on Facebook that everything went well. My mom doesn’t think it’s a very flattering photo. My sister Liked it. The ride back I took my pain medications and lied down in the backseat, but didn’t sleep. Didn’t say anything like you see in those Youtube videos.

It’s the next day and I’m not swollen or in pain like I was expecting. It didn’t hurt to sleep, I didn’t get blood on my pillow. I can’t open my mouth very far, but I can see back to one gory socket, a gaping bloody hole where my tooth used to be. The other side I can’t really see, as it was the one growing outward to my cheek, and they sutured the hole to the inside of the cheek and I don’t want to poke around in there.

Thanks to my anxiety, I was absolutely prepared for the worst and had run through all the scenarios of what could go wrong. I’m pleasantly surprised that I didn’t expect to be feeling so well, and even more shocked I didn’t have an anxiety attack on the way there or during the appointment. So grateful for my supportive family and friends. Bring on the soft foods!