Painkillers rock.

Hooooooooooo boy.  Painkillers: they’re like prayer that works.  I spent all of yesterday feeling great!

This morning, on the other hand…

Anyway, they did my bottom jaw yesterday.  Interesting thing about the bottom jaw: it has two primary nerves.  Anesthetize those and you’re good to go!  So said the dentist’s assistant the other day to set me at ease.

Of course, today I get to go in and have the top jaw done, where pretty much each tooth gets it’s own, individual nerve.  That’s a lot of shots.  So hearing the dentist’s assistant telling me that yesterday didn’t really set me at ease.  Fortunately though, I’m as tough as the equivalent of nails that will be going into my gums.  Nope, not nervous at all.

Interesting experiment I tried yesterday after being encouraged to do so, yet again, by a believer emailing me: I tried praying through the whole ordeal, in all sincerity.  I prayed for my gum problems to go away, but they didn’t until a dentist used the products of human ingenuity and experiment to treat them.  I prayed for the pain to stop, but it didn’t until my parents gave me some painkillers (which were conceived of, and produced by, other human beings).  I prayed for my stomach to stop rumbling, but it didn’t until my other went and got me some yogurt that I could actually eat.  Conclusion: people answer prayers, god does not.  Hypothesis confirmed.

Of course, I’m looking at it all wrong, I imagine.  God was “working through those people”, which is code for “god gets the credit for what people do.”  But only sometimes.  God doesn’t get the credit for when a guy shoots up a school, but when a human being displays kindness or competence at alleviating the suffering that god designed into existence, that’s all god.

Anyway, after yesterday I felt like doing nothing aside from bumbling around in Guild Wars 2 looking at all the pretty colors, and I imagine I’ll be in that shape through tomorrow.  I might pop in every now and again with a funny/depressing news story that gets sent my way, but other than that I’ll pretty much be melting into the couch, eating yogurt and applesauce, and doing generally anything to make my mouth stop tasting like blood.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Baal

    Worst part of having my wisdom teeth out was the seemingly endless taste of blood in my mouth. It was really off putting.

  • IslandBrewer

    I prayed for the religious right to say or do something stupid, and God answered my prayer!

    That was several years, and God keeps on delivering.

    I suppose I should pray for him to stop, now.

  • The Schwa

    Why the individual shots? Can’t they just put you under? Of course that leaves you open to implantation of an Obama tracking chip…

    • eric

      General anesthetic procedures tend to be a lot more expensive (in the US). I don’t know if that has to do with the cost of tthe drug, the extra monitoring required, malpractice insurance differences, or all three.

      • The Schwa

        I guess I hadn’t thought of the cost. I was assuming he was maybe allergic to the anesthetic or was otherwise medically precluded from being gassed.

  • Rovin’ Rockhound

    If you are looking for protein, you can make chocolate pudding from silken tofu that is better than anything real: blend together, until smooth, a block of silken tofu (drained – it’s important that it’s silken or it’ll be chunky), a bag of good quality semi-sweet chocolate chips (melted in a double boiler – a metal or glass bowl over a pot of boiling water, not touching the water, works well), a splash of vanilla, and quite a bit of powdered sugar. Add more chocolate if it’s still too tofu-ty. It’s really good with anything coconut or orange flavored.

    I hope it goes well. The primary nerve on the left side of my face refuses to go numb – it took 12 cartridges of every possible numbing med (as opposed to 3 on the other side) to make it quiet enough to get that wisdom tooth out. The entire side of my face and part of my neck were dead by that point, but I could still kind of feel my jaw. So much fun. The top was a breeze (except for the sound of breaking bone – ugh).

    Remember: do not Vicodin and email.

    • baal

      Microwave = super easy chocolate chip melting.
      My nerves apparently go and stay numb very easily. I tell them to use half what ever is normal and they are surprised when I’m not screaming.

