A few days ago I noticed a hard cyst-like bump near my jawline, and slightly under my ear. My first panicked conclusion was that I had some sort of cyst or tumor. Grainy films of large needles and scalpels played in my mind as I contemplated the draining or removal of the lump.
Until more levelheaded and knowledgeable people explained it is probably a swollen gland. Over the following two days, the lump became painful, and other nearby areas of my neck and head began to hurt. And besides, I didn’t feel sick. I had no sore throat or cold-like symptoms. Just these swollen glands.
I managed to come up with all sorts of fanciful diagnoses. I felt a couple of large bug bites on my head and decided they were made by a particularly venomous spider, and my swollen glands signaled my system fighting the poison. Or I have telepathic glands, and they were responding to a coming virus, yet to arrive.
I decided insurance or no insurance, I was going to the doctor.
The doctor confirmed, swollen glands. She asked questions like, “Have you been scratched by a cat recently?”
To which I said, “No.”
She asked, “Any other complaints?”
She checked my ears and throat. All clear.
I told her my bug bite theory. She laughed.
Then she told me her theories. And *I* laughed.
Her diagnosis? She said I may have mono. Or, I may have TMJ.
Mono because of the swollen glands. TMJ because I was chewing gum when I walked in. I asked, “How else would I know if it’s TMJ?”
She said, “Your jaw would hurt.”
“But my jaw *doesn’t* hurt”
Shrug. She wrote something on a prescription pad and handed it to me. “Go for blood-work. Call me in a few days. Take ibuprofen three times a day.”
So I went and let them stick a needle into my arm (those fever dreams weren’t so far off after all), and here I sit, contemplating my possible illnesses.
The hell of it is, once she told me what it *could* be, I started feeling really tired, and my jaw started to hurt. Like a good hypochondriac, I’ve got all the symptoms to the two possible sicknesses I probably don’t even have.
So, I ask you, good readers, can you solve the Mystery of the Swollen Lymph Nodes? I’ve given you all the facts. Now you tell me:
Do I have mono?
Do I have TMJ?
Do I have a third, as yet unidentified illness?
Write out your deductions in the comments section. I’ll have the answer by Friday, at the latest.
Gosh, isn’t this fun?