If I could have any Christmas wish this season, it would be dental work for my sweet husband. For the past 3 years (since our Honeymoon) the enamel in his teeth has been disintegrating. Whenever he eats or brushes, flakes and chunks of teeth come free from the gum line. Little by little it has affected his self-esteem, his self-worth, and his overall quality of life; not to mention the agonizing pain that has accompanied it. It is now making its way to his two front teeth, and he has become a recluse because of this occurrence. I just cannot imagine how bad things will get once his teeth are noticeable to everyone he encounters. He is SO embarrassed!
During his working career, he was a top dog executive for DuPont, and was in a position of power, so his appearance was of the utmost importance. He catered to his health, his teeth, his apparel, and he was one of the few men you would see getting manicures at the salon. First impressions make or break business deals, so he made sure to stay sharp all the way around.
Life was grand, and he was the king of his domain until he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He was informed that he was in Stage 4, and the doctors speculated that he would meet his demise in October of 2006. Since then, he has been on a downward spiral. He has long since surpassed that date, and even found that his cancer had gone into remission during an appointment in 2009, but unfortunately, the cancer has done some irreversible damage to his enamel, for which he is now paying.
Over the weekend, we were sitting in bed watching a movie, when he looked over at me and showed me a chunk of tooth that had just broken off. Every time I am confronted with this situation, it makes me feel queasy and sick to my stomach. It’s in my nature to make everything okay for everyone around me, and in this situation I can only sit there, helpless. I hate it! Since then, he has been in excruciating pain, and has been packing that gaping hole with the exposed nerve full of BC powder in order to get only slight relief. The aspirin is eating holes in his mouth, and the remaining pieces of teeth are jagged and sharp, and are slicing and dicing his tongue every time it comes near them.
I have contacted dentists all over Middle Tennessee, and have inquired if they would be willing to set us up on a payment plan, and I have been shown to the door each time. I have talked with the dental school in town and was informed that if we were lucky enough to get in (after waiting in ridiculous lines all day long) they would only do one tooth (or two if they had time) at a time. I have asked for help from numerous churches and other organizations in hopes that they can help us in any way that they can, and have been turned away. I even took my husband to a dental surgeon to see what options we had available to us, (meanwhile maxing out my Care Credit card) and he suggested that we take out a loan to have the work done. That would be fine and dandy, but between us, we have 4 children (ages 25, 16, 14, and 11), 1 granddaughter, and 1 grandson due any day now to care for.
When we married, our combined income proved “too substantial,” and I lost my government benefits. It has been all I can do just to put food on the table each night and to keep a roof over our head. Over the past 3 years, my husband has lost 60 pounds and I have lost 40, just so our children don’t go hungry. Birthdays and Christmas’ have been extremely disappointing for our little ones, and although I hold a college degree, I have been working the same job for the past decade. I work as much overtime as I’m allowed, but it is never enough to cover the bills. Every time I turn around, I’m headed to yet another loan office with my tail tucked between my legs. Some days I just don’t know what else to do. I’m overworked, underpaid, utterly exhausted, and I just never seem to have enough to cut it. I feel like a complete loser! But, despite it all, I try to keep a smile on my face, and I try to recognize all of the blessings in my life. I just wish I could provide and care for my family better than I have been able to. They deserve the world!