Visiting Dr. Christopher Powell, Oral Surgeon, for a Re-Evaluation

A few days ago, I started experiencing some unusual symptoms. My nose would start sweating, and my face would get kind of hot. It would last only for a short while, and eventually went away… but when it happened, it was kind of annoying. It tended to happen around mealtimes.

I used to have this problem a lot, many years ago. And oddly, I found that chewing gum seemed to help stem the symptoms a bit. So I always used to have gum at my desk, or on my person – always within reach.

It mostly went away in recent times… but it came back with a vengeance maybe five or six days ago. I began to get worried that everything I was experiencing was due to the developmental cyst in the roof of my mouth… and that things were starting to get bad again.

I’ve got two public speaking engagements coming up in a few weeks, and the last thing I wanted was to have the issue get worse right before those dates. And I really didn’t want to get near that level of discomfort again – so I figured… I should probably get things checked out. Just to be safe.

I gave Dr. Heath a call, and conferred with him about my situation. Rather than go in to meet with him, he suggested I go ahead and meet again with Dr. Christopher Powell, the oral surgeon I saw when the issue first emerged.

Luckily, they were able to fit me in at a 4:15PM appointment today. From the sounds of it, because it’s spring break… they were super slammed with a ton of kids getting their wisdom teeth taken out. Who knew that the procedure for wisdom teeth was a seasonal thing?

Waiting to get called in. Oddly, because I had been here before and because I mostly knew what the issue was… I wasn’t that nervous.

The x-ray machine!

On walking in, the first thing done was getting a new x-ray. I think this was my first time with an upright machine, as I was standing while the machine did its thing. An interesting experience, as the machine made a lot of super sci-fi sounds as it revolved around my head.

As an interesting move – rather than an actual slide, the x-ray seemed to be purely digital. When I walked into the room I was assigned, I found my x-ray waiting for me on the screen.

So – on mentioning my symptoms, Dr. Powell was quick to determine that he didn’t think it was related to my developmental cyst at all. In fact, he felt strongly that I had something called Frey’s syndrom – something totally unrelated.

He did examine my mouth just to double check, and saw nothing out of the ordinary. As we began talking more about Frey’s syndrom, Dr. Powell kept getting very animated and excited… and then immediately apologized. He said my condition was really fascinating, but probably from my point of view it wasn’t.

I didn’t mind at all, and remembered our first meeting… and how sincerely interested he was in our conversations. His enthusiasm reminded me a lot of Dr. Wiedrich – the doctor I went to see for my wrist injuries.

So. While it’s not the developmental cyst, I actually need to now schedule an appointment with a neurologist (and possibly get an MRI). Dr. Powell said that the issue I’m experiencing isn’t dire… but it’s important to try to figure out why it’s happening. He said that 99 times out of 100, it’s nothing. But there’s a slight chance the issue is happening due to something like a brain tumor. So it’s important to get and rule out the bad stuff.

I mentioned that I had an MRI done a few years ago, and ended up showing Dr. Powell the images from my MRI from 2011. I also ended up showing him the photos I took of the office, back when I visited him in 2014.

Since I experienced some of these symptoms around the time I had the MRI done… it’s possible the neurologist may just reference the earlier scan. Or maybe they’ll order a newer one to compare. I guess we’ll find out if the old one will suffice.

Before leaving, I of course asked to take his photo – and he was happy to oblige.

If you’re in need of an oral surgeon in the Chicago area… I’d heartily recommend trekking to Frankfort to see Dr. Powell. I enjoyed talking with him, and his enthusiasm and sincerity has put me at ease both times I’ve consulted with him.

On leaving, Dr. Powell walked me towards the door… and said I was an “NC,” and that he hoped to never see me again. It’s an odd thing to hear someone saying they hope to never see you again, but in a weird way… it was quite nice.

When I asked about any co-pay charges, the woman behind the counter said that there was nothing. On seeing my confusion, she said that “NC means ‘No Charge,'” and that Dr. Powell was waiving any fees associated with the x-ray and the visit.

How awesome was that?

So the good news is that the problems I had in 2014 aren’t coming back. The bad news is I need to go and see a neurologist to do a full… whatever he or she does on me, to rule out something bad causing these symptoms I’m experiencing.

Frey’s syndrome. The phrase “gustatory sweating” doesn’t sound very cool, but I guess that’s what I’ve got. I wonder if they’ll end up painting my face with iodine and corn starch. Something to look forward to.


Some days, I just feel like my body is slowly breaking down.

Guess I have some phone calls to make.

A Day of Clinics
Brushing My Teeth Like a Crazy Person
My First (and Hopefully Last) Root Canal
My First Official MRI: Photos and Video of My Brain

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Have you called yet my dear?

    Liz Reply

    • We are literally talking in Skype right now. You couldn’t have asked me there, instead of doing it here in public? :P

      And do you think I’d just blow something like this off? And drag my feet in setting up the appointment?

      I… look. No, I haven’t called yet. But that’s not the point. I’ve been busy. I’ll get around to it, I just…

      Hang on. You’re Skyping me now.

      avoision Reply

  2. Remember when you wanted to make that spin-the-wheel-and-get-the-rare-syndrome thing? I think somebody spun your wheel and it landed on Frey’s.

    Juliet Reply

    • Such an un-sexy thing to have. It’s slightly better than an injury from coughing too hard. Slightly better, but not by much.

      avoision Reply

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