Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Power of Empathy

Two days ago, a dentist told me that I would have to pay him RM2,000 to fix my teeth. I was so pissed off, I almost travelled back though time to give his grandfather a roundhouse kick in the face.

Today, another dentist told me that the best treatmentr for my teeth would cost me RM30,000. With other options that range from RM7,200 to RM3,600. And yet I left the place happy and satisfied.

I was not angry at all.

In these two days, did I manage to make RM30,000?

No. Well, nevermind.

But. The difference was how this other dentist told me about this.

The first one did very little explaining and presented me with only one method of treatment, which may or may not be good. It's root canal + crowning. At RM1,000 a tooth, for two teeth.

I went to this other one, and she explained to me why she does not think that root canal is not the answer to my problem.

I can do more fillings, but it will only last a few more months before another filling has to be placed in.

Root canal is not really the answer, because it makes the tooth brittle and crownings only last an average of two years. Maybe more, but rarely would it last for 10 years or so.

Bridging is a better option, though it will involve three teeth at once, every time you do it. One tooth is around RM1,200. Three is RM3,600.

Implants are the best option, but each costs RM5,000. Yes, that's RM5,000 for each tooth.

This is why for people suffering from poverty, I suggest: suicide.

Oh well.

I am telling this story to share lessons on how empathy can help things along.

I learned it the hard way this earlier year, when I showed little compassion and empathy in one dealing. Thankfully, no money was involved.

This dentist I saw this morning is an example of how even with bad or costly news, there are ways of doing it without hankering down and saying, "RM2,000!"

With me, I needed information. I will not make any major decision, or middling ones, without enough information. I do not base my decisions on faith, whenever I could avoid it. Sometimes, you have to, but in dentistry or medicine in general, I tend to ask around first.

I mean, if something was done to your body, you can't get your money back. There is no money-back guarantee in medicine.

The first dentist gave me very little information. I know the teeth needed work, but he gave me little information and no options.

This other one gave me as much information as I would care to get, and gave options ranging from not doing anything at all (I am not in pain, unless I poke the tooth on the left with a needle, or punch myself in the face) to the RM30,000 full implant, bionic teeth one.

For RM30,000, it better give me superpowers. If not, I'll try the other alternatives.

Anyway, all is fine. I am waiting for my ride to go back to Kuantan. When I'm gone, just carry on, don't mourn... Rejoice - every time you hear the sound of my voice...