“Damn the wisdom…” – I told to myself
It was a beautiful Thursday afternoon in the Golden Week of 2012, when everything seems to come to a standstill. Life seemed to be moving at a pace that I always wanted to, slow and steady. An innocuous looking toothache had caused us to visit the doctor as a precautionary measure. Few medicines and pain killers and we would be fine, I thought.
Wifey and me were seated in the oral surgeon’s cabin. He was a diminutive man in his mid forties I presume, with a lyrical South Indian accent, a grim face, and a penchant for looks of sheer perplexity. It was as though, with me seated in front of him, he realized for the first time that he really did have to rely on that dime-sized mirror to see what he was doing.
Dr. Subbu (lets call him that)was studying the X-ray report carefully. He then, turned to us, and started grimly –
DOC: Well, looks like, we need to extract your wisdom teeth..
ME: Its just a little tooth ache, is it that bad? Does it need a surgery? Can we not do with some medicines or something?
DOC: (Feeling my apparent discomfort at surgery) You must get it removed ! You see wisdom teeth is one the vestigial organs.. No use, and only creating trouble for you.. Come let me show you!
The Doc explained that the problem was with the lower right wisdom tooth that had grown horizontally and butted its stupid head against the back molar. Apparently, the wisdom tooth was healthy. The problem was a cavity that had formed between the two teeth – a dark space that bacteria and food particles found their cozy home in. Eventually, this would decay the innocent molar teeth, and cause more trouble for us.
Dr. Subbu pointed to the Xray that revealed the real culprit – the wisdom tooth that was lying on its side and trying to grow laterally. I couldn’t fathom why something with the word wisdom in its name seemed to have less intelligence than a mushroom, which is a fungus that grows from dead trees, yet manages to find its way out without troubling anyone else.
My inquisitive mind, of course, wanted me to demand some rational explanation for the impasse. I wanted to make a point, but looking at his grim face, I decided against it. It didn’t seem like a good day for such a high-risk activity.
DOC: So, we need to remove this. There will just bit of discomfort because of the position it is in – that’s all !
Bit of discomfort.. Aha! There you go! I know these fellas.. I was starting to get convinced that the teeth will not be extracted, it was more likely to be yanked out ! I wondered if he would use a drilling machine and yank it out ! The thought itself made me weak.
I think the DOC read the dreaded expression on my face.
DOC: Don’t worry sir… it’s a vestigial organ… our ancestors needed that tooth because they had to grind down plant tissue and rough food. The common belief is that the skulls of human ancestors had larger jaws with more teeth, which were possibly used to help chew down foliage to compensate for a lack of ability to efficiently digest. Now we don’t need it any more.
That sounded shady to me! The other day I was pounding down on a large mutton paaya, and I would have done well with some extra teeth…
WIFE: Let’s go ahead Ari.. It should be just fine!
Wifey is a courageous woman. I gave in. We decided to have the troubled tooth extracted extracted.
“Damn the wisdom” – I told to myself, as the doc readied himself with equipment.
The doctor put some local anesthesia and said we needed to wait 10-15 minutes for it to take effect, as he got his equipment ready. I always found local anesthesia as a shady thing. How can you keep your eyes open and mind working, when someone works on a part of your body with millions of instruments – or so it seemed. I smashed my head once as a kid (now you know the root cause of all the crap you get from me most times), and I remember me lying on a bed with a large lamp peering down on me. The doctor kept telling me what a brave little boy I was which seemed to make no sense since I was almost paralyzed at the thought of my brain being split open, and then quietly injecting the general anesthesia. I still feel that most of my dumb-ness originated from the misgivings of that day !
My thoughts were interrupted by the sound of a drill, and a man’s voice announcing that there is going to be a little pressure. He appeared to be inspecting the most remote region of the lower jaw. I wondered how was it possible for someone to perform the required intricate maneuvers inside a patient’s mouth with so little opportunity to see what’s going on in there. I have trouble clipping a wayward eyebrow hair while looking directly into the mirror from a distance of two inches. This audacity can only be done by gifted or insane individuals. I convinced myself that Dr. Subbu was the former. It seemed to be the only thing that provided some comfort at that time.
I closed my eyes.. I couldn’t take it anymore, and left it to the Almighty.
What seemed like an eternity, the doc said – it’s done ! He pointed triumphantly at the culprit – the wisdom tooth, with a look of a the Dragon Warrior, who had just won over Lord Shen from the Gongman city.
My wife’s wisdom tooth was finally extracted..
DOC: Your wife is a brave woman! (suggesting that my nervousness was completely uncalled for and the yanking that he was doing for the past 20 minutes was just the normal course of events…)
I wanted to make a point again! But, found myself thanking the doctor, more relieved than happy.
Wifey has taken this imminent catastrophe (as it seemed to me) in her stride. The wisdom tooth is gone, and with it, i guess, the dreaded cavity. One fewer functionless body part to worry about. She is recovering fast, and apart from a slightly swollen right jaw and some pain, everything else seems to be in order. Well.. almost!
There has been an unusual sense of calm in the Maitra household the last few days of 2012. An uncanny one almost.. without the usual chirping and banter of Mrs. Maitra, life just does not seem right!
2013 is here… and as I firmly believe – ONLY GOOD THINGS WILL HAPPEN!
Oh! and Yes, One last thing..
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!
I wish all of you a very happy and prosperous new year… may all our wishes come true !