Is Matter Growing In Me That Shouldn’t Be – The Hypochondria of Gum Wire

By the third day of earache and gum swelling, the tumour fantasies began.
Actually, it might have been the second…or even the first.
My pain memory plays a trick on me.
It says,”haven’t you had this pain for months? Hasn’t this been plaguing you since long before Wednesday? You’ve felt this ghost of a sickness making itself flesh for a long time now, haven’t you?”
I should keep a pain diary, chronicling any aches or newly noticed swellings.
I found a new hard lump by my wrist after attempting to drag a weighted rope up a Cotswold hill.
Was it new?
Was it tissue that had popped up out of shock that I was experiencing an exercise regime?
I’ll put that down under the 15th May entry.
Back to my throat.
I should feel around it, was anything not where it had seemed to be the last time I mapped it?
It seemed that swallowing had been uncomfortable for a long time now.
Did even soup make me blanch in February?
This time it was visions of jaw cancer.
I imagined myself dug out like Freud, with a jaw so stinking even the dogs would avoid him.
I thought about the terrible timing of it all. Just as my talking career was going so well, I’d be robbed of my ability to talk.
No Professor Brian Cox Australia tour for me.
I thought of the upset of my son who would no longer have a father’s voice to hear.
I would record a few phrases of love that I could play to him in the silence.
I wondered how possible it was no to record enough words that you could speak through technology with your own voice even when the cartilage, bone and skin had been removed.
The dentist looked into my mouth.
“Ah yes, ooh nasty, I can see what it is.”
With string grip and pliers, he trimmed the brace wire that had manouevered itself into my gum and gave me an antibiotic prescription just in case.
The pain subsided.
50% of what it was within the hour.
Sat on the train, my tongue ran over the tightening gum.
Still a little pain in the ear…
Maybe I had shifted that wire after the pain began.
Perhaps it was my perpetual tongue tampering with the pinkish jaw corner that had shifted the wire, but it had only been doing that because the pain was building already?
The prosthesis visions came into focus again…

(Schopenhauer wrote about how humans notice the pinch of a shoe, but not the wellness of the rest of the body. I am currently rejoicing in not feeling the pinch of wire into my gum and the wellness of the rest of my body, though my stomach feels strangely tight, as if I have eaten too much pre-gig pea soup and a chocolate pudding, which I have. Oh, and there is that wrist lump, hmmmm)

oh balls, the pain is back, so maybe it wasn’t the gum wire at all… ow

My Edinburgh Fringe shows are now on sale, one about art and one about science, politics and sanity. I’ll be touring a hybrid of them both around the UK from September.

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2 Responses to Is Matter Growing In Me That Shouldn’t Be – The Hypochondria of Gum Wire

  1. Owen Gwynne says:

    Wrist lump is possibly just a ganglion (gangion cyst on Wikipedia) – traditional remedy is to hit it with the family bible – though any other heavy book will do – I’m sure you have a signed copy of one of Brian’s that’ll do.

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