Sometimes people are dicks. Real dicks.
A few months ago, my husband went to the dentist to have all his upper teeth removed and a plate put in. Yeah, I know. But his teeth suddenly went from not so great to terrible, and that was his best option, for both his personal and financial health.
He went in and had the plate built. He paid half, with the understanding that he would pay the other half when he picked them up the day he was having his teeth out. No problem.
He went to the dentist and had the work done. His bill was much higher than he was initially told it would be — but he paid it. He could afford it. On his way out the door, he was given a care package which included; extra squares of cotton for the blood, a lengthy list of things to do and not do, prescriptions for painkillers and penicillin, and the cell phone number of the dentist, in case anything went wrong. He was treated gently and with a great deal of respect.
Another man I know just had the same thing done — except he doesn’t own his own business. He works in a restaurant — and has a dental plan that covered only half the cost of the procedure. He had to come up with the rest himself.
Fine enough. He went to the denturist –same one as my husband– to find out if HE could pay half before and half after. He was told he had to pay everything up front before any work would be done. So he did.
Then, after he went to the dentist and had his teeth removed, he found out that the quote he’d received hadn’t covered all the work, and he would have to pay another $500.00. This is a guy working in a restaurant. He’d asked the dentist, repeatedly, if the quote was the full cost, and was reassured, repeatedly, yes it was. Until they had the teeth ripped out of his head. Then he was handed a $500 bill. And when he couldn’t pay it before he left, that’s all he got.
He was given no instructions on how to care for the wounds. He was given no prescriptions for either painkillers (he was told the dentist didn’t give out prescriptions for painkillers, because they were “addictive”) or penicillin for possible infection. You can bet money he didn’t get a cell phone number in case he had problems. He was given nothing but the bill — and was harassed because the expectation was that he would pay the whole thing right then. Even though he had repeatedly told them he needed to know beforehand if there would be extra costs, because he has to save the money. On a cook’s wage, it can take a while.
My husband was treated decently throughout. This other man — who did nothing but require dental care — was treated like crap. The reason for the difference? As far as I can tell, because the other man is one of the working poor.
Luckily, his denturist decided to stand up for him when she found out what the dentist had done. That gave me a teeny bit of hope that not all people are dicks. Just some of them.
Thanks for listening.