Some of you are aware that I’ve been having some minor medical problems for the past few days. To be precise, every time I eat something, the side of my face and my neck swell up and hurt. I thought I was having an allergic reaction to something I was eating, but when it continued to happen no matter what I ate, that put me on the trail of a different diagnosis. (Hey, we’re all doctors now, since the invention of the Internet, right?)
A visit to a real doctor this morning confirmed what I had already figured out. I have an obstructed right parotid duct, which in turn has led to a minor infection of the duct and the adjacent parotid gland. This is the big salivary gland that curves around in front of and below the ear. So when I eat, the gland produces saliva as it’s supposed to, but there’s no place for it to go because the duct leading out of it is blocked somewhere, probably by a stone, leading to the swelling and hurting.
Now, the treatment of choice for a blocked salivary duct is not what you might think it would be. I’m supposed to suck lemons or eat sour candy (I’m opting for the candy) and drink lots of water. This will cause the gland to produce even more saliva and either dissolve the stone or force it on out of the duct. Should take a week or so. In the meantime, I’ll also be on antibiotics to knock out the infection. If that doesn’t do the trick, I’ll have to go to an ear, nose, and throat guy and have him locate and remove the stone. The doctor really seemed to think the situation would resolve itself and wouldn’t come to that, though. I’m hoping that’s right. Eating candy and drinking water sounds good to me.
So if I’m even more full of, ah, spit than usual for the next week, now you know the reason why.