in which this writer asks “whattup with karma?”
So I was feeling quite pleased with myself before I went to bed, at the naive age of 46. Forty-seven was going to be awesome! I was going to make people happy! I would be crafty, and athletic, and doing all these little mitvahs, making the world a better place. This was going to be fun.
And the sun rose on day 1 of being 47, and after a steamy 5.2 mile run, I was off to the dentist.
And the office manager remarked how kind it was of me to take care of my work intern’s tooth, and that she’d put through the remaining charges this afternoon.
(here’s the backstory. We have the most awesome of interns at my work. And she makes squat for money, like most interns do. And way back in January, she showed up in my office, whiter than white, in so much pain from her tooth you could see it on her face. I got her into my dentist and they discovered a cracked root and it was infected. My dentist referred her to an oral surgeon for the emergency extraction. This cost beaucoup bucks, which shellshocked this badly-insured intern. Yes, she had insurance, but not very much. She will basically be paying off this surgery for the rest of her life. I called my dentist and offered to pay for the fake tooth she would be getting before she got her new implant/crown. It was about $250.)
When the office manager mentioned the “remaining” charges, I said “what remaining charges?” And she said, “oh for the implant and crown. The intern’s insurance doesn’t cover any of that and it costs around $2500. I’ll put the charges through this afternoon.”
Yep, an awesome start to a birthday. $2500 in the hole.
I told explained the misunderstanding. And I know she’s thinking how the hell are they going to get paid–there’s equipment and materials and staff time, etc. that they’re already out of pocket on. I told her I needed to talk with the Mister before I could authorize payment.
I’ll be perfectly honest here. I was in tears the entire way back to work. I can be generous with $250. I don’t have the wiggle-room for $2500. Not with 3 Things, and college on the horizon, and camp to pay for next week, and groceries, and a newly hiked up property tax bill.
And then I was upset with myself, because this is part of those 47 things. Grin and bear it. I have more access to capital than the intern. I could make arrangements with my dentist and it would be taken care of…eventually. And a sooner eventually than the intern could make happen.
And this is about paying it forward. I’m about to launch Thing 1 into the world, and there sure as hell better be some adult in his near future that steps up to the plate and goes to bat for him because he’s far from home and needs help.
And then I’m angry with myself for being stingy. The Mister and I have been saving for our 20th wedding anniversary–we never took a honeymoon (too many out of town and out of country visitors to cut out on them) and we want to go to Europe next spring. That savings could pay for this tooth. And we’ll see our 21st wedding anniversary. What’s a year? (although then I’d have to get the Mister’s buy in on this new expense, as part of the savings belongs to him).
And then I started to get a bit pissy at this whole system of interns and insurances. Our interns are worked hard. In this case, our intern is paid and insured by the organization that places her with us. Why don’t they offer these kids better insurance options? This is an organization connected and affiliated with a major christian denomination. The interns should get the same insurances that the clergy and laity are offered. Why the hell aren’t they?
I still don’t know what to do. This is not a burden the intern needs to shoulder. But even though it would be less of a burden for me, it would still negatively impact my family.
All I can say is that if I end up forking over $2500 for the intern’s tooth, I’m counting that as mitvahs 1-47. And I’m totally re-thinking what I’ll do when I turn 48. In 364 days. Which can’t come soon enough.