Monday, December 19, 2005

In case of a French kissing crisis

One of the drawbacks of being the daughter of a dentist and a dental office manager, the sister and cousin of a dentist and the sister of a dental hygienist is that when you go home for Christmas, conversations tend toward fascinating subjects such as "prophys," "subcutaneous emphysema" and "temporomandibular joint disorder."

I usually ask a few times if people can "speak in English" (which I tend to regret, because as it turns out they're just using doctor-code for disgusting things like worms crawling out of holes in people's mouths, severe halitosis, or meth-mouth). Eventually, I just give up and let the multisyllabic words wash over me, occasionally half-heartedly piping in with something lame and writerly such as "Did anyone read the latest volume of McSweeny's?", whereupon someone asks me what kind of peer-reviewed journal that is before going back to their organic-chem chatter. Then, typically, we get in a big fight about Medicare funding. After dinner, they go to gleefully roll around in their piles of money while I search for any change they might have accidentally lost in the couch.

But one of the advantages of having so many dental types in the family -- besides free prophys for life! (prophys are just a fancy-name for those six-month checkups where they scrape all your plaque off) -- is that whenever you have some kind of problem someone can 1) send you a nice, free bottle full of a strong antibiotic that will kill anything in a 10-block radius or 2) offer you some actual, helpful medical advice without requiring a $50 co-pay.

So I have had this wicked sore throat for going on seven days now, and I can't seem to shake it. I have even, during the height of the holiday party season, abstained from alcohol for SIX OF THE LAST SEVEN DAYS. That is some kind of record, people. But it feels like I swallowed a ball of razorblades, which is now jammed in my throat, and I can't open my mouth all the way, which has really put the kibosh on any French kissing I want to do. Obviously, something had to be done, and if it meant not pickling my liver, so be it. Because who doesn't love French kissing?

ANYWAY, I finally caved and called my brother (the dentist) to talk about some family crap and then beg for advice. He recommended alternating adult doses of ibuprofin (which you may not know, is 800 mg -- each pill is usually 200 mg; this I already knew from all those doctors I dated) and acetaminophen (about 1200 mg) every four hours. I had been gobbling as many Advil as my swollen throat would allow, but Dr. Brother said the ibuprofin alone might not offer much relief. REAL DOCTOR STUDIES HAVE PROVEN IT WORKS, he said. And he actually reads this stuff. So.

I gave it a shot, and I'm feeling much better. I recommend alternating four Advil with one packet of nastily lemony Theraflu four hours later. Repeat until better. I highly recommend it if you're ever feeling like the bottom of a shoe.

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