This Falls Under the Heading of "Duh"

Mandi Hayes-Spencer

Most people have their wisdom teeth out in their teens. They’re put to sleep, the dentist does his thing and afterwards, they wake up four teeth lighter than they were when they walked through the door.

Like just about everything else in my life, my wisdom tooth extraction was a little different than most people.

For starters, I was in my early twenties. My wisdom teeth decided to wait awhile before they made themselves known. Sadly, they waited too long.

I was a newly married college sophomore. I was living in my first apartment, worked a part time job and was just getting a handle on the whole “pay your own bills” thing. I certainly didn’t have any health or dental insurance to speak of.

The cost, in cash money, for a wisdom tooth extraction with anesthesia was 1500.00. I could have worked for three years at the job I had at the time and, more likely than not, still wouldn’t have been able to scrape that much money together.

I was living on Ramen Noodles and Hamburger Helper, for heaven’s sakes.

So, I called around to see about a cheaper way to get rid of those pesky wisdom teeth. I mean, I was always seeing these coupons in the newspaper offering a good deal on something or other. I just figured if KFC could give you a coupon to get five dollars off of a 12 piece bucket, there might be a dentist somewhere running a deal like that on oral surgery.

“Get 2 teeth removed at regular price; get the other 2 removed for free.”

Like I said-I was young and stupid. What did I know?

I did find an oral surgeon who would do it for half price. The kicker was, I didn’t get to be put to sleep.

But, it had to be done. So, I agreed.

The doctor was nice enough to write me prescription for something that would relax me before I went in. It was two different types of medicine that were to be taken at the same time.

My mom took the day off work so she could drive me so my husband didn’t have to miss any work.

I remember holding these two tiny pills in my hand, looking at my mom and saying, “These things are tiny. There is no way something this small can relax a person.”

“Mandi,” she said seriously. “Those little pills will probably have more kick then you would expect. Just take them and hush.”

I did just that; I took them, still skeptical that they would ever be effective enough to settle my nerves.

To this day, I don’t know what the pills I took were called. But, thirty minutes later I was completely whacked out of my head.

I don’t remember much of what happened, but my mom made sure she filled the gaps in my memory by relaying the story back to me once I was sober.

Since it was on our way, my mom stopped by work to pick up some papers before my appointment. Me, being drunk and a little out of my head, apparently made quite the spectacle.

“Hey, look at those men on that telephone pole. Who are they? Maybe the entire world’s telephones are broken and nobody can reach out and touch someone.” I said, giggling every now and then.

“Mandi, there aren’t any men on any telephone poles.” My mom replied, laughing hysterically.

“What do you know, missy! There could be a mass disaster of massive proportions!” I slurred back.

After my mom’s coworkers had their fun watching me make a moron of myself, we left to go to my appointment.

Two minutes after sitting down in the waiting room, I got up, ran outside and threw up in the flower bed that sat right beside the entrance to the dentist’s office. My mom said she tried to catch me, but by the time she realized what was going on, it was too late.

I guess I was feeling better, because once we went to sit back down I started to run my mouth again.

The way my mom tells it, I leaned over, put my face right next to hers and, thinking I was whispering, loudly asked, “Can you believe that guy there, right over there, brought all those hamsters in here with him? This is a place of dentist people where dentist people go!”

Embarrassed, my mom explained to the man (who didn’t actually have any hamsters) that I was under the influence.

My ruckus caught the attention of the receptionist who quickly called me back to a room. She was probably afraid I would frighten all of the patients away.

Once I was back there, they added a little bit of laughing gas to my already muddled state. This didn’t help matters at all.

After gearing up my mouth with all of the required contraptions, the doctor and nurse stepped out of the room for just a minute to do something else.

There I sat, my mouth pried wide open by that metal device that won’t let you shut your mouth no matter how hard you try, the rubber surgery shield doohickey they use stretched over top of that and a bloodstream full of feely-good.

Not knowing where I was, who I was or what in the heck was going on-I decided I wanted to get up.

So, I got up.

I walked right out of my room, knocking over a tray of tools in the process. I then continued down the hallway where I sashayed myself right out into the waiting room where my mom was sitting.

To this day, my mom insists I looked like something from a horror movie. She swears she still has nightmares about it.

As if I were an escapee from a hospital for the criminally insane, two nurses came out to fetch me and, carefully, escorted me back to my room.

Finally, the surgery was performed and I was done.

A nice lady walked me down the hall and, for a split second, reached over to grab my file off the desk.

That second was all I needed. I slipped out of her grasp, slid down the wall and sat in the floor for ten minutes laughing hysterically. Gauze were falling out of my mouth like it was going out of style.

I was a mess.

When they finally pulled me out of the floor, it was a struggle to get me out to the car. I was wobbling around like a dashboard hula girl and drooling all over the place. The people driving by the dentist’s office were probably thinking I’d had a lobotomy.

Or, they might have thought I was just some random wino they’d found passed out in alley behind the offices.

I was running out of gas at this point and ready for a really long nap, but made sure I thanked everyone for helping me. I may have been higher than a kite, but I’m still a lady. A lady always uses her manners.

I held up my hand and, as if grabbing for something that wasn’t there, said, “Look here at these nice people. You all should buy me some flowers for me to give to you for being so nice.”

They then threw me in the front seat of the car and shut the door before I could say anything else.

Finally, they had succeeded in getting me settled. Or so they thought.

They hadn’t even said their goodbyes before I went and discovered the horn.

My mom said she skittered around that car like Night Rider to get me to stop. Two seconds after she pried my hands away from the horn-I passed out.

I slept for a long time after that. My mom was never more thankful to see me unconscious in her entire life.

The lesson here is simple: if you need to pay a little more-or even get a loan to cover the cost of anesthesia to have some teeth pulled-do it. The extra money is well worth it. Otherwise, you’ll wake up afterwards absolutely humiliated. And, your mom will have stories of you that she can hang over your head for the rest of your days.

Until next week, remember: Never trust a guy who brings his hamsters with him to a dental appointment. This is especially true if you’re the only one who can see the hamsters.

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