Off I went to the dentist--a new one--for a deep cleaning to the first two quadrants of my mouth. Next week will be the next two and final quadrants.
Five injections of novocaine and, though I felt nothing, the water pick sounded like a water canon inside my mouth. The file didn't sound any better.
Knowing I needed a filling, I gamely suggested she do it while that part of my mouth was numb. Also at the back of my mind was the thought there might be a bit of a saving.
The dreadful whine of the drill and then it stopped dead.
I was glad because I was beginning to feel a little pain.
"The decay's quite deep," she said. "It's also very close to the nerve."
"Meaning what, exactly?" I managed to say, though my mouth was so frozen I thought the words were palpable as I said them.
"You need a root canal in my opinion."
I thought of my old dentist and wondered if I had swapped him out for one that thought she could vacuum the money from my pockets.
"Damian, would you like to know the cost of a root canal?" said the receptionist cum billing clerk.
I felt suddenly vulnerable, exposed. I couldn't just walk out if it was too expensive. In short, I was screwed.
"$640 and 15% discount for cash."
"Nike," I said.
"What do you mean?" said the dentist.
"Just do it."
"It's going to be a longer procedure so I'm plugging this and come back Tuesday?" she said.
"So I wait."
A damned good reason to include dental in any health care reform, huh?
It's time. No listening to the greedy insurance industry, Republicans and other industry insiders who are trying to fear-monger and say standards will fall and wait-times rise. That's bullshit.