( *** Fair Warning - The following contains pure honesty with feelings - fact - and rightfully deserved anger. If you can't hang with the reality - you may want to move along and continue with your sand tunnel trip. )
Before 10am yesterday morning - my life had a head-on collision with a reality like I haven’t seen in a long time.
And I now know why people step in front of speeding trains.
Bear with me - while I jump back in time.
I was raised by my mother and step-father. Going out drinking and going to jail were a whole lot more important - more than a whole lot of other things that should have been up at the top of the list of priorities.
The first time I was ever taken to any Dentist was at age 16 - back in the 1970’s.
My mother had some kind of family genetic thing going on that led to her being required to get dentures by the time she was 18 years old.
But when she went through that experience - she went into a hospital operating room. By the time she was taken into the recovery room - all her teeth had been pulled - and her new dentures were already in her mouth.
I was too young to remember all that happening.
However - I was a teenager when I watched my Step-father go through the same experience - back in the 1970’s. He spent one day in the hospital after surgery. Came home the next day - with his new dentures inside his mouth. And he recovered absolutely just fine.
February 13, 2007 - I had to have a complete abdominal hysterectomy (the timing for this just donned on me). I know. By far - it made for one of those not-so-favorable memories any girl cares to hold onto for any Valentine’s Day. It was very unexpected. But it was necessary.
Immediately - I went into the Hot Flashes. The Menopause kicked in with a vengeance. In no time - I wanted to just crawl out of my skin and get away from myself. It was decided upon - between my family doctor and my OB-GYN - to put me on Elevil and an estrogen cream until I got past the worst of it.
Beyond the Menopause and the healing from the 18 staples in my gut - I was one of the more fortunate ones. I didn’t gain all the weight - get all ‘fat and happy’ - and all that other crap. With the exception of getting used to saving money on monthly female requirements - I was doing just fine after my recovery.
September, 2009 - I chose to give myself a gift for my 50th Birthday. I was encouraged by my doctor to try Chantix - again.
I had already tried before. I became too afraid to leave the house after the 3rd week of being on that medication. I swear - I could do nothing but drink water for nourishment. And that medication would - still - have me running everybody out of the house. There was no way I was going to take that problem out into public!
Between that problem - and having other smokers in the house… #FAIL.
But I went ahead and tried again - for my 50th birthday. It was important to me - to become smoke-free. And I succeeded with the second go-round using the Chantix.
But I have paid a price nobody should ever have to pay. If I knew back then - what I know now - I would never have used that crap.
I survived a Hysterectomy and going through Menopause without hardly any of the well-known after-effects most women deal with. I was still wearing size 8-petite jeans. Hell - I got even luckier! I don’t even have to shave my legs or my underarms anymore! There’s nothing there!
But only 4 months after taking the Chantix - my body began falling apart on me with speed that would make a NASCAR driver nervous. I could no longer walk about 200 yards to my garden from the house - without being completely unable to move or breathe once I reached the garden. The garden is only about a fourth of an acre away - with about a 25-degree incline. And the first of 2 bouts with gaining massive weight occurred - each within less than 2 weeks at a time.
My appetite had gone to hell. It was that time of year when I’d normally get too busy and was always forgetting to eat. I really only wanted salads. I was too lazy to cook for myself. Anybody that knows me - knows the trance I go into during Spring when it comes time for getting the yard and garden ready for growing season.
That was probably the only normal thing going on with me at that time. But despite even that - I gained 16 pounds within 11 days. And my body was in an enormous amount of pain.
In September, 2009 - about 3 weeks before my birthday - just before I began the second attempt with taking the Chantix - Dwayne and I were helping with the situation mentioned in the above scrapbook page. I was out running around - chasing horses. Okay - and a donkey. Still smoking cigarettes. No problems - at all. No loss of breath. No coughing or wheezing. Nothing.
By mid-February, 2010 - I was in Hell. And it’s been downhill - since. Including my teeth.
