Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A medical miracle

One of my fellow bloggers has some family health issues at the moment, and she was detailing the backstory of how the family member in question ended up in the current state (you know who you are! I'm leaving your name out, though).

Evidenly, there was some (alleged) flukiness involved. (All those years of med school, and a doctor's diagnosis ends up being "bad luck"?)

Anyway, that got me thinking about one of the strangest medical things that ever happened to me.

It was a regular medical miracle.

This all took place in college, when I was younger and stupider.

See, I got a cold sore. (From kissing a girl, perverts.)

I don't think I really realized what it was, because I'd never had one, and I for one have lips that chap and split very easily in winter.

So I just thought my lips were all chapped and split like usual.

Until they started to blister a bit. Then I started to wonder.

But I got distracted.

Because in a couple of days I was in the hospital. With a fever of about 104 degrees.

They gave me some medicine, put me on an IV for dehydration, and sent me home.

A day later, I was back.

It was spring of my freshman year, and I wound up missing nearly three weeks of a 13-week semester (on-and-off) because I was so feverish I'd get delirious. Then off to the hospital (by cab, since no one had a car) for more IVs.

I finally got over the fever.

That's when my face started falling off.

I swear to God, my lips just erupted in blisters. My gums began to bleed. Worse, they began to warp. I mean, really. Like they were shifting.

I looked like a leper, at least from nose to chin.

Fortunately, I was on my way home for the summer at that point. So my mother, being my mother, took me straight to the hospital. I was still young enough to go to pediatrics, embarassingly enough, as I'd just turned 18.

(It wasn't a good spring. My grandmother died, too. On the upside, I got initiated into my fraternity with nary an animal in sight.)

So I'm in pediatrics, and mind you, this is about the fifth or sixth hospital visit. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center couldn't figure out what was wrong with me.

Fortunately, the resident at Geisinger Medical Center, my parents' hospital of choice, was different.

She took one look into my mouth, said "I know what's wrong," and left the room.

A few minutes later, she came back in with another doctor (her supervisor, I guess), and he looks in my mouth, says, "Yes, you're right" and leaves.

So she sits down and tells me: Apparently, like one in a million adults who get cold sores have a terribly violent reaction. (Yes, I know cold sores are caused by some form of herpes. Imagine if I'd gotten this reaction down there!)

This reaction, I'm guessing, since I don't remember the name, is an extreme form of herpetic gingivostomatitis, which normally occurs in children.

In any event, she gives me one prescription and three days later I'm fine. After weeks of hell.

I asked her how she knew what was wrong when nobody else did. She shrugged and said she'd been the one in the previous million, so she knew what it was the minute she saw me.

Trust me, watching your gums get spongy in a couple of days isn't something you forget.

And lest you wonder about the whole cold sore thing... I've never gotten one since. Beats me.

All I know is, sometimes the body reacts to weird things in weird ways. Just my luck.


jin said...

That is SO VERY LUCKY a fellow 'sufferer' happened upon your case like that.

I am glad because otherwise you might currently resemble an extra out of a Romero film.


Dino aka Katy said...

we see a lot of strange cases in our office. My doc is really smart and kind of like the sherlock holmes of infectious disease. He often looks at people just once and knows whats been wrong with them for years (and xnumber of docs didn't)

Stewie said...

Dude, it sounds like you turned into that guy from Feast.


Freak Magnet said...

I used to get cold sores as a result of stress. Then I got hives from stress, then I got lightheaded and earbuzzes from stress, migraines from stress.

I think my body finally gave up giving me hints. Either that, or I'm just stressed all the time.

DannieS72 said...

you are very lucky to have come across a fellow sufferer!

Jewels said...

Huh! Same thing happened to me at 14. Not kidding. Except mine didn't start with a cold sore, it started with a canker sore. It was like my whole mouth was one big inflamed canker sore. Not nice. I couldn't eat, couldn't take the pain.

I feel your pain. Hope I actually never get to feel that again *shudder*....

jin said...

You've been tagged munkee!!!
Only do it if you have time, but I think you might enjoy this one!