I went to the hospital this morning, and in typical Korean healthcare fashion, things moved fast.
I had a minor outpatient surgery. I guess "minor" in the sense that it was outpatient, only about 30 minutes long, and not life-threatening in any way. But it was damn painful.
A molar was extracted, and some necrotic bone (bone dead or damaged by the radiation 2 years ago) was scraped away on my lower right jaw. It all seemed to be a very "brute force" affair – inject some local anaesthetic, then rip open the gum and yank and pull and scrape and grind, but the doctor seemed optimistic as it concluded. I have some stitches in my mouth, and a command to rest and avoid talking for the day – so I've been granted a day off from work. I think Helen and others can fill in for me – Thursday isn't too difficult a day, schedule-wise.
Curt was at the hospital with me, which was nice because after I couldn't talk, he helped interpret my needs as we went through scheduling the follow-up. I am indeed grateful for his friendship, despite our sometimes locking horns at work.
After it all, I walked home. I feel it helps to do this after time at the hospital – it helps me feel grounded in the world. The cold (about -8 C, 17 F) felt weirdly good on my numb face – temporarily numb on the right side, in addition to the now thoroughly accustomed left side, permanently numb since my surgery.
The anaesthetic is wearing off and the pain is quite intense. I am watching TV rather mindlessly, and contemplating what and how I'm going to eat… I should eat.
There will be a follow-up next week to remove the stitches and check for infection, and then after that they may need to scrape more bone and after that they will definitely need to install a collagen "plug" – since my bone isn't capable of normal healing. There is also some concern about my jaw bone being fragile in the wake of this. I'm not sure what impact that will have.
[daily log: walking, 4 km]