Swelling in my throat, tongue, and lymph nodes
About a week ago I started having this weird feeling in my lower throat which wasn't painful at all. On Tuesday it turned into pain and started making its way up my throat. After a painful Wednesday night, where I wasn't able to sleep at all, I decided to go into my health provider (Kaiser Permanente) on Thursday for a throat culture, thinking I might have strep throat. Also on Thursday I started getting noticeable outside swelling near my glands (below jawbone) but it's only on one side of my face. The pain and swelling I have in my throat is mainly focused on the same side as well. I have a hard time talking right now because of the throat swelling, and I can hardly drink fluids and find it very hard to eat food, so for the most part I am forced to drink water and chicken broth.
Yesterday (Friday) it came back negative, so I went to talk to my doctor. He suggested that since the strep test results can sometimes (rarely?) come back incorrect, he wanted to give me some medication anyways. Right now I'm taking 500mg of Penicillin 3 times a day, and 500mg of vicodin 3-4 times a day (depending on how I feel). A couple questions I had that maybe someone could answer:
1. Assuming it is strep throat, how long does it take for swelling/pain to go down after starting to take Penicillin? It's been 24 hours now and I have no change in feeling.
2. Does anyone have suggestions for any other type of bacteria or virus that I might have?
With Kaiser it is a pain to get the doctor to help out after the initial visit, and the advice nurses they have are not helpful most of the time. They haven't scheduled a follow up visit or anything. Should I just wait it out another few days (and not be able to eat just about anything)? Any suggestions or comments would be great.