Me vs. Tonsil
October 14, 2007 10:55 PM   Subscribe

Please help me combat the gross taste from my strep-infected tonsil before I hack it out with a paring knife. TMI inside, if it wasn't obvious.

I was diagnosed with strep throat on Thursday (it's pretty much confined to the left side) and have been taking penicillin twice a day since then. I've spent most of the ensuing days either sleeping or gorging on ibuprofen, but feel much better and will emerge from my quarantine tomorrow.

Except...this morning when I woke up and was taking my painkiller/antibiotic cocktail I suddenly started gagging. It felt like a pill had gotten caught in my throat. I started exploring the area with my finger and my tonsil felt bizarre, so I rushed to the mirror and saw that my left tonsil had turned into a miniature head of cauliflower. I assume it hasn't been exactly pleasant-looking for the past few days (when the doctor examined me, she exclaimed, "Oh no! Your tonsil!") but this is the first time it's actually made me gag.

So then, of course, I took a Q-tip and started trying to scrape off the white lumpy stuff. I know that was dumb. It didn't budge - all I got was a bloody Q-tip. And all day, as if to taunt me, my goddamn tonsil has been oozing death-juice into the back of my throat. I have spent the past twelve hours just on the verge of vomiting. I have gargled with salt water and mouthwash and brushed my teeth. Nothing helps. I don't know what to do. Furthermore, if the taste is this bad I can only imagine the smell, and I have to go to work tomorrow and my crush will be there and I want to die. Someone please help alleviate my suffering. Thank you.
posted by granted to Health & Fitness (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I hate to be the one to type this, but you shouldn't be going to work. You should go see your doctor - ASAP. She will say "oh no, your tonsil again." Skip work, go to the doctor.
posted by bigmusic at 11:19 PM on October 14, 2007

Call in sick tomorrow and see your doctor! You have sick leave for a reason. This is it.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 11:23 PM on October 14, 2007

1) As long as there's white stuff in the back of your throat, you're almost certainly contagious. Don't infect your coworkers - this is what sick days are for.

2) My mom always had me drink hot lemonade when I had strep (at least once a year). It can help soothe the area and may help disguise the taste.
posted by chrisamiller at 11:25 PM on October 14, 2007

Oh, and FWIW, I also tried to scrape off the white stuff once with similar results. You're not completely crazy. :)
posted by chrisamiller at 11:27 PM on October 14, 2007

Response by poster: But but but...I'm already on antibiotics, and other than the deathjuice-oozing cauliflower tonsil and resulting nausea I feel pretty much cured. The throat pain is maybe a hundredth of what it was before (I haven't taken any ibuprofen since this morning).

Goddamn it, I'll go back to the doctor. SHIT SHE DIDN'T DO A STREP TEST WHAT IF IT'S MONO
posted by granted at 11:39 PM on October 14, 2007

I've had mono. Beleve me, if it were mono you wouldn't be griping about maybe not going in to work, you'd be wondering how the hell you're going to manage to walk the 15 feet to the bathroom.
posted by Justinian at 11:42 PM on October 14, 2007 [1 favorite]

Sometimes you don't get the fatigue with mono. I didn't; I just had the swollen glands/tonsils, and I was wondering what the hell was going on for like 2 months. But of course mono wouldn't be responding to antibiotics, so I guess the point is moot.

Anyway, about the throat: seconding the lemonade. Cola also worked for me, for some reason. And I would imagine you've tried this already, but just in case, try gargling with plain water really frequently, just to wash things out and prevent the taste from building up. I never could get the taste to stop coming back, but constantly flushing it out worked okay.
posted by equalpants at 12:14 AM on October 15, 2007

If you're feeling much better, I wouldn't worry about it too much. If it's strep, the drugs are working. If it's mono, the virus is running its course.

If you start to relapse, though, or your throat gets worse, then consider going back to the doc.

(IANAD, etc)
posted by chrisamiller at 12:32 AM on October 15, 2007

Try gargling with 50% hydrogen peroxide and 50% warm water. Do not swallow any of it.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:53 AM on October 15, 2007

White lumpy stuff may be tonsil stones (AKA tonsiloths) ... evil foul smelling/tasting things. 2nd-ing the gargle with hydrogen peroxide (from the chemist, 3% strength) and warm water.

there are some interesting ask-me threads on tonsil stones if you are interested.
posted by jannw at 4:22 AM on October 15, 2007

I had Mono once with onyl mild fatigue, but glands so swollen I looked like a Python that had swallowed a golfball. Also, the worst strep of my life, something roughly on the order of: "There isa Gnomish drilling team in my ears, slowly digging to my brain using hot hooks and dripping searing magma down my throat".

In short: It could be mono, it's not always about AHM SO SLEEPY GOTTA SLEEP.
posted by GilloD at 7:12 AM on October 15, 2007

Also, you might try gargling with 8 ounces of warm water mixed with 1 tsp of baking soda and 1/2 tsp salt twice a day. This was recommended to me by an ear, nose and throat doc who specializes in treating stage actors who have to perform while sick. It works beautifully; not only does it soothe, it loosens gunk and makes your mouth, tongue, and throat just feel cleaner overall. Oh, and obviously gargle gently and spit, don't swallow.

Good luck. Gah, I hate strep. It's the worst.
posted by TryTheTilapia at 7:23 AM on October 15, 2007 [1 favorite]

You have sick leave for a reason.

How do you know they have sick leave?
posted by small_ruminant at 9:18 AM on October 15, 2007

I'm sorry to have to be the one to say can't scrape it off, because it's not ON your tonsil, it's IN your tonsil, like jannw suggested. Your tonsils are highly convoluted folds of flesh. If you take that Q-tip and press on the tonsil, pushing from the side of your mouth towards the back of your throat, it will probably come out. Might hurt like hell and make you gag, though. Or you could just wait for it to come out on its own.
posted by emyd at 11:32 AM on October 15, 2007

I know there is some way to push on your neck and manipulate the thing out of there- I watched a guy do it in college. The plug he popped out of there was as big as a pinball and smelt like a pig's ass.
posted by bkeene12 at 1:57 PM on October 15, 2007

sounds like a tonsilolith, or tonsil stone- a gross little nugget of dead mouth cells and crap. they stink and are fascinating. use a Q tip or your pinky finger to gently press around the white thing and it should pop out. keep pressing and you'll probably find a few more. then gargle with salt and you'll be fine.
posted by twistofrhyme at 12:29 AM on October 17, 2007

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