I’ve been through all kinds of tests. Doctors - clinics - hospitals - labs - they’ve all made a whole lot of money off of me - milking our insurance company. Everybody else has come out ahead. All anybody says they can find wrong with me is - Asthma. Yeah - I'm one of those over the age of 50 developing Asthma.
My family doctor wants to put me on Cymbalta for the chronic pain. Great. Another $100.00 per month out of pocket - for chemicals having a list of side-effects that make ya’ wanna drop dead just listening to it all. That’s her only answer for the chronic pain. No thank you.
Besides - The Chantix cost $112.00 per month - and look at where that got me. Thank God - I got away with only using that for 1 month.
And now we move along to the subject of going to the Dentists.
These sons-of-bitches get on planes - just like all other doctors in this country - and fly over to Bali and/or Belize to do a little dental work - for free - on “ the natives “ for a day or so - and call it a “ Mission of service through their church. "
And then they come back home and - it’s considered “ a business. “ And I don’t know about anywhere else in the country - but I was told that here in the East Tennessee Valley - Dental clinics are known to jump in and out of “ network “ on a weekly basis.
I have even seen the warnings on the website at dentalplans.com - the warning for patients to call each dental office to make sure they're " in your network " before you do anything!
I’ve been verbally warned by a Metlife Rep - to call the Dentist’s office the day before EVERY appointment to make sure they’re still in network. Apparently - there have been incidents where clinics have jumped out of networks between the time patients have scheduled appointments and the day they show up for those scheduled appointments. And they don’t bother calling the patients to warn them - of course. Crooks.
Considering the way they treat their own people when they get back to the States - I would bet my money that God - Himself - would count their little “ Missions of Service “ nothing more than deceitful-minded vacations for tax write-offs.
No doubt - they consider the fact that it's legal super-ceding anything God would have to say about it.
I’ve been a paying customer. Apparently - the Dental Industry and I differ on the definition of that phrase. Because I’ve paid - in a whole lot of painful ways - and received nothing but grief and insults.
The games that go on in the Dental Industry - are downright criminal. I have been jerked around by Dentists so much - just in the last 2 years.
All I wanted to do was go in - get dentures - get this crap over with.
I do not smile in pictures. I get ugly with people trying to take my picture. I do not like having my picture taken. My husband and I have never had our portraits taken together - no legitimate wedding photographs - nothing. ( My profile picture here shows pain - if you know me well enough. )
I’ve never liked the condition of my teeth. I had 2 molars missing - before I took the Chantix.
I have received nothing but needles jabbed in my mouth all the time - being sent out a door - paying cash out the nose - and insulted.
And that’s when I COULD find a Dentist that would accept our insurance.
I got twisted into believing that I had to go in for deep cleanings - that I wanted partials - not dentures. I should save my teeth.
They couldn’t do it at the office I went to in Sweetwater. They sent me to this Honest-To-God Pure-Bred Asshole in Maryville.
He wanted to split my mouth up - into 4 visits. Those visits were gonna COST ME $500.00 each time I had to go in to have a quarter of my mouth deep cleaned!! That's besides whatever he got paid by our insurance company!! All this from this jerk in Maryville that I'd been referred to - AFTER he insulted me.
“ Mrs. Schoellkopf - did you have a really bad experience with a Dentist in the past - enough to keep you from going to the Dentist? “
I told mentioned Asshole - “ You are looking at the result of being put on the bottom of everybody’s list all my life - from the day I was conceived - Including YOURS. “
As a matter of fact - I did have a frightening experience with Dr. William Chouke - in Texas City, Texas - back in the 1980’s - when he cut out my Wisdom Teeth.
He demanded I go to Danforth Hospital. I had grown up hearing adults talking about that place. It had a reputation for people going in there and never coming out! He refused to do the work at ( what was called back then ) Galveston County Memorial Hospital - where I’d only been admitted for having my children.
I’d never had surgery - ever before. He forced me to have day surgery at that spooky hospital. And he ended up having to send me to my family doctor for x-rays and a shot in the butt with a mega dose of penicillin.
