I had an incredible Colombian day yesterday, which I will write about soon, but I need to write this post now for soon to be obvious reasons.
Last Saturday I noticed that my jaw was hurting a little bit. By Sunday it was hurting more. By Sunday night I thought to myself, hmm this is a familiar pain, this feels like a wisdom tooth growing in. On Monday it was so bad I could only open my mouth about 1 centimeter. Tuesday was the same, so I made an appointment, with help from my fabulous school secretary, to go see the dentist.
Wednesday after work Yoyi accompanied me to the dentist, not for translation because he doesn’t really speak English, but for helping me navigate the health care system, which is difficult in any country even if you speak the language fluently.
I went in to see the Dr. Cabrera, who was a very nice man who spoke slowly to me.
“Es tu muela cordal. Esta imflamada. Solución? Extracción.”
I was a bit fearful, because any surgery anywhere is scary, but I felt very calm and reassured with this dentist.
Yep, it is indeed the wisdom tooth. My face was a swollen, so he gave me a prescription for amoxicilina for the swelling and potential infection, and 400mg ibuprofen for the pain. He wanted to wait until the swelling went down to do the surgery, so the appointment was set for next Wednesday 11/18.
Yoyi and I went to go get my x-rays in another building, which took all of 5 minutes. There is one tooth growing in on top and another one that is sideways on bottom. An interesting little switch is that I bring these to the appointment, the doctor doesn’t keep them, I do. We also went to get the medicine in a droguería. Since I've been taking the medicine the inflammation and pain have decreased substantially, but I still can’t open my mouth wider than a centimeter because my tooth digs into my gums.
I forgot (or shall I say didn’t know for sure if they were still on that date) about parent – teacher – student conferences next Friday. My fantastic elementary Principal, who is organized despite the disorganization of the school, said I should probably switch the appointment to Tuesday so I could be there. This is when she taught me a very important Colombian word: palanca.
Palanca is translated into English as, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Albeit this is true in the United States, it’s essential in Colombia. If you have palanca you are set. If you don’t have palanca, good luck, you’ll need it. Because of a connection in the school staff, I had the palanca to get my appointment changed from Wednesday to Tuesday.
On Tuesday morning I am getting a wisdom tooth removed here in Colombia. Yikes! Yoyi is coming with me - this time for moral support.
Right now, it’s Sunday morning. Tomorrow is a holiday. I will not be able to do much for a while after my surgery on Tuesday morning. The waves have returned, so today Yoyi and I are off to go surf and camp on the beach in Santa Marta. I might as well go have fun while I can.
Newa Lahana in Kirtipur
3 months ago