now, these may seem like strong words. and let me tell you, it was strong words i desperately wanted to utter over the course of this “cleaning”. except that my mouth was wrenched open so wide, beyond its normal capacity, and the best way that i can describe the experience, is… violent.

don’t get me wrong. i love panama. there are so many wonderful things about it, but, as a rule, there is a serious lack of… hmmm, how to put it… gentleness. attention to detail. subtlety. refinement. finesse.

this is expressed in many ways, one that comes to mind is their building practices. panamanians are very good at building things out of cement. not so good? the details. they are great at using machetes. but you don’t want the guy pruning your garden to be a master of a machete, you want him or her to be able to look at the garden and prune as needed. this kind of thing, in my experience, does not really happen here. really good? driving cars and busses until they burst into flames on the highway killing everyone inside. not so good? maintenance.

so, the dentist was kind of the worst hour i have spent in a long time. it is sad that the repeated flinching and pretty serious attempts to get away from this woman while i was in the chair did not even illicit her to stop what she was doing, ask if everything was ok, or even NOTICE. she just scraped harder, yanked my mouth around until she had it where she wanted and continued with the barbary. there was a tool (and i use the term loosely) that she was using that felt like it had a cement bit and it was so painful and she used it with such force that after a few seconds i could feel my mouth filling up with blood. she didn’t seem to notice.

there was some kind of paste that she used in my mouth that she applied with such violent force to my teeth (and anything in the vicinity) that i had to fight the urge to punch her.

she discovered 4 cavities. yes, 4. holy fuck. and this by just looking in my mouth and not so much as an xray. at the end of the treatment i was so in shock that i paid her the $20 required and got the fuck out of there. she actually wanted to know when i would like to make an appointment to come in and have the cavities filled.

i cannot imagine anything more dangerous and potentially life threatening that that woman + drill. good lord, i am amazed that she hasn’t injured anyone seriously. i said, in my broken spanish, that i had to think about it and i would get back to her. when hell froze over. (ok, not that part)

so, i am ranting i know. i completely realize that i am a foreign person in another country and that i am here by choice and all that stuff. i am just amazed by some of the things that happen here, and have been especially disappointed with the medical care. i have known 2 people who have broken an arm and had the same doctor fuck it up so badly that they are permanently crooked. i had a doctor not be able to diagnose something as simple as ringworm (but another foreigner caught it right away), and now this dental thing. my hunny also came to have his teeth cleaned for the express purpose of finding out why one of his teeth was suddenly bothering him and feeling strange. he explained this to the woman, who said that she couldn’t SEE anything so she was sure it was fine. we are seeking out other dental avenues. perhaps in florida.

so, i am not complaining so much as just sort of confused and slightly beaten up. i came out of that office feeling orally violated and i didn’t like it. and i think i needed to get it off my chest.