A brief quiz for you: dry socket is, a) a good idea for an electrician, b) not as much fun to say as ďsticky wicketĒ, or, c) a painful experience on par with childbirth?
If you answered all of the above, you clearly know what it is to have your wisdom teeth removed. I cannot give you credit for the first two Ė everyone gets those. But if you knew that a dry socket is a condition which occurs after having a tooth removed from your gums, and it really hurts, well thatís something.
Who cares, right? How in the world does this relate to anything with technology? Hereís how: having my wisdom teeth removed led to a 4-day work leave and a bad experience on the fifth day in dealing with my customers.
Most Help Desk analysts spend a lot of time on the telephone. Itís inherent in the job. Occasionally, requests will come in by e-mail, but for the most part, they donít. So when youíre talking as if you still have the seven hundred 1 inch by 1 inch gauze pads shoved into your cheeks, making you look like Alvin Chipmunk if he had a whole bunch of gauze in his cheeks, getting the job done becomes a challenge.
Anticipating that speech would be an issue for at least a few days, I planned ahead and organized a project I could work on from home. First, I took a personal day for Monday, the day I was scheduled to have surgery. This, Iím okay with. Having wisdom teeth removed is a personal issue Ė sure, that fits and I can reconcile it in my head. Hereís where my issues arise: for Tuesday, I had to take a vacation day. My idea of a vacation is not lying on the couch with a bag of peas wrapped in a towel smacked on one side of the face, a bag of corn wrapped in a towel smacked on the other side, aforementioned chipmunk cheeks in full force, and broccoli soup dribbling out of my mouth because, frankly, I just canít really move it to catch those dribbles. Did I mention these were my issues?
So, the plan was for Wednesday to organize my project, get it done, and be ready to return to work on Thursday, albeit a bit sore. WRONG! On Tuesday, I developed dry socket. I could get into details, but I wonít because Iím not a masochist. I may have to feel it, but I donít have to share (more of) it. Suffice it to say that the experience is painful, and I only had a handful of pain pills left.
Whatís the only thing more painful than dry socket? Trying to complete a work assignment through a thin client on a dial-up connection. Combine the two and you end up with one cranky Help Desk Analyst.
Fast forward to Friday, when Iím finally feeling good enough to return to work. This is an actual transcript of a telephone conversation I had in an attempt to support one of my users:
Me: Hphfmfhfmm hfmfpfhmf phmf?
User: Blah blah blah problems.
Me: Hmpghgm hfmfhgmpphn jnfhgmpphm?
Usually, Iím the one expressing puzzlement over a call. It was an interesting experience, having the tables turned.
What am I rambling on about still? I donít know, Iím on pain medication. I guess just this: if you work in a speech-intensive position, be sure to build some padding around the potential time off youíll need, because youíre probably going to underestimate. Hmpthtfmhm htmfpfhpmm hmmmm!