Thursday, June 20, 2013

Ugly Herpes Lip

Without preamble: I found out this weekend that I did not escape childhood without being afflicted by the Herpes virus. Don't worry, there are no pictures. I wouldn't do that to you.

My mom used to get cold sores or fever blisters all the time, but I don't recall ever getting one until now. Unfortunately, I found out what was going on a little bit late.

Friday evening, we had plans to go see the Superman moving, and we got chicken wings for dinner. Jamie made me my special toned-down Buffalo wings. I've recently discovered that I now love Buffalo sauce, but it's still a bit too hot for me, so he does something to ease the hotness. 

I thought maybe I'd burned my lip. Those wings were still kind of hot from the oil, but surely I'd have noticed burning myself bad enough to blister my lip? Then I thought Jamie had used a different sauce for my wings, and maybe I had finally discovered an allergy to something. After all, I'm pretty sure I'd have noticed a wing leaking lava-temperature frying oil onto my lip. By then my bottom lip definitely had a gigantic blister over the whole textured center of it, and the whole middle was swollen I'd say times 3. Still, a cold sore never even crossed my mind.

The next morning, it was clear this thing was not a burn or an allergy- which I figured would have subsided by now. Maybe it was one of those things my mom used to get. I spent the whole day still kind of hoping things would get better, wishing it didn't hurt. Then Sunday Jamie got me Campho-Phenique on his mom's recommendation. I drowned this thing in that gel. It stings like someone is poking me with needles when I put it on, but then finally there is that blessed numbness that at least dulls the pain for a while, even if it doesn't stop completely. 

Monday things were almost pain-free and maybe the giant sore was smaller? Grunt and I biked to Petsmart. He was still itchy from our trip to Florida, and Sunday night I'd finally actually seen a flea. We went to get him some Frontline. Oh my gosh, is that a rip-off if I ever saw one. They don't sell in anything but 6-dose packaged, and they cost A HUNDRED DOLLARS!! I love my dog, but screw that! There is now a generic form of Frontline, still with the Filpronil ingredient, made by Sentry. I went with that one, but I still had to buy 6 doses. I put one on Grunt before we even left the parking lot. Only after I got home did I think what an idiot I was. Of course, had it WAY cheaper. Good going idiot girl.

Grunt ran all the way to Petsmart and back, without riding at all. We came home at a much slower trot, but he did it. He was still letting out happy howls periodically too, which said to me that he wa still having fun, and wasn't too tired to ride as long as I was willing to go slower for him. Going to the store, I stopped to let him drink from the stream, and he waded in it a little bit to cool off. Coming home, we had a longer potty stop at the park and he did some exploring along the creek with me in tow as he followed his nose.

Tuesday my lip hurt again, no matter what I did, but yes, it's definitely getting smaller. The swelling finally went down, but things were as visible as ever because the sore would turn bright white beneath the gel. That night I could kind of close my mouth to sleep. Until then I'd been open-mouthed the ENTIRE time. I was producing drool like a puppy dog sitting in front of a hot dog cart, which was highly annoying, having to swallow constantly. Ever tried to do that without closing your lips? You sort of screw up your chin like a big giant pout in order to suck your top teeth against the lowest part you can of your lower lip to get all that stupid extra drool in the right spot so your tongue can do its swallowing thing. Makes your face ache to do that all day long. 

Eating was a chore in opening wide to get the small cut-up piece of food into my mouth without letting anything touch my bottom lip, then using my tongue and upper lip to get it off the fork, and then chewing very carefully, trying not to drool or let anything fall back out of my open face. All while trying very hard not to be rude and make awful noises. Drinking? Oh no. There was no way I could put a cup near this face. I am VERY glad we save straws. Still, I can't use a straw normally either. At first I tried using one in the corner of my mouth, but then I figured out that just curling my tongue around the end of it, along with my top lip, works much better.

I would like to know how a lip can be simultaneously numb and stinging with pain at the same time? It's numb almost like a piece of tape were stuck to it or something, but it aches somehow with an internal stinging, and then a different needle-like stinging if I disturb things. It's weird. Also- how is it that my cold sore started as one great big giant blister, and covered the entirety of the textured part of my lip only, when everything I've read about them says they start as small tiny blisters or clusters of them that merge into one big one, and they are usually always at the edges of lips? Mine has also never once itched at all like I read it would. My blister was gigantic, but it never weeped as much as I would have expected it too, if it had popped or cracked open. Maybe it did it overnight? But then I'd have woken with crustiness when the liquid dried...

Sorry if this is gross, but the title did say specifically what this post was about.

Wednesday was Jamie's day off, and he convinced me to skip Bike Bight and spend the evening playing video games with him after we had a very tasty dinner. He cooked meatballs with a delicious tomato sauce.

Today is Thursday, and my lip hasn't gotten back to the wonderful pain free-ness of Monday, but the sore continues to get a tiny bit smaller every day. It might not take up my entire lip anymore? Maybe that is an itty bitty sliver of textured lip color showing at the bottom? Today I woke with my lips closed again, but there was a sharp point in the scab. I've been putting on the gel, and then whenever I need to put on more for the lovely numbing effect, I'll VERY gently wipe at my lip to take off the very white extra stuff. It's incredibly gross. Apparently the term is "sloughing", as in, my sore was sloughing off the extra scab which wasn't protecting the wound, and this could happen because I was keeping it soft with the gel. Yay me? But oh so gross. This morning, though, after the initial gelling to soften the overnight crust, I wiped very gently and the entire thing came off. I was incredibly surprised. That part didn't especially hurt, but then there was bleeding, and I had to put more gel on it... and THAT was possibly the worse it hurt the entire time. Until the numbing kicked in. Boy did it seem to take forever that time.

Of course, I got a call to substitute for a bus route today. I accepted. I'd told myself previously that if supposedly 98% of the entire world's population had this virus, then they should all know what a cold sore is and there was no reason for me to be embarrassed. Hey, at least it was a more reddish lip-color now instead of bright neon white- that was a good thing. So out into public I went, this time among people I actually know.

The route was seriously easy with only a few stops. There were two buses for the school, and they'd just changed the routing around, so an administrator made certain everyone was where they needed to be. I didn't even have to pre-trip the bus, since this was in the afternoon and that bus had been driven in the morning. The kids looked like they were maybe 6 or 7 years old, middle elementary, little bitty guys. They were all SO ADORABLE. Relatively well-behaved too. 

I love kids. They were not shy at all about asking the very obvious question of what was wrong with my face. They did so very politely, in my opinion. I very briefly explained that it was a sore caused by some germs, and if they ever saw somebody with sores on their mouth like mine, to not share cups or eating utensils with them, and make sure they wash their hands all the time until the sore gets better so the germs aren't passed on to anyone else. That was the end of it, curiosity satisfied, and they all chatted with each other happily until their stop. Did I mention that they were adorable?

Now that I'm back home, I haven't put on any more gel. I put on gel in the bathroom at work, but the 30 minute bike ride seems to have made it disappear. The scab dried out sort of smooth, and moving doesn't make it crack or anything. It doesn't especially sting like needles anymore, just that underlying ache. So I guess I will ignore it and let it do it's healing thing by itself now that it no longer seems to need my help. 
I hope it goes away quickly.