Tuesday, February 24, 2015

a toothy problem

it's windy and blustery outside and grey and the weather seems generally cranky. and it's rubbing off on me. and it's not improved by an email exchange with the municipality dentist people. you see, children's dentistry is provided for free until they are 18 in denmark. they should be called in yearly for a checkup and until the 6th grade, sabin was. and it occurred to me (and her) recently that she hadn't been invited for a checkup in nearly two years! 

so, i went to the municipality's website to look up contact details. they have a "self service" button that you're supposed to press and make your own appointment (the government in denmark wants everything to happen electronically, but alas, hasn't really set up the systems to support it). right above that is a big long message about how the self-service is currently out of service. so i managed to find an email address to write to, since no one ever answers the phone numbers that are buried about three layers in. i think they have a secret 5 minute window where they answer the phone that you have to try to guess. and probably as soon as someone guesses it, they change it, so good luck getting through.

originally, i wrote on february 4, asking for an appointment for the child. funnily enough, i didn't get any response. no email back, not even an automatic "we received your mail," and definitely no appointment. and this, even tho' i wrote in danish, so it wasn't that they were intimidated by an email in english. so yesterday, i wrote again, this time specifically requesting a response (and a little put out that that was even necessary). 

a couple of years ago, i did a big research project where i talked to a lot of foreigners living in denmark and from them, i repeatedly heard a story of how the municipalities are a bit lax with the children's dental offer towards children with foreign parents. i heard again and again how kids with crooked teeth were assured they didn't need braces and how checkups were offered less often than to purely danish kids. and i rather smugly thought that i had never experienced that. but now i'm starting to wonder. with an aging population, the welfare state in denmark has to begin to make choices regarding their resources. so to let a few children with a foreign parent slip through the cracks on the dentistry offer would probably save a few kroner here and there. in my second mail, i brought this up and said i hoped that wasn't the case.

this morning, i had an answer. although i had signed my name, the answer was rudely not addressed to anyone, no "dear julie," no "hi julie," it just launched into a question regarding the child's social security number, which, unfortunately, i had typed incorrectly in my original mail. i answered back with her correct number and received an answer with a time in one month, at 9 a.m., during the school/work day. in other words, not a convenient or possible time.  she also provided a link to the non-functioning self-service, as if it were working (or perhaps she was unaware that it wasn't working), pedantically telling me how i could look up the records and make appointments there myself. if only it were working. i took a screenshot of the message about how it's not working and said that i would have been happy to make the appointment that way, were it possible. and while she was generally responsive and answering my mails right away, she ignored that part of my mail.

she also tried to tell me that they had sent multiple appointments to us and that maybe we hadn't checked our e-boks (the electronic system where all communication from the state now happens). i do check my e-boks regularly, because i have it set up to send me a mail when there is something there. but i checked it again and funnily enough, there were no mails from the municipality regarding dentist appointments. oddly enough, husband doesn't have any either. and the only conclusion i can draw from that is that she lied about that or sent them to some other parents.

being a conflict-shy dane, she also completely ignored my question about sabin being pushed allowed to fall through the cracks because she has a foreign parent. like she didn't even see that bit. and in all of her answers, despite my modeling back to her the correct way to write a mail, with a salutation of "dear so-and-so or the more normal danish version of "hi so-and-so," she continued to rudely refuse to follow the conventions of basic email etiquette and politeness.

funnily enough, in the middle of this, the postman came to the door with the mail and in it, there was a postcard from the local school dentist, with a time for sabin on february 18. and it arrived today, on february 24. so we missed it because we didn't know about it. and a postcard is quite different than an electronic letter. i tried to call the number of the local school dentist that's on the postcard, but i apparently missed today's 5 minute window, because it just rang and rang and cycled back through the system. so we are still appointmentless and it's been two years and counting.

well done, vejle kommune. well done.  (you might recall that this isn't the first time vejle kommune has had an epic fail.) 

* * *

the day continues in weirdness mode. the telemarketers are getting more and more cheeky. on principle, i don't answer my phone if it is a blocked number, but i suppose that happens quite a lot for telemarkers, so they have started to call from numbers that show. because of my waiting state, i answer the phone, even if i don't recognize the number. this one was a young man who wanted to ask me some follow-up questions about a contest i'd supposedly participated in online. not having participated in any online contests (buzz feed quizzes don't count), i laughed and said that was weird. he got really mad and said i had and that i had provided my full name and address and phone number, tho' funnily enough, he wouldn't tell me what my full name was, or even my first name, nor my address. i just kept laughing and then he got petulant and said he'd give the trip to spain to someone else. you go right ahead and do that, buddy.

* * *

fat cat photobombs famous paintings with hilarious results.

No comments: