Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Dentist

I've never had any dental procedures done in America before.  Back home if they're not free, which a lot of them are for the insured, they are much cheaper than here. I'd say 1/3 of what I'd pay in the US.  I usually go home and most of the time it's worth it. What I'd save on a crown or an implant can pretty much pay for the plane ticket. If it's a paid procedure there's usually virtually no waiting time. That's why even among other European Union states Poland became a popular destination for people wanting their teeth fixed. Our dentists are not only cheaper, but they're well educated and skilled. And I was lucky enough to have a dentist in the family growing up. Unfortunately going home is not always an option. Few weeks ago I broke a tooth and decided I can't wait much longer and ignore it. It felt like time was of the essence here and I needed to act. Finding a dentist to see me was a challenge on it's own. Everyone I called seemed to be booked for weeks to come. Finally I opted for an emergency procedure, on the other side of town, for an extra fee, with consultation limited to that one tooth only, for an extra fee. My concern as always is, how will I get there and how will I get back. If I'm by myself, I'm confined to the bus services area. Some places you can't really get to easily using public transit, especially if you have never really been there and you don't know how long it would take. Any appointments are always very early in the morning or in the middle of the work day, so finding a friend to take me is never easy and you don't want to worry about the mechanics of making the appointment if you are worried about all your teeth falling out. But I did find a ride. A good friend agreed to work her work day around me, with her young daughter in the back sit, just to help me. But the fun was only beginning. On the first day, we get there and it turns out we were sent to the wrong bench. On the next, the dentist takes one look in my mouth and decides I need to be sent to an endodontist right away. I need multiple root canals and they can set an appointment for the afternoon on yet another side of town. But I don't drive. So over the next 30 minutes I'm desperately trying to get in touch with my friend who went back to work to see if we actually can do it. But she did. With her daughter in the car she took me to the endodontist and then both  waited on the couch in the lobby until they were done. That was a 2-hour procedure and I was told straight away they would not know if the tooth can be saved until they were done. They started by saying that there's a number of safeguards they have used with Cerebral Palsy patients. I forgot what they were, but I never heard of them before or needed them. I have to say it was a stressful time.  The clamp they have set in my mouth kept falling off. The dentist kept making nervous and annoyed faces as the procedure went on, nobody was telling me what was going on and it looked like a lot of work. I was getting scared. He then told me that I looked uncomfortable which was making him nervous. Half way through I was looking for a good way to position my legs. It was taking really long and I felt like I was really close to the chairs edge and I'm going to fall of it. Finally, we've discovered that putting a folded blanket under my knees for support and orientation gave me a lot of comfort. In the lobby, a friend waited patiently with her daughter napping next to her. I have to say, not having to worry about my cell phone, wallet and other belongings really gave me a lot of comfort as I went in. I just gave it all to her and was able to shut off my mind. Also, if I needed help transferring in and out the chair there was someone I could ask. As independent as I am, it feels good to have people you can rely on in situations like these. That's when I realize I'm blessed with amazing friends. As far as the tooth goes, we will not know until I go back for a crown fitting. But the dentist felt optimistic. Getting another appointment was another complicated story. Welcome to America.

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