The post I should write: I am so thankful to live in a free country where if you break your tooth on Sunday, you can call your dentist and get an appointment and get it fixed by Wednesday...temporary crown, anyway. They were as gentle and as courteous as they could be. (for you "bottom liners" you can stop reading now)
But, what I shall vent: (Gotta dump it somewhere.) I know. I am bad. But, that is what this blog is for. A kinda online journal. And it is time to realize I am getting older and need to face my limitations. Bubble gum, and milk duds can cost over $1500.00. Best give them to the trick-or-treaters.
I confess I am an angry person. Easily irritated by stupid forms. It does not take much to tick me off. The dentist office clerk syruply sticks a form on a clip board with an attached pen (guess they got tired of people stealing their pens) and instructed me to fill it all out. I had come early knowing this would probably be my fate. I understand. People move. Insurance information changes. Okay. But, "marital status"?? How does one answer? Just a line. No boxes to check. As I pondered a good word to fit on the line, I wish now I had penned "happily" or "blissfully". Maybe they were looking for a number. Thirty-two. 2009 minus 1978---a little math in the margin would have been cute.
List children, the form decreed. Flown the nest and two married is what I should have placed there. I just hastily scrawled, married and flown the nest. It was not exactly accurate. But, do they need to know that one has been on his own for two years and is feeding himself, and puts up with us for a meal or two just to touch base? And that we are thankful for that? How thrilled I was to see our youngest in fancy clothing on Sunday like he had been to church somewhere. wow. I don't think the dentist would need that much detail. Besides, why are we surprised when God answers prayer?
Husband's work address. Oh, dear. I dug through my wallet for my husband's business card. It is an old Fort Worth one with the new Dallas number scrawled in permanent marker. This won't do. And while my husband has faithfully worked for the same company for 33 years...the company has changed names so many times that we did a polo shirt with cross outs which he wears occasionally. Too funny. And he runs into folks who have weathered the changes and seek to add their company names, too, like the old Dallas Power and Light.
I got distracted by the line asking for insurance information. Grinding my teeth, I dug out the cards. again. I had given the receptionist all this information when I called for my appointment because you cannot GET an appointment unless you have all these precious numbers. On our insurance cards, they are named, "ID" and "group" but the dentist form asked for "policy" numbers. Go figure. I should have just crossed out their name for stuff and put what our card said. The form actually asked for our credit card number. Now I am really getting hot. How secure are their files?? Why not give them our blood type, etc. All anyone would need to steal our identity is to break into the offices of dentists, doctors, etc. Make it look like you were after the drugs, and grab some files. Our social security number is right there, too. Good grief.
Ah, then the part of the form asking about your "health". Wow. What a mine field. First, they ask when was the last time you have had a dental appointment. I just don't keep those numbers on me. That date just does not stand out. Guess I need to put it on a perpetual calendar somewhere and celebrate that day. I noted that they would know this more than I, as surely, somewhere in their files, there was a date of my last crown/filling/cleaning. Surely. "just check your files" was as helpful as I could muster. I told you I was bad. When our boys were little, it was such an effort to go to the doctor or dentist. The dentist told me later that when I first started coming to his office, my boys were in first, second and seventh grades. Makes sense. With the boys in school, I actually had a few hours to schedule appointments. But, when you have a house payment, and car payment, and kids in school, spending money on myself was sorta low on the priorities. That is my excuse and I am sticking to it.
I don't like going to the dentist. They fuss at how you brush no matter how much you try. They fuss at how much you floss... They critisize you choice of mouthwash and plaque build up and frequency of cleanings. Yes, when I want to feel good about myself, I go to an office and listen to people criticize my efforts.
It had been four years. Supposidly. Seems like just yesterday I was getting a filling/crown/cleaning. Four years. No wonder they had the old insurance company and old company name.
Four years ago it had occured to me that I did not have to wait until heaven home to get a gold crown. Instead, all I have to do is break a tooth, make an appointment, lay in a too small dental chair on my head, gag, listen to a drill----and yesterday I had plenty of time to decide if the drill was more like a baby screeching scream or a cat...and pay over $1500.00. In heaven, when we are casting down our golden crowns, I wonder if I will remember, and smile. It made my dentist smile four years ago. The guy is a Christian. Christian music is pipped into the waiting room. The music does nothing to drown out the drill. When the dentist asked his aid to fetch the drill bit shaped like a torpedo, I thought to myself, can we call it something else??
