Sunday, August 29, 2010

Ill in the time of Google

Lisa gave me a large bag of garden grown tomatoes, and I had been devouring them voraciously, with no concern for consequences.

By Thursday, I had developed a canker sore on my cheek. That night, it hurt when I brushed my back tooth. I decided I'd better lay off the tomatoes for a while.

Friday morning my gums were swollen double their usual size, my body was wracked with chills and aches all up and down my legs and back. I tried to go to work as usual, but found myself curled into a ball on the floor while speaking on a conference call. I gave up.

After sitting on hold for five minutes with the dentist, I scheduled an appointment with a doctor. Then looked up "swollen gums" on Google.

Possible causes.
1. Allergic to toothpaste. No. I've been using this brand for years.

2. Poor dental hygiene. No. I floss religiously.

3. Diabetes. Oh no. I will never get to eat sweets again. How will I survive?

4. Mercury poisoning. Aack! It must be my new steel water bottle. Soon my hair will start falling out!

5. Leukemia. Goodbye cruel world.

I got to the doctor's office, and an annoyed looking assistant weighed me and took my blood pressure, ignoring all my attempts at small talk. She put me in an examining room. And I sat there. For 45 minutes. Aching, headache, chills and fever. Just an examining table and hard wooden chairs. After 30 minutes, I decided I'd leave. After 35 minutes, I decided that was enough, I'd leave. After 40 minutes, I was going to leave. After 45 minutes, I stood up, hesitated in front of the door. Should I leave?

Just then the doctor entered.

Looked at the swollen gums. Let me talk about symptoms. Felt my giant tumor of a lymph node.

"Since it's the weekend, I'll prescribe an antibiotic to kill off any bacteria affecting your gums. If you aren't better in five days, call your dentist. I'm sure you'll be better in five days."

And that was it. Less than five minutes.

Got my antibiotic, came home and went to bed.

Got up around dinner time and tried to eat bland mash. Body ached too much to sit for it. Took Advil and went back to bed.

This morning the body doesn't ache as much, but the gums look worse. And hurt. A lot.

Back to Google.

Consequences of severe swollen gums.
1. Loss of teeth and bone. Oh I will look ugly. And have to eat bland mash forever.

2. Heart disease.

3. Death. Goodbye, cruel world.

Or -

Maybe -

Maybe I have something called gingivostomatitis? Fever, swelling, aches, giant tumorous lymph nodes in the neck and jaw. And sores all over the mouth and gums. Hey, that kind of sounds like me.

"In healthy individuals the lesions heal spontaneously in 7-14 days without a scar."

Healthy aside from a giant swollen mouth and the aches and fever, apparently.

In two days I'm supposed to start teaching again.

In six days I'm supposed to get on a plane to Tokyo.

In fourteen days I'm supposed to be back home.

I can't think of a better way to spend the next 14 days than with my friends the lesions.

And the very very worst most miserable part of all this? All those extra delicious garden ripe tomatoes, now in my fridge, which I cannot eat. *Sob*. I will have to can them.


Letterpress said...

Wowsers. I"m NEVER eating a bunch of green tomatoes. Esp. if I get to go to Tokyo. I'm sending you good vibes and best wishes for a speedy, non-Google-schedule recovery. In otherwords, LESS than the googled 7-14 days.

BTW, I'm jealous that you're going to Tokyo--hope you have a good time!

malcolmpurcell said...

Get to a dentist - I have a great one if you need an appointment I'll call him.

Try rinsing with warm salt water - a great mouth healer.

Mark and Emily said...

In reference to your "Diabetes-Aack, no sweets" comment....welcome to my world. :(

Mother Eagle said...

So sorry. Maren got a fever with sores all over her gums in Washington, something the pediatrician identified immediately that goes around about every two years. It took a few days before she could start to eat normally again.

Tiffany said...

That is tragic! And funny!

Good luck healing and in all your travels.