Monday, February 28, 2011
The Denture Contract
I will re-post my review of Forever With You on Sunday, March 6, 2011.
I’m a Navy veteran and as such one would think the VA would provide dental care. They only do so if you have a disability that is related to your military service. My disability is based on my bi-polar disorder and post traumatic stress that was caused by childhood experiences and having been raped at the age of nineteen before I entered the Navy. That does not qualify me for dental care under the VA system.
My road has not been easy. I have been a sofa-surfing homeless person, I have pulled my own teeth and have longed for at least partial dentures since my back teeth have not met for over a decade, thus making chewing somewhat difficult. When I moved in with daughter, my new VA therapist told me that I could get dental care through the Lake County, Illinois Public Health system. My prayers were answered.
I went to the Public Health office and was told that dental service would not be free, but it would be discounted and I could pay as much as I could afford. I could not be turned away for non-payment. I’ve been making payments of about $25 each month, although some months I could not afford to make payments. That was okay—they continued to see me and to pull the teeth that needed to be pulled. I finally reached the point where they had pulled all the teeth they deemed necessary and I made an appointment to have impressions taken for my new teeth. I got there this afternoon and the receptionist called me over.
“Did you know your discount expired?” he asked.
“No. I didn’t know it could expire. What do I need to do to renew it?”
“Just bring in proof of your disability income.”
“I see you haven’t signed the contract for your dentures yet,” he said.
“Contract? What contract?”
“No one explained the contract?”
“You have to sign a contract stating you’ll pay for your dentures before we make them.”
“Oh. How much do they cost—with the discount for my disability?”
He looked at my chart.
“You need both upper and lower, so… With the discount, six hundred each, that's twelve hundred dollars. Can you make a payment of two hundred fifty today?”
My shrink would be so proud of me. I did not whack him with my cane. I did not scratch his eyes out. I did not scream “What part of *@$%(_+&# Social Security DO YOU NOT GET?” I did not ask them why they didn’t explain that to me BEFORE I let them put me through the hell of several extractions of teeth I could maybe have hung onto awhile longer (several in front) not to mention going several hundred dollars in debt to them (with the discount, which will be paid off at $25 per month). I even managed not to burst into sobs until I got to my car.
I am so angry. I am now a toothless hag. I whistle when I talk. I can’t bite into anything and while I had difficulty chewing before, it’s even worse. I have eleven teeth left. One of them is black and is right in front on top. I have no lower front teeth. Won’t that be lovely when I’m doing readings and public appearances to sell my books? I’ll have to open my mouth to speak to people. Does anyone know how to whittle teeth? Maybe I should take up ceramics.
Mona Lisa’s smile is no mystery to me. She went to the Lake County, Illinois Public Health Department for dental care and no one explained the denture contract to her until after they pulled her teeth.