Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Deep Throating... Or Something Like It

I peered into the mirror, my face so close to it that I had to keep wiping the steam from my breath off of the glass so that it wouldn’t obstruct my view. With my mouth open wide and a flashlight perfectly aimed to shine down my throat, I could see that there was a swollen lump attached to the bottom of my tonsil. 

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Super gross, I know, and the gross factor, combined with the pain it was causing, finally convinced me to go see my primary care doctor, who in turn looked a bit startled as she recommended that if it was still there in a week, that I should go see an ENT (ear, nose, and throat doctor) instead.

Fun times.

Well, a week passed, and after peering at it again in the mirror, I begrudgingly slid off my bathroom counter and made an appointment with a local ENT. The next few days were spent religiously gargling saltwater and ingesting massive amounts of natural antiviral and antibacterial concoctions — hoping that the disgusting whatever-it-was might disappear without medical intervention and all would be right in the world.

Unfortunately for me, that didn’t happen. But, when the morning of my appointment rolled around, I got a call that something had come up with one of the DV victims that I work with, and even though I really needed to get to the appointment, she needed me more.

I canceled the appointment and rescheduled it for the following week, and to my surprise, the day before that appointment rolled around, it simply vanished.

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I thought about it, and knowing that the laws of irony assured that if I didn’t go to the appointment, the lump would come back (and not wanting to cancel on the doctor again), I decided to go to the appointment anyway.

Sitting in the exam room, I found myself telling the nurse “yea, it was like this big bump, but it’s not there anymore, but I swear it was there, and I realize how dumb it must seem that I’m even here since it’s not there anymore and there is nothing that you can do for something that no longer exists… but… I came in anyway….”

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I felt super smart right at that moment, but there was really no turning back now.

She laughed at me.

Maybe she thought I was funny, or maybe it was a pity laugh, I’m not really sure that I want to know, but either way, she left to tell the doctor that I was ready. After waiting for just a couple of minutes, she came back into the room and said “I know you said that it wasn’t there anymore, but the doctor wants me to numb you so that he can scope you with the camera and get a better look at what is going on.”

“Uh…” I said hesitantly. “Wait. Is that the pointy thing with the light on the end, that you thread into my nose and keep telling me to swallow, swallow, SWALLOW, until I gag and somehow manage to swallow it down into my throat?”

“We will numb you” she replied.

“No thank you” I said. I’d had that done years ago for something else, and it still ranks pretty high on my “NEVER AGAIN” list.

“You don’t want to be numbed?” she asked.

“Oh no” I said, “I don’t want any of it. No thank you to the whole thing.”

“Um…” the nurse said. “Um…well… he has to.”

Trying to be polite and yet firm in my “hell no I’m not doing that” position, I simply replied back “yea… no thank you. I would not like any of that.”

Photo Credit: Giphy.com

“Ok” she said in a huff, “I’ll let him know.” And for some reason I then felt the need to reply “OK but please let him know that I was polite!”

I still have absolutely no idea why I said that.

A few minutes later the doctor came in, and after explaining to him the disgusting and mysterious lump that I was originally coming to see him for, had now disappeared, he told me that he was going to need to take a look.

“Of course,” I said, “just as long as you don’t try to look at it through my nose.”

For someone who makes her living off of sharing words with people, I wasn't making myself look very good.

Photo Credit Giphy.com

Taking not one, not two, but three wooden tongue depressors, the doctor practically built himself a tiny little cabin in my mouth where he could comfortably stay for a while and take in the scenery. Determined that I was absolutely not going to be scoped, I spent all my time willing myself not to gag and remembering the trick that my orthodontist had taught me about taking short quick breathes to override your gag reflex.

The doctor grabbed a few Q-tips the size of a ruler, and started poking everything in, and down, my throat.

Finally, removing the lumber section of a Home Depot from my mouth, he asked me if I was a smoker.

“Nope,” I told him, and that was the truth.

“Ever?” he asked me.

“Never” I replied.

“Never ever?” he asked me again.

“Uh… yea… never ever” I said, and then asked “why, does my throat look like I smoke?”

“Nope” he said, “but everyone tells me that they don’t smoke and I don’t believe anyone. I’m so tired of getting young people in here with throat cancer, so if you are a smoker, tell me now because that’s going to change how I’m looking at this.”

“Never,” I assured him. “I like my white teeth and I don’t like cancer.”

“I don’t like cancer either” he said, “it sucks.”

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Suddenly I felt like we were two eleven-year old’s bonding over an anti-smoking campaign on TV in between the Saturday morning cartoons.

“Well,” the doctor said. “I didn’t see anything in there, and I have to say, I’m impressed with how far you let me go down your throat without gagging. That was really impressive.”

Then his eyes widened, and he kind of gasped.

I knew what he meant, but it was so awkward that the two of us just sat there frozen while we tried to figure out what to do next.

Photo Credit: Giphy.com

Normally I would have laughed, but after spending just a few minutes with this doctor, I already knew that a sexual joke was not something he would take lightly in his practice (which I appreciate), and how incredibly embarrassed he would be if I even acknowledged it at all.

