March 8, 2024

Photo by Marek Studzinski on Unsplash

I signed up for dental coverage for 2024 at work; I wish I’d done it a year ago. I’m not very smart that way.

My teeth are not awful; they are not great. One cavity and a few other problems, the biggest being the insurance company’s waiting period. They want money from me, and my company, before giving me any dental care beyond x-rays and a cleaning.

So I got the x-rays and cleaning yesterday, and I got some good news: I can get the cavity taken care of a week before I leave for Japan. Huzzah! Right now, that tooth does not hurt, but I’d rather not have that even as a possibility before my trip. Thankfully, the waiting period for getting a filling ends May 1st, so I’ll be able to take care of that.

I am so grateful, to the VA and myself that I got the cataract surgeries done in January. (I am especially grateful to the ophthalmologist in Beaverton who suggested, two years ago, that I look into that. I probably would not have thought about it otherwise.) Having 20-20 vision at about 4 feet and beyond is so wonderful. I’m planning to visit as many onsen as possible, and a few sento. Now I’ll be able to see clearly in there.

As an American, I am acutely aware of how crap our health care system is. It’s a for-profit racket that places the health of human beings at the lowest level of priority. Shareholder profits matter most of all, even for the so-called non-profits that are generating profits for their owning institutions. It’s disgusting, and it makes life so much more difficult and unpleasant for most of us.

I never lose sight of how fortunate I am to not only have VA coverage but to have the VA here in Portland. I was put on the road to mental healthiness by this VA, and now they’ve given me brilliant, precious eyesight. In a few years, I’ll also have my thumb tendonitis dealt with, but that will have to wait.

I rarely see it mentioned in blogs and vlogs and articles, but you cannot travel if health is an issue. Illness and unhealth rob you of money, strength, and even the desire to adventure out into the world. Yes, I believe in single-payer-type health care; I mean, we can either give thousands of dollars a year to an insurance company – and thousands more to caregivers in co-pays and so on – or we could give half as much to the government to fund the caregivers without the insurance companies, and the for-profit money-grubbers, taking away at least 20% of it.

I am lucky to have the VA and a job that lets me take care of my dental need. But I also know that I am likely to spend a few weeks in Spain, possibly 2025, where I can afford to fix my teeth fully.