Wednesday, October 1, 2008

My pride is worth $14

Today I got my final filling to complete my root canal saga. This whole thing has gone on almost a year. To summarize: I let my dentist convince me he could save my tooth by drilling it and putting in a gold crown. At every step of the way, the procedure failed. They couldn't drill as deep as they wanted, so they hoped they got deep enough. They put the temporary cap on incorrectly, leaving me in massive pain throughout the holiday season last year. The crown was the wrong size, so they had to make another. The new crown was also too small, but close enough that they decided to risk it. Every time I complained about it (which I did at every visit) I was told that the pain should go away after a while. When the tooth finally died, the dentist told me antibiotics would take care of it. They didn't, forcing me to take matters into my own hands and schedule an emergency root canal. If they had just left the tooth alone, I would have had saved myself months of constant pain. Yeah, I'd still need a root canal, but that's nothing to compared to what I went through. Best part: Without fail, on the very worst days of this ordeal, I would receive bills from my dentist! Insurance *almost* covered things, but they'd fall a few bucks short, prompting an letter demanding their TWO PRECIOUS DOLLARS! That is just insult to injury. (I refused to pay, prompting them to double the charge to four dollars - the bill arrived the day my tooth exploded.)

So at my appointment I vented. Got a fun lecture. I was told they made the right call each time, but each step only has a 95% success rate. I was that 5% every time. Not content with being fate's bitch, I wanted compensation. Turns out they weren't charging me anyway, since they had already promised any problems with the crown would be covered. Ok, fine. NEW BATTLE! The day of my root canal, I got *another* bill, this time for $14. I told the dentist that, while I knew most of these mistakes could known in hindsight, I needed some victory for peace of mind. I did not want to pay those 14 fucking dollars. Got some great looks out of that, but I insisted it would make me feel better. With a shrug, the doc put a note on my file to waive the charge.

Then I went to the desk at the end. The woman asked for the $14. I pointed out the note on the sheet. She looked baffled. I explained WHY I didn't want to pay. She paused, then said she will ask that my file be audited to review the charge. This was because, she pointed out, the charge might not be related to *that* procedure. That is when I leaned towards her and calmly stated that I don't care WHAT the charge is for, I will not pay it. This was not a bureaucratic quibble; this was an emotional issue. It's 14 fucking dollars! It is a small concession that doesn't come close to covering the fiscal, physical and mental pain this botched procedure caused me. LET ME HAVE THE WIN! She was still confused, but promised an audit. Victory?

Anyway, I devoted the rest of my day to trying to churn out SOMETHING worthwhile. The result was several pages in my sketchbook that would have better used wiping my ass. With midnight approaching, I gave up and went to the colored pencils in hopes a free draw would get something. Well, you see it. Fuck me. My plans for today were just full of fail.

Tomorrow I head to DC for a few days. I expect to be back Saturday. Fear not, forced reader, for I have posts set to appear at 12:01 AM for the days I'm gone. I care that much. FILLER FOR THE MASSES!

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