Or rather…when it rains and you’re poor because it doesn’t rain very often in Los Angeles but when it does it comes down on you like a tsunami.
I’m having a moment here folks – it’s an epic moment. One of those ‘Aha’ and “ahhhwannadie’ moments rolled into one.
I’m losing my teeth.
Funny thing is I always prided myself on having super bright, white shiny teeth. People were always complimenting me on my teeth. They always said I had a nice smile. And I loved it! I loved getting compliments on my teeth. Nothing wrong with admitting that. I’m not ashamed.
When I first moved to LA and started my first day of musical theater school I approached one of the Orientation Leaders to ask a question and before I could utter a word he said, “You have some pretty teeth.” Those were the first and last words he ever spoke to me. He didn’t even answer my question! But did I care? No! Because once again my pretty teeth had been validated. Boom. So yes, I’ve always taken pride in my teeth. Besides my lips, my teeth were the only feature I ever really liked without much complaint. I never even felt compelled to get braces because I liked my imperfect smile.
So you can imagine my devastation when after enduring a week of the most excruciating toothache followed by an emergency visit to the dentist I discovered that I needed a root canal…and an extraction. EXTRACTION. Meaning, there’s no saving the other tooth. I asked the dentist twice just to be sure and he was adamant. That tooth has got to go. I’m about to have a gap, ya’ll. There goes the only feature I ever truly really liked as is about myself.
And the real kicker is – my insurance does not cover it. My insurance is laughing in my face right now. My insurance has f*cking jokes right now – telling me they cover root canals on the front teeth but the side and back teeth (I don’t know the terminology. Hey, I’m no dentist, use your imagination) as far as the side and back teeth are concerned my insurance says I can go f*ck myself.
Can I just say there’s simply no compassion left in the world. I remember working in the financial aid office at NYU freshman year and sitting on the phone for long periods of time trying to help parents of prospective students find money to send their kids to school – because I cared. And if I didn’t succeed I’d feel really bad. Like, to the point where I’d need to take a break – have a quick cry and say a Prayer for those people. Because I knew how desperate I’d been to get out of my small town – away from home and in a (hopefully) more stable environment. Had I not gotten away who knows what would’ve become of me. Then there’s the psychic hotline where people would call in and tell me super personal things that would just send me over the edge. I had compassion for people going through the fire. When these dental assistants and dentists and insurance people talk to me – they are cold as ice. Some of them are clearly bored. One girl was practically laughing in my face (remind me never to go to any dentist offices on Wilshire Blvd. in the Beverly Hills area) and another girl would not make eye contact with me. I’m not saying I’m better than anyone else because I showed compassion for people having a hard time but…yeah I’m better than you.
Again, indulge me while I have my little moment. It’s what I do. I write it out. Have a quick cry. Maybe workout for a bit then I go back and make a plan. Because this terrible f*cking U.S. healthcare system may take my tooth but it damn sure won’t break my spirit.