How do we know if a medical/dental procedure is being “sold” to us, or if it’s actually necessary? Augh.
This hearkens back to my whining about the dentist. Now I’m praying. (I accidentally wrote “pay” instead of “pray” just now, so I consider that a sign… and look at the word, “accidentally” coming forth — surely god is hanging around these words)
I have spent much of the past few months having teeth issues, and having confessed to you readers my rather long thoughts about the world of dentistry, I’ll spare you. I also talked about the nature of pain a few weeks back. I’ve hardly scratched the surface on the pain issue–you’ll see that return again and again.
So my dentist sends me to this endo to get a look at a(another) errant tooth, which was giving me trouble but has settled down for a more than a week now. I arrived with optimism–I figured I’d hear, “no worries.”
Alas, “well, something is happening in there, and we better do something about it.”
I wanted to tell the new doc, “Hey I’m sort of a mystic, so I don’t really buy your medical model at this point. I’d rather work with the spirits on this one, and see what happens.” I figure, why not try god first, and when and if (he/she/they/it) fails, well okay, turn to science. Dammit.
Now this is radical I know – I explain this to the doc, a total stranger, and she has that usual dentist-blank-face. “I really think that my teeth have a relationship to each other. When one flares up, sometimes the one opposite just responds in kind. They are sympathetic, see?” Well, that doesn’t faze her– “I think we need to do a CT scan to see what’s happening in there.”
Hmmm. “Okay.” What harm could that cause anyway ?
The doc leaves and the assistant says as she is busy behind me, “That will cost $200 and dental insurance doesn’t cover it. You’ll have to pay for it today.”
Wait a sec…”why doesn’t my insurance cover that?”
“It’s too high tech. The insurance companies are really behind the curve on this. ”
Whoa, wait sec…I’ve never heard this before — especially since my kids had orthodontists who have all sorts of high tech toys and this never impacted our coverage. But I don’t really need to challenge their bookkeeping. I just walked in the door a few minutes ago.
Why didn’t the doc say anything about this? It’s not an outrageous amount of money, considering it’s a medical procedure, but still…what if I need that money this month for milk and bread? I ask to speak again to the doc.
“So…I didn’t know it was going to cost me out of pocket. What are my options?”
Reminder here — I am not in any pain, except for the pain that the doc caused when she poked too far and too hard on my tooth a few minutes before. Boy, did she stir up something in there–it was fine before sitting in the chair. Now the nerves are all excited in the worst way.
I’m trying to glean whether the doc is selling me something I don’t really need? (this happens all too often, it totally infuriates me, as I swear to myself, not gonna happen to me, no way!) I don’t trust them… they’re only a hair better than lawyers to me.
“Well… we could go ahead and start a root canal…”
What??? No way! I’m not ready for that! not part of the plan, not part of the day’s schedule, not part of my reality.
“I’m trying to find out if the tooth may be cracked in which case…”
(me) “it’s a goner.”
Oh my god… I pray again: tell me this isn’t happening.
“So you do a CT scan. You decide my tooth is a goner. Okay, that’s a drag. You send me somewhere to get the damn thing pulled? you tell me to pull it out myself, like a 7 year old? Or, you’re not sure, so you decide to investigate. (“we’re goin’ in, captain”) You find out it’s cracked. Your root canal is now futile. Or, you find out its’ NOT cracked..and maybe I didn’t need a root canal to start with?
Hmmm… these are not good options.
The mystic in me springs into action — I’m going to pray for some guidance here — let me visualize the whole thing, let me will my beautiful white blood cells to kick into gear and work their magic.
I pass on the CT scan. I pass on all of it. I suddenly want to talk to my regular dentist first. I want to go crawling to him, “please, please save me…tell me there’s another way!” why do I think he can save me? He just tilts his head when I tell him that my teeth are sympathetic, he has no time for my weird views. He likes to drill and cut. But still, suddenly I trust him.
I trust him… because I wrote a whole blog about him?–because the staff in his office read it and laughed,? Because I told him I wrote a blog about dentistry and he said he’d love to read it? God, I’m such a sucker.
Plus, I’m vulnerable.
So today I whining. Which leads me to praying.
I go swimming, asking the water gods to bring me solace. I look up to the sky gods, and with tears in my eyes: I utter, “I’m only human….”
And wait for my dentist to call.