Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tip of My Tongue

Isn't this the ultimate selfie?

A pic of my dentist taking a pic of me.

How very meta.

And technically she was taking a picture of my tongue.

During your semi-annual dental check-ups, your dentist is actually required (I believe) to do an oral cancer screening check.

All that consists of is taking a piece of gauze and lifting your tongue to look around and under it to make sure you have nothing going on - at least in that region. It's painless and takes seconds - I've never given it much thought.

But at my first cleaning of 2014, back in June, Dr. Dorothy took extra time looking at my mouth. I know the routine, so I know how long it takes. The longer she took, the more uncomfortable I felt - mentally, not physically. When she asked the hygienist to get her camera, I had a very mild "oh fuck" moment.

You know my theory on my doctor visits: anything that can go wrong will. This includes the dentist, but usually to a lesser degree.

On that first visit - oh yes, there's been more than one at this point - she used a real digital camera. She pointed out where I had 'a spot'. It's probably nothing, she said. Possibly from some hot / spicy food I ate in the last week, so to be sure, we'd look at it in two weeks.

I get the need for benchmarking something like this. Save for six months prior, she had nothing with which to compare, so it might be gone and no problem-o in a fortnight.

I tried to make light of it all and asked her how she would know which pics were mine, since she has a whole SD card full of Tongue Porn. She laughed. The new(er) hygienist didn't know what to think of me.

Get in line, honey.

Fast forward two weeks and I get the same look-see and again, it's not a quick evaluation. It should have been, but there was multiple looks and then the loupes went on for a more microscopic look.

And she couldn't find her digital camera and didn't know what to do, until I pointed out she had an iPhone. Lord.

These are her pics. I have no idea what she thought when I asked her to email them. I told her I was going to "something" with them - like xmas or valentine cards. She just rolled her eyes.

But per my earlier theory - what could go wrong.......

In two weeks, one spot had become two and the original one was bigger than it was 14 days earlier. Bummer.

The plan was.....kind of past tense.....to send the pics to an ENT to evaluate. Telemedicine is great, but I was feeling little comfort in this scenario. For the record, there is no sensation of pain, or any raised anything on the tongue. I'm very asymptomatic.

I mean, 15 months prior to, if you remember, I had that free Oral, Head & Neck cancer screening and walked away a winner. Even at my December 2013 dental visit, not an issue of any kind.

So I wait....and I wait.....and I wait. And hear nothing.

I send emails. I placed a call about the sent emails. Finally the receptionist, goes, "oh, I haven't read email today".  My reply was....."well what about the last 10 days, since I've send three in the last 10 days?"  Crickets.

He said the doctor would get back to me within an hour. Do I want it to be an email or phone call. I say the latter. Three hours later, I get a message back via the former.  Lord.

The ENT hadn't read his email (allegedly) and now he's on vacation. Do I want to wait?

FUCK NO.  And not because I think I'm dying. I emailed carefully - considering I'm not sure the ENT is at fault or if the dentist's office never actually sent the materials timely - that if a doctor's office or their assistant cannot read an email for over two weeks, I don't want them treating me.

I love my dentist, but I was trying to send that office a strong message without needing to find a new one.

Of course the joke is on me. Every other fucking ENT in the world is booked or on vacation in July - trust me, I've tried. So I'm finally getting in on August 1st.

That new ENT did email the dentist back while he was on vacation. He too (allegedly) thinks it is nothing but wants to see it in person. I give him points for looking at his work email on vacation. I give his office points for saying he had not appointment slots until September, but they'd get me in anyways (even if they are possibly stretching the truth).

I am going in with full expectations of not just a look-see, but a biopsy. I mean, they have to make money right? Just viewing isn't a huge billable expense. They want the professional and technical charges.

I don't know for sure, but I'm guessing he won't be as down with me taking selfies during my exam. But that is not to say I won't try.

Since you know me and my worst-case scenario, I already told 710 that if I have oral cancer, I'm doing nothing. They're removing nothing. Oral or Head and Neck cancer is absolutely horrible. I won't live with half a jaw and shit like that. I don't want to end up looking like Roger Ebert.

Shallow?  Perhaps.  But I stand by it.

Song by: the Civil Wars


anne marie in philly said...

nope, not shallow. as cancer survivors (both of us), we know what we want/don't want. besides, no one gets off this earth alive anyway.

still, I am sending you good vibrations for health. 710 and the furkids need you.

rebecca said...

Did he get his jaw removed or are you talking about his weight loss?

Ur-spo said...

what a tale!
I thank you for giving us the updates.