The Mysterious Case of the Swollen Lymph Nodes.

Posted on: September 15th, 2009 by Anthony Rapino 7 Comments


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?”

“No.”

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?

7 Responses

  1. Cate Gardner says:

    Don't worry. It's just alien spiders nesting in your neck, they should hatch by the weekend.

    In more serious news, my neice had a similar thing recently and her doc said her glands were swollen because she had a slight infection and that they would right themselves, and they did.

  2. onipar... says:

    I'm putting alien spider nest down as your answer, Cate. If you're right, I owe you a soda. 🙂

  3. Aaron Polson says:

    Yeah…the spiders will just eat their way out, and then you'll be fine.

    I had TMJ once…no swollen glands. Hurt terribly, though. Good luck with the medical mystery.

  4. onipar... says:

    So that's two for alien spiders nesting in my face?

    I'll make sure to make a video when they burst forth.

  5. anita says:

    The kissing disease or alien spiders…kissing disease or alien spiders.

    Tough call.

    Oh. I know. A parasitic twin.
    Yeah. There we go.

  6. Robert Farley says:

    Sorry it took me so long to give my diagnosis. I'm thinking the rest of your body might have shrunk, leaving only the "lump" the original normal size.

    So, it's been a week. What was it?

  7. onipar... says:

    It wasn't mono or tmj. I never did get sick, and the swelling went down. All gone.

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