And they decided it had been ten years since a full mouth of x-rays. You'd think methods would improve in ten years. But, now, it is the same stupid plastic SQUARES that poke you in the gums and tender places. Gag a maggot. And gag I did. I had not had lunch. I don't think I would have thrown up much, but they look dimmly upon gagging. They told me to breathe through my nose. And not the Lamaze "he-he" breathing, either. Then the dentist decided to use GAS. I had never had GAS before, and felt like a failure. The last time I was given GAS was right before they put me out to remove my middle son, C-section method, twenty-four years ago. It was not a pleasant memory. It was an emergency c-section, and they were threatening all sorts of dire consequences if they did not hurry. I felt like a piece of meat. The dentist called it laughing gas. I was not laughing. I felt sick. woosey. paranoid. Then I got the "don't cares". And the dentist asked me how I was feeling. He assured me that the feeling would only last a few minutes and then I'd be back to normal. And that maybe that would make my gag reflex relax a little. But, when asked how I was feeling....I am the type who realizes he does not really want to know, so I will tell him what I think he wants to hear because I am a Christian. And it is not nice to tell people what you truly think. Those things we tell God and ask for His help and forgiveness.
I should not have been allowed to drive home. I had a big case of the "don't cares" and wanted to cry. And sad to learn that in four years, the impression materials have not improved any. And to expect to lay someone on their back for two hours and not salavate... but, the sun was peeking out of the clouds. So I sat in the back yard for a few minutes. I fixed the bird feeder. With our twelve days of rain, the sunflower seeds had turned into a brick block. And when I reached down by the bricks in the sideyard to find a suitable stick to break up the old seed and dump it, I put my hands on this sturdy, slim dowl....attached to a firecrackers. What a find! I could not wait to show Bob. My lips were still numb at supper, but I served Bob the celery, peanut butter, and hard boiled eggs, and fetched the firecracker to show him.
When did someone fire it? Did it fall upon our trees on the 4th of July when things were dry and could have burned down the house? Did it fall down out of the tree during the storms? More mysteries.
And we went to church. I still had the "don't cares" and knitted during the lesson and kept my big mouth shut. Steve had the funnies one liner when someone was discussing poor new mom's ten pounder two ounce baby....when asked when or how that baby decided to come two weeks ago, Steve said, "gravity". And made us hoot with laughter. There were STARS in the sky when we came out. And I want to remember the big, round, yellow ball at sunset. Ah.
I have a temporary crown. It is smooth to my tongue. I get to go back in five weeks for a gold crown. My fourth. And oddly, they are all on my left side. Being a right handed person, I chew the hardest on my left? But, the cost of gold has skyrocketed, and when gold drops someday, I need to lay in a dental gold supply, for when/if the four molars on my right side need crowning.
Something else I learned yesterday. At home, I like a radio going, or music. Especially when folding clothes. I can't just fold clothes. I need something to occupy my brain. When you are laying on your back in a too small dental chair for two hours on your back, and they have to shoot you twice because you are so fat that the anesthetic does not take the first time, and this irritates the dentist...well, I realized I had way tooooo much time to think. And tried to distract myself with prayer, but, I realized that I need to learn to meditate better. Meditate on verses such that you float somewhere else. Like right before the chiropractor crunches places you know you need crunches, but it is gonna hurt temporarily...I just wanted to float somewhere else. Wake me up when its over.
And this greeting you in their masks is unnerving, too. Why don't I get to wear a mask so you can't tell what I am thinking, either? And I lost count of how may times the dentist bonked his own head on the overhead mirror. Try not to smile during that !!! Schadenfreude. And we pay through the nose for this privilege? Ah, the irony. It is all so masochistic somehow. Necessary, yes. I know. But, as a person who once worked in an orthodontist office during high school and for a few years after, I notice teeth. I notice teeth in movies. Bad guys are usually assigned really bad teeth. But, I have noticed that there are a lot of adults walking around with gaps nowadays. This is not good. Gaps cause an unbalance and pressure and you get a domino effect of problems. But, with the cost of dental care, I can see why. And that is sad.