Could loss of wisdom teeth be linked to loss of eternal wisdom?
I recently went under the knife to have my wisdom teeth removed. This operation, though necessary, was not one that I was really looking forward to.
In fact, to be perfectly honest, I was a little scared. I had never been through any surgery before in my entire life, and wasn't too comfortable with the idea of giving someone I don't even know, especially when that someone happens to be wielding a scalpel, that much power over my body.
One slip could knock multiple points off my IQ and possibly reduce my vocabulary to that of the primal man. Hopefully if that happens, they'll just finish me off completely, I thought bitterly to myself during the days preceding the surgery.
I tried reasoning the situation out with my mom, asking her if it was really worth it for me to face the risk of long-term damage (and possibly death) for nothing more important than getting a few extra teeth out of the way.
Tuesday morning found me sitting in the waiting room of Dr. Baker the Oral Surgeon's office, paging nervously through an old Reader's Digest (the quintessential waiting room publication) and shuddering when a girl who had apparently just been given the treatment I was about to experience walked out of the building not looking very well at all.
When my name was called, I submissively followed an assistant of the doctor's to the operating room, feeling much like a convict on his way to the execution chambers. I met the surgeon, and, realizing that he would soon be holding a knife in my mouth, tried to be very polite.
I sat down in a large padded recliner placed in the center of the room, and, after I was given a brief rundown of the procedure that was about to be performed upon me, was fitted with a gas mask.
Just to be difficult, I refused to breathe through my nose for a short time, but as time passed and the gas seeped in anyway, my walls of defiance crumbled and I found myself allowing the laughing gas to overcome me.
When the surgeon judged that I had settled down adequately, he poked a needle into me and injected the second stage of anesthesia into my bloodstream. I remember seeing a black liquid course through the tube leading into my arm and immediately feeling intensely lethargic.
Beyond that, I know nothing of how the actual surgery went, nor do I care to know. When I speculate as to what exactly went down while I was asleep, visions of the surgeon standing on the operating table, yanking and twisting at my teeth from a bent-over position with increasing force as blood gushes out of my mouth in a perverse imitation of a spitting fountain come to mind.
For this reason, I try to meditate upon that specific topic as little as possible. There are some things better left unknown to all but a chosen few, and I am convinced that the process of removing wisdom teeth is one of them.
My first days after the surgery were, to be quite frank, the pits. My cheeks were swollen so I had that John McCain look going for about a week, my mouth was extremely sore so I couldn't eat anything that had to be masticated, and I just generally felt sick. You might say I was in a state of doctor-induced illness.
To make matters worse, my dad used the ordeal as an opportunity to limit my talking for a while, telling me that the muscles necessary for speaking (which for me are usually well-exercised) needed to "relax." I obeyed, but not without a lingering suspicion that this was just another one of my dad's ploys to give the household a rest from my wisecracks and tom-foolery.
That was then, but this is now. About 2 weeks later, my face is looking normal (at least as normal as it looked before the surgery), I'm able to eat anything that's served to me, and I just generally feel well. The only difference between the pre-surgery me and the post surgery me is the fact that I seem to have lost my wisdom.
Whether this will affect the quality of my future columns is a matter of question, but if I start using a lot of puns (the refuge of the witless) or clichés, then you can blame it on my lack of wisdom teeth. Even so, I am looking forward to another season of writing for The Wave. Nathan Kitzmann will be a sophomore at Detroit Lakes High School this fall.