I was getting all cozy in the swanky dentist chair in Encino yesterday, under the auspicious of having my teeth cleaned,
and I started off with the typical getting-to-know-you medical chatter–
history: diseases, medications, surgeries. The usual stuff.
“For example, I’ve had bacteremia and I didn’t have a fever or an elevated white cell blood count.”
Alas, the freak out started.
Calls to my main doctor “I need a medical release in order to clean your teeth”, the umpteen millions of questions “does this go back to when you were born??” and the general array of looks, sighs and groans accompanied by odd mutterings with various degrees of perspiration.
Yes, my friends, by the time it was all said and done, I didn’t get my teeth cleaned after all. Clearly, he was set to have a few nightmares already. I figure it was best to just let him off the hook.
“Don’t worry about it–I’ll just come back another day.”
I should have lied. Little medical white lies can sometimes be the best choice for all parties involved. I get the medical care I need, and they get off the hook if something does go wrong “she never told me about xyz!”
The truth, is just a little too overwhelming sometimes. Paralyzingly. Kinda like dumping a lifetime of family abuse on someone on a first date–it’s better just to say “my parents died heroically fighting off a robbery” than “I don’t speak to them because they beat me every day.” The truth just doesn’t always play well.
And I know better…I just slipped up, because he seemed so young and ‘cool’. I also forget how unusual my case is, because I’ve lived with it my whole life…and I know there are many people out there who have it much much worse. My case isn’t as scary, as say, inoperable cancer or a flesh eating disease or something like that.
Or maybe I am scarier…because it’s unknown? From a doctor’s point of view, the flesh eating disease has a name and a set course of action. My case: “Your immune system what??”
I see it like I’m a car that needs a lot of maintenance. I can stay on the road a long time…if I have the right mechanics. There are definitely worse things out there. I at least have a chance to stay on the road…even if it’s expensive.
Needless to say, this dentist fiasco reminded me of a very valuable lesson: keep it to a ‘need to know’ basis. Keep it simple–just on the task at hand.
Otherwise, it becomes,