The dentist leaves me with such a miserable feeling of helplessness. Twice now I’ve come out of that office and didn’t even make it to the elevator before I felt down. The procedure itself isn’t as painful as the cost of their false compassion. When I’m in their seat, I’m the most important person in the world, and when I’m at the front desk, it’s clear why. It’s all about the money.

I’ve told the dentist on two occasions that I couldn’t afford the procedure. And honestly, I can’t. Yesterday’s thirty minute appointment cost over two thousand dollars. This isn’t something that I just write off on my budget, this stays on my credit card for years. I find it hard to believe that the dentist actually understands this. His office is on the top floor of an expensive building and very rarely have I seen other patients there. Someone has to pay the lease.

There are other dentists in the sea, and I’m sure one of them would be more affordable. The problem is that this has been ongoing for years already. The first surgery with a different dentist ended up not working, another didn’t seem confident, and this one now was recommended to me by a friend. At this stage I only want this ordeal over, and I suppose this is why I relegate myself to meeting their demands and coping with the ensuing misery.

My health care from work covers very little of this procedure because it’s considered cosmetic. Translation: the insurance company believes I never really needed to stop vomiting every day because of an infection, not when the cure comes out of their profit margin. They have a fancy way of covering this up with legalese though, and when I called to speak to someone, they have an even better way to cover it up with empathetic indifference. “Yes, I understand you’re in pain, but your plan’s agreement doesn’t cover that procedure.” And of course there’s another plan that covers part of it, but of course it’s too late to add that plan, and of course there’s a fee involved that doesn’t make it worthwhile. I’m able to pay this off over a few years; how awful it must be for the many people who can’t.

I’ve dreamed of walking out of that office without stopping at the desk first, without paying. Oh how great that would be to leave them with their own parts and labour. I wonder how much it would cost then, without their mark-up, and how much the dentist and his assistant and his receptionist all made from me. I wonder how much of that is a swindle. And when I look further, I wonder how far that swindle goes. I believe it goes past health insurance companies, past the banks that work with them, right to the core value of money itself: gluttony. The concept of interest relies on the perpetual labour of the working class. Without us, no one can swindle anyone.