Oh, you tonsils you!

I was attending a seminar and on the first day, the instructor made each participant introduce himself/herself to the group using this icebreaker:

Fill in the blank: “I belive I’m the only one in this room who _______________.”

We were not asked to explain or qualify our answers. We just needed to fill in the blank. Classic getting-to-know-you game.

Hmm. I had to think hard about what makes me different from my classmates who are mostly maintenance and testing engineers and IT people.

Someone said she’s the only one in the room who can speak Arabic. Someone else said she’s the only one who has 11 tattoos. Someone’s the only one who’s getting married soon. Someone’s the only one who’s still  rushing reports that morning.

Off the top of my head, I considered saying, “I’m the only one in this room who writes for a living,” but decided against it because it sounded pretentious and would actually put too much pressure on me. Because by the way, it’s a business and technical writing class, and in all honestly, I was there to learn so much more. Yikes! Grammar! Sentence construction!

I thought of saying, “I’m the only one here who has a blog,” but hesitated when I saw another person who probably blogs considering the way she actively posts/muses on Facebook. In my mind, most people active on social media now are also the ones who started blogs. Not accurate, I know, but yeaaah, she’s probably another insufferable blogger like me who writes kilometric posts.

“I’m the only one here who has intimacy and personal space issues.” No. Gaaah, no. Too personal. Note to self: Control yourself.

“I’m the only one here who thinks buying and putting on new lipstick is a relaxing activity.” Okay, but unique? Most women dig this.

So, in a state of panic because it was already my turn to speak, I blurted out:

“I belive I’m the only one in this room who does not have tonsils.”


There. It came out so naturally it was laughable.

My tonsils have gone to heaven. No, actually, they were extracted and put in a jar like pink prunes floating in saltwater.  Yum.

And now for the backstory.

When I was much much younger, I had what my EENT doctor called “kissing tonsils” – tonsils so viciously diseased and swollen that they’re almost touching or “kissing” at the back of my throat. I could still remember how difficult it was to do simple things like eating, drinking, talking, singing, breathing.

People say tonsil-less people have weaker immune system and are more susceptible to cough and colds and other viral and bacterial infections.

See, tonsils have a purpose.


Sometimes, when I’m feeling ill, I’d think my ghost tonsils are haunting me and using pharyngitis, laryngitis, or some other inflammation to torment me. The tonsils I’ve had taken out years ago are probably coming back to avenge their death by tonsillectomy.

Just thinking about it now faintly brings back the pain of swallowing my own saliva. I remember, not with fondness, my childhood bout with tonsillitis.

I had scandalously romantic, kissing tonsils so I regularly suffered from 40 plus-degree rheumatic fevers every single month of the first 13 years of my life. I was delirious and had constant dreams about a pink elephant suffocating me.

I couldn’t eat properly, couldn’t walk too because of the rheumatic pain in my legs. I eventually found some relief in antibiotics called Penadur, but I was already a serious candidate for rheumatic heart disease that time so per doctor’s advice, I had my tonsils taken out when I was 13.

After the operation, the doctor proudly showed me my pink prunes, I mean, tonsils in a jar. I resisted the urge to coo, “Awww, you tonsils you!”

I’m happily tonsil-less now and free from the threat of a rheumatic heart disease.

Apparently, streptococcus bacterial infections in the throat also target the valves of the heart. I was already having chest pains then. I’m so relieved and thankful I got past that disease.

And thank goodness, I could freely eat ice cream now. There’s that old wives’ tale, you know, about how eating ice cream supposedly causes or induces tonsillitis. Not true, folks! I was duped by my mother, denying me ice cream all those years. 🙂

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