Sunday, 28 July 2013

Pain in the Mouth

About a month ago I experienced the worst pain one can experience in your mouth and it took several weeks to dissipate.

At that time I ate dinner with YTSL at Tung Po, a dai pai dong in North Point. I wrote about it here. However, the next day and the day after I felt a kind of pain in the roof of my mouth and thought that I had probably eaten too much of the eggplant from the sizzling hot plate.

The pain was not searing; it was an annoying pain that made it hard to eat, so I had to put pieces of food in my mouth like a child in order to eat. But after that, the pain got worse -- so much so I could barely even drink water.

It turns out I had burned the roof of my mouth and tongue, and I was about to go on a family trip to the east coast of the United States. Needless to say I lost plenty of weight, not just because I couldn't eat, but because I was in so much pain -- which varied from hour to hour, day by day -- that I lost my appetite to eat.

I could only drink cold water and milk and perhaps some yogurt, but a smoothie was actually too painful to down, believe it or not. Sleeping was difficult too because the pain was constant and thankfully because we were out all day sightseeing and doing things, being exhausted was what helped me fall asleep, most of the time.

After over a week I got myself checked out in the emergency room in New York. Luckily there wasn't much of a wait to see the doctor, who took a relatively quick look and determined that the roof of my mouth wasn't infected (thank God), and that the dead skin was sloughing off the roof of my mouth and tongue; the new skin emerging underneath, made it particularly sensitive which was the pain I was experiencing.

All he recommended was that I get some Chloraseptic and spray it in my mouth to numb the pain in order to eat. Thankfully the bill was $150 considering I had no insurance.

Once I sprayed my mouth, there was an immediate numbing sensation and my window of opportunity to eat was very short. So I'd spray my mouth and then try to scoff down as much soft food as I could (with some dull pain). After a while the numbness would slowly go away and then I'd have to wait another two hours to be able to spray again if need be.

Although the bottle recommended only using it for two days, I used it for about five days. The pain eventually got duller and duller and everyday I would discover I could eat certain foods, like cold boiled eggs, watermelon, the inside of a bagette and lots of ice water.

And then I could eat carefully on one side of my mouth because my tongue on the right side was still in pain. By the end of my trip I could finally eat a three-course meal.

May we also add it was painful brushing my teeth? Tears would well up in my eyes in the first few days, but finally I could even use mouth wash without it stinging so much.

But during that time I came to really appreciate my mouth! I thought about how I used to conduct a lot of food tastings several times a week and when I think about it, I took my mouth for granted. I just popped things in my mouth and decided if it tasted good or not and wrote about it.

And while I was in pain, I didn't complain about not being able to eat gourmet food, but tried to figure out ways to cope and also eat something to keep my body going.

Another aspect was that it was bizarre having pain in my mouth but also being able to do everything else, walk around, see interesting things, take pictures of them and listen to talks. I just couldn't respond or communicate back. I was practically a mute for almost two weeks. I listened a lot and talked minimally. In a way it made me focus more on what was around me instead of what was going on in my mouth.

By now you must think I have some kind of oral fixation, but I don't! I'm just saying I have a new appreciation for my mouth! And now with everything pretty much back to normal, the feeling of the roof of my mouth is a bit different; my tongue looks beautiful too, may I add!

I seem to have a preference for cold drinks now, or is it because it's summer?

And I'll make sure I never eat sizzling hot things again!!! I also signed up for travel medical insurance...

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