Friday, March 24, 2006

Visiting the ENTs

I lost my voice last Saturday. I was on day six of the flu, my temperature had just dropped below 102, and I was feeling pretty good. This is before I was diagnosed with pneumonia.

My right eustacian tube felt clogged, and the gland on the same side was a bit puffy. I did the usual stuff; do the 'frog tongue' thing, where you open your mouth wide and stick your toungue out repeatedly (which acts like a pump, to move precious bodily fluids), and ran a pressing finger from the point where the jaw meets the ear around the back of the jaw, then strait down the neck.

Usually works, every time.

The swelling on the side of my neck got worse and worse, until there was a visible bulge. Whenever I swallow, the whole mass moves in an uncomfortable fashion. Finally, this morning, each coughing fit resolved with a gag reflex from the mass pushing the side of my throat.

Julie said it was like I had the mumps, but only on one side. After two days of phone tag with the doctor, I finally pulled the trigger on getting scheduled for a CT scan.

You can't eat or drink for three hours before a CT scan. I took all my meds at 6:30 this morning with a little water, then stopped in preparation for the test. I had a soft tissues CT of my neck.

The test was at noon. I got to take 'contrast' as part of the test. Contrast is an iodine based tracer dye, and is injected into your body during the CT testing to be metabolized by the tissues. The best hint that you might have an adverse reaction to contrast is being allergic to seafood.

You lie down on the bed of the CT scanner, and the nurse puts a needle in your arm. There is a large, mechanical arm, that hovers over the CT machine, and there are fine tubes hooking your arm to its arm. The mechanical arm follows you into and out of the CT machine, as the bed is rolled through the donut shaped mechanism, and it is administering the contrast. When it hit my system, my body felt warmer, and patches of my skin felt wet.

I drove the scans home, and then it was off to a specialist (an Ear, Nose, and Throat guy, not Treebeard). Julie came with, to keep me company. The doctor looked at the films, and he talked with one of his peers. They also ran a camera up my nose to examine my vocal cords, to verify that they were not paralyzed. The doctors are guessing that the lump in my throat is a bronchial duct cyst, which is a congenital defect where a lined pocket of tissue was never reabsorbed properly when I was just an embryo, and has just been waiting for the right kind of infection to fill up. The swelling of the cyst has pushed my larynx off to one side, which is why I can't talk above a whisper.

The doctor performed a biopsy (Julie was very helpful, by suggesting that they go from underneath), changed my antibiotics, and has me scheduled for another appointment in a week.

I'll keep you posted.


Blogger Maureen McHugh said...

That all sounds rather annoying. But also sounds highly treatable.

I'll be checking in regularly.

12:27 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home