I Can’t Feel My Nose

Ok, let me begin by saying I had a dentist appointment for 2pm.

I waited 2 months for my insurance company to get their act together, and today was finally the day I had approval. When they called to let me know, it was like I was Charlie and the woman on the phone was handing me the golden ticket in a Wonka Bar. Giddy up baby.

Given I was in the Bronx for an event, I had to speed bike through the rain to make it to my appointment. The winds were aggressively tugging against me, pulling me back two inches each time I gained one. It was a clever optical illusion — in the spirit of the ongoing presidential campaign — where my legs appeared to be pedaling forward, but my wheels were turning in the opposite direction. A delusional progression, you could say.

The appointment got changed to 3pm, so I grabbed some food and brushed my teeth (as if brushing my teeth right before I go in will make it seem like I have the best dental hygiene. Admittedly so, first impressions are everything).

I filled out the paperwork, and sat there organizing in my head the incredible amount of schoolwork and work-related work I had to complete by the end of the day. Needless to say, the task in itself kept me occupied for 20 minutes. At one point, the reception left the front desk unattended to speak with the dentist, so when a woman showed up for her appointment, she couldn’t get in. The door furiously rattled for a good… 6, 7 seconds before I stood up to unlock it for her. She then looked me up and down, glaring at me with a disgusted pout, muttering, “Fucking couldn’t even open the door, taking your fucking time, do I look like a fucking criminal to you? Who do you think you are?”

When the receptionist returned to the front desk, the woman’s eyes brightened as if nothing had happened. Night to day. Sometimes, I JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND PEOPLE.

She then starts trashing my attire to the front desk. Alright, lady, I’m a sleep deprived grad student and I just got back from painting an elementary school; you don’t have to knock me for my sweatpants swag. Immediately, I decide it’s not worth the time effort, so I sit down silently and take a nap. An hour and a half later, I am woken up by the dental assistant. “It’s your turn to come in,” she says.

The dentist introduced himself, with a huge grin on his face. I stood in the hallway as he talked about how 93% of women with breast cancer have deformities on the same 4 teeth because they are on the same meridian lines (oh wouldn’t you love to know how this argument went), about how a man with a 1st grade education can cure cancer by the mere act of slicing skin without anesthesia, and about how Alzheimer’s is supposedly curable in Switzerland. He then asked me about my undergraduate education and seemed to inquire about my dating history (yeah right, like I’m going to stand here in the waiting room and tell you about my Tinder life with HotHead breathing down my neck).

Okay, yes, he was really nice. But he didn’t even talk about anything medically relevant for 40 whole minutes.

When the assistant finally brought me into the room, he was still talking. It was as if his brain would not allow for multitasking, because every time he reached for a tool, his eyes would light up with another thought, and he had to stop what he was planning to do, entirely. He put on gloves, which he coughed into, and then put on a facemask, which he wore under his chin like a fashion accessory (what is the POINT, my man).

We didn’t get started until THREE AND A HALF HOURS after the appointment time, because the guy would not stop talking. When he realized I was using insurance, and not paying out of pocket, he put me into a different room and had me sign off on CPT codes (billing codes, for insurance) that stated I had 16 cavities. 16 cavities? Oh, are these the same cavities that didn’t exist 2 minutes ago, when you were under the impression that I was paying out of pocket?

I get that insurance reimbursements are shitty, but damn. Talk about milking the cow for what it’s worth.

And you wonder why the reimbursement rates are so low. If I worked for Aetna, I wouldn’t trust providers, either.

Anyway, he then asked (again) about the times I had broken my nose over the years. We talked about that for another 5 minutes, before I interjected, reminding him that I was way behind schedule and needed to get going soon. He, without ANY warning, injected me with FIVE local anesthetic needles, which not only numbed my teeth, but my nose as well. I’ve had this procedure done before, but never that high and that much. I just bit down and took it in stride.

And by stride, I mean whimpering for mercy, as quietly as possible.

For the duration, I had to wonder if he was doing work he didn’t need to do — I had seen 3-4 dentists/orthodontists very recently, and they all seemed to think otherwise. I got out of that chair after a grand total of 4.5 HOURS. Treatment time? 20 minutes.

On my way out, he points at his meridian chart and tells me what other health issues I can anticipate (“if X tooth is damaged, then X body part will be affected” wonky logic). I politely nod, but all I’m thinking at this point is CAN I LEAVE NOW.

He then goes, Oh by way. Your nose is fine. I checked that out for you.

He had numbed my nose on purpose. MY DENTIST. numbed my NOSE. To test how strong it is.

This man has forgotten what kind of doctor he is. Next time, if there is a next time, mind your own meridian and I’ll mind my own.

Getting Quick Clean Money

Amidst the pristine reflections of glossy high rise buildings, I saw a man neatly fold up the bottom hem of his pants. This was after tucking his socks into the loafers he had set aside by the fountain steps. In wide, exaggerated steps, he trudged into the shallow depths of the cycling fountain, and for a second, I thought he was going for a business casual swim. Given the common absurdity of seemingly normal New Yorkers, I can’t say I would’ve been all that surprised. A few others around me pulled out their phones — a snap worthy moment, for sure. 

But alas, I saw him bend over to scoop, in both hands, the coins and long lost wishes of foolish tourists that had collected in the sediments of ten, twenty years prior. He pooled them into a soggy plastic bag, and scrambled without any notice to others clicking their phones around him.

And all I could think to myself was– Somebody’s eating some grass-fed, organic, premium Whole Foods steak tonight!

You go, shameless man. I can’t even judge you. That’s ambition, baby. 

To the Drunk Walkers and Sticky Fingers,

After a long 12 hour day of work, all I want to do is sip an ice cold brew in peace and take my bra off and let my ponytail down and think in run-on sentences that use the minimal amount of brain juice. The very minimum.

But what ends up happening is this blissful mental vacation gets rudely interrupted by some drunk walkers, some drunk stumblers from the party downstairs, that stumble their sorry asses into my room. We have a four story house and two porches, kid; I welcome you with open arms and open bottles, we clean up after you destroy our floors and eat our food, so why do drunk souls like you feel a need to wander and act in confidence like you own the damn place? Is your name on the lease? No? Then please act your role.

I’ve caught people breaking in more than 6 times this semester, and it’s only left me with missing cash and a broken door and a drunken mess. If by chance, you are one of the few mentioned, I just want you to know I don’t care about my money or your klepto habits (your mommy issues, not mine) but all I want is my door fixed. So I’d really appreciate it if you cleaned up your own mess. But if you know you’re guilty and visacan’t step up to your mistakes, then I bid you a good life and politely request you uninvite yourself from 61 Front. Have a nice day (but not really).

Sincerely, J