On a holiday Monday, when your face suddenly swells up on one side and Benadryl doesn’t help, you end up at the ER.
I thought I was having an allergic reaction to something, but Benadryl didn’t make the swelling down and I realized it hurt. When I tried to eat dinner it became excruciating. My first thought was What the hell is wrong with me now? Allergic reactions don’t hurt!
Sure enough, I ended up at the ER. When I went through triage, the nurse told me it was probably an abscess. When I got back to see the doctor, who was hilarious and it hurt like hell to laugh, I learned that your saliva glands can get stones (like your kidneys and gallbladder). The medical treatment, gently massage face once in a while and eat sour foods…
First, a saliva gland stone sounds like a fake thing. However, my symptoms were spot on for it and I had to eventually just accept that I was a freak. Second, the doctor was surprised it was my first one ever… having Sjogren’s Syndrome is one of the risk factors as is having dry mouth from medications (and I take Clonazepam which causes chronic dry mouth – this is why all my teeth are breaking on things like pudding). Third, treating it via hyper-salvation that happens when you eat sour things and facial massage, doesn’t sound like a real treatment for anything. Finally, the doctor recommended sour candies and sauerkraut.
Feeling the need to understand what the hell a stone in the saliva gland was. and how it was going to come out, I googled it. I DO NOT recommend this. Images pop up and they aren’t pretty. Turns out it is totally real and the recommended treatment is to make yourself hyper-salivate and massage your face to try to get the stone out… when it’s in your cheek like mine is.
And after reading up on it, even I’m a little surprised I made it 37 years without ever having one before. Saliva glands that do not function fully or properly (like with Sjogren’s) creates an atmosphere where calcium solidifies and becomes a stone… As I write this, I’m trying to convince myself to eat a cranberry/spinach salad with balsamic dressing because it was tart and that’s what I was trying to eat when I decided I absolutely needed to see to be seen for the pain.
The good news, they didn’t tell me that a urinary tract was the cause of my face swelling up.