Thursday, February 4, 2010

Reality Bites

A year or so ago there was a news story about those poor Brits and their awful health care system. Perhaps this was a story started just to make us as a nation feel better about how we have it. Didn't work for me. The whole thing angered me. The premise was they had medical coverage and sure that was great but the poor dears had no dental coverage so many who couldn't afford it or had to wait too long resorted to pulling their own teeth.

What do we have in America? I've heard of one dentist who accepted payments and he was an elderly gentleman in North Carolina. Who knows if his practice is still run the same way. What do we do in America where many have the choice between rent and groceries or health care. Well, hello! We do the same thing. Haven't these health reporters or raging anti-health care people ever gassed up at a 7-11, bought milk at Walmart, or grabbed a bag of diapers at a CVS. Have they ever really looked at their waitress or cashier and noticed the blackened rotting teeth, or the limp. The media paints a pretty picture but seldom show all sides.

Hey, anti-health care people, take a look around you. Open your eyes and see. Watch the sixty five year old clothing store merchandiser limp across the parking lot and hobble to her car. She does that because she needs everything she makes for rent and food and she can't afford that new knee the doctor said she needed six years ago. Look at me handing you your purchases and smiling. I don't have disgusting teeth because I'm too lazy to get up and go to the dentist. I just don't have the few thousand dollars it would take for the dental surgery. I'm not choosing to go on luxury cruises instead. I live simply and pay rent, buy groceries, and pay the simple bills required to live. I just don't have enough left over for splurges like health care for myself.

When the molar starts hurting if you tear off the offending bit that hurts the pain will stop almost immediately and you never have to miss work. I know it's disgusting but it's another day in the life of the working poor. Someone had to tell the ugly truth.


  1. How appropriate. Wednesday I had a dental checkup. "April, I'm sorry but that tooth has to go." (The continuing legacy of really, really bad dental care throughout my childhood; this will be second I have lost in a year due to my early dentist.) Because my dentist does not do extractions, I had to set up a consultation with another office. I had to explain twice to the receptionist that no, I cannot have the extraction the same day as the consultation because I have to save up for the extraction. (And yes, I know that because of my overall compromised immune system, I have to take care of this very soon so it does not abscess. All the same, folks, I need to get the $$ together.) Then today I took my son (the 20 year old) to the dentist because he is having major problems. 7 cavities. Most of that (98%) is due to his own neglect of his teeth, the rest is genetic. Even with a whopping discount that my dentist very generously gives me and my son, the repairs will be $675. I told my son to put it on his VISA which I have been paying since he became unemployed a year ago. (The balance keeps creeping up because I cannot catch it up.) Next stop after dentist? Wal-Mart for rinse and floss picks to help him establish a better routine. And a no-nonsense lecture from me.

    People that think those millions of us without health care and dental care somehow "deserve" our fate or don't really "want" to take care of ourselves should lose their insurance and see how it feels. Or how precarious your daily life becomes as a result of the constant worry of health issues. Then you'd see a real push for affordable care for ALL.

    Sorry--I wrote a book! ;-)

  2. April,
    I enjoy the company. You may write as much as you want to, whenever you like. :)

  3. hi, just found your blog & am reading from the beginning ... I am a Canadian living in England & you do get dental care on the NHS (National Health Service). You do have to pay for it but a dentist that takes NHS patients charges a fraction of one who does not. Recently had a back molar re-filled ... cost? 17 quid. Anne in Cambridge (the UK one)