Friday, April 17, 2015

No Dental Plan

My parents divorced when I was in my later teen years back in the 1990’s. They fought back and forth, and through the state, about support and medical and whatnot. I didn’t really pay too much attention. I was working and trying (unsuccessfully) to finish high school. While everyone who was supposed to care were fighting with each other, I went through the most agonizing physical pain one could imagine, for several years.

You see, my wisdom teeth started coming in, but there was no place for them. So slowly, so agonizingly slowly, they began to overcrowd the rest of the teeth in my mouth. There was no doctor or dentist to see me, so I was left to suffer the hand that nature had dealt me, all on my own.

The pressure mounted. Oh, the god-awful pressure. It mounted daily. It distracted me from the rest of my life. My work, my school, my plans for the future. Those wisdom teeth kept creeping in and there was not a damn thing I could do about it.

Go smash yourself in the side of the face with a brick, and you will know what it felt like… before the pain got really bad. On numerous occasions, I went to the emergency room for high doses of pain killers, that did little to help in the long run as my molars literally exploded into pieces in my mouth.

On one night, the pain was so bad that I used a pair of pliers to rip a back tooth out of my mouth. Sadly enough, I didn’t really get it out, just broke off the crown above the gumline.

On another night, the pain became so terrible that I literally went into convulsions, vomited, and passed out.

All of this at a crucial time in my life when I was supposed to be making important life decisions, and setting my path for the rest of my life to come. It was impossible. I could not work reliably, my education went down the tubes, and to this day I suffer the consequences of that pain… that horrific and quite literal physical pain.

On yet another occasion, when another tooth had exploded, I was left with a razor sharp stub that lacerated my tongue whenever I spoke or tried to eat. (I am over 6 foot tall and dropped down to about 120 pounds.)

The emergency room whacked me up with high dose pain killer and referred me to a clinic for poor folk with no insurance. The dentist performed a root canal so that I would not feel the pain from that tooth any longer. But since it was a “free” service, fillings were not included with the root canal.

So when I ate, the canal became filled with food. A lump formed alongside my nose, where the food packed into my upper facial cavity left open by the dentist.

It took about a year, but finally the abscess molded, and became deadly. The pain was unbearable, the infection, life-threatening. So once again, back to the emergency room where they issued me a weeks worth of antibiotics, some heavy-duty aspirin, and sent me on my way the same day.

I swished warm saltwater, trying to open the soft, grown over gum tissue that trapped the menacing sack of puss in my head.

I will tell you, that when it finally let loose, it was the best and one of the most disgusting experiences of my life. The pressure, the pain, was suddenly free. And I was left with a mouthful of infectious bile ten times worse than any vomit you have ever puked.

And there is my short story, of a boy without medical care, and how his life was destroyed by it.

Please be sure to check out this short video on Facebook about dental care for those who cannot afford it, which inspired me to share my story today:

Gov’t Tells Philanthropist Dentist he can’t Charge Lower Prices for Poor People