Routine Maintenance and Costly Repairs

Squeezed May 10, 2005

Did you ever get the feeling that everything is breaking down?

On two occasions recently I went for what I thought would be normal routine maintenance on my teeth and car, and I end up needing costly repairs done. Repairs that, thankfully, I wouldn’t have noticed otherwise, but still…

So I went in for my routine six-month tooth cleaning. The hygienist who normally does my teeth wasn’t there, so I had another hygienist work on me. She was pretty nice, and we had a nice conversation…before she worked on me. Afterward…well, I don’t think she had ever seen anyone bleed so much. So I ended up getting a stern lecture on the virtues of flossing. As if that’s not bad enough…a couple of days later I go in for my annual check-up…and end up having two cavities filled. Ugh.

Result…one stern lecture, two cavities, and about $450 on my credit card. I’ll probably only get about half of it back from HMSA, because (1) the fillings are the white kind, ’cause my dentist doesn’t use the mercury-filled silver ones anymore, and I have to pay the difference, (2) my dentist went non-participating with HMSA. Ouch.

I have a follow-up appointment with the hygienist to possibly have scaling and root planing done…though, I’m thinking that if I throw everything I’ve got in my dental arsenal right now, maybe it won’t be necessary. Good ol’ doctor didn’t find anything out of the ordinary when he checked. Hope and pray…

As if my pocketbook couldn’t take enough damage…I decided yesterday to take my car in for a tune-up. I usually take it in every 30,000 miles for new spark plugs, etc. Although the idle had been a tad rough lately, my car was still running. Well…yep…they found stuff wrong with it. One, my battery terminals were corroded beyond repair, so they had to splice new ones on as a temporary fix. Two, my car needed a new serpentine belt as the new one was about to go snap.

What’s worse…I thought it would be ready to go at the end of Monday…but they just couldn’t get the %@#$!! belt to fit my car for some weird reason. So I had to leave it overnight (my old belt, to put it mildly, was toast), catch the bus up to church for choir practice, then catch a ride with my mom back home that night and to work this morning.

So, the financial damage: $266 for what I thought would be about $70. But my car runs like a new car now…not bad for a 5 year old, 90,000 mile car.

That reminds me…it’s been a while since I’ve had a physical done. But now, after having gone through all of this, I’m a bit hesitant. With my luck, I’ll be diagnosed with terminal cancer.

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