I ended up with Lock-Jaw. I went 9 weeks of having to eat through a straw. Could not even get inside my mouth to remove stitches. My family doctor was pissed. “ Teresa - I don’t know how to tell you this. But - either one. You had a very rough Dentist. Or - somebody used dirty tools. ”
I’ve heard that I could have died from it. But even that has nothing to do with why my mouth is in such bad shape. It is not because I have not tried taking care of my teeth. It is not because I have not wanted to go to a Dentist, either.
My husband and I had to do our elections on benefits last November - as usual. Apparently - we made a huge mistake by keeping an open mind and jumping off a cliff with a bit of trust - again.
We were made to believe that by paying a little more for Cigna’s HMO Dental Plan - we would be receiving more services. Our hopes were that it would make it possible for me to get dentures.
First - we find out - a week ago - that there are only TWO (2) Dental offices in all of the East Tennessee Valley that accept Cigna’s HMO plan.
But yesterday - I finally come across a dental professional that is honest enough to inform me that you have to go to an entirely different kind of Dentist for Dentures. And the common practice is to - simply - go forth and search for that type of Dentist on your own - without needing referral from an ordinary Dentist appointment.
She’s telling me this - and I’m thinking about all those people in those dentist offices that have spilled all over me - doing all they could to convince me to get partials instead of dentures. The math finally added up.
In order to do the partials - the deep cleanings had to be done first. This could be about a 2 year process - loaded with appointments costing out the nose. Average total insurance coverage per person in a family plan is about $1,000.00 per year - nowhere near covering what I needed for even the first year it would take to do the deep cleanings.
The Jerk in Maryville could only offer Nitrous Oxide as the only difference between his capabilities and those offered by the Dentist in Sweetwater that sent me to him.
That is so 1970’s. I received much better help with anesthesia than that in California - back in the late 1990’s. This old fart needs to retire. He’s too lazy to continue his education.
But he sure knows how to jack the bill up. He wanted to suck $2,000.00 out of our pockets from the get-go. And you can bet - he knew that $1,000.00 limit our insurance would pay would run out halfway through.
We’d get stuck with paying all the rest of it. Or - I’d have the choice of putting up with a half-done job and never getting any partials.
Only makes sense why none of them bothered to tell me that I had to find an entirely different type of Dentist for Dentures. Crooks.
And then it gets even better. The only decent professional we could find is in Knoxville. BUT - he doesn’t take any kind of insurance.
And most of them don't take any insurance!
His office will be more than happy to bill our insurance company for pre-authorization - so I can be refunded by the insurance company. But we have to pay all the money up front.
I’m supposed to extend faith - again - after all this crap - in the idea that our insurance company will send us a refund?
I argued with that woman. And she had the nerve to say to me - “ Well, Ma’am… we have patients coming to us all the way from Alabama and other states, as well as patients coming to us that have been to other offices for Dentures, because they say they’re not able to get Dentures that fit as well as the ones Dr. Locascio does for them. “
I heard that out of her mouth FOUR (4) times before I had to get off the phone. I was so disgusted - but grateful - for the fact that my hand could not reach through the phone.
I was not calling about buying anything for everybody else and their brother.
And now - there’s a Federal Law that keeps us trapped with a Dental Insurance Plan that we can’t even use. And we can’t get out of the nightmare until November.
Just another Health Source ripping off money for nothing.
Doctors care about healing their patients. NOT.
The bottom-line truth in this country is - you can get better healthcare treatment if you’re on welfare - or in jail.
I so get it.
I now know why people head to the E.R. when they’re sick.
I now know why people step in front of speeding trains.
And I don’t blame them one damn bit.
I also - now know - just exactly WHO started the bitching about Barrack Obama's Healthcare Plan - and WHY.
Truth - NONE of these crooked games could be played any longer. And they'd have to fly straight with the hand that feeds every single one of 'em.