For day 40 of #100DaysOfDiscomfort, I got my wisdom teeth extracted.
What I Expected
I was most nervous about two things; the pain from the anesthetic shots and the pain after the procedure.
That being said, I wasn’t nervous about the procedure itself. But I wondered if I should be. After all, many people choose general anesthesia for this procedure. I wondered, why? Is the procedure so uncomfortable that it’s better to be asleep? I was just getting local anesthesia, so I was going to be awake for the procedure.
How did it go
Years ago when I got local anesthesia, the shots hurt bad. So this time I braced myself as the doctor took the huge needle to my gums. Surprisingly, the discomfort was mild. He gave me about 5-6 shot. Repeatedly, he warned me that the next one might hurt. None did.
Next, the extraction! Again, easy. While I could feel the doctor clanking instruments in my mouth, I felt no discomfort.
After the appointment, I couldn’t speak properly because I had a numb mouth full of gauze. Still, I had errands to run. So my mom took me to the grocery store. There, I unknowingly drooled blood as I asked, with a muffled voice, the employees for help finding probiotics. It would have been embarrassing if I wasn’t laughing so much with my mom about the whole ordeal.
When I came home, the numbness wore off after 5 hours. At this point, I felt tender and slightly swollen. My tastebuds and stomach were funny from the antibiotics. But really not much discomfort.
What I Learned
Many people spoke to me about painful procedures, so I was surprised how easy it was for me. To be fair, it’s only the second day. Later on, it’s possible the pain could increase. Especially, if I get a dry socket.
Still, even the shots, which were painful in my past, were hardly noticeable. Because of this, I wonder if my experience with the discomfort challenge is helping me manage pain.
Shlomo said that he read about a study where people who regularly meditate could handle pain better. I’ve been meditating every day since March 18th. But my discomfort challenge and the reflecting I do on my challenges might be helping too.
Maybe, as I reflect every day on the discomfort, I absorb the subtleties of the art of managing discomfort. How to use it to grow. Or how to lesson its impact.
Originally, I thought the challenges themselves would help me grow. As time passed, I’ve come to realize reflecting on discomfort really makes the difference. Whether I do a planned discomfort like the Public Humiliation Sign, or one I can’t avoid like my wisdom tooth extraction, when I give myself time to reflect, I can absorb the most wisdom.
Pro Tip: Ask to keep your wisdom teeth. They’re fun to play with and/or fake your death.