(of Hand, Foot & Mouth)
Pre-requisite 1. One must be comfortable with standing for long hours in front of the mirror poking one's tongue out at one's reflection, in a vain attempt to find spots and lumps and other protrusions that are invisible to the naked eye.
Pre-requisite 2. One must refrain from swears in front of one's young children, lest one wants to be confronted with a potty-mouthed potty-trainer (can one say OOOOPS?).
You will need - a razor blade, a hot drink, a sharp needle, something salty (crisps are good), a toothbrush and toothpaste, sleeping tablets, a plate of Beef Vindaloo.
Step One: Take the sleeping tablets (up to 2 work well). Make sure you go to sleep on your back. The object of this is to get you into such a deep sleep that you bite your own tongue so hard, in varying places, including and especially that hard-to-bite back side of the tongue which can only be reached in the deepest of slumbers.
Now you will have several large, swollen, numb and very sore to the brush of the tongue against the inside of the cheek lumps. Good. Now you are ready to continue to phase two.
Step Two: Take the razor blade and make long, hair-fine incisions across the tip of your tongue. Don't forget the underside!
Step Three: Place your salty item directly on the point of your sliced tongue. Hold it there for the count of five. Now you have experienced what it feels like to simply take in a sip of WATER.
Step Four: With the needle, lift off little bubbles from your tongue surface. Make sure they are raised enough that they will be irritating and have you constantly feeling your tongue with the inside of your mouth, whatever surface you can rest it on (the more painful the better for this one). The lumps should be small enough to be just barely visible, if at all, but large enough to feel like they are the size of Maltesers when you rub your tongue against your lip or the inside of your cheek.
Step Five: Go to the mirror. Poke your tongue out. Push it out as far as it will go. Feel the burn of the earlier applied tooth gouges from your incisors while you were sleeping as they are stretched past your lips. Search for the little tiny pinprick lumps you raised. Find nothing. Step and repeat several times a day until you get the sense you are going slightly out of your mind with the sheer pain and torment of feeling invisible annoying and agonising bumps on your tongue.
Step Six: Dip your tongue into the Vindaloo (points will be taken off for doing this before applying Steps 1 through 5). Lick the inside of your lips until you feel the pulsating heat. Sit your tongue in the centre of your mouth, hold it away from all sides including the bottom and let the radiating heat hit your pain centre. Feel the burn, students. Marvel at its very present, very localised presence.
Step Seven: Get the razor blade in your dominant hand. Poke around in your eyeball a bit. This has nothing whatsoever to do with the torment of Hand, Foot & Mouth, but it will surely take your mind off the inescapable horrors going on in your mouth.
Step Eight: Swallow the razor. Slowly. Ensure it scraps your throat but, strangely, only from the very back of your mouth and about part way down your oesophagus.
Step Nine: This is when you can introduce strong flavours like toothpaste to your mouth. Put on the tiniest pea-sized amount on your toothbrush because you want to be sure you are not inflicting this wanton pain on your person. Put the brush gingerly into your mouth. Note any attempts you may have to ignore the pain of simply doing this. Begin to brush. The bristles of the brush will inevitably pass over the surfaces of your tongue, particularly the side, so don't skimp on the experience. Let them push into your tongue with similar delicate pressure to that which a neurosurgeon with a scalpel might delicately operate on a patient - but make special note of how this feels like the pressure of an elephant pushing against a raw egg sitting on concrete.
Step Ten: Now you have made it to step 10, you are probably pretty used to the antics in your mouth. They have been there for weeks on end with no let-up. The effect of your nightly self-prescribed pain pill-popping to assist you to go to sleep is wearing off. So now, the time is ripe: begin to test yourself, stretch yourself. Feel the pain and do it anyway. Get your hot drink, take a sip... Swallow... And then you can let out your agonised AAAARGH or an expletive (repetition of which by any nearby small children is optional).
Step Eleven: When you are sure all your symptoms from Steps 1 to 8 have passed, wait for exactly THREE DAYS and then kiss your significant other. Points are awarded to any who are passed on the symptoms from said S.O. Then, and only then, are you free to curse yourself for becoming passionate with someone with a dreaded lurgy you just got rid of. Now take it on the chin and resume the process for endless days with nobody able to alleviate your symptoms nor offer a solution to get rid of them. You might like to try wading in sticky, heavy mud in your boots at this point to simulate the sensation.
Lastly, Step Twelve: Look to the heavens and say you understand now. You understand WHY you watched your child writhe for three days, even with the best over the counter pain relief money can buy, despite all your efforts of distraction and coercion to eat/drink something, anything.
So. Who's game to try it? C'mere, gimme a kiss *pucker up, Buttercup*
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