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Wednesday 8 February 2006

Cola's Teeth

When I last posted about Cola's teeth, her normal dentist was stumped. An extra revealed a dark spot below the hurting tooth. He gave her antibiotics which did not stop her face from swelling up and so he reffered her to an (anglophone) specialist.

So I went with Cola to see the specialist because there are anglophones and then there are anglophones. He looked at her xrays for a while and then took a few new ones. Then he started poking her. Does this hurt? He pressed on her swollen gum. Does this hurt? He got out a pointy, stabby thing and started batting it against her cheeks. Does this hurt? Then he got out a ver small hammer and started hitting her teeth with it. Does this hurt?

Indeed, except for the first part, it didn't hurt. There was numbness. He diagnosed a legion in her jaw. It must be removed or biopsied or something. "I want to emphasize that your life is not in danger." Finally it was determined that the english word for her condition is "cyst." There was a cyst growing next to the nerve below her crowned tooth. First, it caused pain, but then it caused numbness and swelling.

The schools have yet another holiday, however, which started friday. The doctor was going on vacation the next day. So he instructed Nicole to come to the hospital the next morning for surgery.

So the next morning, we went to the hospital, where a team of dentists discussed Nicole's condition and then one of them, not her original specialist, finally operated on her jaw. I waited for her in part of the dental wing of the hospital. I've since heard it explained that they do even minor operations in hospitals just in case anything goes wrong there's a lot of doctors and equipment near by.

In the room in which I read months old celebrity gossip magazines (in French) there was a framed picture on the wall. It was of a mime, with a tear drawn in hir eye. Ze wore a bandana tied around from the top of her head to hir chin. Ze held hir hand to hir cheek and hir mouth formed an "ouch" shape. A mime with a toothache. In america this would be there to mock the patients. No question. But in France, miming is an ancient and respected art. I bet dental patients feel relieved to be around such cultured dentists.

The waiting room I sat in was for anesthesiology. I wasn't really supposed to be there. They didn't really have a waiting room. There was no front desk to check in. No "this way" signs. Apparently, when you go to a French hospital, you wonder around until you find your doctor and then you sit in a chair in the hallway until your doctor has time for you.

So a while later, Cola emerged from surgery. Feeling in her jaw is supposed to come back in around a week from then. In the mean time, there's a lot of soup being consumed in this house. Her face is less swollen at least. Almost back to normal. She gets her stitches out next week, but it's not strictly speaking necessary because they're the kind that are supposed to dissolve.

And so far, nobody has mentioned anything about insurance, costs, money or anything. Apparently, in France, if you have a cyst growing in your jaw, dental insurance isn't an unnecessary luxury. I think I like it here.

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