Saturday, September 12, 2009

Death Panel For Teeth

So we are having a bad month here at Casa Lemur-Ferret. My poor Ferret has apparently neglected her flossing. And also her sacrifices to the gods of Teeth and Health Care.
We've been told she has some fairly heinous stuff going on in her mouth- terms like "root canal" and "extraction" were tossed around. Shit, I want a Vicodin just thinking about it.

She woke up feeling like she'd brushed her teeth with battery acid and hot barbed wire, so we went to the local dentist, where we spent 3 hours sitting around, filling out forms, and in Ferret's case being probed and ending up 2 hours late to work.
And at the end of this delightful outing was the educational part. I learned that if one does not, as I previously did, have the privilege of being insured, then dental work costs one, as Bradley Nowell once so poetically wrote, "un chingo de dinero". (Yes, I did just bend over backward to work in a Sublime reference. There're worse crimes.)

Does dental care really have to be this expensive? Do enamel, root canals, and WaterPiks require this much overhead? I really don't know. I don't have a reason to care, unless I suddenly remember where I misplaced that extra several thousand dollars.

Our other choice is to call in a same-day-only appointment, radio-contest style, to the county dental clinic. The care is much less expensive, but they open at 8 and are booked by 8:30. And they aren't open on weekends, which seems like poor planning to me- most of their patients would be working, yes? So why close on the days people are most likely to be off?
The sad thing is I do realize we're lucky to have that option at all. If we were in a more rural area, I doubt we'd have any other choice than to pay the huge costs of "normal" dental offices. And if there was no way we could afford that, at all? (Which really, we could not have. Just so you know.) Then what? Live with the pain? Grab some pliers and fix it ourselves? The fuck is this, medieval Europe? Are people going to start dying from an abscessed tooth because they can't afford to fix it?

And people are arguing against the government somehow getting everyone decent healthcare. WHY? Gods, why? I would give almost anything to not have to worry what will happen if she or I get really sick or hurt. I know it's crazy but I'd like to be able to go to the eye doctor without saving for 8 months, or the dentist without having to sell a kidney.

Thing is, I'm freaking out on behalf of my Ferret, who with a little luck just has to last the next few days, and we have some painkillers, thank Gaia- or else she couldn't manage to eat.

What happens to people who don't luck into county resources? They pay $300 a month for 36 months- or...? Or what? Or what??