Jake Stevens / Los Angeles Times
The day ahead: Cotton would be sedated before full intubation under general anesthesia. He would receive an IV drip of fluid potassium, and technicians would hook him up to a battery of machines monitoring his oxygen level, heart rate and blood pressure. The doctor would consult digital X-rays taken just before the procedure and track his progress with more X-rays. Cotton would get deep scaling before the procedure and a foamy fluoride treatment after. And he would come home with enough antibiotics and pain relievers to last a week.
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