Tuesday, June 23, 2009
WELL, HOWDY DOO!
When I was 16, I very gracefully knocked out half of my own front tooth with a tennis racket. "Swing up", he said. And swing up I did. Right into my own face nearly knocking myself out along with the tooth. Based on the sympathetic howls of laughter from my family as I stood crying with tooth now in hand, I decided at that point that comedy might be better suited for me than tennis.
Since then, every five years or so, the fake part of my tooth takes a good long look at my daily life and chooses the most inopportune time to fall out. Leaving me with a toothless grin somewhere between "hillbilly" and "6 year old". Like the time in college, sitting in the front row while nervously and stupidly flicking my front tooth with a pen. It flew out of my mouth and landed at the professor's feet which resulted in me nearly crawling across the floor and having to ask "um, excuth me, I juth need to pick up my tooth...thorry...thorry...."
Two days before I leave for NY for two weeks, I decided that three day old baguette really COULD work as toast and CRRRRRUNCH. Off with the tooth. This time, however, only MOST of it came off, instead leaving a tissue thin piece of tooth I can almost see through. Anything heavier than cream of wheat is gonna send the rest of this puppy flying.
okokokokokokokokokokok DO. NOT. PANIC. You can cry but NO PANIC.
I have yet to see a dentist here but remembered that a friend gave me the name of an American dentist a while ago. I called, my voice heavy with certainty that I would never be able to get an appointment on such short notice and would be spending the day trying to find someone who could fix this before I leave for uninsured NY. I almost fainted when the receptionist told me "sure, come in Thursday and we'll fix it". My New York dentist made me wait a WEEK the last time this happened and the final bill (WITH my insurance coverage) came to $450.
I just cannot get over the ease of my experience with the health care system here. Every time I have had to seek medical care, I get this trained pit in my stomach from being hassled by the American system for so many years. And I am young and had full health coverage! For all my friends who have NO coverage, it's just an inhuman NIGHTMARE. All the hour long phone calls I have made to insurance companies over the years...for ridiculous things like fighting over why I should not pay $300 out of pocket for a mammogram as it is preventive care and is covered. (Apparently not if you're under 35 even if it was prescribed by the doctor....and why is a mammogram $300 in the first place?) I have not had to pay off thousands of dollars in dental bills in installments over three years time. The list goes on....
I know that the health care system here in France faces issues of how it will continue to pay for all the care, but I really hope this will last. Because it feels amazing when a society takes care of its citizens. When it's seen as a right, not a privilege to receive basic health care.
:).....smiling my toofless grin.