Ordinarily I am punctual to a fault, but there have been episodes in my life when I was behind my time, as the saying goes.
My birth, for starters. I was 11 days late.
I was the last person in my high school class to get a driver’s license. Years later, I was the last of my class to become a parent.
And I believe I am the last of my peers to get his wisdom teeth extracted, an operation most people have in their 20s but which I managed to put off for 30-plus years. As in, until about a week ago.
And gee willikers, what fun it was.
I don’t know why I waited so long, he said sarcastically.
It all began when I went in for a routine checkup, and my dentist, Dr. Hilarity, found a problem where my lower right wisdom tooth was jammed up against a molar.
“Think the wisdom tooth should come out?” I asked. “Funny you should mention that,” he answered. And so off I went with a referral to an oral surgeon.
Now, I don’t know if you were aware of this, but the words “oral surgeon” have been scientifically proven to be 42 percent scarier than the word “dentist.” I tell you this so you understand that I did not skip merrily into the next phase of the procedure.
Being dragged, kicking and screaming, would be more accurate.
But I went, and imagine my delight (sarcasm again) when the oral surgeon, whom I shall call Dr. 42 Percent, found not one but two opportunities in my mouth. “The upper one on the same side has to come out, too,” he announced, shutting off the alternatives in one short sentence.
OK, so comes surgery day. We begin with anesthetic. I have had some experience with anesthetic, none of it what I would call spectacular. There was the time I was having eye surgery and blabbed all sorts of deeply held beliefs, formerly known as secrets, to one of the nurses.
There was the time I was having another eye surgery and let another nurse know that the doctor had accidentally belched in my face during our last examination. (I think I was trying to warn her.)
There were the two major surgeries where in each case I caused a little concern because I seemed to be enjoying the nap so much I didn’t want to come out of it.
This time I went down without a hitch and came back, obviously, which brings me to my other complaint about anesthesia. Whenever I wake up from it, I hurt.
This time isn’t as bad as when I was opened up in several places and woke up feeling like someone had used me for an archery target, but I think the trend is pretty clear: Anesthetic now equals pain later.
Here it is a week later, and I still feel like Muhammad Ali socked me a good one.
But the pain is subsiding, although not as rapidly as it said on the little post-op pamphlet from Dr. 43 Percent’s Office. Count on me to be late with that, too.
Oh well. I can only be prompt with what I control, such as going to take a pain pill, which I’m going to do now. Right on time.
Mike Redmond is an author, journalist, humorist and speaker. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.