Armed with a pre signed cheque courtesy of my flatmate (I obviously couldn’t find mine.) I walk into the van. A man my age, hands me the papers I need to fill in and when I have done that he asks me whether I have been told I can only pay by cheque. I tell him I have been told and show him the cheque. Great can I please make it out for £ xx.xx.
Erhm but what if I need treatment? Well then another £30 gets added. That is great, but I only have one cheque, so shall I make it out afterwards? Do I need treatment. I think I have a huge cavity… Ok well let’s do it afterwards then.
When I sit down in the chair he goes through the whole list that I have just filled in.
“Are you allergic to anything?”
“Erhn no, oh hang on horses. But I don’t think that matters.”
He shakes his head,”No I don’t think that matters.”
“Does it hurt, does it keep you up at night?”
“No, it just hurts occasionally really infrequent.”
Ok let’s have a look…. The assistant hands me a pair of plastic glasses. Alarm bells, why on earth do I need plastic glasses? What is this place?
He takes a look at my mouth, gives the assistant descriptions of it and then reaches my very special front teeth. He seems puzzled. “What did they do there?” I try to explain to him that they rebuild my front tooth. The fact that I am explaining this to my dentist really disturbs me. He turns to his assistant: “Erh maybe write down bridge? ”
He pokes my gums, then says: “Well there was a huge cavity but they filled it. ” I say: “Yes but that was years ago and it was not so much a filling as trying to polish the bit where my molar chipped.” He says it is the same. I disagree but he is the dentist. He insist we do some X-rays. Before I know it he is struggling with some machine next to my head.
He shrugs apologetically: “Sorry it has a mind of its own.” It is an X-ray machine. You don’t want it to have a mind of its own surely. When he has nearly knocked me out with his antics trying to get the machine to my right side ( Not where the cavity is), I point out that it is my right or in this case the wrong side. He just nods. Makes the picture and after some faffing makes another one for the left side. Fine. Great. So….
Now we make another appointment. Waaaaaait hang on. “Oh yes sorry: we cannot develop the X-rays here, so I have to send them back and you will have to make another appointment.”
” Ok, so what happens then?”
” Then we talk about our options.”
“As I’m away next week, maybe you can talk me through my options now?”
Right now here follows a textbook example on How Not to Start an Explanation:
” Yes so basically I don’t know what is going on, but depending on the X-ray we can take the old filling out and put a temporary filling in. ”
“Temporary, how long is that?”
“Then erhm well I would leave it for a month and see if it settles. ”
“So basically you would just be taking a filling out (a filling I don’t have! There is no filling! I want to scream) and putting a temporary filling in and then just wait until something happens.”
“Yes, maybe you need a root canal.”
A root canal? Mate, I would be in oceans of pain if I needed a root canal. I have had a root canal, I experienced the pain; it makes you sweat at night. I told you it is occasional infrequent pain and you cannot even see if it is a friggin cavity! You had never seen an elaborate rebuilt, you nearly knocked me out with the X-ray machine, you want to just swap fillings and wait if that will do the trick. Bless you, you are very sweet but there is no way on God’s green earth I am having a root canal in this van.
I give him his cheque for £xx.xx and thank him for his help. He’s pencils me in for Thursday in a week. I phone my second-opinion at home, Dr Mother. I can nearly hear her faint when I tell her about the root canal and within an hour I have an appointment with my old dentist at home.
Moral of the story: stick with education kids or be nice to your mother; either way it will help you pay for dental treatment.