Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Completely Normal Encounter with Antibiotics

“I’m going to be unconscious for this right?” I wring my hands and try not to tense my jaw too much. The blue chair that I’m lying in is the only colour in the white room.

“Well, you’ll be mildly sedated” says the nurse smiling. The surgeon walks in, Seattle coffee cup in hand. He greets the nurses and quickly acknowledges me.

“No, listen, I want to be OUT.” I start to shake as she moves the needle closer to my arm.

“Just count backwards from forty.” She calmly inserts the needle in to the crux of my elbow as
another nurse puts the laughing gas mask on. I make it to twenty before everything goes black.

* * *

I wake up in a thin bed on my side. I can feel thick cotton balls in my cheeks and my mouth tastes like dried blood. I can feel large holes in the back of my gums where my wisdom teeth
used to be.

I’ve seen friends come out of wisdom teeth surgery high as a kite. I’m surprised at how normal I feel. No dancing faries, no nothing. I dizzily start to stand up as the nurse comes over.

“You can’t get up until your mom gets here,” says the blonde nurse matter-of-factly.

“I’m 20 years old. I’ll sit up if I want to,” I shoot back through the cotton balls in my mouth.

“Lie down until your mother gets here, you can barely stand.”

“Whatever.” The second my numb face hits the pillow my mother walks into the room. “Can I sit up nooow?” I say tauntingly. The nurse ignores my comment.

“Alright Mrs. Goyan, here’s Stacey’s prescription for antibiotics and Tylenol 3, she can take these…”

“WHAT?!” I shout at the nurse, unaware that people are also sleeping in the rooms beside me.

“Antibiotics?!! Are you fucking kidding me?!”

“What’s the matter,” says my mom, shocked that her polite and mild-mannered daughter is yelling in public.

“I can’t drink on antibiotics!” I shout, reminding myself of the three weeks I have just spent on antibiotics due to tonsillitis. “I just finished my exams! I’ve worked hard and I want to go out!

I’m not fucking taking those!!” I start flinging my arms in ridiculous directions.

“You will if you don’t want an infection,” retorts the nurse.

Before I can respond with more colourful language, my mother covers my mouth, takes the prescriptions and sends the nurse away.

* * *

My feet feel like bricks as I walk into Shoppers pharmacy. I start touching strange things in the aisles. My mother finally grabs me before I laughingly start playing with a box of Vagisil.

“Hi there,” says my mother to the young pharmacist, “the oral surgeon said they called over the prescription. I’m here to pick it up.”

I start to think about all of my friends going out drinking without me. I think about the three weeks that I haven’t had a social life because of assignments and exams. I think about the four months before that I spent dealing with mono. I slam my fist down on the pharmacy counter, alarming the technician in front of me.

“This is bullshit. Do I really need to take these pills?”

“Well if you don’t then you risk the wound sites becoming gangrenous, which could kill you,” says the pharmacist.

“But I want to go out! I don’t want to not drink for two weeks! I want a life again!” My tearful sobs sound like a spoiled five year old, mad that I can’t go play with my friends. The only thing that could have mad it worse is foot stomping.

“You can drink alcohol on antibiotics, there are just certain pills that they recommend you don’t.”


“Yeah, some just make you nauseous. Although, from the looks of it, you won’t want to go out anytime soon. Once the anesthetic wears off, you’re not going to be feeling…”

“Wooohooo!!” I shout as I gleefully run out of the store.

The pharmacist rushes to get my mother the pills. “What’s the matter with her?” he asks blankly.

My mom quickly shrugs as she grabs the pills. “Apparently she really needs to go party.” She quickly runs after me, chasing her high adult daughter down the snowy street.


  1. Stacey, I liked the way this was told, because it was humourous and you made good use of detail. However, I found it difficult to sympathize with you because I couldn't get past the "spoiled five year old" that you compared yourself to!

    I think my favourite part was the dialogue with the nurse. ("“Can I sit up nooow?” I say tauntingly.") It was funny, and while I wasn't on your side with the drinking issue (preventing fatally gangrenous wounds trump partying for me), I was on your side with the nurse issue and I wanted her to be proved wrong!

    You also described the hospital setting really well. ("The blue chair that I’m lying in is the only colour in the white room.") And you also captured the tense way it feels when you're waiting for a treatment like that.

  2. Hello Stacey!

    This is a good, funny story! I loved the unexpected rowdiness of you under sedation, the drugs they use for taking out wisdom teeth do weird things to people. The structure of this piece is also strong, with a good beginning that puts the reader in the moment and a funny ending that doesn’t seem tacked on at all. My favourite part was ““I’m 20 years old. I’ll sit up if I want to,” I shoot back through the cotton balls in my mouth.” I loved the defiant stance, even with cotton balls stuffed in your mouth.
    I read it over twice and couldn’t find anything I really could constructively help you with. Great job!

    My favourite post of yours!

    - Jeremy

  3. Stacy,
    This was a great post! You did a great job of describing the scene before you were put under. It made me sick when you described the nurse calmly inserting the needle in to the crux of your elbow. I have not got my wisdom teeth out yet but I feel like the description you gave was relatable in comparison to other stories I have heard.
    You started the scene where the action begins. The reader then wants to read on to find out how the surgery went. Great post!
    - Cassie