Monday, April 25, 2011

Take Two: My Tongue Is Blue

WEGO blog prompt Day 25: Find an old post of yours and revise it.

It's always interesting for me to look at my blog statistics. One piece of info which is particularly important are the google search words used which cause a reader to arrive on Reasonably Well. Most searches are predictable: dry mouth, Sjogren's syndrome, autoimmune disease. But it's always surprising to me to see how many people enter the words blue tongue and end up reading my post entitled, Doctor, My Tongue Is Blue:

I'm a real sucker for any new product that has the words dry mouth on it's label, so when I spotted a new mouth wash type product that promised to re-hydrate my mouth, I grabbed the biggest bottle that was available. 
Mmmm. Minty fresh, yet soothing. A magically moist mouth didn't materialize, but then I'll take relief for oral dryness even if is for just minutes at a time. I found myself swishing then spitting several times a day. 
This morning, as I looked in the mirror, yawning and bleary-eyed, I did a double take. Something looked very strange. A blue tongue? Yes, a bright blue tongue!  Since my brain was still asleep, it did not occur to me for a full two minutes of panic that my newest oral hygiene product was the culprit. 
I can only imagine Dr. S's reaction if I would have frantically e-mailed her before my morning cup of coffee kicked in: 
Dear Dr. S:
I am very concerned about my tongue. It has turned a strange shade of blue. I have reviewed my anatomy and physiology books from nursing school, granted they were printed in 1975 but anatomy is anatomy, after all. I am certain that a blue tongue is not normal. In spite of feeling otherwise fine, I believe that this is definitely a pathological symptom that requires immediate treatment. Should I proceed to the nearest emergency room for what appears to be hypoxia of the oral cavity? Or should I simply call 911?
Dr. S. is fortunate that my laptop takes a few minutes to fire up. That delay, along with a jolt of caffeine, saved her from reading an email from an idiot. I would deserve this response:
Dear Julia,
The fact that you are able to turn on your computer and type indicates to me that your condition is not critical at this time. 
As far as I know, the only creature capable of producing a blue glossopharyngeal surface is the Australian blue-tongue lizard. Unless you have developed a taste for fungi, insects, and slugs, it would appear that this unique symptom is a result of something not life-threatening. 
Dr. S.
Thank goodness for Folgers. 
When I wrote this post, I hadn't thought about the fact that there actually are several potentially serious causes for a blue tongue, all of which deserve a much less silly answer than the one above, and may include:

Bottom line - if you notice a consistent change in the color of the lining of your mouth and tongue, a sore that doesn't heal, or a growth, pay careful attention and speak to your doctor. It could be a condition which requires further examination by a physician.

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