Dental Interns Use Me As a Guinea Pig 2 – Appeal

Read Part 1
The final paragraph of the rejection letter I received informed me that if I didn’t agree with the decision, I had a right to appeal. The dentist who’d sent the request had cautioned that infection might set in if I left the damaged section unrepaired. I phoned some agency—probably the Department of Human Services—and scheduled an appeal. I expected a committee of several stern people, sitting erect behind a huge bench that dwarfed me as I stated my case, my tiny voice ricocheting off the walls of the cavernous chamber. Instead I met with a lone condescending dumbass in his modest office.

A cripplevan lugged me downtown, to the nondescript government building where I‘d scheduled my meeting with a public aid stooge. I checked in with one of several receptionists; she immediately led me down a long hall past file cabinets, copy machines, and plastic plants, to the public aid stooge’s office.

The humble nook reeked of subservience. He sat behind a commonplace desk, ignored me and sighed as he asked the receptionist: “What’s his name and what’s he want?” She answered while placing a manila file in front of him. She scurried out of the room; he brusquely flipped through the file. He finally regarded me and simpered: ”So, Mr. [Paco], we think that public aid should pay for our dentist, hmm? Well, we’d like to, but public aid doesn’t…” He over-enunciated a dumbed-down explanation of the policies for funding dental procedures. I politely allowed him to finish his obviously scripted presentation.

Then I responded by assuring him that I understood the policies. I related my dentist’s concern about infection, and pointed out that it would be financially “prudent” for public aid to cover the tab and be done with it, rather than leave themselves subject to long-term nickel-and-diming. He continued to simper while his eyes bulged: “Wow! Where’d you learn a big word like ‘prudent’?” I remarked that I’d graduated from high school, and asked if he’d done the same. I also wondered aloud: “Since when do two syllables make a big word?”

But he ignored me and dialed his phone as I spoke. He advised: “I have to call my boss and see what he says. I’ll put it on speakerphone so you can hear.” When his boss picked up, the stooge began: “I have Mr. [Paco] with me, and…” He explained the situation and my grounds for appeal; made eye contact with me, smiled and winked as he repeated the word “prudent.” His boss recognized my logic and okayed the expenditure.

The stooge insisted on “helping” me maneuver my wheelchair out of his office and up the hall. Despite my repeated objections, he grabbed the handles on the back of my wheelchair and started to push. Asshole.

The day of the appointment with my new dentist arrived. I rolled out of the cripple-van and toward a building. The plaque next to the doorway announced “Special Needs Dentistry.”

2 Responses to “Dental Interns Use Me As a Guinea Pig 2 – Appeal”

  1. ray Says:

    “Come on down to Special Needs Dentistry, where we hire only the most hindered of folk! Our prices are retarded!”

  2. Mark B. Says:

    I too was within “the system” but only for five years. But those five years was as a teenager. Regarding the hiring practices of “the system” of which you also have intimate experience with these institutions don’t want the best and brightest: They want the cheapest, usually the kind of people who are desparate for work yet possess not much knowledge of life itself.

    I was in a “partial hospital/partial school” private facility. They staff of “counselors” and “child development specialists” didn’t care. And the teachers? One “science” teacher thought an electron microscope was simply a regular optical microscope but used a light bulb instead of a mirror for its light source! Mind you, my dad worked at a tool & die manufacturing plant where I got to see such equipment firsthand. But the teacher didn’t believe me!

    That place in Pittsburgh PA, originally named “Craig House – Technoma” and now known as “Craig Academy”, was a very violent place. Not just for the psychological torture of attempting to get through the days of dealing with the stupid staff there but physically violent too. Quite a few fights would erupt daily. And the staff didn’t care.

    It took me a very long time to deal with the damage that place did to me. And now I realize that silence is how these places get away with their malpractice. Even worse, if you’re “crazy” your testimony is seen as irrelevant! So the kids harmed by that environment are fucked right from the start. And their shrinks and social workers (well ensconced away from the madness in their own wing) will do what they can to make that child in front of them look bad, too.

    Think about it: All of those assholes would rather have that child develop into a drunken adult who’ll not take that chance, realize the score and speak out, and wind up enslaved further within the system.

    My only regret is that I didn’t speak out sooner. But at least I broke free and stated my stuff about that place years ago. Not many people are willing to risk humiliation due to their former status as a “patient” in one of those places. But then I’m glad I’m one of the few, a person who has realized the value of the ‘net, who spoke out. And I’m not alone.

    –Mark B., editor of “The ARID Site”

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