I used to live in England and when there took the NHS for granted. Whenever I felt a bit crank, without compunction I could ring up or drop by and get seen for free.
However there is no NHS in Switzerland and private health insurance is compulsory.
Everything costs and everything is expensive. A check-up at the doctors when I had man flu cost me, opps my husband an absolute fortune. Chest pains, which I self diagnosed as lung cancer made me request an x-ray. As a long time smoker, I was embarrassed yet delighted to see clear and if I may say rather pretty lungs. I keep my best features hidden. The price of this visit, was well over £500 pounds and probably closer to £1000. My flu was at least real, so I milked that for all it was worth. My chest pains turned out to be muscular probably due to old age and a lack of magnesium, I’m now in my 40’s. So when I wanted a polish for my teeth, something I could do regularly in the UK, I put it off. It used to cost around £40 pound back in 1999 because the hygienist service was not available on the NHS. I think tripling the British price is usually a good rule of thumb when estimating cost in Switzerland. It had been more than ten years since my last dentist visit, so with the beginning of a mild gum irritation and growing sensitivity when consuming hot, cold and sweet things. I decided it was time.
Of course I first needed an x-ray and as it happened I required a root-canal operation plus the extraction of two wisdom teeth. “Something for the pain?” A request, was she’s having a laugh. Of course I wanted something for the pain. How quickly one forgets, that something turned out to be a pretty painful injection into the gums. But I winced quietly, stiff upper lip and all that. Then a sagging lower one before she got stuck in. All the tools were laid out in plain view and there wasn’t a single item I would willingly insert into my mouth.
My lovely German lady dentist, the rubber gloved sadist got right on in there. Grinding away fragments with what felt like a road worker jackhammer. Then drilling into my tooth with ever increasing drill bits, to inject bitter tasting liquid into the hole presumably to kill the nerves. A small metal rod was then inserted and encased within the tooth. This painful episode took three separate visits, before completion.
I still had the wisdom teeth to come. She, the S&M matron decided to do both at once. I suspect this was because she knew it was going to be excruciating and didn’t want to scare away her client. The top tooth came out with the smallest amount of manipulation. On my last visit when I questioned the procedure she assured me it was all about technic and not brute strength. Yeah right. My second wisdom directly below was the one I feared most. The x-ray showed clearly that it lay horizontally. I think it is some kind of legal Swiss statute to fully explain medical procedures. A German accent speaking English does nothing to calm or ease a frightened Brit. She explained that the gum would be sliced and then the tooth needed to be cracked and extracted in pieces.
So it followed, gauge, bang, bang, pick and then pull. Scrape, gauge, bang, yank, bang. Then pull and rest. There is something intrinsically unnatural to lie there and allow someone to inflict so much pain without punching out or fleeing.
I blame fifty shades, which I haven’t read. After a repeat performance and four or five encores. I had to smile, shake hands, thank her and then pay £1500. My next check-up is 12 months from now, can’t wait.