My mouth is revolting, and I need not qualify the ambiguity of that statement. A week ago a small ulcer began developing on the inside of my upper lip. I laughed it off. (Metaphorically, of course. It takes more than mere laughter to shift a mouth ulcer.) By Tuesday night I had three of the things and was no longer laughing, mainly because it hurt too much to do so. Then, on Wednesday morning, I was struck down with that infamous catalogue of "flu-like symptoms": fever, lethargy and muscle ache. My lymph nodes swelled, my tonsils began excreting pus (what else, exactly, do tonsils do, anyway?), and my mouth went into meltdown. More ulcers appeared, including some particularly horrible ones on the tip of my tongue, and my gums became inflamed and bloody. I was not, it must be said, my usual alluring self.
Like the responsible adult I am, I immediately consulted a medical professional: Google. I learned all I could about mouth ulcers (or "canker sores" as they are commonly, and may I say delightfully, known). According to one site, recurrent mouth ulcers can cause sufferers to avoid eating and showing affection, and may even lead to an unwillingness to have sex, "which may be socially awkward". There are many possible causes of mouth ulcers, but one of the most common is bacterial infection, which would also explain my other symptoms. Bad as things were, I maintained a child-like faith that things would improve without medical intervention - until this morning, when, having eaten my breakfact cereal through a straw, I decided fuck it (or "fugg ith", which is about as close as I could get with my inflamed gob), and went to the doctor.
The GP was young, brisk and aloof. He noted my symptoms, made several mildly condescending remarks, touched me intimately, then diagnosed me with a bacterial infection - exactly as I had concluded after sifting through a series of often-contradictory Google search results. Who needs a medical degree? To fill in time, he gave me the once-over again (so it was actually the twice-over, I suppose), and just as he had his flashlight down my throat his mobile phone rang.
"Do you mind if I take this call?" he said. What I should have said was: "Yes, I bloody well do mind! I'm paying you fifty-six dollars, or approximately four hours wages, after tax, for a ten minute consultation, and I don't think it's too much to ask that you confine your attention to my person for the duration. Now, I would be grateful if you would kindly mute that infernal machine and get back to examining my hideous infected mouth!" What I did say, of course, was: "No, please do." Although it came out more like "Bo, peas to."
After he'd taken his phone call, the doctor got back to the tedious business of treating his patient.
"Now you understand that this condition is contagious?" he said.
"Of course." Well, duh. I hadn't spent an hour trawling through of mouthsore-america.com without learning a thing or two.
"You should avoid sharing drink bottles or glasses. And definitely no kissing."
How unfortunate. I'd planned on giving him a big sloppy one on my way out.
Anyway, I got what I came for: completely screwed over financially, but with a prescription for antibiotics in my back pocket. Hopefully they will kick in tomorrow, and I'll be able to eat semi-solids and perhaps form more than two consonants. Right now, though, I speak like a moron, eat like a baby, and am only slightly less infectious than a basket-ful of medical waste.
Who wants a pash, then?
(All this is by way of pre-emptively explaining my absence from tomorrow night's blog extravaganza. Believe me, you're better off without me right now.)
My current drug and vitamin regime. The Victorian Poisons Information Centre can be reached on 13 11 26.