This is yet another update on the ongoing drama that is my oral cavity. If only my life was as exciting as my mouth’s. No disgusting photos or anything, but I’ve put in a page break to keep from offending those with sensitive systems.

Saturday evening I took one of my last doses of antibiotics and it felt … stuck in my throat. I drank glass after glass of water, ate some crackers, anything I could think of to get rid of that pokey feeling at the base of my throat. No dice. I was up ’til almost two AM playing Angry Birds  because every time I swallowed I felt that jabbing pain in my neck. The only thing that seemed to soothe it was constantly drinking water and antacids. The  fact that the antacids work lead me to believe that the antibiotics, which made me terribly nauseous, have aggravated my pre-existing stomach condition and acid reflux. Great.

Drinking constantly has led to the predictable results, I was out at the grocery store with my parents and had to run to the litter box. While washing my hands I stuck my tongue out at myself in the tiny mirror. I do that sometimes. This time something was different. There was a large white patch on the back and side of my tongue with a slight greenish-brown tint. I showed it to Mother Dearest, who said it was probably thrush.

Swell. I could have a baby-mouth disease on top of everything else. So I head to Uncle Google when we get home and get the groceries put away.

Sweet Clothespin Jeebus, the pictures I have seen of the insides of people’s mouths. I’m not going to post any because I’m getting queasy just thinking about them.

Simon

In fact, here's a picture of Simon to make up for mentioning it.

So after clamping down on my already bad nausea, I compared my symptoms and the appearance of my tongue with what I found on the Internet. Since I was taking antibiotics it was possible that I had thrush, since the antibiotics kill the good germs as well as the bad ones, allowing normally harmless spores and germs to go berserk. Fun fact, thrush is technically oral candidiasis and is caused by the same yeast spores that can give ladies that itchy feeling around their garage door.

Lovely thought, but at least they don’t call it vulva-mouth.

Firefly

Again, sorry. Here's a sleeping Firefly to make it better.

My symptoms didn’t really fit with thrush, the patch didn’t look like it and I wasn’t experiencing any of the other symptoms (itching, swelling, bleeding from the area) that thrush often presents. So I dug around some more.

So. Many. Pictures. :shudders:

After some truly terrible images that will haunt me forever, I thought I found the cause of my fuzzy tongue – a condition called (shockingly) white hairy tongue. It seems the tongue is covered with little hairs, called filliform papillae, that have a naturally tendency to shed when a fairly short length, showing the pink of the tongue underneath. Under certain conditions they grow much longer, turning white unless they are stained by the pigments in your food. If you smoke they can turn dark yellow or black, which is just another reason to stop smoking in my book. Given that I had been avoiding using the left side of my mouth, where the patch was, it was very likely that this was simply over-grown tongue hairs.

I was pretty confident in my self-diagnosis, but I needed to check. Since it was Sunday my dentist wasn’t open for me to go ask anyone (and I really didn’t want to shell out a huge chunk of change unless it was necessary)but there the was a simple way I could see for sure. I took a cotton swab and gently rubbed it against the patch, using a small hand mirror and checking frequently for bleeding. If it was thrush the area would have been red and swollen and possibly bleeding slightly, but all I revealed was more tongue that looked fine. I waited several minutes, checking frequently to see if there was any change. Nothing. Finally I took a calculated risk – I scraped the stuff off with a spoon. If it had been thrush I would likely have ended up with a massive open sore on my tongue where the patch was. Instead, I was left with a perfectly normal looking tongue and a spoonful of stuff better left unexplored.

Time to bring out the big guns - double baby picture!

Since all those photos of people’s mouths had left me feeling unclean, I brushed my teeth and tongue better that I had in a while, getting as close to my new head hole as I dared. So far, so good.

 

EDIT – The stuck in my throat feeling didn’t go away by Monday morning, so I traipsed on down to the urgent care place so they could have a look-see. Turns out I have strep throat. That’s nice. No recurrence of the hairy tongue yet, so that’s a positive.

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