Back in the early spring, I walked down this same road, and now today, it has come to take me back down the familiar path. I had to take Al to the dentist. It is not a pleasant trip at all. He is fearful, as most dental patients are, and when he is afraid, the tremors quadruple in numbers. It is like watching several hummingbirds go from feeder to feeder.
As the last time I took him to a dentist, I could tell, even though the dentist did not come out and say it so plainly, that he was afraid to work on Al’s mouth. The tremors, the tears and the attitude just aren’t very appealing to strangers.
This time I took him to a brand new dentist. A place highly advertised with the most gentle of care and a friendly atmosphere. We did not have to wait long for an appointment, only three days, and it was fairly close to home. Al had told me that last evening it took him three hours to go to sleep from the pain.
I am surprised that he feels pain in any area, with the amounts of pain pills he is on, but this is what he said. He also asked me if this was September or November, and he said today was the 13, instead of the 25th. It is alright, he snapped out of that partially and did tell me today was Thursday. I blame some of this on his medications and the rest I always dump on the disease, Parkinson’s.
We get called back to the x-rays within 15 minutes, and Al does very well with these, because he has had them before. Then we are led back to the dental chair. When I see it for myself, I call it the big monster, that is going to hurt me! I am the biggest baby on earth when it comes to a dentist.
As soon as they get him situated in his chair, the technician leaves and they leave us in the room about twenty minutes. Now this is just enough time for Al to start going frantic, and he did. I had purposely asked when calling and making the appointment, to have an experienced dentist for Al’s type and to not let him sit, that he needed to be taken care of immediately, as the longer he sat, the worse he got.
No one paid attention to my request, so by the time the technician had come back and she and the dentist, (which, by the way, looked the age of 21, like a brand new dentist) looked over Al’s x-rays, Al was a big old mess. Tears galore, shaking tremors, lack of comprehending, you name it, he had it going on.
It did not matter how I tried to soothe him, his memories were pain and needles. The dentist rambled off all the things that could possibly need to be done, and just from her talking, I could see dollar signs spinning quickly in my head. I think my eye balls were like spinning tops.
I gently explained Al and his conditions for the second time and also that he was in his fifth stage of PD, and that Medicare does not cover any dental work, so for a lot of reasons, we needed what had to be done, the easiest, and moderately pricing included. She looked at me and smiled.
This tiny young-looking girl, with no pimples or scarring on her face, and her leather knee rise boots on a sunny warm 78 degree day and her short little dress, looks at me and says, his teeth are dirty. He has two teeth that need to have root canals done plus caps.
I looked at her and smiled my dirty white teeth at her and said, I just told you he does not have insurance and his PD stage, so there is no way we can afford the couple of thousands of dollars you are talking about.
She flipped her pretty dark hair over her shoulder and smiled back at me and said, well you can just have his two teeth pulled, and he will have to figure out how to eat. You had his other side of his top two teeth pulled and he managed to find a way to eat, so he will have to do it this time also! smile, smile!
I asked her how was he to eat if he didn’t have the proper chewing teeth on either side, and she said,he’ll figure it out! She said that they had an oral surgeon that would take them out and he comes there once a month at the beginning of each month.
I calculated in my head how far it was to the first week of the new month, and the fact that the dentist was prescribing him some penicillin, and also remembered the fact that they advertised the best deals in town, plus the biggie was, they had programs for the poor, that allowed big discounts.
I told her alright, let’s find out what you can do for him. We left him sitting in his chair and walked over to the principal’s office, actually the manager’s office where they give you great deals on work needing to be done.
My goal was to get the penicillin started in Al right away, and then get those two teeth removed at a price he could afford. We sit and talk and the soonest they could get him in was November 19th. What happened to the first week of the month? Oh well, it fills up quickly. The price was over $1100.00 for two teeth for IV sedation. This dentist that saw Al said she did not have the experience to deal with Al, so she did not want to pull his teeth. Thanks so much, and I believe I requested a dentist with experience.
The price made me gulp, and there was no great deals, because the deals only come with general dentistry work, even if you are poor or disabled and have no money or not much. The time of the appointment was too far away. Who wants to suffer for almost another month?
I then asked them to call the oral surgeon and get the x-rays faxed to them and set up an appointment for him to have them pulled where I had taken him in the spring. At the previous dentist office, they did all the dirty work for me. They called the surgeon, faxed the x-rays, and set the appointment. Not here! The comment made to me when I asked for their help was, we don’t do this service if you feel you need to go somewhere else.
Now I was pissed off, and it is not good to get sister Terry pissed off. I have a brother who is in his last stages of PD, and he is sitting in the opposite room crying and freaking out, and it is hard to get him to anywhere in this world, and you can’t do this for me? What? I told them they were down right rude, and I was going to make sure I told anyone who asked that this placed sucked donkey you know whats.
Their eyes popped out of their head. They obviously had not been treated this kind way of mine before, but I was not going to drag this brother of mine back to the car, take x-rays over to another dentist, drag him back into another dentist office, watch him freak out even more, just to set up an appointment. I stood up from my chair, and I told them, you ARE going to call this place and you will set a time, and I will take the damn x-rays myself, so go get them for me! She picked up the phone in silence and made the call. We are now scheduled for November 13th, for a little less than a thousand dollars.
She then went and got the x-rays and put them in an envelope, and I took them from her hand, and went over and helped my brother out of the monster seat, and we began to leave. As we passed by the manager’s office, she was still sitting there in shock at my treatment back to her, and I poked my head in and with my biggest dirty tooth smile, I said, You all have a nice day now, ya hear????