Monday, September 05, 2005

I'm a Psychosomatic Sister Running Around Without a Leash

I wouldn't consider myself a hypochodriac. Oh, sure, I've been known to read the DSM-IV and convince myself I am, in fact, completely insane. I've thumbed through the Physician's Desk Reference and diagnosed myself with five separate exotic and rare illnesses, in all cases but mine found only on Easter Island and which are going to send me to an early grave.

But on the unusual occasion that I'm sick or injured for real, it usually doesn't slow me down. It doesn't make my head spin with worry over just what it could be, could I be dying? Should I have X-rays done of my chest? Do we need to operate here? I've been known to hit the gym when I have a cold, which I admit isn't very nice for my fellow gym-goers, but I don't think it's nice the way some of them leave puddles of sweat all over the machines and leave me to wipe it up, or the way there always seems to be some He-Man tool screaming in my ear as he lifts too much weight. So, um, take that. I will give you a cold! My knees are often in some bit of discomfort, but the best remedy is to pop some Aleve and continue exercising, yes? Or perhaps not.

That is, most ailments don't slow me down or concern me. There are three that bother me just a little bit because I feel like they should have happened by now, and well, I'm still waiting. Any little thing happens, and I begin to worry. A lot. I'm being kept in suspense here, and I don't like it one bit.

Number One: I had this nagging pain in my right abdomen for two days over the weekend [it's since abated], and all I can think is, "Appendicitis. I've got appendicitis. It's going to burst. Just like in that episode of 'Roseanne' where one minute, Darlene is playing softball like a carefree child, the next she's near death after her appendix explodes."

I mean, why does it feel like everyone else has had appendicitis except me? Am I doing something wrong? Was it because I liked lima beans as a child? I don't really want it, but I do wish I had had it when I was younger just to get the damn thing out of the way. I was once told that if I did, in fact, have appendicitis, any pressure in this region would cause me to nearly pass out from the pain. So, that's the standard diagnostic test I administer to myself and I remain standing every single time, much to my equal relief and disappointment. One of these days, I know it, I'm going to collapse in a heap. I just hope it doesn't ruin my weekend.

Number Two: In elementary school, the cool thing to do was have your tonsils taken out. True to my certified nerd status, I never had the operation. Always a step behind, that was me. I've heard rumors that you get ice cream afterward. Is this true? If so, I am jealous. I would gladly suffer through a routine operation if afterward it meant unlimited ice cream and a comfy bed afterward. For the last few decades, every sore throat has been suspect. I'll run to the mirror and "Ahhhhhh" to see if my tonsils are inflamed. I'm not sure what, exactly, this is supposed to look like. But I'm looking.

Number Three: Most of all, I fear the migraine headache, and not without reason. Every headache could be the precursor to the worst headache of my life. My grandmother and mom both get them (or used to, before the advent of great and lovely pharmaceuticals). If any of you have seen the misery these things can bring on, you understand my terror here. These sons of bitches are hereditary. While we were growing up, if mom or grandma had one, they would retreat to the room in the back of the house, close the blinds and cover their eyes. We had to tiptoe and whisper until they finally emerged, often a few days later. I never minded being sick as a kid, as long as I still got to watch "Solid Gold." I remember one year I got the flu and practically passed out at the drugstore, all I asked was, "I still get to watch 'Solid Gold,' right, mom?"

But this migraine stuff. Yeeeow. Laying there in the dark with nothing to distract you from the pain -- not even Marilyn McCoo or the dancers in white doing acrobatics to "Open Arms" by Journey -- is about the least fun I can think of.

Excuse me, my throat is starting to hurt a little. I'm going to go investigate. This could be it.