Thursday, May 27, 2004


It started on Tuesday.

How depressing to be stuck inside sick on the brightest, bluest, breeziest day of spring. To say I had a sore throat is an understatement. To say that every breath was hot noxious fumes of exactly the type to perfectly irritate the swollen tender tissues of my throat is more accurate. It would also be more accurate to say that every swallow was gasoline on skin already inflamed. My own doctor away at a conference, I was forced to walk, spitting every few steps because I couldn’t swallow, to one of those walk-in places, “Docs.” The “doc” was about 17. I’m not kidding. He prescribed Viscous Lidocaine to dull the pain of the sore throat. I quote from the information that came with the prescription:

Do not drink water or any liquids right after taking this medication and avoid eating any food for at least 1 hour since LIDOCAINE HCL VISCOUS will numb your tongue and affect swallowing. It is important to not eat or chew gum while your mouth is numb to prevent choking or biting your tongue.

Also, try not to talk.

Viscous Lidocaine is just that: the consistency of molasses, and smells and tastes like a cocaine drip; these alone were triggering my gag reflex before I got it anywhere near my throat. I finally devised a method where I took a small narrow drinking glass filled with the prescribed amount of stuff, put the whole thing inside my mouth so that my tongue would not have to be in contact with the lidocaine, and dumped it down my throat. Gargling wasn’t too easy either; the directions said to gargle for one minute, then swallow (!) but have you ever tried to gargle for a full minute with foul tasting molasses? I just couldn’t swallow it, so spitting it out defeated the purpose of having the glass inside my mouth to protect my tongue, resulting in more gagging, also in panicking and grabbing a hand towel and wiping off my tongue. Still more gagging. Result: I still had a sore throat

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