I’m so angry right now. I went to my dental appointment, only to find out they weren’t expecting me. I arrived 20 minutes early, after spending about 10 minutes looking for the place. The directions I was given over the phone sucked. They said it’s “across the street from Globe University”. First of all, that’s vague. Directly across from Globe University is an ISP and a medical center. Prior to reaching Globe University, there’s a strip mall with a dental office in it. I wasn’t given the name of the office. I figured there was likely only one dental office adjacent to Globe University, and I was right. However, I wouldn’t describe it as across the street from Globe University. The only possible means of approaching this dental office doesn’t even pass Globe Fucking University. It’s further down the street, around a curve, and up a slight incline, making it barely visible from the dental office.
I slowly drove past Globe University a few times, like we just broke up, and I was stalking it. Then I tried to pull up a map on my phone. Sprint sucks so hard I couldn’t even get 3G. I got 1X, whatever-the-fuck that is. It wasn’t sufficient to load my location, let alone allow me to search the vicinity for a dental office. I wonder if any other locals are interested in a class action lawsuit against Sprint for epic sucking. I want every penny I ever paid to Sprint returned to me, because they aren’t providing cellular service, they’re just teasing. 1X. Are you kidding me? I’ll be correcting that situation soon. There will be long, redundant letters, dripping with contempt, reaching Sprint executives in the near future.
When I finally found the office, the woman behind the desk didn’t present a good first impression. She seemed unkempt, and when she got up to inquire about my appointment, I noticed her seat had chunks of upholstery missing, and one of the armrests was broken. Another woman came out and agreed they weren’t expecting me. I told them someone called me, and scheduled me for 12:30. They both acted like that couldn’t possibly have occurred. I started getting agitated. I wanted to tell the first woman I saw upon entering that I knew it was her, because I recognize voices like most people recognize faces. She didn’t confess, so I let it go because her face was turning red. Nice.
She handed me an intake sheet to fill out, and told me if I waited a few minutes, they might be able to fit me in if the next appointment didn’t show up. I sat down and filled out the paperwork, but didn’t put in my social security number. As if. Clearly, nobody in this office will be performing oral surgery on me. I filled out the paperwork because it was an excellent distraction, and I was so pissed off at that point, I could feel the tears welling up. I won’t drive when I’m upset, but the time it took to fill out was sufficient for me to calm down. I handed them the paperwork, and they informed me that the next appointment was on her way, and could I come back tomorrow at 2. I said, “Okay”. I know I was saying, “Okay, I’m calm enough to drive now, so I’m leaving.” I don’t care what they heard.
I know I probably should work on my tolerance for incompetence. I’m not working on it. I want everyone who sucks at their job to adjust their attitude, and do their best at all times.
Side note: If you suck at your job, it’s because you choose to suck at your job. You’re accepting payment in exchange for less than your best work. You’re robbing your employer. That’s fucked up. Stop doing that. It makes you an asshole. Be the best you that you can be. That’s all anyone can ask of another. But nobody should have to ask, so if this is you, get right.
Back to my tantrum. I just got a callback from the Patient Care Advocate at the VA. She’s awesome, I went to school with her as a kid. I told her everything that’s happened since my initial complaint of overwhelming pain. A week without resolution to level 9 out of 10 pain is awful. I wouldn’t wish it on a horrible person. If you shot me in the face, point blank, and I managed to survive long enough, I’d tell you that you suck, but still not enough to have to endure the week I’ve had. Yes, I’ve learned how to cope with pain, and that was an important lesson that will serve me well in the future. However, that does not excuse the hellacious amount of bullshit I’ve had to wade through in order to receive proper care.
The ER doctor and nurse tried everything they could to control my pain. The doctor couldn’t prescribe me anything to take home because the pharmacy was closed, and my blood pressure was so high, they had to address that as well. Obviously, when my pain level is 9, my blood pressure is high. 200/118 is my body’s way of saying, do something immediately to stop this pain, or I’m going to give her a stroke. My Primary Care doctor responded quickly and effectively when I sent her a message. The dentist is a problem. She’s new at the VA. She told me that she was new there, but had been a dentist for 30 years. I believed her. Now, I suspect the reason she is now working for the VA after 30 years in the civilian sector, is probably related to a lawsuit. Civilians won’t put up with this bullshit. Sigh.
I don’t have to use the VA facilities for my healthcare, but I prefer it because civilian medicine is so different from military. It’s rare for me to see a non-VA or military caregiver. Honestly, it freaks me out a little to have someone do everything for me, regardless of my ability. It feels like being coddled at a point where what I need is to practice coping despite whatever is ailing me. In a military hospital, you clean up after yourself if you’re able. You go to the mess hall to eat if you’re able. They don’t do anything for you that you can do for yourself. And often, there is a discrepancy between what your doctor knows you can do, and what you believe you can do, despite whatever ails you. Laying in bed being served doesn’t help a soldier get back to duty. But if you try to clean in a civilian hospital, it upsets the people who work there, and makes them talk loudly.
It’s baffling. It seems to me that everyone who enters a hospital should be helping keep it as clean as possible. Nosocomial infections, and all that. But whatever. The Patient Care Advocate will fix this, and I’ll be getting fixed up soon, with proper pain management afterward. And I won’t be punching that dentist in the neck, even though it would inflict far less pain than what she’s forced me to endure. Right now, the pain is tolerable, and I’m almost finished with the antibiotic. I have an odd number left, which is slightly troubling, since it’s 2 capsules per dose. The swelling has gone down, so I think it’s working. This is the first time I’ve had a bad experience with a dentist. I suppose that’s a good record. I won’t be seeing her again.
And here is the part that will probably disturb my sleep for a while; I suspect the dentist is a bigot. I don’t know for sure, but that’s what my gut is telling me. I know that institutional racism in the medical field is ugly af. There are doctors who think black people don’t feel pain, or at least not to the degree a white person does. It’s 2016, and some educated Americans think this is a fact. It’s not a fact. It’s racist bullshit. Homo sapiens sapiens have a central nervous system that delivers pain messages to the brain. If this system is not compromised, there will be pain. This means all humans. We’re all the same fucking species. The piddly variations in skin tone, (and many other things), are irrelevant. Any human being who disbelieves this fact in favor of hateful fictions that don’t even pass the bullshit test, is expendable.