The Changeable Moods of the Throat

As whatever bug has attacked my upper respiratory tract enters day eight, I continue to be amazed at the variety of ways in which one’s throat can be sore. In chronological order, I’ve experienced: * A rawness, as after speaking too long too loudly. * A lumpiness, as though there were an actual frog nestled in it. * A dull squeezing pain, which became so intense when I swallowed that I would grind my teeth. * A closing-off kind of feeling, as though my uvula and throat were so swollen that the one was about to completely plug the other. * A burned sensation, like you get from repeated acid reflux or vomiting. * A worn-out-ness, not so much a feeling of pain or discomfort as a sense that my throat could really use a break.

Things are okay at the moment. I had a fair amount of water ice (the etymologically inexplicable Philadelphia-area name for Italian ice) after a late lunch, which has taken care of the dryness and numbed the rest of the pain away. I’m still quite conscious that I have a throat, which is not ordinarily something you think about on a minute-to-minute basis. But it beats a lot of the other sensations. I would think that these varieties of throat pain would be diagnostically useful, but writing this post has made me acutely aware of how hard it is to translate those varieties into a controlled vocabulary. No one I’ve talked to has offered any good explanation of why a sore throat moves from one kind of sore to another.

Medical science, your work is not yet done. John Q. Public is here, and he’d complain, except that, well, he has a sore throat.