Do Not Eat Bark

I've had an irritation in the back of my throat for three or four days. It felt like a popcorn kernel had gotten stuck (you know, when you kind of hack, like you have a furball? That's it), and I kept sort of thinking, "It will go away on it's own. *hack* Any minute I'll get rid of it." Again, three or four days of this. I was beginning to think I had a growth in my throat.

So I grabbed a flashlight to take a look, said *aaaahhhhh* and there, on my left tonsil, was a splinter. Yes, sticking out of my tonsil, a bright shiny foreign object.

I tell my husband, "I've got a splinter in my throat." He says, "What?" I say, "I've got a splinter in my throat. Can you try and get it out?"

So we trundle back into the bathroom, take the flashlight, etc. Now we have to plan for what we're going to do about the splinter. It looks to be about a sixteeth of an inch, and we have these common household tweezers, and two incredibly fierce phobias about ralphing. This is complicated. He can't hold both the tweezers and the flashlight, so he hands me the flashlight and the hand mirror so that I have to look down my own throat while saying *aaaaahhhhh* while he tries to pluck a splinter from my tonsil. As soon as his hand goes near my throat, I have a gag-reflex and both of us jerk back in horror and confusion. Now what are we going to do?

I think this is too stupid to involve professionals, but he, being smarter and wiser than I ever will be, called his doctor and got me an appointment immediately. Which was great, because as soon as I knew I had a splinter in my throat, and not some weird kernel stuck there, that was all I could think about. Ew.

But when he talked to the receptionist, she said, "A splinter? Like, wood?" This was embarrassing.

We arrived at the doc's and were promptly assisted. I had never met this doc, and was sitting in the little room with the stirrups and the paper on the examination table both embarrassed and relieved that I didn't have to undress for this already humiliating exercise. He walked in after a few minutes, and I just burst laughing. Tears streaming down my face as I explained my predicament. I couldn't help it. Funny, shameful, confusing, surreal...what else could I do?

He thought it was rather funny. "You've been eating wood again?" "Yes," I said, "bark actually. I tried to quit but I'm just not ready yet." He took a gander down the gullet with a bemused expression and said, "I need an assistant." Now more people are sharing in my humiliation. Nurse comes in, they're both looking like they're about to crack into uncontrollable fits, she shines a light down my throat and he sticks these horrifying looking tweezers into areas that just shouldn't be tweezed. Out comes my splinter.

The doc has rubber gloves on, and he's gazing intently at the foreign object he has just pulled from my tonsil. Bending it, poking at it, even takes his gloves off to give it a more thorough inspection. He holds it up, and MY GOD! That fucker was half an inch long. I just about fainted. I thought it looked like a fish bone, and said as much, but he handed it to me and said, "Look, it's more like fishing line, plastic of some kind." I said, "There's just no quality control for food anymore."