The Awful Tooth: missing Wikimania

Let that be a lesson to all the aspiring young computer programmers out there: stay in school, and brush your teeth!

I’ll unfortunately be missing this year’s Wikimania and WikiSym conferences in Gdansk, Poland as I’m recovering from a tooth extraction. It seems to be going ok, but it’s got me totally wiped out — I can barely make it across San Francisco by bus, this ain’t time for me to hit the planes. :(

Those of you who’re also coming to OSCON in Portland later this month, I’ll see you there. The rest of you, I’ll catch ya on the internets!

The sad, sad tale

So when you’re a young man or lady, at some point you have to make a lot of Important Life Choices, such as what to do about your wisdom teeth. These molars are pretty far back in the mouth, and not hugely useful in actual chewing. Moreover, they’re more likely than other teeth to suffer from either bad impaction when they’re new (coming in at funny angles, or butting up against other teeth and screwing things up — they’re entering an already-full mouth) or bad decay later on (since they’re hard to reach they can be hard to clean, greatly increasing the chances of decay).

My teeth were coming in reasonably straight, so as a lad I made the decision to leave them. For many years this served me just fine, but SECRET TOOTH DECAY was my enemy, stealing into my jaw in the night to chip away at one of the ol’ wizzy teeth. A few weeks ago the decay crossed some limit and basically the side of the tooth fell out to reveal a gigantic cave system rivaling Carlsbad Caverns.

Other minor cavities were easily patched up by my local dentist, but this one was gonna need a removal. I was hoping I could push it back until after my packed June-July travel schedule, but it started acting up again last week when I was in Montreal for RecentChangesCamp and to coordinate the StatusNet 0.9.3 release.

Rather than wait and hope it didn’t crack, collapse, or get infected while zipping about Central Europe, I thought I’d better go ahead and get it taken care of while I was on the ground in SF for a few days. If I was lucky, I’d be recovered enough to pack myself up with some painkillers and still make it, and if not I’d have time for a fuller recovery before OSCON.

The actual procedure was quick and easy — local anesthetic does wonders, and I got over my fear of dental procedures as a kid (I find it quite interesting to sort of follow along, actually). Recovery though… well, let’s be honest. Recovering from a wisdom tooth removal is gonna lay you out a bit. This is pretty much a best case — upper jaw, not impacted, reasonably exposed, other teeth not affected. But between the pain, the mental fuzziness from the vicodin treating the pain, and the general tiredness from the body redirecting some of its efforts to healing a wound, I’m still pretty out of it a few days later. It’s particularly aggravating for a knowledge worker liker myself — the wound itself doesn’t prevent me from doing what I do, but the medicine means I just can’t concentrate enough to get much done either for work or fun! Grr!


4 thoughts on “The Awful Tooth: missing Wikimania”

  1. This is why I’m thankful that when I was but a young lad, they decided to remove all 4 of them at once – even though it wasn’t strictly necessary.

    But good luck & feel better!

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