Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I am paying you to do a service, not to yell at me like I'm your child.

I got my top two wisdom teeth out today.

Of course, this had been something I had been dreading for years.  I'd quite literally put it off since I was a teenager.  I figured hey--they didn't hurt, so why bother?  I'd like to keep my teeth in my mouth.

But, eleven years later I'm struck with this interesting fact about wisdom teeth.  Left unattended, wedged all the way in the back of your mouth, there?  They rot.  That's what they do.  It's not pleasant.

So I made my appointment, split the actual event in two (the top two were priority--also the cheapest) and went in today, scared shitless but being brave.

They sat me down, took away my sweater (and of course it was freezing in there), took off my glasses (yay, now I am completely blind) wedged my head back in the chair and started giving me Novocaine shots.  It actually wasn't so bad.

Then the dentist asked, "So you didn't take your Ativan this morning?"
(She had written a prescription for me to calm me down.)
Numbly, with a mouth that felt like it had lumps coming out of it from all sides, I managed to say, "No, I took it."
"Who drove you?"  The assistant asked.
"I did."  I answered.
"No," she repeated.  "Who drove you?"
"I did." I said again.

At this, the dentist started freaking out.  It all happened so fast that I'm not even sure what it was all about--she was yelling at me that I CANNOT take an Ativan and drive, and that I HAD BEEN TOLD that.

I told her I had called the receptionist a few days ago, specifically to ask if I was okay to drive myself.  I rehashed the conversation, that went something like this: "I was able to find the Ativan bottle, so I'll take those...but I need you to fax me in another antibiotic.  Is it okay if I drive myself if I'm only getting Novocaine?"

The receptionist said, "Yes."

Now, we could argue that sentence forever.  I tried to cover all my bases, but apparently I worded it wrong. As soon as I re-told that sentence to my doctor, she flew at me, enraged and screaming.  She got inches away from my face and just yelled at me, saying things like, "How dare you accuse my staff of..." and "If you ask a question like that..." and "My staff is not trained to..."  I wasn't catching everything she was saying, but it was crazy.  I can't think of a recent instance where I had felt so unsafe.

I cried.

I can't help it.  I can be a pretty tough bitch at times.  Funerals are nothing.  Pain is nothing.  But really...when my tears decide to come out, they're on a schedule all their own.  And at this moment, it was their time.

The dentist sighed, loudly, angrily.  Slamming stuff around behind me, she barked, "Let's get this over with."

All I could picture then was Orin from Little Shop of Horrors, choosing his most gruesome tools, working without sterilization or anesthetic.  I suddenly didn't trust this angry lady to do ANYTHING short of cause me excruciating pain.

"No."  I said, and sat straight up in the chair. My mind was going, this is ridiculous.  I don't have to put up with this ridiculous treatment.  I'm just going to leave and find another dentist.

But now I was met with an additional problem.  Because they already knew I had taken an Ativan (which, by the way, is a mild sedative...VERY mild.  It calmed my nerves but I was still wide awake and alert.) they weren't going to let me leave.  [Liz Lemon gets a root canal on Valentine's Day, anyone?]  So I had to put my tail between my legs and have them call my mother, who came to retrieve me.

By the time my mother got there, it was decided that since I really DID need my wisdom teeth out, and I had already paid, and was already numb, already had two days off and the appointment--that I'd go through with it.  My hope was that with my mother there, maybe the dentist would take a slightly softer approach this time.

She did, my teeth popped out in under a minute.  She hugged me and sort of apologized, saying that she had a 25 year old son and we're all the same.

I left feeling really angry and insulted.  First of all, the label on the bottle says, "Take care while operating a car", which is not the same as "DO NOT DRIVE".  Second of all, despite my fears, my tears (and the fact I had to call my mom...) I am NOT a child.  Because your son and I are of similar ages doesn't mean you know shit about me.

(My mom told them she'd drive me home and then we swapped cars in the parking lot so I could take myself.  I made it home FINE.  Honestly, there was never any danger!)

I'm going to go back to this woman for my lower wisdom teeth as well.  She comes very highly recommended  and the surgery itself was quick and completely painless.  But I really could have done without the...well, whatever the hell that was.


Little Mel said...

You're far better than me. I would have flipped out on her, left and called someone above her to complain.

Alison said...

I wanted to do that...but when I thought about the fact I probably wouldn't get my money back, paired with the fact that she's the only person in the area who takes my insurance...

I dunno. Really I wish I could have been a little more assertive, but I felt very scared and stuck.

Alison said...

Oh and there wasn't anyone above her, she owned the office :(

elenamarija said...

slash her tires.
i'll do it.

Alison said...

Elenamarija: I know you would, and this is why you are my hero :)

Guzzo said...

People take Ativan and drive all the time. The dentist was out of line and a drama queen.

Alison said...

Guzzo: Thank you. I used to work in a pharmacy myself and have seen people on much stronger drugs who were driving! I was definitely not a hazard to anyone. I don't know what her deal was.