Monday, July 7, 2008

Blame it on the toast

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Fourth of July had a strange beginning for me this year. I was having my usual toast with cream cheese, strawberry jam and ham for breakfast —I know, a weird combination— when I suddenly noticed something odd under my jaw. I went to look myself on the mirror. My face was not very symmetrical. The left side, right under my jaw, was swollen and felt hard. Did I wake up with this? Was it the toast? I'm usually very calm when it comes to medical things. I always think everything is going to be alright. But I must confess I had a moment of panic. I even went online to do some research. Michelle said, just go to the walk-in clinic. So that's what I did.

It was closer to 11 a.m. when I got there. I checked in, filled forms, you know the drill. Two-hour wait, they said. Oh, well. On the upside, I came well equipped with my sketching gear, so I sat and drew the nice view from the waiting room. Soon after I started writing at the top of the pages they called my name.

I went in, waited some more and the doctor showed up. By then my face had shrunk almost to normal. I felt a little stupid. What am I going to say. The toast did it?

As it turned out, it probably did. The doctor said that with some foods, especially tart flavors, the salivary glands have to work full steam and if some tiny crystal stones that usually form inside block the exit, the gland reacts by hardening and swelling. After a few hours, they go back to normal.

And so did my Fourth of July.


Este año empecé el 4 de Julio de una manera extraña. Estaba desayunando mi habitual tostada con queso fundido, mermelada de fresa y jamón en dulce —ya lo sé, una combinación bastante curiosa— cuando de repente noté algo raro debajo de mi mandíbula. Fui a mirarme al espejo. Mi cara no estaba del todo simétrica. El lado izquierdo debajo de la mandíbula estaba hinchado y duro. ¿Me he levantado yo con esto? ¿O ha sido la tostada? Normalmente soy muy tranquilo para cuestiones de salud. Siempre pienso que no hay que preocuparse. Pero debo confesar que me entró un poco de pánico. Incluso busqué información en Internet rápidamente. Michelle me dijo, por qué no vas al ambulatorio. Así lo hice.

Eran casi las once de la mañana cuando llegué. Me tomaron los datos, rellené papeles, lo típico. Dos horas de espera, me dijeron. Pues qué se le va a hacer. Lo bueno es que me trajé mi cuaderno y mi rotulador Micron 0.8. Desde la sala de espera dibujé la bonita vista de la calle. Al poco de empezar a escribir en la parte superior de las páginas llamaron mi nombre.

Pasé para dentro, esperé un poco más y llegó el doctor. Para entonces mi cara ya había vuelto a su aspecto normal. Me sentí un poco estúpido. ¿Qué le voy a decir al médico yo ahora? ¿Que fue la tostada?

Pues resulto que sí. El médico me dijo que con ciertas comidas, especialmente de sabor ácido, las glándulas salivares tienen que trabajar a tope y que si alguna de las pequeñas piedrecitas cristalinas que se forman dentro bloquea la salida, la glándula reacciona hinchándose y poniéndose dura. Después de un par de horas todo vuelve a la normalidad.

Y a la normalidad volvió este 4 de Julio.


  1. Joder vaya susto, menos mal que a toro pasado (viva San Fermín!) la cosa fue incluso chusca.
    Y el boceto que hiciste fantástico, se ve que que estás en vena, el nuevo blog te ha debido de poner las pilas (no es que te hiciera mucha falta)!

  2. Whew! Glad to hear all is well.

    This is the (beautiful) view from the waiting room? My waiting room view looks nothing like this. The view must take some of the sting out of sitting for 2 hours. And wonderful detail here.

  3. So glad you're ok!
    This is a fantastic drawing though...funny how sketching can make the time go and hopfully it kept your mind off it a little.

  4. After all it is surely a good story and a wonderful post.

  5. Scary! so glad it turned out to be "nothing". Love this view - too bad you have to be sick to enjoy it.

    Wanted to tell you how much I love the new blog. I know you worked hard on it, and it really shows. Wanna do mine next? ;D

  6. Another slice of life that i enjoyed reading about -- despite the scare! I liked your hand-written narrative. Not to be too nosey, but what is your motivation for writing it in English in your sketchbook? I write mostly in English myself and am often wondering where that choice stems from in other people.
    Glad to hear todo esta bien.

  7. Gorgeous sketch...super scarey start ot the day...

    I love your perspective here..elevated and full...and the coolness of the trees in the background really speak to me here in the desert...An urban forest!

  8. ¡Me gusta mucho su trabajo, enhorabuena!

  9. thanks for the concern guys, i was also glad it turned out to be nothing and happy i had the chance to draw for a good chunk of time

  10. @wagonized, funny you ask about the English... i started writing in English in my notebooks in college back in Spain as a way to improve my proficiency, now my writing usually comes out in English first more often than not. i usually joke with my wife that after ten years here i'm slowly losing all my 'hispanicity'. i even thought about dropping the Spanish from the blog, but she insisted I keep it, so the Spanish readers of the blog can thank Michelle for that :)

  11. Too weird, I think you were just Meant to sketch that great scene!

  12. Oh relieved to hear it was the toast. That's what I call a freak illness.

  13. Glad it is the toast! Beautiful sketch work.
    Wonderful view from the doctors office.

    Vaya con Dios.

    Sorry, just had high school Spanish.
    I met the sister of a woman that came to U.S.A.
    as a WWII War Bride. She never got to go back to
    Germany. Her children 3, 2 boys and a girl were small when she died. I located her Resting place in the U.S. and put Her relatives in Contact with the German Relatives. In one of the letters I was allowed to see, She wrote that reading Germany was becoming harder every year. She was planning a trip home with Her Children when she became ill.

    Sherrie Roberts

  14. I have been reading El Mundo! a free newspaper and using my dictionary. Now, I can read your blog. Maybe I will learn some Spanish.

    Sherrie Roberts

    Keep up the good blog.