Dear Tonsils,

It has been a long road for the three of us, hasn’t it? I recall clearly my entire childhood my mother noting that you two were very large, even then, and I always thought it curious. What a strange thing to have large tonsils. We had such a fine life together through most of my childhood.

I recall, quite clearly, the first time you caused me pain. I was 13 and at camp for the summer. I remember one day my throat hurting like nothing I’d ever experienced before. A burning, miserable pain every time I swallowed. Down at the showers I looked at the back on my throat in the small mirror screwed to the tree by the hand washing basin and saw, for the very first time, a sight that would become something I’d know as a horrible, horrible sign: white splotches covering you two. It hurt even to swallow my spit; water and food caused me grievous discomfort. But, as a 13 year old, being sick means admitting that you can’t tough your way through everything and that is admitting defeat. Instead of going to the infirmary right away, I suffered silently. At lunch at the doctor’s table, I couldn’t eat at all and just sat there, frustrated, angry, in pain, and broke into silent tears. Jim, the table councilor, took a look at me and then took me straight over to the infirmary where I stayed for the next few days as I slept off my fever and had the anti-biotics I so dearly needed administered. That was our first, but most certainly not our last, experience with those dastardly streptococcus bacteria. I’m sure you’re familiar with them, tonsils.

Time passed and I forgot about the special type of hell I lived through that week. During my junior year of high school I came down with infectious mononucleosis. I thought I was just bored, but as it turned out I had mono. The mono made me slightly more tired, a little draggy, but wasn’t too bad. What it really did that I enjoyed so much was open the door for our good friend strep to walk right back into the back of my mouth and set up shop. TWICE. That was an unpleasant year, salvaged only by 800mg hits of ibuprofen, raspberry sorbet, and liquid penicillin. Really, tonsils, no one should have to deal with this. It’s unpleasant.

And how many times during college did we come down with strep throat, tonsils? 3? 4? More? Too many times, tonsils. It was about this point that I started to suspect that you were broken. Swollen, disfigured, scarred, I don’t know anyone else who gets food stuck in their tonsils. That’s a bad sign right? I’m fairly certain it means that something is wrong. When the doctor referred to you as “hypertrophic,” meaning that you were huge, he probably didn’t mean it in a complimentary way. I think what he meant to say was, “Damn, son. Those shits in the back of your throat are right fucked up.”

Now here we are hours away from April and I have strep for the third time since the end of February. What is that? Five weeks? Consider me frustrated. The first of the three was pretty easy. You two got gross and whatever, but I was never in any serious pain. But the second time? Lord. I was up all night having fever delusions, unable to sleep for the pain you were causing me, choking down water and Advil by the thimbleful so I wouldn’t keel over dead. Not nice. Not nice at all. And since I’m a freelancer, I don’t get sick days. I was sitting at Number 6, sipping soup, and wincing as I tried to get it into my stomach. When those white splotches reappeared this Monday, I nearly had a heart attack. I’m moving on Saturday and have so much stuff to do tomorrow and Friday that I could not afford to be incapacitated with strep.

All this begs the question, what’s the next step for us, tonsils? If I have anything to do about it, you will soon be but a memory. The Ear/Nose/Throat specialist I went to see tonight took a look at you, recoiled, and said, “Oh my god, yes. Those are infected.” I said to him, “Doc, this is nothing. You should have seen the last round,” and he looked at me like he couldn’t imagine how it could be worse. It made me wish I had a photo. He then told me that the next step was surgery but that he didn’t want to operate until I’d been infection-free for a few weeks. Here’s what I think will happen: I’m going to run this third round of anti-biotics, I’ll be fine for a few days, and BOOM splotches. He tried to put the fear of the surgery into me telling me how painful it would be for a couple weeks. But I just countered that it would be better than living under the constant tyranny of two motherfucking, goddamned, asshole tonsils that kept making me ill.

Sorry, guys, I got a little carried away there.

Anyway, it’s been a long road and I wish I could say that I was sad to see you go. But I’m not. Good riddance. I just want you out by mid-May so I can get healed and go down to the Maryland Death Fest and have a jolly old time.

Sincerely,

Joe Dillingham
The Black Laser.