The Lemon Drop Cure

Due to the…ahem…sensitive nature of this episode there will be no photos, X-rays, CAT scans or Ultrasounds (which is a great name for a surf band) included. Trust me. You’ll thank me later.

You’ve heard of kidney stones, gall stones, even the Rolling Stones…but who ever heard of Spit Stones?

That’s right salivary stones.

I caught them upon arriving in Massachusetts. The first indication of a problem is you start to talk like a cartoon character – which is very funny to your wife and the girl at Dunkin Donuts. Five minutes later you descend into a hell of excruciating pain (explanation for men: slamming your hand in a car door – twice, explanation for women: you have a paper cut). A pain that eliminates your ability to eat, swallow or sleep.

This necessitated a trip to the big building where they keep all the sick people. I went on July 6 and they were just finishing patching up all the people who were hurt by fireworks they weren’t smart enough to set off properly, sort of another Darwin moment.

I was seen by a wonderful PA (Physician Almost) who gave me an undecipherable prescription and told me to suck on sour lemon candy to increase saliva flow. She looked deep into my eyes and said “I want you to think of that candy as medicine…but without the impossible to open container”.

I also got a referral to an ENT.

Ear – Nose – Throat is a lesser specialty that gets seated in the back row of Doctor Conventions with the Proctologists while the Cardiologists and Orthopedic Surgeons get to sit up front with all the good looking hookers. This makes them a little testy.

My Doctor, Dr. Trustyscalpel, had over 30 years of experience and the bedside manner of a guy giving Army physicals. He poked and prodded and kept asking “Does this hurt?”, whereupon he’d push harder and ask “Does this hurt more?”. He then gave me four undecipherable prescriptions and, being old school, told me to suck on lemon slices.

Then he looked deep into my eyes and said if the lemon slices don’t work out he wanted to cut a hole in the side of my neck and pull the offending saliva gland out. From lemon slices to a four hour surgery…this guy was old school.

I think I’ll be getting a second opinion from someone with oh, I don’t know, five years of experience who may have heard of some less invasive techniques – like Dr. McCoy’s Tricorder.

Because Dr. Trustyscalpel’s explanation for how I got it was “Ya know -sometimes it just happens”, I went to the ultimate fount of occasionally correct information, GoOgLe to find out about spit stones.

Before I felt the need to blast intimate details of my life all over the internet I had a bout with gall stones…and I’ve got the scars to prove it. Though it was a very uncomfortable incident in my life it lead to my marriage to the lovely Miss Amy. As they were wheeling me into surgery she took my hand and looked at me with misty eyes and said, “Crap, if we were married this would be covered on my insurance”.

Back at Google, our good friends at the Mayo Clinic (Hellman’s on the east coast, Best Foods on the west) informed me that salivary stones are:

  • 2nd cousins to the mumps
  • Naturally occurring result to blockage and infection of a gland
  • Proof we are really the descendents of aliens like the ones we saw on the “Rock People” episode of Star Trek

Spit glands are very important for men. Women don’t have spit glands…or fart glands or “We need a new big screen TV” glands. Major League Baseball wouldn’t exist without spit glands.

Any place bodily fluids flow through the body has the capability of letting things dam up and create “fill-in-the-blank” stones. Swell, after my gall bladder adventure and now this I may have a “tendency”. Or, as my brother observed “I think you’re turning into an oyster”.

I’ve been abnormally healthy my whole life, which is the same as someone who never uses up all his vacation and sick days. As a result to having very little in the way of colds, flu, asthma or allergies my body goes in for more kick-ass disorders every few years that put me down for the count.

BODY TO BRAIN: Hey…we need a couple of weeks on the couch watching COPS reruns.

BRAIN: OK…let’s dam up one of the spit valves and see what happens.

And so here we are today, throwing back antibiotics and steroids like Arnold the Govenator in the good old days. Some of you may be asking how can I be writing this in the midst of a health issue?

Hey I play hurt.

I’m also thinking of starting a Telethon.

Day 39 no Aloha Shirt sightings


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