WIsdom Teeth & Relative Nothingness

2 days ago I paid $1,000 to have someone knock me out and remove two of my teeth. Isn’t Craigslist amazing?! Apparently they were mean teeth and were bullying the others. They were forcing everyone to scrunch together. Word is, they were creating pressure on the top part near the gum and could cause “fracturing” and lots of pain. So instead of buying a shiny new TV on cyber monday, I had someone play mandible minesweeper. Nitrous was an option and that would have been cheaper but I’ve done lots of nitrous and I’ve never been out enough to have a tooth removed (even with novocaine).

Come in, sit down, apply sticky leads to your body, wear this lobster bib, oh wait! You need xrays of your jaw so we can tell how far the nerve goes. Remove your bib, remove your leads (i.e. wax your chest), remove your jewelry please (all of it or just what you can see?). I’ll hold the mirror for you. Thanks. Here are some latex gloves and we don’t have anything like what you’re describing that can open curved barbells. Ok we’ll leave that in and I’ll soak this one in some alcohol so it’s clean for you. Reattach the leads, here’s your bib, IV (no, not 4) time, this will only hurt a bit.

Not long after the needle goes in I hear a “That’s what she said” joke then I slowly woke up. Waking up was fine except the nurses kept saying “Breathe!” I guess I was real chill. Then it was interesting to see if I could hold my breath long enough to make the machine beep. Fully awake, I felt my swollen tongue and numb cheek. It is odd to me how you can feel numbness. The time distortion was interesting. It’s another version of noticing numbness. I knew I was out and I could sense that time passed but not as much as 90 minutes. The main procedure was complete in 20 min then they did a cleaning. Considering it felt like it took 30 minutes to fully wake up I felt I was out for a long time.

The recovery process includes juice, smoothies, soft food, TV and gently tonguing my new wounds. Since the procedure I’ve only had one bit of food stuck in my jaw hole. The gap left in my head is interesting It is clearly a space where something used to be. When I feel the other side (where wisdom teeth were pulled from many years ago) it just feels like nothing was ever there (absolute nothing). The right side of my face is a relative nothing (the absence of some thing). Absolute nothing is an interesting concept closest linked (for me at least) to the Kyoto school of Zen. Relative nothing is more what transformational ontology and Jung psychology deals with (Your past is messing up your future; remove it and nothing will be there). So my jaw is a poster at high school philosophy fair (that’s a thing right? It happens after the science fair right?).

The other interesting element to the process is the “pain”. I’ve experienced all sorts of pain. This is a dull ache as though I fell and landed on that side of my head. Pain is an interesting example of nothingness as well. While in pain, there is no-health. When you are not in pain, it doesn’t occur as a lack of pain, just health (if that). Few people walk around talking about how much pain they’re not in. It can be a slippery slope, there are many things you’re not experiencing. “Hey, I’m totally not being drawn and quartered right now.” And why say, I’m in pain” as though it is a place we go and take all of ourselves? I’m in New Jersey and my mouth (while also in New Jersey) is in pain. I’m sure this would make a great Venn diagram because New Jersey is not in my mouth.

TL;DR All is nothing and I feel great about it.


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