I arrived for my appointment 5 minutes early, and after 35 minutes, was taken to an examination room by the front desk clerk. I spent the next 30 or maybe 45 minutes lying down in an examination chair, listening to a satellite radio station completely composed of ads. This was a little longer of a wait than I’m used to, but not altogether un-enjoyable.
A man entered and left the room several times, throwing his hands up into the air, and muttering to himself. Finally, he spun a chair around, and flopped down, straddling it.
“To put it plainly for you, your spinal column is slightly fucked.”
This was news to me, as I had just come in for a routine dental examination.
“You see?”, he said. “Look at this.”
He shoved a handful of X-rays in my face, and slowly spiraled them. Had it not been for his angry tone I might have asked for a second glance, as the spiraling motion, and distance of the X-rays made it impossible for me to figure out what I was looking at. As it was, I didn’t want to take up the good Dentist’s time with my foolish questions, so I just put on a look of concern and replied, “Oh my yes, that doesn’t look good does it?”
This was apparently the wrong thing to say, as he once again threw up his arms, and left the room.
Now, to be fair, I haven’t done much travelling outside of a trip to Europe, Mexico, Canada, Spain, Morocco, Thailand, Mongolia, and the Dominican Republic. There was also a two-week stay in Iceland, but as it was a layover, I hardly think it counts. That said, it is very possible that I accidentally did or said something that offended the Dentist. I couldn’t exactly figure out what country he was from; the accent suggested India, or perhaps New Zealand.
In any event, a half hour later, a smocked woman came in who I recognized to be the front desk clerk. She sat down, and began to put together some sort of dental device.
“I hope I didn’t say anything to offend the Dentist. I have rather limited experience with other cultures you see, and I just hope that I didn’t unknowingly cause offense.”
“Open”, she said.
“You see”, I couldn’t quite place the accent and–”
“Armenian”, she said.
“Oh”, I replied. “I knew it was one of those.”
She clamped the device to my lower jaw, and extended a sharp-looking rectangular plate into my mouth.
I bit down and tasted blood as the device cut into the roof of my mouth.
“Don’t move till I come back.”
I waited as she went into the other room to take what I believed was an X-ray. 10 or maybe 15 minutes later I heard a toilet flush, and then footsteps behind me, entering an adjacent room.
The Dentist came in, and stared at the device clamped to my jaw.
“Are you allergic to Element 115?”
I tried to say “What’s Element 115?”, but with the device in my mouth could only manage to gurgle out a few broken and unintelligible syllables.
“Excellent!”, he said, springing up, and disappearing behind me.
No sooner had he left, when the device started to hum, and the smell of burning plastic filled the room. My vision doubled, and I slipped into a deep sleep. When I came to, the smocked desk clerk was sitting there watching at me.
“All done”, she said, standing up. “We’ll see you up front.”
I reached up to my face, and realized that the device was gone. After a few minutes of dizziness, and slight nausea, I started making my way to the front office. In my disoriented state however, I opened the door to the Dentist’s personal office, and interrupted him meditating in the fetal position on the floor.
He opened his eyes and looked at me.
“Look”, he said–remaining lying on the floor. “We had a close one today, ok? No more lifting above your waist, ok? No more rice foods. No more turning up right, or else you might not be as lucky next time. Next time I might not be able to help you. Ok?”
“Oh yes. Yes, that all sounds fine to me, and sorry for the trouble Doctor.” Admittedly, I hadn’t the foggiest what he had meant exactly by “rice foods”, or “turning up right”. Certainly not how it pertained to my periodontal. But that’s why I’m not a Dentist.
I took his eyes closing as “goodbye”, and backed out of the room, being careful to shut the door as quietly as I could. A few more minutes of searching, and I had found the lobby.
“600 hundred dollars”, the front desk clerk said. She had changed out of her smock.
“Oh, I have insurance!”, I said, remembering the card in my back pocket.
She sighed heavily and took the card. Several moments passed as she stared into her computer screen, before handing my card back.
I handed her my credit card, and she cringed as she informed me that there was a 50 dollar processing fee. I reassured her that I knew how those “sorts of things” went, and not to worry about it. I know how banks can be, and after paying my mechanic 20 dollars for new battery tags every month, a one time charge of 50 dollars didn’t seem out of line at all.
Now, as for the missing star in the review: I hate to be a stickler, but when I show up on time to an appointment, I hope, in most circumstances, to be called within the next 20 minutes or maybe 30 minutes. Though to be fair, clocks can easily be off by 5 to even 10 minutes in some circumstances, in which case I only waited an extra 10 -20 minutes. Which isn’t too bad.
EDIT: Fifth star given. Sorry for the trouble!