Tuesday, 13 November 2012

What Constitutes an Emergency?

A question: When is an emergency not an emergency?

Answer: When somebody else tells you that it isn't.

History: This tale of misery actually began almost three weeks ago. As is common practice for him, The Husband went to see his dentist for his quatra-yearly check-up. Yes, you read that correctly. He sees his dentist 4 times a year. You see he has a history of gum issues, and as a result of these past problems is meticulous about his oral hygiene. One day I will compose an entire post about his dental care regime, but for now just know that he is a dentist's wet dream. At this particular appointment, He was given the full workup. Cleaning, thorough check-up, and.....here's the kicker..... a full set of X-rays. He left the office with a clean bill of dental health. That was two weeks ago this coming Thursday. The hell was just beginning.

On Saturday evening, following an evening out with friends, he began complaining of stiffness in his jaw and a radiating pain from his lower lip to his right ear. He thought that maybe the hygienist had struck a nerve during his cleaning two days before and took a couple of Advil before bed. That lasted him all of an hour. By midnight he was literally screaming in pain, pleading for relief. Now, it should be noted that this man has an extremely high pain threshold. He has suffered countless bouts with kidney stones and several procedures to alleviate them. That said, I have never seen him so uncomfortable from anything. By the next morning, (Sunday) he was searching the Internet for emergency dental clinics. If he was willing to visit some strange dentist, than I knew this was serious. A trip north of the city saw him wait over 40 minutes, spend $140.00, have another set of x-rays taken, see a dentist young enough to be his daughter, only to be told that nothing was wrong. She told him to continue taking the Advil, gave him a prescription for an antibiotic that he refused to fill because he was suspicious of the non-diagnosis, and told him to rest. Rest?? He was literally in tears from the pain.

Another sleepless night, saw him calling his own dentist on Monday morning. His regular guy isn't in on Mondays, so he saw the new associate, another young woman who he thought might like to meet Older Son. Dentistry seems to be a young woman's game these days. Another $60.00 spent to be told that there was still nothing wrong. He was popping painkillers like breath mints, but nothing was wrong.

Fast forward two more unbearable nights to Wednesday. By now, he could hardly talk, he was displaying some puffiness on the right side of his face, eating was off the table, and sleep was but a memory. He finally got in to see his own dentist that afternoon. Another set of X-rays (cost: $40.00) and a whole lot of painful probing finally revealed a small crack in a rear molar and dead roots underneath. It is possible that the roots were interfering with a nerve which might be causing the radiating pain. Dentist #3 gave him two options. Remove the tooth, do a root canal, and put in a crown or remove the tooth and put in an implant. Through his haze of pain all The Husband could hear was "Remove the tooth" and frankly it couldn't come soon enough.

"Now?" He moaned hopefully.

"Oh no"' replied Dentist #3 "You will have to visit an oral surgeon. We will make you an appointment......6 days hence!" (Ok. The dentist probably didn't say "hence", but it makes for a better story.)

6 days. 6 days of more pain, more sleepless nights, more fasting, more misery. 6 days. Dentist #3 gave him Tylenol 3 to alternate with the Advil and a new prescription for antibiotics to combat any infection that might be present. He charged him $60.00 for the pills but didn't invoice him for the visit. What a guy!

Wait. It gets better. When The Husband called the oral surgeon's office to confirm that he would be sedated for the procedure, he was told that he would first need to come in for a consultation and then several days later they would do the extraction. He refused. Just get the f***ing thing out.

And so....here we are. Today's the day. Supposedly. I began composing this post from the waiting room of the oral surgeon's office, hoping against hope that this nightmare was finally ending. I should have known better. When The Husband was called in for the procedure, he explained the whole gruesome tale to Dentist #4 and asked if he could please be sedated. "Sure", replied the nice young dentist. "But you will have to return later this afternoon because I just don't have the time right now."

So here we stand. We will return this afternoon for a surgery that has been almost two weeks in the making. I am left fuming at the entire ordeal and I am not even the one In pain. Wouldn't you think that this mess constituted a dental emergency? Why couldn't the first two dentists read a basic X-ray? Shouldn't the oral surgeon have squeezed him in given the amount of pain he was so obviously suffering rather than have him wait an additional 6 days? When is an emergency truly an emergency? Did he have to lie bleeding and broken for somebody, anybody, to takes his pain seriously? I am thinking that the entire industry needs a rethink as to the way it deals with people in pain.

Oh....and this ordeal has already cost us almost $1100.00. Talk about piling on the misery.

1 comment:

  1. Proven fact that sex releases endorphins, which alleviate pain. Just saying.