The Mumps (or something mumps-like) Link Update at bottom
It's not official, but most likely I have the mumps.
Yes, you read that correctly. The mumps.
Several weeks ago my friend Katie came down with a weird illness, which her doctors here said were most likely the mumps and sent her on her way home and told her not to go to work until it went away. About a week after that, she and I went to Thailand. Her puffy cheeks were still a little puffy when we left, but we honestly didn't believe it could really be the mumps. I mean, really, isn't that so early to mid-twentieth century? And I told myself, besides, we've all been vaccinated, how could it be the mumps. It must be a mumps-like illness. So off we went to Thailand, merrily merrily, and then fourteen days to the day of leaving (and close quarters living with Katie) my face began to swell. Fourteen days is the general incubation period for the mumps, too. Hmm...sounds suspicious. For the past two days it has looked like another face is trying to grow out of my left jaw.
Katie has just informed me that her test results came back as not mumps, but we have no clue what it is exactly then. My boss has told me to go to the doctor. On Monday. Because it's a weekend and there's a national holiday or something and apparently I won't be able to find a doctor till then. Last year when I tried to get a possible strep throat looked at, the only doctor around was a psychologist in an emergency room. Sigh. Luckily with the help of a friend we located a doctor in another town who was on duty in that town's emergency room.
Apparently vaccinations can lose power and you can indeed get odd, old diseases like the mumps if you're somehow exposed to them and your immunity from childhood has worn off. So I have nothing to do now but wait until Monday and take my pain killer medicine so I can't feel the oddly throbbing alien that is living in my jaw and throat (all the way down to my collar bone) and I am avoiding mirrors because it just freaks me the hell out to see myself looking like the elephant man's little brother.
Tonight I had a deep insight into how it must have felt for Frankenstein and lepers and all other physically grotesquified peoples. I don't want to really sit with that little epiphany for long though, not now, when I can't readily jump up and look in the mirror and see a healthy face looking back and think, well that's all over. I'll think about that in about a week, when I can.
Update link: while searching for information on the net about all this, I come across another blog which states this is common in Japan and might not even be the same mumps that we used to have commonly in America before vaccines.