Thursday, March 24, 2022

A treatment plan is coming my way

After the hygienist completed the cleaning, the dentist came in and performed a thorough examination. Then he gave me the bad news: There's decay around at least one crown. 

I had a lot of dental work done exactly 30 years ago. It seems every Saturday, I was in the dentist chair. I didn't have dental insurance in those days, so it was expensive. And boring. 

Crowns don't last forever. 30 years is a good run.

But because I had them all done at the same time, I suppose it's not surprising that they're all failing at the same time. 

I am already in the process of getting a dental implant. That will include the skills of three different professionals at two different locations and will cost me approximately $5,000. So while I'm trying to remain sanguine about this latest news, I'm not succeeding.

I feel like I have little choice about getting this work done promptly. I have very good dental insurance now. But I'm a 64-year-old woman in a young person's industry. I won't have this job forever, and dental isn't standard with Medicare.

I felt like I was just climbing out from under and getting my finances under control. I wasn't happy about the $5,000 for the implant, of course, but I have it. It would deplete my "rainy day" medical fund, but that gaping hole in my mouth needs to be taken care of, so it's raining. Besides, an implant is forever. Once the implant is done, that dental nightmare is over. Oh yeah, and the $5,000+ is with an assist from my very good insurance. If I put the implant off, I am risking damage to the still healthy teeth around the hole. There's no choice here. That $5,000 simply has to go to this now.

But where am I going to get the time and the money for all this upcoming dental work?

Oh well, there's nothing to be done about this right now. My dentist is going to take a closer look at all the x-rays he just took, plus his office is going to work with the insurance company. Then we're going to agree upon next steps.

Breathe, Gal, breathe. This is not the worst thing that can happen. At least there will be little or no pain this time around -- the nerves under the crowns are dead. I do have insurance. I will take care of this, because I have to.

No, it's awful

This post about work got me thinking about the first time I felt like the smartest person in the room. And I remembered how awful it was. 

I was in junior high. My dad came home from work, bubbling with news. His friend Lennie had decided to take the plunge and run for local office. My dad thought Lennie was such fun and had such great people skills, he might actually win. Wouldn't that be great?

Um, no. I'd heard Lennie's jokes. Almost all of them were at the expense of black people and the n-word usually featured prominently. I knew from my parents and from church (which my parents forced strongly encouraged me to attend) that people who used the n-word were ignorant, were hurting people, and were making the world a sadder place.

I also believed that any elected office is a public trust. I've always been a Kennedy girl -- I believe that public service is a privilege, and it's the responsibility of officeholders to work within the system to do for us what we can't do for ourselves. This has been dear to my heart my whole life. I didn't see (don't see) how a man who is contemptuous of his constituents could do this.

So I told my father that no, I thought it was disturbing that Lennie could win. That I didn't think someone who used the n-word so freely should hold political office.

My dad truly said this to me: "That will balance all those voters who say, 'Get Whitey,' won't it?"

I was dumbstruck. Literally. I had no response.

He compounded the ugliness by saying, "Hadn't thought of that, had you?" 

Congratulations on besting a 12-year-old. 

But even worse than my father's smugness and immorality was the sheer dumbness of his argument. An adult actually thought it was OK to tell a child that two wrongs make a right.

My dad was responsible for me. He was supposed to teach me how to navigate the shoals as I take off into the seas of adulthood, and this was what he came up with?

I hated knowing that, in some very important ways, I was smarter than my dad. I have never liked being the smartest person in the room. I've always found it uncomfortable and scary.

Me and my dad. It was my pivotal Jane Craig/Broadcast News moment.

Because words matter

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