Tuesday, March 08, 2011
A lost art
The list of things that are wrong with me is long and includes everything from my inability to keep clothes anywhere besides a basket in the middle of the hallway, to hands that are so inhumanly icy that happy babies cry when I touch them. But this thing in particular is relatively imperceptible, and you would never know unless I told you. Or spit on you.
My head and neck are disproportionately small (disproportionate being the key word here), so it was easy to notice the lump just below my jaw line. It’s actually been there for a few years (cue gasps from the diehard hypochondriacs – I get you because I’m like you, except I rely on the internet for both diagnosis and treatment). I ignored it like the financially challenged are wont to do, and got along fine. Until recently, when I discovered that that lump in my neck, when pressed, can now trigger a projectile stream of spit that leaps out of my mouth in a fountain-like arc. Sometimes it doesn’t even need triggering; it happens on its own. Which is worse. Especially if you are around people you don’t know. Or people you do know, for that matter. Because it is weird either way.
I guess this is what the kids call gleeking, only it is a mutant form of Olympic gleeking that must be stopped before it gets worse. Also, sometimes my neck hurts.
The ENT recommended a type of x-ray only done by one radiologist in Omaha. “How cutting edge!” That’s what you’re probably thinking right now. No. It’s only done by one radiologist in Omaha because everyone else has moved on to more advanced procedures, like CT scans and leaches. Said procedure is called a sialogram, and I expected something involving a dull razor… maybe eye of newt. Definitely spells. I was sort of nervous.
And it didn’t help that, when I got to the hospital this morning for said procedure, the techs, and even the radiologist himself, were waiting, grinning, tapping their fingers against the cold metal x-ray table in baffling anticipation.
"I haven't done one of these in years," one of the nurses said as she slipped a heavy, red flak jacket over her head. At that point, I considered running away. I could live with the lump in my neck, and I bet the gleeking would help me gain inroads with the show-and-tell set.
But I stayed. And after a dozen x-rays and a mouth full of saccharin dye, it was over. I'm still not sure what all of the fuss was about. My only guess is that rarity, and even more so the threat of extinction, can make anything fascinating - Western Lowland Gorillas, Eames loungers, tan M&Ms, even sialograms.