Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Getting my husband to the dentist is like pulling teeth

Well, the husband and I are reconsidering our plans to relocate, for a few worthy reasons. One, North Korea is crazy and causes us to fret. The fact that they have missiles pointing at the South and have already shot at a few civilians have made us a little more thoughtful than we usually are. But that would not stop us from going there still, unless, of course, there were actually a war about to happen, and I don't think the war is about to break out again. (Public opinion in Korea always has to be taken with a grain of salt, and even though South Koreans are more fired up than usual about the latest attack, things could still die down...). I don't know numbers or stats or anything, but I figure that the most likely cause of death we might suffer in Korea would be not from the North but from a drunken ajosshi barreling down on us in his Hyundai as we attempted to jaywalk across an intersection.

So, despite the fact that there is the possibility of war, this in and of itself is not necessarily the biggest deterrent.

What is, however, the biggest obstacle to our eventual dreams of being able to eat at "Kimpap Changuk" for each and every single meal is not Juche ideology but the fact that Matt has ridiculous, bred-in-the-British-Isles teeth. His dentist told him several years ago that he'd eventually have to get his wisdom teeth removed or else they would cause indescribable pain and torment for the rest of his life. Well, when "eventually" is a word that can be interpreted according to the will and the desires of those who are in the position of needing a significant amount of dental surgery, it becomes interminable.

A little background.... I have an amazing job (most of the time) teaching English at a university here in Canada. As a result, I, (along with the rest of my family) get thoughtful health and dental benefits. One of the perks is a dental cleaning and check-up once a year. Well, as the summer transformed into autumn, I felt it my duty to persistently remind Matt of the fact that he had not yet taken advantage of the dental cleaning/check-up for 2010. As the autumn days shortened with snowfall, I increased my reminders, which began to be accompanied by stares of reproach and phrases such as: "As a responsible adult, you have the responsibility to be responsible for your own health." No. Still no luck. December and my patience were both running out.

Finally, I broke, and called the dentist's office myself a week or so before Xmas (something I had promised myself I wouldn't do, because Matt had to be "responsible" for himself). No, I was informed, there were no openings until the New Year - no good because my insurance covers one check-up a year. Matt gloated. I fumed. How could he do this to me? To us? Our family? He had to be responsible! Dammit! Determined that he would be in the dentist's chair before the year was out, I put his name on the waiting list. Then I called about six other dentists' offices and had his name put on waiting lists, as well. Then, I waited.

Well, lo and behold, my tenacity was rewarded. In only a few short days, he had an appointment booked with the dentist. He went, begrudgingly, only to come home with the news that "eventually" was no longer eventual, but now meant "get your ass to that X-ray now because if you don't get your wisdom teeth taken out ASAP, the rest of your life will not be worth living."

So I finally understood the full extent of Matt's skillful avoidance of dentists (I mean, I understood the part about his trauma as a preteen when his embittered and distracted dentist administered an insufficient amount of anaesthetic as he discussed his divorce with his assistant); if Matt doesn't know about the full nature of the problem, then he can go on living like everything is flowers and crap like that. No... dental surgery is in his near future.

So, it might be a year or more until he goes under because of Canadian-style waiting lists for surgeries and the like. We'll have to wait and see.


Jackie Bolen said...

Hello, so not that I know you or anything...I just the blog, BUT it seems that needing to get your wisdom teeth out is not a good reason to avoid coming to SK. You can have a consultation with a doctor here and get surgery the next day. For outrageously cheap, compared to what you'd pay in say the USA.

Hanna said...

Hi Jackie... thanks for the info, and I agree with your point, though I don't know how I could convince Matt to get anywhere near a dentist, let alone a dental surgeon, in Korea. I nearly had to break his arm to get him to go to one here. I think we'll play it by ear... hopefully the surgery can be done soon so that his teeth don't continue to ruin his life. (Seriously, though, the war thing has me a bit more freaked out than anything else... what's the word on the street?)