This effing tooth

Readers of this blog know I am an Affordable Care Act fan. What I really would like to see is Universal Healthcare in the US, aka Single Payer. I did not grow up in poverty, but my kids are growing up in a weird white middle class kind of poverty. We are admittedly isolated from some of the elements of poverty that so many Americans face, because my kids’ grandparents (baby boomers who have finished or are finishing their careers) have money. We live in a house that’s paid for. My kids’ grandparents help pay for extra-curricular activities. But we get Food Stamps and state-sponsored health insurance for low-income families, and our low monthly income leaves us in constant fear of emergency expenses.
Such as major dental work.
We get medial and dental care from a local low-income clinic. I’ve always felt that the medical care was high quality, some of the best I’ve received in my life. The dental care is generally sufficient, but the clinic is short-staffed for the number of patients they are trying to serve. 
They bring in a specialist once a week for root canals and such.
 In March I was referred to him for two root canals. I went to the consultation and made the first appointment for the first half of the root canals. It was to be in May. Then I got a letter that the specialist was no longer with the clinic. The tooth started to hurt enough that I needed nightly ibuprofen. 
They hired someone else within a few weeks and I made an appointment with him. A consultation. He prescribed an antibiotic and said we was working extra hours next week, so he’d see me then, but when I got to the front desk to schedule the appointment, they said he was booked out three months, so the root canal appointments got scheduled for August. They scheduled 2 of 4 appointments. Their policy is not to schedule more than 2 appointments per patient per provider at a time. 
I’ve had two or three appointments for fillings with my regular dentist, while I have been waiting for the root canal appointments, which is good, because if it gets infected, she will be able to prescribe another round of antibiotics. But, damn it, I’d like to get these expensive treatments finished. I’d like to stop worrying about infection. 
The tooth isn’t hurting persay, but I can feel it at night when I try to go to sleep and sometimes at work when I am sitting still. There’s a large visible hole in the side of the tooth. I avoid crunchy foods most of the time.  I don’t want to take ibuprofen daily, so I take a little cannabis for it most nights. 
And I just got a call that the doctor is going to be out of the office those two days in August, so my appointments for the first root canal have been rescheduled to October.
They could refer me out to a dentist with a private practice, and he could do each root canal in one appointment. (Two appointments total instead of four, before the crowns.) He’d almost certainly be able to get me in within the month, but the cost would be almost double what the low-income clinic is going to charge me, and I’m having trouble figuring out how I am going to afford the clinic’s “low” price. 

And for the record, my underemployed husband is looking diligently for work. He’s had five or six interviews in as many weeks, but he still hasn’t been hired anywhere. 

Poverty sucks.


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