They say things come in threes so I was happy to be finished with my three ailments this past year and ready to start on a fresh year thankfully well and happy. Now I can really get down to business with this retirement thing, I thought. Thanks to some really good doctors and the good wishes and prayers of my family and friends, I ridded myself of some unnecessary parts, cleared out the racetracks for my blood to course through and I felt fit and ready to go. I joined a painting group, I joined the retired teachers association, I volunteered to benefit Alzheimer’s patients, I took writing classes, I started an Etsy Shop, I started a blog, this one, for goodness sakes! I was on my way!
Then Sunday morning, I ate my breakfast—same as usual, egg, yogurt, blueberries, coffee—and there it was. A great big hen egg lump under my jaw. It felt like my tonsil on the right side had somehow twisted downward and gotten tangled between my tongue and my jawbone. Uh-oh, maybe that doctor was right. The one back when I was 27 and had just had my first child. I got tonsillitis that winter. My little boy was about 6 months old and you moms know as well as I do that the mother of a 6 month old boy does not have time to be sick. She barely has time to go to the doctor, but I did in hopes of getting well quicker with some kind of miracle mama-tonsil-medicine.
That doctor took one look at my tonsils and said, “You have got to have these out. They look awful. You are going to die of a heart attack before you are 35 if you don’t get them out right now.” That is what he said.
“I don’t have time to have surgery! I have a 6 month old baby boy!”
I thought I had made myself clear and I went home to heal on my own with whatever drugs he prescribed at the time. I don’t remember what they were, but I also don’t recall them being miracle mama-tonsil-drugs either. Well, apparently I hadn’t made myself clear at all because a couple of days later the hospital called to get me registered for surgery. He had scheduled it without my permission!
I said, “I am not having a tonsillectomy! I didn’t agree to this! I will get another opinion!”
So, another trip to another doctor proved me right, or at least until last Sunday I thought so. That doctor looked at my ugly but healed tonsils and said, “Who told you that? Wait til I see him at the next association meeting! Unless you have constant tonsillitis I don’t think you need to worry about having surgery.”
I went home smugly reassured that I had won that battle and that first doctor who apparently just needed a new boat or car would have to get it bought by some other mother than me. And all these years, which you probably know are way beyond the death sentence of 35, I have kept the ugly tonsils. Doctors have looked in my mouth and tried not to laugh at them but none of them have offered to remove them. I admit that one look in there and they probably think it would just be too much work and not worth the going rate which I guess must be up to a boat AND a car nowadays.
However, Sunday morning I was thinking I shouldn’t have been so smug after all. Pride goeth before a fall my mother always said. You notice when mothers are trying to get your attention they use the King James version of the English language, don’t you!?! At least mine did. I was thinking in King James and that always scares me. It is like having your mother speak to you in your head right straight from heaven where you know for sure she is sitting with John, Peter, Mary, your daddy, your grandma, and maybe even THOSE HIGHER UP.
“I screwed up this time, “ I thought, “That tonsil is going to get me yet.” It was Sunday so I couldn’t call the doctor until the next day. “Maybe it will go away.”
I drank plenty of hot tea with lemon and honey. I drank chicken soup. Between meals, it didn’t hurt like a sore throat or tonsillitis and it would shrink from a hen’s egg to a blue jay’s. But not a robin’s or a humming bird’s for sure. Next time I ate again, back up to hen egg again.
Monday was my painting day. I got up at 5 a.m. in order to get ready to go (it’s a long way and I’m a slow morning person), thinking my hen egg was gone and my throat wasn’t hurting. But as soon as breakfast was over, it was back bigger than ever. I figured it was a double yolk jumbo egg now. I couldn’t go and expose all of my artist friends to a deadly disease that might kill them for sure since every one of us is way over 35. I settled in and waited til my ENT opened to give him a call. I figured he’d cancel all his appointments and see me that morning so I had my shower and was dressed and ready to go, but no. Imagine my surprise when the sweet little lady at the reception desk said the next available appointment would be Tuesday at 1:30. I was lucky to get that one because it was a cancellation. I took it and hoped I wouldn’t die before then but if I did, I’d already had almost 32 extra years past my due date so I really shouldn’t complain.
Tuesday came and like with most doctors’ visits, I was feeling much better by the time I went.
“It’s like taking your car to the mechanic,” my husband said. “It never rattles or whines when it gets there and they think you are wasting their time, but they charge you anyway.”
Still I went because I wasn’t sure if I was contagious and I didn’t know whether to go to my writing class that night. The ages of those people vary greatly from high schoolers to retirees like me, but still it isn’t nice to expose any of your friends to death.
The doctor took one look in my mouth and said, “No, you’re not contagious. Your saliva gland is blocked. You’ve got a stone. You know, like a kidney stone.”
Who knew you could have a kidney stone of the saliva gland! I sure didn’t. Well, of course it wasn’t a kidney stone, but something like it that formed out of calcium or something and took up residence in my submandibular duct and backed up the creek so the water couldn’t flow. Like a tiny dam that patiently waits and creates a great lake! This one was under my jaw!
The doctor felt around and determined I had passed the stone already and that was why I was feeling better. What he prescribed then was the best prescription I have ever had in my entire life. “Keep it moist,” he said, “Suck on something,” he pause and thought for a second, “like lemon drops.”
Candy! My doctor prescribed candy! The only thing better would have been chocolate fudge, but I wasn’t arguing.