Last Saturday, Ben took all the kids to the church to play sports with the missionaries. I stayed home to catch up on grading papers for school. I got this text from Ben: "BJ is hurt. Going to hospital." (In his defense, I later learned that Kayanna sent the text because I hadn't answered my Belgian phone.) I found the phone and texted him to call me. He called and said that BJ needed stitches. They were playing a game in the cultural hall, and Abe and BJ collided. Abe slipped under BJ and BJ pitched forward hitting his head on the hard floor. He had quite the gash. I was worried about BJ and worried about them going to the hospital without me to speak French!
I quickly called my friend and relief society president. She lives near the church, and she is also a nurse. She went right over and took most of the kids to her house. She also called me back after seeing BJ and said it wasn't serious, but yes, it did need stitches.
As for the dentist, that is my own story. About two and a half weeks ago, I had a large filling fall out. I wasn't in much pain, and I didn't know who to call. In Utah, I would certainly call the dentist the day of or the next day, but after figuring out insurance and so forth, I finally called a dentist last Monday (February 2). The receptionist asked which day worked for me, and I told her Friday because that was the next day I could be sure of having the car. We set up the appointment, and before we hung up, she confirmed the appointment for Friday, February 13th. I was shocked. A lost filling, and they were going to wait nearly 2 weeks? Unbelievable. Last Sunday, the pain had arrived, and Ben and the missionaries gave me a blessing. The pain quickly reduced to manageable levels following that, but there was still nothing to do but wait for Friday.
Yesterday I finally went to the dentist. I ended up needing a root canal (I think--I don't have a full French dental vocabulary), which he quickly did. It was so quick, in fact, that it's hard to believe that's what it was! He did say something about cleaning out the roots, though, that much I know for sure. Anyway, he put a temporary filling on it, and instructed his assistant/receptionist to make me an appointment for as soon as possible to rebuild the tooth until I can get back the States for a crown. My appointment is Thursday.
Today I look like a chipmunk on the right side. Ben had to work today, but when I texted him about my swelling, he told me to take a picture so we could laugh about it later. Being a dutiful wife, I complied.
I don't ever remember swelling this much with any dental work before. (Mom, thanks for the large bottle of ibuprofen you brought me. I would be spending a fortune at the pharmacie without it!)
Any beef I have formerly had with American healthcare has been completely diminished by these recent experiences. Who knew I would ever be so grateful for a dentist who can fit me in within 24 hours? Here a dental emergency is really only losing a tooth.
As for BJ's experience, we were sent home with very little instruction about what to watch for. Sometimes I've been a little overwhelmed with how much information we're given at American hospitals, but here, it felt like as soon as they stitched him up, they couldn't wait for us to leave.
I love lots of things about Belgium, but healthcare isn't one of them.