Grief and Mucoceles

According to Wikipedia, a mucocele is “a swelling of connective tissue consisting of collected mucin from a ruptured salivary gland duct,” which is as gross as it sounds. Jeff Merrion develops a mucocele on his lip and undergoes the five stages of grief.

Several months ago, I was diagnosed with a bizarre, incredibly annoying affliction known as a mucocele. A mucocele is possibly the grossest of all maladies I have contracted (and I once contracted a full-body rash from my high school swimming pool).

The casual reader who has not developed a large, squishy, mucus-filled growth on the inside of their lip as the result of biting it during a meal may ask, “What is a mucocele?” I will refer him or her to Wikipedia . The mucocele goes by some other names among friends of mine who have seen it, including “The Volcano,” “The Thing,” and “What the fuck is on your lip?”. (Notice that all of the nicknames for the gigantic lip-barnacle that now plagues my existence could double as the titles of B-movies.)

Last week, my doctor told me that the little bastard would have to be surgically removed. I was ecstatic. My self-esteem will skyrocket, I thought, now that I don’t have to explain to everyone I meet that I don’t have herpes. However, the doctor decided to defecate on my dreams like so many Canadian geese on a lawn. He told me that side effects of the surgery could include permanent numbness in the left side of my face and some “labial asymmetry.” I took this to mean that I would look like a stroke victim at the age of twenty.

Thus began my experience with the five stages of grief, which I will now outline.

  1. Denial
    “Maybe I don’t actually have a marble-sized sac of loogie in my lip. This is great. All humans have this thing on their lip. Maybe it is just a birthmark. Perhaps I am the next step in the evolution of the human race: a harbinger of the future, when all humans will have a little storage compartment for excess saliva in case the rest of their mouth stops producing saliva.”
  2. Anger
    “Really? I just bit it again? Of course I did, because it’s a gigantic sac of fluid right where my teeth meet. Great.” I’ve also had to dole out anger to the outside world, namely acquaintances who ask me, Did you know you have a thing on your lip?” That’s like asking FDR if he knows that there is something wrong with his legs.
  3. Bargaining
    Apparently, neither God nor Fate has been in a bargaining mood lately. I am a smooth salesman, but none of my offers have been taken by God or Fate. I offered God season tickets to the Tacoma Rainiers 2008 baseball season. He derided me, saying that he is omnipotent and omniscient, and therefore can not only watch every Rainiers game from the comfort of his own home, but also knows the outcome of each game well in advance. He said that his omniscience and omnipotence make sports rather boring.
  4. Depression
    After realizing the futility of bargaining, I lost all hope, spending days at a time alone, not wishing to submit others to my hideous face. My only companion was my mucocele, whom I named Henderson. We had some good times, Henderson and I. I will always look back fondly on the evening when I, depressed and filthy from days of not showering, played a rousing game of Scrabble with the mucocele, who trounced me. It turns out that in addition to devouring the tissue of otherwise healthy cheeks, mucoceles have an admirable command of the English language.
  5. Acceptance
    I never actually reached the stage of acceptance. Instead, I had my little friend surgically removed. Unfortunately, the mucocele was larger than expected, and the operation required an incision four times larger than is normal for these operations. Needless to say, I look like I just had four rounds in the ring with Mike Tyson, and have had to begin the grief cycle all over again. Oh well, I can always have a career as a voice-over actor.

While he excels in most other areas, Jeff Merrion’s spatial logic falls within the lower third percentile of United States citizens. He is a Religious Studies major and, as such, has a long life of administrative assistantship awaiting him. To potential employers: Jeff makes a mean cup of coffee.