Sunday, June 12, 2016

Trust, but verify: three bumps in last week's road

Wikipedia says "trust, but verify" is a form of advice given which recommends that while a source of information might be considered reliable, one should perform additional research to verify that such information is accurate, or trustworthy.

Three times last week, I didn't do that.

The Dentist

I have a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) device for my moderate sleep apnea. I've been using it for nearly four years and it helps me sleep and keeps me from snoring. But it's a nuisance when I travel. The CPAP case is the size of a large shoebox and I have to carry it onto airplanes and keep track of it during travel. Last July in Atlanta I lost it on the MARTA between the airport and our B&B. Or maybe it was stolen. At any rate, the replacement cost $800 as well as aggravation between me and my HMO, and me and my travel insurance company.

This year I'm taking six trips between June and November. I decided to get an "oral appliance" for my sleep apnea to replace the CPAP machine when I am traveling. Naturally, my HMO refused to pay for it  So I made an appointment with the apnea/cosmetic dentist they referred me to. I decided to pay for the oral appliance myself.

The appointment was last Thursday. The dentist measured me for the device but after examining my mouth and my jaw and my teeth, he advised me that I have ground my teeth down so severely that unless I have my entire jaw realigned and all the dental work in my mouth redone, I will eventually require dentures. His estimate for this cost was $30,000 to $50,000 in the next five years.

"And I had planned on buying a Tesla," I told him. He laughed.

Not really, of course. But on my half-hour drive home I considered how sudden expenses - especially in retirement - can alter lives in not a good way. By the time I reached the espresso stand in my town I was resigned to a drastic curtailment of travel over the next five years and possibly forever. I told my barista. She said, "Are you kidding?" You're 67 years old. Why would you want to spend that much money on your mouth at your age?"

That afternoon, I told my tale to my hairdresser. He laughed. "I've had dentures for 40 years and they have been just fine." And then he removed his top dentures to show me! I would never have guessed.

So, I'm talking this week to the dentist I've been seeing for 25 years. Nothing like a second opinion.

The Shoes

Last week, on a walk with a friend, I complimented her on her comfortable looking shoes; they look like walking shoes with cutouts. "They're Keens," she said, "and I bought them for hiking. They are great." I thought they would be just right for my upcoming trip to Greece.

I called my favorite shoe store. Shane, the owner, answered the phone. I have known Shane for over 15 years and have bought numerous pairs of shoes from him, as well as custom orthotics. I asked him about Keens and he said "Oh, yes, we carry them." I got in my car and drove 15 minutes to try on a pair. Turns out they do carry them, but at this moment they are sold out. So this week I will go to REI for the purchase.

When I had Shane on the phone, I should have asked not only "Do you carry them?" but also, "Do you have any in stock? My bad.

The Computer

Two years ago a tech family member moved all my data from my aging iMac desktop to my new MacBook Air laptop, then replaced the desktop with a display monitor. It has worked out great for me. I can use my laptop by itself or hooked up to a the larger screen.

To make sure the new configuration would work, we stored the iMac behind the chair in the living room "just in case." Last week I finally decided to donate the iMac to a worthy cause. Before I did that, I turned it on to confirm all the old data had been deleted.

It hadn't.

And I couldn't find a CD to boot the system so I could delete everything. And I didn't have a standard Apple keyboard so I could restore the iMac to its factory settings. So this week I have an appointment at the Apple Store.

Fortunately, REI and the Apple Store are in the same mall, no more than 300 feet from each other.

Maybe trust, but verify isn't the right phrase for last week's bumpy road. Maybe it's about not making assumptions.

Yeah, that's it.


joeh said...

I would definitively verify with the dentist.

DJan said...

I hope you don't have to get dentures. I'm glad you have decided to get a second opinion. I recently bought a pair of Keen shoes myself and like them because they have such a wide toe box. :-)

Olga Hebert said...

I just bought a pair of Keens on Saturday and I love them already. I think that dentistry has become more about being a money making business than about being a part of the health care industry. I have the oral appliance because I could not tolerate the CPAP and I got it without getting the 10,000 dollars worth of direly needed work a new dentist had recommended. They mold the appliance to the teeth you have and it might just help with the grinding issue as well. Definitely second opinion time on that!

DDD said...

I would like to try the Keen shoes.....great information.
My ex-dentist told me to have deep cleaning. He said I would lose all my teeth before 40, I was 30 years old.
I cancelled the deep cleaning appt. I have lost 2 teeth since and I am 64.
I did read books about teeth hygiene.

Tom Sightings said...

And unfortunately, for most people, even if they have dental insurance, it doesn't cover that much. So I hope it works out for you. Meantime, I gotta check out those keen shoes.

nik said...

Trust is hard, learning to verify, also hard. Life has lessons for all of us. I love Keens. Have had several pairs and want to say that they are worth it...find a pair and size you like and then order directly from Keen. I have had excellent luck, although I haven't ordered any in a couple of years. Good luck my travelling friend.

Linda Reeder said...

My dentist is quite low cost and would never push care that is not needed. Glad you are getting a second opinion. That specialist sounds like money grubbing scum.
Now, my vet did want to put my cat under and clean her teeth to the tune of $300. I said no thanks.

Barbara said...

Ok. I didn't get the email about the Keen shoes. Somebody needs to keep me up on these things. I'll have to see who carries them near me.

I had about $10K worth of dental work done before I retired. Needless to say there will not be another $10k spent. I agree with some of the others. I'd like to keep these teeth but dental prices have to come way down if they want me to take good care of the ones I have left.

Deb Shucka said...

You should be getting a kickback from Keen. Sorry for your continued tooth woes. I hope new eyes will provide better news. You've certainly hit on topics here that hit a nerve, both positive and negative for a lot of people.

Sharon Woods said...

Hey Linda,

I'm a young woman of 62 and I had a similar problem when a tooth fractured. My dentist told me my options were to get a costly implant or have a bridge done. When I told others my situation they were also surprised I was considering the implant. I went with the bridge and everything has worked out.

Quinn Kimbrough said...

Sleep apnea can be hard to deal with. I know because my husband has it and I hear all about it. That was a funny comment about buying a Tesla! Those bills can get so high! Sometimes, computers can be such a hassle. You're lucky you have a tech-savvy family member to help you out. My son is a computer tech and I'm so grateful!

Quinn Kimbrough @ Top Temecula Dentist

Cynthia Bowers said...

My husband suffers from sleep apnea and uses a CPAP machine, but he has such a hard time falling asleep because of how bulky it is. He’s also found it very uncomfortable to sleep on his back, which makes using the CPAP even more difficult. This device is absolutely necessary in my household! I will be following his company very closely.