So I didn’t laugh.

Which made it even more awkward.

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I could tell by his face that he was desperately trying to figure out if he should apologize, or clarify, but then how do you really clarify that without bringing up the mental image of actual deep-throating?

So there I was, thinking about the doctor, thinking about me with a dick in my throat. Then I really did start to get embarrassed, and the only thing that I could think to do was to change the topic, so I did.

“DO YOU THINK I HAVE CANCER?” I blurted out about 4x’s louder than was necessary, which in turn made me sound like a hypochondriac with a possibly cancerous tumor that no one in the room could actually prove had ever existed.

Wonderful.

Regaining his composure, the doctor assured me that I did not have cancer, and that it may have just been a cyst. “Still,” he said, “I’d like to get a CT scan to get a better look at what may be going on.”

For the first time since walking in, I began to feel a little bit nervous, and so I asked honestly, “wait… are you saying there is a chance that it could be cancerous or something?”

“No, absolutely not” he began to ramble. “Cancer wouldn’t disappear like that. It was probably just a cyst that disappeared and the only thing the CT would show would be whether or not a cyst was present, which it probably isn’t since I don’t see anything, but even if there was a tiny one somewhere in there, we would just leave it alone since I can’t even visualize it, which goes to show how tiny it would be right now.”

Then he just sat there while I tried to find the logic in what he had just said.

Photo Credit: Giphy.com

“So…" I asked hesitantly, wondering what I was not comprehending, "you want me to get a medical test that could increase my risk of cancer… for viewing purposes only… and not for any actual treatment?”

He continued to sit there looking at me.

Photo Credit Giphy.com

“I mean I’ll get the test if you think it’s going to change what you would do for me,” I said, “or if you think I’m at risk for something, but I’m just trying to figure out what its purpose would be since the lump is gone and you’re telling me that you wouldn’t do anything to treat it even if you saw something on a CT scan.”

He just sat there some more.

“I don’t want cancer” I said, and then jokingly added “so I’m going to pass on the super expensive test that doesn’t seem totally necessary at the moment, but if the lump should come back, I’ll give you a call. In the meantime, I will continue to refrain from smoking.”

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Standing up, I felt the unexplained need to fist pump the doctor and tell him that I was glad we had that little chat, so I did.

As we walked out of the exam room and I turned to walk down the hallway, he cheerfully and awkwardly called out to me “have a great day and don’t get cancer!”

OK then.

I will try my best.                                                                

Photo Credit: Giphy.com



16 comments:

  1. Epic! Awkward hilarity is often the best kind. Just ask Ben Stiller!

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  2. Well that sounds like it was hilariously awkward.

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    Replies
    1. I was there, and I can assure you it was....

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  3. I would have laughed. I wouldn't have been able to get through the awkward moment without it. 😂

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  4. This. Is. Amazing.

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  5. This is hilarious! I understand about the not wanting a scope done though! I have a condition where I have to get a scoped several times a year to check my airway and it is never any fun!

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  6. thanks so very much. Now I need to clean my laptop from all this coffee spittle. Only you Eden, only you

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  7. Bwahahaaaa...Awesome. And so totally Eden. Thanks for the giggle!

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  8. there are too many hilarious things about this post that I can't just grab one or two sentences and expand on those! OMG, i was dying laughing...like LOL'ing all over my desk at work, tears streaming down my face! I just want to take a vaca and come hang out with you for a week!

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  9. How did you even notice that the thingy was there in the first place??

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    1. It kind of hurt to swallow! No pun intended lol !

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  10. You must have great insurance or a lot of money for a dr. to order a CAT scan based on some nebulous thing you described that was not there anymore and he himself didn't see. Also, since he didn't see anything on gross exam that was concerning, why would he order such and expensive test? Are you sure he wasn't trying to take you to the cleaners? I am surprised that he would want to "scope" anyone without scheduling it in advance as there are so many risks and that goes against standard medical practices (at the very least, one would expect to schedule a scope at a future date, depending on if anything was concerning on initial exam, so that they could be instructed to be NPO and in a controlled setting). Did this doctor have any action against his license? This sounds very concerning!

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    1. I'm not sure you are thinking of the right kind of "scope." At an ENT, a scope is done with a spray of numbing meds, and then they just thread of through your nose. I had it done at another doctor once (unscheduled) when I had a horrible cough, and they wanted to see if I had swelling in my lower throat. It's technically called a nasal endoscopy, and is a pretty common in office deal. It's not usually something that you would have to schedule at a later date unless your doc is a drive thru with super short appointment times (it takes all of two minutes) :)

      I'm not sure why he was so quick to order a CT scan, which is why I declined it, but that also isn't the first time a doc has ordered one based off my description of something they couldn't see, such as pain. Either way, it seemed a bit over board, which is why I declined. I've also seen this doctor for years (he has done four surgeries on my children), and he knows that I avoid seeing doctors at all costs, so since I came in at all, I'm sure he took it pretty seriously.

      No need to be concerned! :)

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