Preventive Procedures

by jkatejohnston

4 October 2013

Dear Max,

Yesterday morning I started Enzo’s TV, and I was adjusting the volume and singing along to the Johnny Test theme song, “Got a head of fiery hair and a turbo charged back pack! His genius sisters just use him like a lab rat!” I fluffed most of the words. (I had to look them up to write them here.)

“Mom, don’t try to rock out this time.” He said it kind of patiently.

It was one of those moments of seeing yourself—just for a moment—the way someone else sees you. I usually hate that. It shakes my place at the center of the universe. But this wasn’t bad. I saw myself as the minor annoyance that I was, and it didn’t bother me.

“You want bacon for breakfast?”



Last week I got horribly depressed because I realized that my scheme to get insurance to pay for my gum surgery isn’t going to work. And it’s unbelievable how much research and poring over dental plans and little bits of math that you have to do to reach this conclusion. But I did reach that conclusion eventually, and that old heavy sad guilty feeling settled over me—my dental depression.

So, to chart my progress from scheming to defeat. Yes, there is a dental plan that covers 90% of gum surgery, and yes I can change to that plan during open enrollment. Hurrah! Oh. It costs $130 a month ($1,560 a year) and the maximum that the insurance will pay out in a year is $2,000, and the surgery costs $2,800.

That’s $2,800 for two teeth. The periodontist—so young and pretty! When did all the doctors get so young?—anyway, the periodontist told me that the reason I need the surgery is that those two teeth have “extensive restorations along the gum line.” Yeah, like every other tooth in my head, which means this is just going to keep happening and happening, $1,400 times 32 teeth, which means we can either save my teeth or send Enzo to college.

And I know some people have cancer or are truly poor or truly depressed (not just situationally and dentally depressed) and that all those things are a much bigger bummer. But still, sensation is sensation.

If I just have my head amputated once and for all, do you think insurance will cover it?