Wednesday, February 14, 2007


I made what is, hopefully, my final visit to Stanley the Dentist this morning. I had my mouth stretched open and held in place by a strange green webbing for nearly an hour while he drilled, gouged and dug out the root canals of my abscessed tooth.

Afterwards he made an examination of the rest of my mouth and shook his head sadly.

'You need a plan,' he said. 'Let me take a full mouth x-ray and I'll give you a plan. There's a lot we can do with those front teeth, and some of those bottom ones, too.'

I asked him for a ballpark figure. He scratched his head thoughtfully and said, 'Think in terms of buying a new car.'

I gulped. 'Fifteen to twenty thousand?'

He looked at me, obviously wondering what kind of cheap car I drove. 'At least,' he said.

I told him I'd think about it if my books became bestsellers. Meantime, I was figuring out how I was going to pay for the present lot of treatment, which came to almost 2000 dollars. I've got travel insurance, which should cover part of it. And today I downloaded a form from the French social security website with which I can claim some reimbursement from the French government. An advising doctor will decide if the treatment was an emergency or not (I think an abscess is definitely an emergency), and some amount of reimbursement with be offered - or not.

Vive la France! I find it hard to imagine any other country even considering reimbursement.

And speaking of France, and the fact that I live there... we ordered a Mexican carry-out last night, which arrived at Susie's door in the hands of a very pleasant young Asian man. As I took the food from him, he looked around the house (and its night-time view of the harbour) in wonder. 'Have you lived here for long?' he asked in a heavily accented English.

I explained that I was just a guest, and that I actually lived in France.

He looked at me with admiration. 'Your English is ve-ery good.'

Sunset view of the harbour from Susie's house...


Loretta John said...

I can totally relate to this, Peter. I had an emergency root canal last year, and my problems were kinda the same. Good thing my Bartlett dentist told me about their convenient payment schemes, so I didn't leave the clinic with empty pockets. I praised them for quickly responding to my dilemma and for making the payment easy. I didn't have to think much of my insurance plans, about selling stuff, etc. It wasn't that expensive anyway, so I can say that that was a good experience. Best of luck to you, Peter!

peter_may said...

Hi Loretta, thanks for visiting my 2007 dental trials in California! All my treatments came to around $2000. When I got home my French dentist told me it would have cost around 250 euros from him - less than a quarter of the cost, and I would have got most of that back. Now when I travel in the US I take pain killers and antibiotics and pray that I have no further problems.