Eating Away: Enamel, Nerves, Savings

I got up early to walk the dogs this morning so Charlie wouldn’t have to. My mouth is sore and I have what feels like an earache but is most likely connected to my teeth. The air was really crisp and whenever I took a breath it would sting. The dentist thinks I might need that lower left root canal, after all. It was incredibly sensitive, despite the million shots of Novocaine I got yesterday and she’s worried there may be an infection.

I cried on the way home because I’ve already eaten up over half of the insurance’s annual co-pay, not to mention almost half of the money Charlie had saved. I was also crying because I’m so sick of being drilled and stabbed in the mouth. I cried because my dentist has TVs in the rooms and hands you a remote and, out of reflex, I put it on MSNBC where I saw video of a 17 year-old girl being stoned to death in the Middle East for falling for a boy from a different religious sect. The hygienist said with a sigh, “I love America,” which normally would make me uncomfortable, but I understood what she meant. Here we were, two young women, allowed to work and live in peace, marry or date whomever we want, and not be set on fire for any of it.

My credit card is maxed out and I’m still about three payments (six weeks) away from having my other debt paid off. Even then, it’ll only give me an extra $300 per month. Three hundred per week might cut it to cover my dental bills. I got a bill from the endodontist for another $180 my insurance refused to pay. The first truck payment is coming up the day of my next dental appointment and I’ve only got three-quarters of it socked away.

The most frustrating of all of this? It’s my own damn fault. If I’d only gone to a freaking dentist to have my teeth cleaned when I was younger. Even just once a year, or once every two years . . . I wouldn’t be in this f-ing situation. I really try not to have regrets, but this is one of those things I won’t forgive myself for until it’s all done, Charlie’s been paid back, and the bills are filed away for next year’s taxes. If there’s one positive thing about it, as long as I keep going at this rate, we’re well on our way to being able to write off every penny in deductions for 2007.

When we went in for coffee this morning Annie told me no one was feeling well. She said Audrey wants to go home and Sarah’s been spending most of the morning in the back room. I think she was asking me if I’d be willing to cover for someone for a few hours and, of course, I considered it. I’m wondering if I’ll get a phone call in a little while. When Charlie was dropping me back off at home, he said don’t even think about feeling bad for people at work. Don’t let them talk me in to covering for them. “Those people need to work to build up their immune systems,” he said.

I know Annie was only half-joking when she asked if I wanted to work, but I’m in as sorry a state as those girls. The last thing I need to do is be on my feet for three hours after getting over half of my tooth drilled out yesterday (the dentist thought I might be in bad enough shape that she prescribed Vicodin, which other people might be more excited about than I am); I couldn’t chew anything for hours and hours last night but I was starving; and I have three more weeks before my next appointment to wait and see if there is an infection before I get anything permanently placed.

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