As I’m driving to the grocery store yesterday, I get a call from a Wake County school-based, public health nurse. Apparently, my son Hank was very concerned about the spots on the back of his tongue and notified his teacher, who then called the school nurse. Hank was out of school all last week with chicken pox.
I knew about the spots on his tongue the day before when he came running off the bus exclaiming he has giant dots on his tongue. He was certain that Connor and other boys on the bus didn’t have anything like his bumps. I assured him they did and he was fine, but asked him to stick out his tongue so I could see for myself. From what I could tell, those were just plain old taste buds. And that’s what I told him. He wasn’t convinced though.
So when the school nurse called, I assumed I missed something really big. What she found concerned her enough to call me. “There are distinctive, semi-circular shapes and individual eruptions. It just looks like it would be a good idea for you to have a doctor take a look at it, “she says.
I quickly turn the car around and drive straight to school, fearing that I really messed up and Hank has some awful, contagious something. I call his pediatrician, but it’s lunchtime there so no luck. It’ll have to be Urgent Care then. As soon as I arrive to school, Hank calmly walks out of “Boosterthon” (a school fundraiser) and says ever so casually, “Hey mom”, like I’m always hanging out in the hallway. He seems to be fine, no fever, etc. I look at his tongue. Still looks like regular old taste buds, but what do I know? I ask him how he’s feeling and he says his tongue feels “itchy” when he sticks it out.
Off to Pediatric Express Urgent Care we go. After we arrive, I explain to the doctor that he’s just gotten over a case of chicken pox. She asks him to stick out his tongue. He does. A second later, she says “Okay, all done.”
“You know what it is, don’t you?”
I’m fearing the worst because she is so fast with her diagnosis.
“Yes. Those are taste buds. That’s it.”
And there you go. Taste buds.
I called the nurse back and left a message to let her know Hank was just fine.