My salad dressing days

January 9, 2006, 10:40 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

My friend M called last week.

M: ‘Happy New Year, Marnie! Did you have a good Christmas?’

Me: ‘Yes. Hectic but fun! (This is a euphemism for ‘I was knackered but the kids seemed to enjoy themselves’.) How ’bout you?’

M: ‘Yeah, alright, but I’ve had this horrible bug thing since mid December. Still haven’t shaken it off.’

Me: ‘Tell me about it! I was ill over the break too. Had a hideous sore throat for weeks. No cold or flu symptoms just a raging sore throat. Paracetomol wouldn’t touch it.’

M: ‘Oh my God! Me too! Kills at night time especially.’

Me: ‘Yeeeeeeees!’

M: ‘I saw the GP twice and all they said was…’

Me: ‘”It’s a virus”! Right?’

M: ‘Right! Said my throat was really red and inflamed, though.’

Me: ‘Yep. Me too. So, what, is it still sore now?’

M: ‘Yeah, but not as bad. Although it’s weird, ’cause my tongue seems to be swollen now.’

Me: ‘Oh my God! My tongue is swollen too! That is so weird!’

M: ‘Wow! But d’you know what? And don’t take this the wrong way, I feel a lot better just knowing how ill you’ve been.’


The next night, some mutual friends of me and M came round for dinner. They asked after M and I replied that he was unwell.

Me: ‘Well, he’s a bit better but now he’s got a swollen tongue. In fact, so do I. We think we must have had the same thing.’

The Husband (TH): ‘A swollen tongue?! Don’t be ridiculous!’

[Gosh, he can be so uncaring sometimes.]

Friend #1: [diplomatically] ‘Is it possible to have a swollen tongue?’

Me: ‘Look! [leaning over table and sticking out tongue for inspection] See? There are toothmarks all round the edges…that’s ’cause it’s so swollen that my teeth are champing down on it all the time.’

[Actually, what I said sounded more like ‘Theeee? Thair uh thooth mahks aw wound tha ed-thes…tha’s coth ith tho so-len tha ma theeth a thampin dan on ith a tha thime.’]

TH: ‘You’re being ludicrous! Tongues are muscles! They can’t swell!’

Me: [madly racking brain to summon up knowledge gained from ‘O’ Level Biology] ‘Well, I think you’ll find that muscles can swell up!’

TH: ‘Oh yeah! Um, ooh look! My biceps are swollen!’

Between the four of us, there were four undergraduate degrees, one Masters degree and two Doctorates, but of those only one was science-y (Physics, Third Class, 1989). I could see it was going to be hard to move this argument along.

So I dropped it.

But I resolved to ring M the following morning to further commiserate over our shared bout of Post Viral Swollen Tongue Syndrome (or PVSTS as it’s known to readers of the BMJ).


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