Today I took ds16 to the oral surgeon to get three wisdom teeth extracted. I can remember getting my wisdom teeth out – also when I was 16 – like it just happened. When I was 16 I was practically an adult; it’s strange to have a child already at this stage.
The surgeon we used has a very good reputation, which was a good thing, since his bedside manner was seriously lacking. I timed how long the entire procedure took- six minutes for him to be given the painkilling injections, then the doc went out to work on someone else for ten minutes, then came back in and all three teeth were out within eight minutes. 14 minutes hands on time for the oral surgeon, and he had all four rooms full and was rotating through them simultaneously. Not bad, is it?
Ds had a lot of bleeding that wasn’t stopping, and when I called three hours later, they told me to give it another couple of hours. When I called back right before they closed two hours later, I got the doctor himself on the phone. He told me to wrap the gauze pads around a regular (non herbal) tea bag, have ds bite down firmly, and replace it after 45 minutes, and it would stop the bleeding. The tannic acid in the tea is the effective ingredient – I was glad to learn of it being used like that; I wanted to give ds a capsule partially filled with cayenne pepper to slow the bleeding down but his throat hurt too much to swallow even water, so the capsule was out.
Then I asked about the pain ds was having and the doctor asked if I gave him painkillers. I told him not yet, that I planned to fill the prescription as soon as bleeding stopped and that ds was still numb, and he responded with an an impatient tone as if I was the biggest idiot in the world, “That’s why we give you painkillers, so you can give it to him before he feels any pain.”
Now to be accurate, they didn’t give me any painkillers, they gave me a prescription for antibiotics and painkillers (without verbal instructions); when I asked the assistant who gave me the prescription she said the painkillers aren’t necessary. His tone remained impatient when I was clarifying how long the numbness, pain, and bleeding would last, and what steps to take for each (it would have been nice to have been told about this after the surgery). The entire call might have taken two minutes, so it wasn’t like I was haranguing him. He said something that sounded like ‘that’s very dumb’, so I firmly told him that it was inappropriate to say that.
He then apologized, clarified that he was saying ‘numb’, and at the end of the conversation apologized again profusely. Though it was my mistake in mishearing what he was saying, he must have realized that if I thought that’s what he said, it’s because it made perfect sense in the way he was speaking to me. Some people mind this less than me, but I really dislike being condescended to or being treated as an imbecile. Until fairly recently, if someone spoke to me like this, I would have felt angry and resentful but just swallowed it and held that inside me. So it was good to use this opportunity to be respectful yet assertive, and not be left with a negative feeling inside.
My husband said the doctor was very chatty and pleasant when he went for the initial visit, and he called later tonight to check on ds and was very nice. I’m sure he was just having a rough day – we all have times where we don’t put our best foot forward, don’t we? But if I had felt victimized by the way he acted at the office or later on the phone, I would be holding onto an impression of him as rude, impersonal, impatient, and nasty – and that wouldn’t have benefited anyone. So nice to have a healthy perspective and just move on with life without getting stuck in the small stuff!