When we last saw our heroine, the right side of her formerly lovely face was swollen up like the Great Pumpkin. She figured she should give the antibiotics time to work, and the swelling would go away. As so often happens, she was wrong about this, because the swelling mutated overnight and started creeping under her lip.
Of course, it was a Friday, and rather than the prospect of the weekend being a happy one, it was a frightening abyss of no available dental services other than the dreaded and expensive ER. Dr. Megan nagged her resistant sister into going to the walk-in clinic at the clinic where she works. The doctor examined her with that fascinated look on his face that doctors get when something is really horrible*, and prescribed another antibiotic to join the first one. This is not the kind of cocktail our heroine enjoys. He left the room with the cheery news that the itchy indignity of a yeast infection would almost certainly ensue**.
Hoping that the pharmacy staff didn’t suspect her of having a particularly resistant STD, our heroine picked up the second antibiotic. The pharmacist suggested applying ibuprophen instead of ineffective opiates to attempt to dull the pain, and this suggestion was actually helpful in dealing with the astronomical pain, though taking 2 antibiotics and 4 ibuprophen every 6 hours is suboptimal and not without its unpleasant side effects.
On Thursday, the dreaded endodontist appointment rolled around, the fifth dental appointment in two weeks, a personal best (or worst). It was 96 degrees in the County seat, versus 63 at the coast. The endodontist’s office was quite fancy, and staffed by girls with giant false eyelashes***. Sadly for our heroine, the Valium she had taken did nothing to allay her quite reasonable fears. It was hard not to cry as the endodontist spoke cheerfully about opening up the tooth. Or the fact that the procedure would take about an hour or more.
Despite the application of nitrous oxide, our heroine remained inconsolable as the operation proceeded, with its alarming noises, smells, and the sight of smoke rising before her horrified eyes****. That horror, however, was nothing compared to the bill. The Eyelashed One expected nearly $700 to be paid immediately. She expressed surprise that no one had informed our hapless heroine of this term and condition.
The solution was to get Care Credit. The charges would go on that account and have to be paid off within a designated number of months in order to avoid the 30% interest that would ensue. Other unwelcome news was that a crown was required to cover the root canaled tooth, and I seem to remember from the last time that this was in the Beverly Hills neighborhood of $900. Oh, and this is WITH dental insurance. Though mathiness is not our heroine’s strong suit, this means that she has to come up with around $1,500 while spending half of her monthly pittance on rent. It’s hard to see how this is economically feasible. It is not surprising that the long withheld tears were finally indulged in once the sanctuary of the car was reached.
There are still at least two dental appointments to come, so it’s not over yet.
*I will never forget visiting my ex-boyfriend, who was hospitalized for a raging case of meningitis, and going up in the elevator with two doctors. One said to the other, “You have to check out that meningitis case. All the classic symptoms! You gotta see it before he dies.” He didn’t die, but it was close.
**So far, the plague has not descended. That’s something to be thankful for.
***What is it with dental assistants and their false eyelashes? They are sported to a cartoonish degree among the dental assistants and receptionists where I work, too.
****When I mentioned this to Megan, she said, “Yeah…I didn’t want to tell you about that.”
A YEAR AGO: At the County Fair with our beloved Ben.
FIVE YEARS AGO: A triumphant Fair for Erica.
TEN YEARS AGO: The thrill of the sheepdog trials at the County Fair.