When I was eighteen, I had my second set of wisdom teeth taken out. The upper ones had already been removed. That hadn't been a big issue, since they'd come in straight. The lower ones, by contrast, were coming sideways: growing towards the front of my mouth, and pushing everything along in front of them.
So I had them removed, too. This was, obviously, a much more complicated process than the first set. They couldn't just be pulled; they had to be cut out. This was done under local anesthesia. I don't remember much about the process except that I couldn't see what was going on, so it was long and boring.
After it was over, the dentist gave me some instructions on what to do and what to watch for. He also gave me a bottle of pain pills - or maybe we picked those up on the way home; I don't think so, but I'm not sure.
Anyway, my dad drove me home. He needed to get back to work, so I was going to be home alone for the rest of the afternoon. That was fine, except for one thing: I'd wanted to stop for a milkshake and maybe rent a couple of movies, and he didn't have time. But okay, no big deal. The McDonalds and the video store were pretty close to each other, and only a block away.
I didn't have access to a car, and either I didn't have a bicycle handy, or I didn't think to ride one. (Maybe I didn't want to balance a milkshake while riding a bike?) So I locked up the house and started walking. It wasn't that far to go; I'd done it plenty of times before.
I was just a little over halfway to the McDonalds when the local anesthesia from the surgery wore off. This would have happened anyway, but heading off for a brisk walk may have hastened the process. The pain pills, of course, were back on the kitchen table. I was increasing aware of two things: somebody had just cut open both sides of my lower jaw, and this wasn't the best plan I had ever come up with.
So I kept walking. I mean, what else was there to do? If I went back, I wouldn't leave the house again - and we didn't have cable, or anything like the collection of videos I own now. I really didn't think I was going to be up to reading a book, either. At the moment, watching a movie seemed more like my speed.
I got my milkshake, and then I rented some videos. Until then, I hadn't considered that trip to be much of a walk. The throbbing in my jaw was making me reconsider. Pain makes everything seem to take longer.
But, finally, I got back home. I immediately took two of the pain pills, put in a movie, and completely failed to move for the rest of the afternoon. My parents came home to find me immobile on the couch, covered in a thin layer of dust, with the dog sitting in my lap.
Well, okay, I'm making up the part about the dust. But the rest of it is true.