Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Dental Care Redux

This will be a short-lived rant, to bring you up to date on my search for teeth.

After I came home from the Lake County Public Health Dental Clinic I cried most of the day and evening.  Both my younger daughter, Christine, and an author friend told me about a place called Affordable Dentures.  It is apparently a franchise with branches all over the country.  I researched them and not only were their dentures half the price of the Public Health Clinic, but they had a credit company that accepted my credit for the price of the partial plates I needed.

The closest location to me is about fifty miles away, but there is one about ten miles from Christine’s home.  She lives in Paris, Illinois and there’s one in Terre Haute, Indiana where they do all of their shopping.  I planned the trip for the first Monday in April, when my Social Security came in.  Unfortunately, Christine’s home is very small and they did not have space for me to stay with them, so I stayed with my ex-boyfriend, Raymond in Rantoul, IL.

Monday, April 4 was not the best day to go over to Terre Haute.  I got very little sleep Sunday night.  I tried to go to bed early and read myself to sleep, but I’m a night person.  It was about one when I finally got to bed.  A thunder storm awoke me at two-thirty and Raymond came in to get me up, thinking it was five-thirty.  An hour later, I thought I felt his cat jump on the bed.  It was not her.  I’ve felt that before in his room—I think it’s haunted by a cat.  I had asked another neighbor to be my designated driver in case they agreed to pull all of my teeth and do full plates.  Raymond is legally blind and could not drive me.  At four-thirty, she called to say she was sick.  I didn’t have an appointment—it was strictly walk-in and you have to be there by nine to get same-day service.  I should have waited one more day.  Instead, I roused myself, got out the door almost an hour late, sped through pouring rain, got lost looking for them and crushed my rear fender parking my car.  In all, the trip cost me about $55.00 in gas (and I drive a Prius) and the damage to my car has been estimated at between $1,100 and $1,500.

I am still toothless.  First, Affordable Dentures in Terre Haute does not accept credit for less than $1,000.  And, after looking at my mouth, the dentist there said that my bite was so askew, he did not feel qualified to produce dentures for me.  So, I cried my way over to Christine’s, gummed a salad for lunch and took a nap in her recliner.  I stayed until supper time and got to at least hug my grandkids when they got home from school and spend an hour or so with them before I drove back to Rantoul for another night at Raymond’s.

When I got home I found a local dentist who agreed to at least do a lower partial plate for me.  We got as far as taking impressions when the bookkeeper came in with the bill: $1,700.  We called the credit company and I was honest about my income.  It occurs to me that maybe I should have lied.  I wonder if they would even have checked.  Since my income is $1,033/month, they would only extend my credit to $1,000.  So, again, I came home toothless, and toothless I remain.

If you write for a living, my advice to you is:  get your teeth fixed before you quit your day job if you have dental insurance.  Or move to a country that provides dental care.

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