      • Rovin’ Rockhound

        I somehow end up burning them every time I try to use the microwave, and there’s no coming back from burnt chocolate chips (and the smell is awful!). They are solid one second and charred the next. Just like trying to toast nuts in the toaster oven. Modern conveniences always fail for me! :(

    • Mara

      Oooh, I have the same problem with the nerve on the right side of my face. We never succeeded in getting me numb and I had a tooth extracted and an implant put in without full numbness. I really really don’t recommend that.

    • Anonymous

      Ooh, ooh, ooh, I have the same problem. I’ve been sneered at by dentists for years, but recently two dentist friends and a real live dentist have assured me they can do essentially the same thing they do for the top teeth on the bottom, anaesthetise the tooth individually with a special needle. Ask about it.

  • GrampaInVa

    Hang in there young’un. I’m dang nigh 100 years old and I’ve been through what you’re going through and more. When I went through it we were a bit beyond a slug of good whiskey and a 2X4 up side the head but not much beyond that. Take the pills, take whatever you’ve been given in the way of antibiotics and chill out; your body will make you well. It sounds like you have people around you to care for you and everyone who reads your blog thinks well of you so you know we’re all pulling for ya.

    Rockhound – Thanks for the tip on chocolate pudding. I’ll have to use cocoa powder and Splenda but if I try it and it comes out edible I’ll be passing it on to my other aging diabetic friends.

    • Rovin’ Rockhound

      I’ve made it with cocoa powder before, but if I remember correctly I ended up having to add something like almond milk to tone down the bitterness. There’s no reason why it shouldn’t work, though! If it’s too nutty, keep adding cocoa. You might also want to try again with a different brand of tofu – I’ve found that the store brand from Sprouts is harder to hide than whatever the non-store brand they carry is.

      You learn a lot of fun tricks cooking for vegans!

  • chengisk

    I am glad god got you to feel better with his pain killers so you can write this article and not writhe in pain. ;)

  • EricB.

    FWIW, I don’t pray when I go to the dentist. I use it as a learning opportunity.

    I used to be terrified of the dentist. I didn’t go for years. As in, maybe 20 years. Funny thing about teeth, though: they’re only designed to last about 30-40 years. Turning 30 sucks. Thanks a lot, evolution.

    To get over my fear of the needles, drills, hammers, saws, and crowbars that I imagine my dentist might pull out from behind his back at any moment, I ask questions about anatomy. I ask about physiology. It sounds pretty interesting, so I think about going to nursing school. I see blood and decide maybe not. But it’s good to know what’s happening. “I have to put the needle through two nerves to get to the third, so your tongue might spasm as I pass through them.” It happened. It sucked a little, but sure enough, my tongue spasmed twice with two little twinges. And now I know about facial nerves. It’s a small comfort, but it helps me cope.

    Hope you feel better soon.

  • neatospiderplant

    When I had my wisdom teeth out, I lived on baby food. Some of it’s gross, but the fruit ones are mostly good. I never tried, but I bet the veggie and meat ones would be better with some salt and maybe some herbs and spices.

  • Dr. Excommunicated

    Wait I thought they did credit god when that guy shot up the school. When I read about how the reason for the shooting was the lack of school prayer I assumed they meant that god was punishing us by killing kids, like he has done so many times before

  • anatman

    “doing generally anything to make my mouth stop tasting like blood”
    so. you never drink … wine?

  • RowanVT

    Urgh. I hate dental work on my lower jaw. The nerves aren’t quite where they’re supposed to be, and thus very difficult to reach with the novacaine. I’ve had the dentist have to inject novacaine directly into the dentin of my tooth (the softer, inner part) in order to keep going with the filling.

    And in other fun news, when I got evaluated for removal of my wisdom teeth I was told that due to the nerve placement and the unusually long roots to my teeth that I run a significantly increased risk of partial facial paralysis! …. Gonna keep those impacted, non-erupted wisdom teeth then, thankyouverymuch.