Prof. VN told me this is short story material, so there ya go.
It was sometime last year when the tongue decided to pull off a stunt impromptu. You might be wondering what stunt it was. Well, it came as a shock. Don’t recall which channel it was, but in one episode a person got their tongue split in two for cosmetic reason/s. Strange, but whatever makes them happy.
However, what my tongue decided to do was extra strange. I have a history of having mouth ulcers/canker sores due to vitamin Bs deficiency. I had no reason to panic when one appeared as usual on the extreme right tip of the tongue. I waited for it to go away in a week. It did, but it ate away my tongue. I showed it to Amma and expressed my concern. She seemed slightly worried but she asked me to keep an eye.
I did. Another ulcer popped up a few months later slightly behind the previous site. Monitored it closely, this one ate away my tongue too. A part of it. Even the gingelly oil couldn’t save it. At that point, if a person who sucks at math were to calculate the area of tongue lost, it was approximately a centimetre square. I sighed and continued to monitor.
I was glad it did not recur for a long time. It did not, for half a year, until it decided to shock me like an artist. This time both the outer edges burned, nearly half of it. Sighed again, panicked for a while, took a photo and told Amma about it using my tongue like I had water in my mouth. She asked me to have a virtual consult with a doctor. My career plans could come to a standstill like some project that failed to gain a clearance. It was hard to control the tear glands, but succeeded because the headache post crying is annoying. The tongue now looked like a biscuit after being eaten by a baby whose teeth just started sprouting. It is shrinking, I did not know what to do about it. I installed the app and took a night to figure out which doctor to consult, which hospital, when, how many years of experience, which gender, what is the budget, etc. Since, the matter was about my tongue, Amma did not want to spare any expense. The fee was 1000, for 30 minutes or a little more than that. I wish that day was just a Monday blue. Sigh
Next day, it got worse. It was hard to brush without enraging the reddened tongue edges. I had to use the chat to communicate in my Development Journalism class. My Professor felt weird to not hear my voice. She asked me why, I told her and everyone that I have a shrinking tongue problem; Everyone found it bizarre and distracting. We moved on to the class. It was good as usual, except for my text behaviour, which definitely was unusual. I used textmojis, it was impulsive and funny. Supriya and Saishyam were my voice boxes. Anyway, after this the Psychology presentations were on. I informed Supriya about the graveness of my tongue, we got pushed without even having to do anything, since some groups exceeded the time limit and a teammate was stuck in Kerala with unreliable power and water supply and network connectivity. I decided to take an over the counter painkiller and wait for it to help.
It usually does not impact my sleep cycle, however it was a disaster in the making. I overslept. Isaac, Saishyam and I call each other if we do not say good morning before 9:10. They tried, Supriya did, frantically; All in vain, because I passed out while watching YouTube and the phone did not close it to save battery. This was the last nail in the coffin and boom. I missed all my classes that day, most importantly the presentation. Paavam Suppu, she freaked out and got mad, justifiably. I woke up around 11, “OH SHIT!” My phone was dead. I messed it up. We were so excited for it, we practiced twice to keep it under 15 minutes and we did. We wanted to feel smug about it in private. Oh well, disaster happened. My heart sank. My tongue problem disappeared for a while. I received messages from some concerned friends. One of the texts read, “Thought some $$$ person actually shot you”. That is one of the last things I want, so I am hiding that. Pranav capitalized on that moment to pull my leg, which helped with my anxiety and guilt. One good thing out of this was, the pain subsided.
Anyway, I am glad it wasn’t necrotizing fasciitis (I even considered cancer). The doctor said it could be due to dehydration and vitamin deficiency, Bs to be specific. So, now I have four bottles lined up; 5ml each of an iron supplement, a D3, a multivitamin ,and B complex and C. My favourite is the last one, it’s strawberry flavoured. Oh I forgot to mention Bellina’s internet hunt for conditions. She came up with something called, Scalloped Tongue. It was that.
The border between home and college has been blurred; It exists only virtually, digitally. I attend the classes in my bedroom, sometimes right after opening my eyes. It is hard to wake up and push myself. Initially I was restricting my time on social media, but now it has naturally come down to less than an hour from three hours during the early days of the pandemic. I failed to wake up again after snoozing my alarm around 8 because my sleep cycle is messed up yet again.
I am fine now. Neither me nor the tongue are the same anymore. Surreal times.
Thank you very much for reading. Feedback is welcome.