Saturday, May 5, 2012

Take Two Aspirins and Terderize the Tongue

Maybe I was being overly sensitive, but I thought the pediatrician was a wee bit excited about Kimmy's diagnosis.

Now that I think about it, it was not unlike the reaction from that Health Fair nurse a few years ago.  It was midway through the afternoon, after scores of boring, healthy employees had stopped by her station for a finger prick.

"OOOH!" she said excitedly! "It looks like we have a sugar problem here!" Then realizing her faux pas, she turned her expression to one of concern and asked me soberly, "Has anyone ever spoken to you about diabetes before?"

I was stunned. Diabetes? OMG! That's life altering. Diet altering! I like my carbs and candy way too much to be diagnosed with such a serious disease.

Then I remembered my recent, mid-afternoon snack. "Um, I ate candy corn about an hour ago. Would that have influenced the results?"

Nurse Ratchett raised an eyebrow.  "How much candy corn?"

"About half a bag," I said, adding, "I love candy corn."


But,  back to the excited Pediatrician.  When Dr. Pinkner looked into 3-year old Kimmy's mouth, his voice rose an octave. "Did you see her tongue?"

"What about her tongue?" I asked, beginning to worry.

"It's black," he said.

"She's got Black Hairy Tongue!"

I was speechless. How does one respond to such a diagnosis?

"It's very unusual, but easy to treat. All you need is a toothbrush and Adolph's meat tenderizer."

I looked around. "Am I on candid camera?" 

But Dr. Pinkner was so wrapped up in his remarkable diagnosis he didn't hear my question. "Would it be OK if we take pictures of her tongue? It's the first case I've seen."

"Is it contagious?" I started examining my own tongue. 

"Hey Sheila, go bring in Dr. Gunther. He's got to see this."

And Kimmy, who always enjoyed being the center of attention, proudly stuck her tongue out to a parade of curious doctors, nurses and receptionists. 

We should have charged an admission fee.

I filled the "prescription" (the toothbrush and Adolph's meat tenderizer) at the grocery store on the way home But lucky for Kimmy, Dave stopped me before I began to tenderize her toddler tongue.

"Doesn't Pepto-Bismol turn your tongue black?" he asked me. "I've been giving it to her every 4 hours"

I grabbed the box.  

He was right.

I didn't want to burst Dr. Pintner's bubble, so I never told him about the misdiagnosis. 

Besides, Kimmy was a celebrity of sorts in that clinic. 

The only problem was all those damn Paparazzi.  They were relentless.

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