Wednesday, September 9, 2009

So What Does Orale Chirurgie Mean Anyway?

It started in Germany, the dreaded "Something is hurting me in my mouth." You know the feeling, "Say it ain't so, please not now?" that deep unsettled feeling you get in your stomach. We did all the precautions before leaving the USA. We visited all appropriate Doctors and Dentists for preventative care. Uncle Eugene and our physicians stocked us up for almost every imaginable challenge while abroad like "bad water", the not so infrequent ear infection, the errant bee sting (yes we had one on the train platform in Innsbruck) and hey we even managed to be prepared for the "horse" allergy (see previous blog). Our Vera Bradely medicine bag looks like the batting practice ball bag for a major league baseball team and is as heavy as one too! Don't believe me, take a look!

Now, I didn't go to medical school or dental school, hell some would argue I barely got out of high school, but a quick inspection inside Eamon's jaw line and I see a super ball size lump on his gum line, "rut row Rastro" is all I can say and "Houston we've got a problem" is all I can think. Like any parent you start to "run down the options", ok we need a dentist and potentially an oral surgeon. We need to time it so that if there is surgery required we're grounded long enough for recovery. We leave for Russia in less than 14 days and I'm not totally sure but I think you shouldn't fly just after surgery, right? Hmmm, okay 1 step at a time. Let's find an oral surgeon and get an opinion. First call the Blue Cross Blue Shield "International Collect Call" hot line. "Yes" there is such a thing which makes me wonder but I'll think more about that later. I get a helpful person on the line and they give me 2 oral surgeons in Austria. Our brief time in Europe has taught me "go in person" it is simply easier to beg in person in a different language than on the phone. Besides, I hardly know the words "wisdom teeth" in English let alone German. I'll need Eamon with me so I have a dummy to use for explanation, no not a 2+2=5 dummy more like a VOLVO crash dummy, you know so I can point and say "It hurts him here" Eamon open wide and use those puppy dog, please pick me from the dog pound, eyes we talked about! So off we go to where Wharinger Strabe splits and becomes a different named road. Great, I gotta find a road I can't pronounce and then make sure I find where it splits and is renamed to another road I can't pronounce. At least it has a number "23". Okay, 11, 13, 15, 17, 19, 21, 27 Are you kidding me? As the kids would say "Fail". I ask a dozen "passersby" "English?" Surprisingly a few say "yes" I show'em my paper "No not know that #" I ask "Dental Clinic?" "No" not here. So back to the apt we go and reload. Maybe I copied the info wrong or maybe Blue Cross gave me the wrong address, possible right? When in doubt blame the insurance co. Another search on the web and a phone call to the States and "all is confirmed." They didn't seem bothered by the fact that I said I was there and no building existed with a dentist!! Did I mention that it's Friday. Now I am out of time and it is the weekend. Eamon is not in pain and the concept of going to the dentist/oral surgeon has had that "magic effect" we all know "It doesn't really hurt all that much dad!"

Sunday is "find the building day" for me. I take my backpack, fill it with water and a few snacks (you never know how long you'll be lost) and head off to in search of the dentist. Everyone else asking directions around town have their WEIN books and are looking for famous landmarks like "St Stepehens Cathedral" or "The last house of Beethoven" or the "Rathaus" but yours truly is sauntering up to every person that speaks any English and saying "know where I can find a dentist?" I get many a puzzled looks but a few point me towards the university and the hospital. I am in business now. There are blue/white signs with words remarkably similar to many Latin/German words for orthopedic, ear nose and throat and other medical stuff. I am in the right place. I walk and walk and walk and look at every sign, glasses on, glasses off, glasses on glasses off (OMG I am going blind too but I'm not looking for an optometrist). Make a few wrong turns and learn that's the word for microbiology and I think say to myself that mean radiology. Sooner or later something will make sense. This quest is about 2 hours and I must have talked to 20 medical school students here and there. They all speak broken English but like med school students the world over, they have no idea where anything is unless it is on their semester schedule. You'd think one of them would have needed a dentist since getting to med school wouldn't you? I am standing in front of a blue sign marked Orale Chirurgie and I think hmmmm. Could be, maybe but not sure, it is right next to ambulance so what could that mean? I grab a young lady walking by "not literally" and start the "I'm a foreign dope dance", "Do you speak English?" She replies "yes, little bit" and I ask her to come over a few yards and read the sign for me. She agrees to come over to help. I say "dentist?" She says "um, not sure how to say in English" I point to my teeth and she nods "Yes yes" I say "surgery?" She says "Not sure how to say in English" and I'm dying here, not literally. So we know we have dentist but we're not sure if we have the right kind of dentist. Finally, as she looks quizzically and working her brain to say something to make me understand and I keep saying "surgery" and then a little louder "SURGERY." We all know if you raise your voice and get close to a scream people understand you better, right? Finally in a desperate attempt to get a "yes" I launch into my greatest effort of charades. I put my hands together on top of my chest and make a "ripping it open gesture" and then a "pulling back together motion" with a nice added "needle and thread motion" and a quick point to my jawline. I get a wildly excited "YES" from the girl. We found the building for the ORAL SURGEON, victory is mine!!!

Tune in tomorrow for Part 2 The trip to the Dentist, is that a fly on the instrument tray?

1 comment:

  1. Now that you have the entire Western Hemisphere on pins and needles - we need to know - did Eamon survive surgery? did you really find an oral surgeon or was she Ashton Kutcher in drag and you just got "punked"? Now that the Guiding Light has been cancelled - we are beholden to Team Glavin for outrageous entertainment. By the way, we need a video on the highlights of home schooling in Austria!! Love you, Aunt Mary K. (so as to be distinguished from the plethora of "Aunt Mary's")