Last September, as soon as I stepped off the plane from San Fransisco to New York, I felt my gums suddenly balloon. When I ate an everything bagel the next day it scratched and scraped my gums in a painful yet pleasing way. I went to go get my teeth cleaned and not only was I bleeding throughout the whole procedure that the lady had to stop, but I felt a fever set on as soon as I left the dentist office.
“There’s no way I can drive to Nantucket right now.” I told my mom. So I slept in my sisters bed, festering with all the animal poo and urine which had accumulated whilst my mother had been off on the quaint Massachusetts island- this was not part of my plan coming home to the East Coast, as you could imagine.
My mom’s fiance lovingly bought me flights to Nantucket for the next morning- I still had to make the 3 hour drive to the tiny airport, but it was better than driving the whole way. My body had given up on me. I hadn’t had a fever this bad in… well, ever?
As soon as I arrived at the house on the island I collapsed in a shivering pile in the spare bedroom (see featured image), where I remained until the next morning. My mouth had erupted in an infestation of ulcers (if I had to guess how many I could say possibly 25?) in all the crevices of my mouth and gums. To make it worse when I gargled with mildly warm (not even HOT) salt water, the roof of my mouth reacted to the heat and opened up into even more.
I could not eat.
I could not speak (for anyone that knows me knows these are my 2 favourite things!!!!!)
Only soft and non-acidic foods (DO YOU KNOW HOW LIMITING THIS IS?!) could pass my mouth without agony, and even this was a tough feat (it took me an hour to eat a pot of yoghurt). After 24 hours my mother admitted she thought it might be Strep throat (as my brother had it the week before) and we must go to urgent care at once!
At urgent care, they asked so I told them my drug history and what I had been up to that summer (What fun! They said. But your body is definitely run down. No shit.) They told me I had ulcers which were caused by a virus and to mix Benadryl with an antacid before I ate to ease the pain.
The next morning I had some more life in me, but was still unable to eat much. I was talking with a bit more ease. This was the day I was going back to Connecticut- oh, what a fun filled time I’d had on Nantucket!!
When I arrived back in the UK, I was finally able to start eating some foods with acidity in them. Still mainly small foods, with creamy consistency (made a banging garlic cream spinach pasta sauce with tiny weeny little pastas), and I had pretty much altogether given up smoking. I booked myself in an appointment at Forest Hill Dental Surgery to get a 2nd opinion the following Monday (2 weeks since I had been able to eat solid foods and bagels).
As soon as she inspected my mouth she said, “You have an extremely bad case of a type of bacteria in your mouth. We need to put you on antibiotics straight away. You said you went to the dentist in America, and urgent care, I’m surprised they didn’t catch this.”
ARE. YOU. FUCKING. KIDDING. ME. TWO WEEKS WITHOUT EATING, FIVE DAYS WITHOUT BEING ABLE TO SPEAK, and I could have been given ANTIBIOTICS, TWO WEEKS AGO, to solve this problem?!! The all caps in this part of the story are necessary.
I called my mother straight away. “REFUSE TO PAY THEM!” I stated dramatically. More for her sake than mine- because I’ve been in the UK for so long she no longer has health insurance for me in the States, so that was a costly visit. I couldn’t believe it. I could not ACTUALLY believe that the fuck-tard lady had attempted to clean my teeth when there was savage infestation of bacteria in my mouth- and she was the one who arguable made it worse by scraping around in there. I also couldn’t believe the urgent care doctors were so easy to dismiss it as a virus. IS IT THAT HARD TO PROPERLY DIAGNOSE?!!
I’ve often thought that the health care system in America is fucked. I believe in health care for all. BUT, I’ve also thought that if you do have insurance, or the ability to pay without insurance (i.e. me on this occasion) that you get seen quickly and that the resources are abundant and effective. Apparently not.
Photo 1- the tiny plane I arrived to and from the island on
Photo 2- the boss ass pilot on the tiny plane
Photo 3- the size of my lymph nodes trying to fight the little buggers
Photo 4- my attempt at going out for a meal (I lasted an hour before having to go home)
Photo 5- the day I had to go back to Connecticut (believe I was eating clam chowder, not able to chew it, but I came up with a great technique of eating with a spoon, putting it as far in the back of the your mouth as you can and knocking it back. It’s really a great way to sample your food.)