Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Trench Mouth

Okay, for those who don't know...I finally proposed! Although I sometimes come off as a strong headed opinionated feminist of sorts, I'm not talking marriage proposal here. I finally proposed my literature review and research topic to my committee of professors and obtained approval from the school to start collecting data for my thesis! It only took me three years...but I'm already a self proclaimed slacker face, so it's cool. (and yes, please add slacker face, jerk face, idiot face, dummy head etc. to your verbal repertoire as I use them quite commonly)

So after a slightly sweat breaking presentation to a group of professors from our department...here is a photo of Stephanie and I showing off our signatures.

Seeing as Stephanie decided to be all grown up and get married in February...she was quite anxious to get started on our data collection. (Despite all sarcastic remarks I will be eternally indebted to Stephanie for pushing me to actually accomplish work on my master's thesis) Being naive and over zealous, we scheduled no fewer than 5 subjects for our very first day of lactate threshold testing.

Note: when doing research plan on every possible worst case scenario taking place

As is the nature of research for everything to go drastically wrong...our first day in the lab was no disappointment. The day started off around 6:30 am. Testing out my new found phlebotomy skills was stressful in and of itself...and although I find myself quite adept in the area of sticking needles in people's veins, I was not without fault a time or two.

Secondly we managed to pick the world's most pansy butt boys for our study. Okay, that is a bit harsh, but literally as soon as we got our first guy up and running on the treadmill in the midst of blood samples every three minutes, I went to check on the second subject who was supposed to be watching tv for 30 mins. He reported he was feeling slightly light headed after looking down at the venous catheter I so expertly placed in his antecubital vein. Thus, I decided to help him to a chair to sit down and no sooner found Stephanie rushing to my aid as he fainted in my arms!

To make a long story a bit shorter...the blood analyzing took us longer than expected and after a grueling 14 hours in the lab with no stops for food or drink we headed home around 9pm, discouraged and dreading the next day. The fun continued the rest of the week as we placed subjects on the underwater treadmill only to find their veins constricting in response to the cold...Anyhow, the whole point of this was we worked about 12-14 hours every day that week. Yeah, it pretty much sucked and things such as eating lunch or dinner kinda got pushed on the back burner.

Before I knew it I had lost five pounds and was experiencing a raging fever Friday afternoon. Yet we were in the midst of our last subject of the day and there was no one else that could step in and help Stephanie as it was past 5pm in the evening. Thus I stayed in the lab and sat in a chair, (for lack of strength to stand), bundled up in my winter jacket because I was freezing cold and pipeted those stupid blood samples! As I contemplated having to come back the next day, Saturday, to work in the lab another 6 hours in addition to having to attend my friend's bridal shower and go to salsa rehearsal while feeling like crap I could not stop the tears from streaming down my face! Meanwhile it was Stephanie's birthday and she too had been laboring for about 12 hours that day! Yes, that week was filled with many tears for the both of us...

Additionally I had noticed something strange about my gums...they seemed really tender. In fact when I stopped to eat an apple for lunch on Friday they started bleeding when I bit into it. By Saturday morning they were all swollen and red and it hurt to brush my teeth. Sunday was worse and I found I could not each anything without excruciating pain in my gums...indeed they ached when I wasn't eating. I finally went into the doctor Monday morning was diagnosed with Acute Necrotizing Ulcerative Gingivitis (ANUG).

The doctor started me on penicillin and had me rinsing my mouth with hydrogen peroxide. Out of curiosity and skepticism as to whether she had correctly diagnosed my condition I looked up ANUG on the internet. It turns out it described my symptoms to a T! Fever, swollen gums,
lymph nodes, painful ulcers on the gums which may spread to lips and cheeks, concomitant viral infections, more common in young adults under the age of 35.

Apparently ANUG is caused when there are too many normal mouth bacteria. It can be triggered by emotional stress, poor nutrition, smoking, poor oral hygiene, or throat, tooth, or mouth infections. This lovely disease is also commonly referred to as Trench Mouth because many of the soldiers were afflicted with it during WWI. Because I have impeccable oral hygiene which has not changed...I self diagnosed the cause to be emotional stress. However a possibility exists I had another stupid viral infection in my tonsils which could have triggered it. By any means it was quite painful and lasted a full 10-13 days before my mouth fully recovered. As always...I couldn't resist taking a few pictures. So behold if you dare...the TRENCH MOUTH!

Okay, this is me, slighlty comparable to vampire if you will. Completely alluring from the outside appearance (okay, no I don't think I'm that cute but you get the point)...little do you know what lurks behind those lips.

Here the ulcers have so lovingly spread to my lip.

Okay, for those of you brave enough click on the image to really enlarge it. Please note the lining of my gums on my upper front teeth...yes, not smooth but rough. Please note all the white ulcers particularly noticable on the lower gums.

And this is what I got to wake up to quite frequently...blood clotted gums.

Oh, I managed to get about five canker sores on my tongue as well.