Tooth-ousand Seventeen: New Me
Tooth-ousand Theventeen: New Year, New Me; or:
All I Want For Christmas
Hello Dear Friends,
If you know me you know that I don’t like much attention, and I almost never ask for help. I am stubborn and always try to be self-reliant. I am very reluctant to appeal for help in this way; however, I have nearly reached the crest of what I can do to provide for myself. I have no budget for damaged facial structure, and, after holiday expenditures, I have no extra money for myself, and an equally broke family safety net.
I have insurance under the “Affordable” Care Act but I have a $6,000 deductible. Even the dentist scoffed at this. If you can find it in your heart and in your pocket book to chip in this holiday season, I will forever be grateful and will not soon forget it. If I can, I will try to be a better friend and donate to whatever causes you collect for in the future.
I know there are many beings in greater need than I am. This appeal is only to those who can afford to spare it. If it be a choice between me or Other, please choose Other, as they need it more than me. But if you can afford both, I will be forever grateful and find a way to make it up to you. At very least, include an address in your donation and I'll return a photo with a personal message to your post box.
This has been a humbling experience to say the least, and I have taken from it a newfound appreciation for the health of my loved ones, neighbors, and myself. Life bites but it is so invaluable and very fragile. It is beautiful and I refuse to brush that off.
We all get by with a little help from our friends.
On Friday the 16th, less than twenty-four hours after getting off the plane from a work trip in Dubai, I was in NYC cycling home from the gym, groceries in hand. As so often happens, there was a pedestrian lurching into the bike lane, eyes glued to his phone. As per usual, I sounded my bell and called for attention while simultaneously squeezing my (new) brakes and looking for a gap to floss and avoid colliding with him.
Alas, it was too late. My forward momentum combined with sensitive brakes and gravity drawn groceries, flipped me over my handlebars and onto my face. Luckily my teeth were there to break my fall, preventing (as far as I know) further head injury.
In the slow moving surrealistic moment collecting pieces of my former face, I watched the electronic-obsessed pedestrian slowly sidestep, stagger, (“Damn…Oh damn.”), and run away. There were several witnesses, many shouts and awes, but nobody helped. Not a word of care, only reactions that suggest, “Ooomph, that sucks.”
Forget it, Jack; it’s Chinatown.
In a shell-shocked daze, I scurried home through alleyways with coppered taste buds in the frozen mouth of Cold City. My roommate Michael was nice enough to call around for emergency dentists that take my insurance --none do-- they don’t know who does. This is not my first time navigating the dysfunctional bureaucratic healthcare system.
After putting away some squashed bananas, cracking Mike Tyson jokes, and observing the biting irony that I was carrying a bag of crispy apples (front teeth required), Michael ultimately landed me an appointment at Smile Rivington for the next day. $700 later, they got me temporary builds for the work-acceptable smile I desired.
Though I enjoyed a brief moment of jokes as a toothless Man-City football hooligan, I am grateful I was able to re-gain a temporary smile in an expedited fashion.
I am lucky. I am forever grateful that my situation is not worse. It could always be worse.
However, I am told I’m looking at upwards of thousands more for something permanent next year (if I’m able to afford that route, which I simply cannot without help).
I am asking for half of my deductible amount. And who knows what the insurance company decides, “qualifies,” for coverage. That much remains to be seen.
In the meantime, I’ll be making applesauce.
Thank you all for your time and your generous helping hand if you decide to contribute to my smile and happy apple chewing ability. You all mean so much to me and I don’t tell you enough. I hope your holidays are both restful and joyous. Don’t forget to hug your loved ones.
In your travels, please watch out for cyclists, motorbikes, and other people in general. If you need to look at your phone, do so outside the path of others. In fact, do everything outside the path of others unless that person has accepted you within theirs. Don’t let your electronics be smarter than you.
I love you all, and here's to a better 2017.
P.S. Please kindly copy, share, and paste for visibility.
Wow. I'm really feeling the love right now. In a few short days I've exceeded my goal! When I made the appeal on GoFundMe I hardly expected such an outcome, especially so quickly. You've really lifted my spirits and made my holiday all the more special. I don't know how I can repay you but at the very least I ask you for your addresses so I can send you a photogram in the post. Thanks so much for your overwhelming care and support. Happy holidays, and I'll see you in the new year with a new smile and a new outlook on love and friendship.
I posted this yesterday on Facebook but I realize not all of you are on there:
Update: I am ASTOUNDED by the love and support I have received from you all rallying in support of my smile. In a couple short days I have nearly reached my goal of $3,000!
More than the money, I have received an education: we don't have to exist on this planet alone. We (I) need to be there to lift each other up. We need to allow others in our hearts and engage more in our shared experience here. If not for that, what's the point in any of this? I needed this lesson more than anyone.
I am truly grateful for all of you. Thanks to you, this dark cloud has been softened; sun shone, dissipating the grays, and the coming months will now be less burdensome. Thanks to you, I can more confidently give the gifts I'd already bought for Christmas and my future, and not worry as much about the resulting financial disrepair.
I went in for my second visit yesterday to check up on my temporary builds. One of them was set too high and giving me discomfort when I bit down. This was fixed quite easily and I'm glad to have a more comfortable bite again (though I won't be eating baguettes for a while).
In the consultation it was recommended that I have a root canal in one of the teeth before proceeding to a permanent veneer. It was broken too close to the nerve, but luckily only on one. With your generosity in the funds you all raised, I should be able to achieve this permanent solution sooner than I thought.
Funny enough, the dentist Dr. Vatrenko, was assisted by the Tolstoy Foundation to settle here in the states when the USSR was dissolved. She was first placed in Salt Lake City, UT with her husband and children, who converted to Mormonism (she mentioned this in a soft whisper indicative of the common shame felt by outside converts ).
In any case, she had nothing but good things to say about her experience at the receiving end of this philanthropy, and again, it made me realize how interconnected we all are; how small the world is, and how important our collective efforts to build community is.
We need this now; furthermore, we need this for 2017. We need this for the next four years and forevermore.
Thankful for you all, and happy holidays.