Boobs with Pliers - I wanted to call it No Boobs Near My Teeth but was a bit sketchy on how that might translate if you put it into Google.
By Kathy Reschini Sweeney, 2 teeth lighter
First off - I was one of those unfortunate kids who had a dentist who didn't believe in Novocaine. As a result, dentists still scare me - and I don't scare easily.
I love my Dentist - although his office is in deep shit today. Finally got comfortable with him. He referred me to another group and they did two root canals in the past three years which were painless and a real relief.
Then there was today. As I mentioned on Facebook, this blog fucking wrote itself over the last four hours.
Problem #1: X-Rays
My Dentist's office was supposed to e-mail them yesterday. I stood at the desk while it happened. Turns out there was a SNAFU with the email address or whatever, and the oral surgeon's office didn't have them. They just wanted to forget it and give me new X-Rays. I said no. I was nice.
Then I called my Dentist and stayed on the phone while they re-sent them. Confirmed the address letter by letter. This is me doing this, in the chair on my iPhone. I was nice.
They sent the wrong X-Rays. Because I have a small mouth (loud, yes: big, no - it confuses people) they couldn't get a good shot of the back teeth so I had to get an X-Ray on the big, more powerful machine that takes a panoramic shot.
Oral surgeon tells me no big deal, I just need to have another X-Ray. I declined again. Mentioned the cancer thing and directives from the oncologist (no unnecessary XRays). I was still nice, but firm.
I called my dentist's office AGAIN. They told me they couldn't find the other XRays and that they had been deleted. Wrong answer. I explained that they were not permitted to delete medical records, at least within a 24-hour period, and that the XRays had to be there. They promised to look. I was civil, but determined.
Dentist's office calls Oral Surgeon's office to tell them they simply did not have the XRays. Oral Surgeon says they have to take a new XRay. I refused and explained why. This time, I was more intransigent than determined.
I called my dentist's office AGAIN. Directed them to the exact computer the tech used to take the XRays, reminded them of the time frame yesterday afternoon and told them to find the damn thing wherever it was misfiled. At this point, nice is out the damn window, my blood pressure is going through the roof, and I am ready to rip someone a new one. I did not do that, but I did make my displeasure evident. Without swearing.
Eureka! Five minutes later they called me back. Duh. They found the XRays - exactly where I said they would be. I kept them on the phone until the Oral Surgeon got the right ones. Dentist's office is apologizing profusely. I told them we'd discuss it later.
Problem #2: Anesthesia
So - I was supposed to have nitrous oxide with a local anesthetic. In that order. This is because half the time the injections for the local are more painful than anything. Getting a shot in the roof of the mouth is a bitch - no cushion there.
Oral Surgeon tells me there has been a mixup - no anesthesiologist there, so no Nitrous Oxide. I called bullshit immediately because I know you don't need an anesthesiologist unless the do something that is injected. Oral Surgeon tells me that it is their (UPMC - the Dark Overlord of Pittsburgh health care) policy.
By this time I am visibly shaking. Can't tell if I am have a panic attack for only the second time in my rather eventful life, or it's just rage. Either way, Nurse #1 notices and tells me I should not have the procedure done today. I should wait and come back Saturday to have it done with real anesthesia. She shows me the XRays and explains why.
Now THAT is the proverbial straw.
Me: "Please bring the surgeon in here now." Nurse #1 leaves to get the surgeon.
Enter Tech #1: "Well, I need to set up your tray, so are you doing this procedure today?"
Me: " Not until I talk to the surgeon."
Tech: "Well I need to know now.
At this point, I take off my sunglasses (the lights in there exacerbate the headache from the tooth, so I have had them on for over an hour) and give her a look. I learned this look from my old man. Tech actually took a full step back.
Me: " I know this is your job, but you need to listen to my words. See this yellow paper (the informed consent form)? Until I sign this, you cannot touch me. I am not signing it until I get some straight answers. I am sorry if it upsets your schedule, but this is non-negotiable."
Tech leaves to get Nurse #1.
Nurse #1 says the Surgeon is doing an exam and will be in shortly. I hear her out in the hall talking to Tech #1, wherein Nurse advised Tech that she checked my chart and that, as they were beginning to fear, I am a lawyer. I never saw Tech #1 again.
At this point, in an effort not to blow a gasket, I am on Facebook. My status update: "The nice Kathy has left the building. Advocate Reschini is here now."
I started doing every calming exercise I know. Lamaze. The breathing thing. Praying the whole time. When I felt tears running down my face and couldn't keep my hands from shaking, I even called for the big guns, Michael and Gabriel, the Archangels. I prayed for calm and not to hurt anyone. It was a very bizarre sensation. I could feel the rage building, feeding the fear and panic - the whole circular thing. Scary - because my temper scares even me.
To make a long story tolerable, I will cut to the chase.
I had two teeth yanked out of my head with a local anesthesia only. Non-fused roots. I have the teeth, and it is a damn good thing I didn't see how big they were until after it was over.
And just to show that Mother Nature knows what she is doing, I am sure the adrenaline from the rage helped me manage the pain.
Why did I do it this way? Because I am not pumping my body full of unnecessary narcotics for two more days because UPMC is fucked up. Because the pain was intolerable over 36 hours ago and getting worse, even with the painkillers. Because I had no real alternative for treatment. Why?
Because I live in a medical monopoly. UPMC is the only game in town. And frankly, they don't give a shit about patient care, or the experience of the Docs. You really want to know how the system operates? Ask your Doctor about contract negotiations. I got the inside story while I was in for my breast cancer surgery, and it will make you sick. They are cutting salaries of experienced docs and surgeons so they can replace them with younger, less experienced docs because they can pay them much less. As if UPMC, the "Non-Profit", isn't making record fucking profits that go up every damn year.
Shit - this is way too long. Let me just say one more thing. This is why I never carry a weapon of any kind. Other than my brain as connected to my voice. I feel a little bad about being mean, BUT if a group of people - who have a sworn and fiduciary duty to provide CARE - are going to put me in a position where I am actually shaking with rage, then everybody else in the room is going to be shaking too.