Thursday, April 9, 2009

No health insurance? But my jaw really hurts.

During the summer of 2008 I (Carla) discovered I am more evolved that Bobby: he had four wisdom teeth, while I have two (partially compacted, which I guess contributes to my stupidity). They started to rip through my gums last summer, right when my university health insurance became void. Before coming to Paris I visited an oral surgeon to see if they needed immediate extraction, and to get an estimate: $500 per tooth with my mom's Kaiser insurance. Since they were only a teething risk, we decided it best to wait until either Paris or Morocco.

Finally, like Bobby and oysters, my wisdom teeth have decided it is the season to bloom. I woke up yesterday and could barely open my mouth. My whole right cheek was tender and it hurt to chew. "Great", I thought, "My tooth is either coming in more, or I have a jaw tumor." In typical Carla fashion, I decided the best thing to do was to ignore the problem and hope it would just go away. This false hope even lead me to try to eat a baguette sandwich and apple for lunch. BĂȘte moi. Well, the problem didn't go away. It got worse. I woke up this morning, still unable to open my mouth more than 1.5 cm, but now it hurts to swallow. "That's it", I thought, "That's the end of my flute career. They'll have to cut out part of my jaw and I'll never play again. Can I even teach if I can't play? Probably not. Maybe I should go to law school."

In St. Malo, Bobby heard my pleas and gave me several numbers to call to make an immediate appointment. But I am scared of using the phone in France. I don't speak French, and really, after taking a few aspirin I was feeling better. I can last another 10 months. I was scolded though when Bobby returned to town.

On the way back home from signing the lease to our new apartment, we decided to visit the dental floor at a nearby medical center. I have no health insurance. I have no dental insurance. I have no appointment. I do not speak French. But I can't eat a simple baguette. So when we arrived, imagine our surprise when I was immediately looked at by a dental surgeon. "Yes, the gum by your right wisdom tooth is infected. I will prescribe you a course of antibiotics and some mouthwash. At some point you might want to make an appointment to have them extracted."

She prescribed 4 different medicines, all pictured above! We got Amoxicilline to antibioticize the infection. Then for the pain that comes with normal mouth operations I have some Nureflex. And to help keep my gums more clean I have four boxes of Eludril mouthwash. To help with the tummy aches attendant with taking multiple medications I also have Ultra Levure. The years of plain Levure are over. We are now living in Ultra Levure times.

Did I mention, Dr., that I am uninsured, and that I came in without an appointment? So how much will this be? 21 euros for the doctor's visit.

And for this plethora of medicine, for someone without insurance? 27 euros.

Total cost of unscheduled visit to a dental surgeon and medicine: 48 euros.

Total time spent on this impromptu visit: 35 minutes.

And this was a modern facility, in a real building, not in the Metro, not in a bad part of town. We have decided to do the same thing when it is time to extract my teeth.

1 comment:

  1. The real question is: Was Michael Moore wrong ? :-)