Last night, out of nowhere, I developed an acutely sore tongue, along the sides, especially the left. It arrived kind of like a tongue curse. It’s brought a little fire into the mouth and it hasn’t cooled down as of today. So it gave me a chance to use the new “magic” mouthwash I was given a prescription for. It’s supposed to magically lessen mouth soreness. It needed to be compounded so I had to find a pharmacy that did compounding. But about all the magic mouthwash did was make everything in my mouth feel larger than it already was, including the pain. The “magic” part may be how the $38 disappeared from my pocket to pay for it. A small dinky bottle of mouthwash for $38? My first instinct was to tell the pharmacists that I could find a place for him to compound, but that’s when the money disappeared. So I said nothing and forlornly took my precious little magic bottle and left.
Today started week number three and completed rad treatment number 11, which makes this process 1/3 finished. But this is only one measurement. One third finished the mere walk back and forth to the rad treatment center. The effects are cumulative and will linger weeks and months afterwards. One little example is the receipt of the fire tongue on Sunday night even though the last rad treatment was Friday morning. It does make for an exciting tomorrow, never knowing what the next surprise will be.
When I finished my treatment today, I saw the next guy preparing wet gauze which he was stuffing into his mouth. Presumably he’s in the same boat. I should ask him sometime, although it really doesn’t matter whether his mouth is sore or not. Mine is.
One benefit after the treatment is that the nurse will spray my mouth with a fine mist of saline solution which is quite soothing. But the soothe doesn’t last long. When I told the nurse about the tongue, she said to use the magic mouthwash. I told her that it did squat, so she gave me another compound to dab onto the tongue (lidocaine viscous 2%). Then she told me to keep using the magic mouthwash. Maybe I should have said that “it didn’t do squat.” Having said that it did squat may have implied that squat happened, when I clearly meant to say that squat didn’t happened. But then again she did give me the extra compound so perhaps she understood squat. I’m giving her the benefit of doubt, knowing that I really should be speaking more concretely.
In an effort to keep eating, I’m looking for anything that is remotely appetizing. Alongside Madison Square Park in front of the Flat Iron building are some food stands for the month of October. At one, I picked up a Moroccan meatball hero, not something I’d normally eat. Since my tongue is especially sensitive, downing this mini-log complete with spices I didn’t know it contained set my mouth on a new kind of fire. I think I found, in chewable form, a new magic mouthwash.