Wednesday, December 04, 2013

the root of the matter

Yesterday morning I put Mexican medical health care to the test.

I mentioned last week that the temporary crown on my molar that has been been undergoing reconstruction since June had popped off.  Please note the passive voice in that sentence.  The subtext is that I popped it off when I stupidly used a tooth pick to dislodge a strand of errant turkey.

And the crown did just what it was designed to do.  It fell into my open maw.

That meant a trip to the dentist on Thanksgiving Day morning.  Fortunately, my brother is good friends with his dentist -- who consented to open his office and get my temporary cap back where it should have been.

The cost?  A promise that I would see a local specialist to take a look at my tooth.  I took him up on the offer knowing fully well that getting in to see a specialist would be about as easy as getting an invitation to have a sleepover in the Lincoln bedroom.

On Monday, I took my referral slip to the office fully expecting to be laughed out of the place.  An opening had occurred just before I walked in.  After filling out an incredible amount of paperwork, I was sitting in the dental chair listening to the doctor tell me my options.  Being rather cocky, I said: "Set me an appointment."

Of course, I fully anticipated nothing would be open before my departure on the 13th.  Once again, I was lucky.  An appointment had opened up on Tuesday morning.

When I woke up, I could tell I was not in Melaque any more.  The temperature was in the mid-20s with a thin dusting of snow.  The dental office looked as if it was just a few years shy of being a Currier and Ives print.

Here's the bottom line.  For the cost of a cruise, the dentist told me that I had a crack in the roots of the tooth (something my Mexican dentist had already told me).  He commended her for professional and valiant effort to save the tooth, but it was time to call a quit to the treatments (something my Mexican dentist had already told me).  The tooth would need to be extracted (something my Mexican dentist had already told me).

Even though I learned nothing new, I now have two opinions saying it is time for the tooth to go.  And so it shall.

He sent me off with another round of antibiotics because the infection hangs on.  When I head south, I will schedule the execution of my last upper molar on the left side.  Both doctors have already told me that my jaw in that area is not a good candidate for an implant.

The specialist went out of his way to commend the work that my Mexican dentist had done.  And I have to say the same thing about the care he gave.

I have become accustomed to long waits for medical care in The States -- one reason I no longer have an attending physician up here.  The quick appointment this week helps to restore a bit of my faith in the American medical system.

On the other hand, I now realize the great deal I am getting in Mexico.  Prime care.  Immediate attention.  And reasonable costs.

It appears I have the best of both worlds.  And I intend to take full advantage of what I have.

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