It is not about a pack-up announced by a director after a film shooting. I am talking about a virtual ‘pack-up’ declared by a doctor in a dental clinic.
Years ago, I do not remember exactly when, I got root-canal treatment done for my aching tooth. The dentist advised me to get a crown fixed on the treated tooth but I ignored his advice and, as a result, first I lost a part of the tooth and finally all of it that was visible was gone leaving behind only its hidden fragments. I visited a neighborhood dental clinic run by a dentist couple who advised me a tooth implant, which I was made to understand was a minor procedure. The treatment was going to cost me hefty thirty thousand but I was determined to preserve my smile line.
So, on one fine day straight from the college I went to the dentist. After the extraction I was asked to go home, have semi-solid diet and come back for the implant procedure. As desired by the dentist, I reported back after an hour. A sterilized gown, which I was not supposed to touch, was put over my dress covering me from head to toe. While the dentist who was to place the implant was busy attending to a patient on an adjoining chair, the lady doctor made preliminary arrangements for the dental procedure with the help of an assistant. The special preparation creating an ambience of mini operation theatre around me made me a little scary, but I kept a brave front. After an anesthesia injection (the second in an hour, the first was given at the time of extraction) around the tooth, began the deep drilling and digging into my jaw for placing the implant. It would have been five minutes hardly when the doctor stopped. He announced there was no bone in the jaw, as it might have got corroded; hence the implant could not be placed.
It was an unceremonious pack up. Hurriedly, the sanitized gown was removed. The assistants got busy in putting away the especially assembled paraphernalia, and amidst all this pack-up activity, I stood bewildered. In the meanwhile the lady doctor marched into the consultation cabin and I followed her sheepishly. She asked me to shell out one thousand rupees. I could understand Rs 500 extraction charges but wondered what the other rupees five hundred was for. I was told that the extra charge was for the loss incurred in preparing for the failed implant. I was made to feel that I was being obliged, as only 50% of the preparation cost was being recovered from me. Too rattled to continue with the argument; I made the payment and came out feeling stupid for having paid for the disservice. I wondered if it was my fault or that of the doctor who misjudged the availability of the bone/feasibility of the procedure.
Published in Hindustan Times on 23 July 2014