Summer Colds and the Typical Hypochondriac
I am sick.
Actually, I’m just getting over a cold – and summer colds are the worst. However, my good friend Pandora* brought me a green-chili chicken stew yesterday in an attempt to burn the sickness from my body. Since I’m feeling better today, it must have worked. I’m a little scared to have another bowl today – it was hot when my taste buds weren’t working at full capacity.
While this cold is certainly not in my head (well, okay, actually it IS, but it’s real, I swear!), I have to admit that I am an unrepentant hypochondriac. And a bit of a drama queen as well – at least when it comes to being sick or injured.
When I was eight or nine, I was attempting to balance my way across an uneven row of re-purposed railroad ties set on end as a fence. Not being the most graceful of kids, I managed to slip and fall, landing hard in a straddling position. In other words, I bruised my coochie. In fact, I was in so much pain, I was pretty sure I was dying. My parents took me to the hospital, which only served to confirm my self-diagnosis: yes, I was definitely on the way out. I remember telling my Dad that I loved him, just in case I didn’t make it. Apparently, I was playing it up pretty good, though I don’t really remember much other than being completely terrified that I wasn’t going to survive. I can’t imagine how much worse it would have hurt if my parts had been “outies” instead of “innies.”
Dan says it is impossible to tell how sick I am just by asking me because, in my estimation, I am always on the verge of death. I say that’s a little strong, though even a common cold makes me whinier than the average sufferer. While most of the world gets up, takes sympton-suppressing medications, and goes to work, I call in sick. Seriously. Even now, when I work at home, I don’t go to the computer for more than a few minutes. Let’s face it…I’m not likely to produce the next Great American Novel when my head feels like it has been packed with cement.
After several years together, I have noticed that Dan tends to avoid me when I’m sick. Not that I blame him – I’m a whiny bitch. I don’t have any of that “mommy” commitment to the family that keeps sick women everywhere running until they either recover or literally collapse.
Normally, my illnesses are brief – nothing too serious. Yes, I have had a few trips to the emergency room over the years, but no actual hospital stays…until last spring. Over the course of a few days, I developed a cough. I suspected I had a fever as well, but both the thermometers in the house needed new batteries. Every time Dan showed up to check on me, I told him I felt horrible – which years of conditioning had trained him to believe meant “I have a cold or some other non-life-threatening condition.” Unfortunately, this time, I REALLY felt horrible. On the third day, I told him I wished I would just go ahead and die already. That scared him. Recognizing I might really be sick, he bundled me into the car and drove me to a clinic. After a quick x-ray and a temperature check, the doctor not-so-subtly suggested a trip to the hospital was in order.
My temperature topped out at nearly 105 degrees. It took the hospital several days (and what turned out to be an unnecessary spinal tap) to get my temperature back to normal and me healthy enough to leave the hospital. What did I have? Not a clue. No diagnosis was ever made.
So, Tuesday I woke up with a sore throat. Wednesday, my throat was even worse. Yesterday, Pandora brought me the magic, germ-killing soup, which immediately caused my sinuses to open and the draining to begin. And today I’m better. Not well, but better. Nevertheless, Dan isn’t taking my word for it. After last time, he made sure the thermometers had fresh batteries.
I’m going to go check my temperature again.
*Not her real name…I mean, who would name a kid Pandora? But the meaning fits her: “highly gifted.”