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A Belated Revelation in Waikiki
I have recently recovered from a two-month bout of an inflamed mouth, a raw tongue, and severely chapped lips. Initially, I tried to ignore this unprovoked triple whammy. I persevered, even though it hurt to eat anything except the blandest food, my speech was slurred, and I couldn’t whistle (one of my favorite hobbies)—and toothpaste stung like hell.
But as the pain persisted, I went to the Waikiki medical clinic around the corner. The doctor had a quick diagnosis: a virus was responsible; my sore mouth, my prickly tongue, and my scabby lips would heal on their own. Nonetheless, in case a secondary bacterial infection developed, he prescribed antibiotics.
Because I got only slightly better after two weeks, I went to the same clinic to see another doctor. She was so stymied by my condition that she left the room to deliberate. A few minutes later, she speculated that I might have a fungus that could be treated orally—back to the pharmacy. And as a precaution, she suggested that I see a dentist.
Because I got only slightly better after another two weeks, I went to a dental clinic. The dentist felt that he wasn’t qualified to treat me, so he referred me to an oral surgeon who, two days later, told me that I should wait two more weeks before coming to see him again. If the pain didn’t subside by then, he would biopsy my sores. If I didn’t have cancer, a remote possibility (hmmmm), I might have an auto-immune disease (AIDS, whoa!), or—more palatably—a food allergy.
For whatever reason, the pain subsided so much over the first week that I considered cancelling my second appointment with the oral surgeon. But the day after eating out to celebrate my good fortune at Uncle Bo’s restaurant, the pain returned—not as insufferably as before but bad enough.
Suddenly, I had a flash, and boy was I relieved! I bet it was a food allergy that had been plaguing me for the past two months. I recalled that my mouth, tongue, and lip problems occurred shortly after I had eaten lots of highly battered calamari at Uncle Bo’s. A few weeks later, at a pot luck dinner, I remembered that my last taste of tabouli just about seared my palate. And it was deliciously and devilishly sweet calamari that I had the night before at my soon-to-be blacklisted Uncle Bo’s.
My discomfort lasted for several days. The day before I was to see the oral surgeon, I was as pain free as I was a week earlier. And I have remained so—not that I’m superstitious, but I am a little bit leery to consume any food ending in the letter i.