I hate being sick. As I type this, I’m totally dying. I just have a cold or something, but I know this is the end. I’ve been chugging NyQuil before bedtime like I used to chug whiskey when I was young and fun. (Honestly, though, I have to say NyQuil is way better. Have you ever tried to fight the urge to sleep and stay awake after you take NyQuil? It’s crazy! I was so high the other night, babbling all kinds of crazy shit, and that was just after taking the prescribed dosage. Maybe I’m just a lightweight, but I can’t believe they sell this stuff over the counter.) Every time I get sick, I figure it’s just the beginning of the downward spiral that ends with me in the grave. I’m not sure I’d go as far as to call it a “psychosis,” but it’s probably pretty close.
My problem with getting sick is multifaceted. First, it’s just another instance of my body betraying me. Like the time I came back from the barbershop when I was 24 and realized I was going bald, or after puberty when my growth spurt petered out at a generic 5-foot-9. And how I wasn’t genetically blessed with washboard abs, and even at my most fit and healthy was saddled with a ring of perma-blubber around my midsection. There’s also my ears’ propensity to produce copious amounts of earwax, but I figure if I keep going, you’ll probably get pretty grossed out.
That’s the thing, too; being sick makes you realize that bodies are gross. All your cranial orifices become juicy and moist and other disgusting adjectives. I hate that gurgle-y sound my entire head seems to make every time I breathe, and my breath itself just feels humid. I really hate it when that little drop of mucus starts to flow out of my nostril and I’m busy driving or whatever so I can’t take care of it right away so it pools in that stupid indentation above my upper lip and I’m never able to grab a tissue in time before it dribbles in my mouth. I hate that when I speak, I sound like Chuckie Finster from Rugrats, even though I’m pushing 40.
I also find myself acting even more like a child than I usually do, and that’s just not becoming of a man my age. I’m totally helpless and just want a blanky and/or my mommy. Or orange juice. Or chocolate chip cookies. Actually, if you could get me some chocowat chips, I would weally appweciate it. Pwease?
But as paranoid as I get about my health, I’m stubbornly opposed to doing anything about it. I hate going to doctors. I think I’m mostly afraid that my worst fears would be confirmed; or worse, that I’d be reminded that I’m just a wimpy hypochondriac. Really though, unless you’re really, really sick, there’s nothing going to the doctor can do for you. They’re just going to tell me to drink plenty of fluids and take Motrin, or, if I’m lucky, prescribe me something fun like cough syrup laced with codeine. I know they’re not going to cure me, because as we all know, there is no cure for the common cold.
I’m not sure the last time anyone came up with a cure for anything. Even stuff I thought was taken care of always seems to rear its ugly head, like bubonic plague, or THE plague as it’s often referred to because it’s so fucking scary.
Since August, the plague has been ravaging Madagascar. This past week, the World Health Organization reported that 57 of the 213 known people infected with bubonic plague had died, with a wider outbreak feared after the island nation suffered a recent spate of flooding. The plague has been kicking humanity’s ass since the Dark Ages, you know? If we haven’t been able to lick it by now, how can we expect we ever will?
How about something closer to home? The fears that we’re all going to get Ebola may have been laid to rest, but what about something deceptively worse and even more contagious? Welcome the measles to the list of things you thought you didn’t have to worry about anymore. Disneyland was ground zero for a recent outbreak that has seen 79 cases of measles and rising in California (52 of those cases can be linked to Disneyland, according to a Jan. 29 article on CNN.com). An additional 16 cases in other states, such as Arizona, can be linked to the Disneyland outbreak. Outside the United States, measles is a huge problem: more than half of the 250,000 people who contracted the highly contagious disease died last year (but you know, who needs a vaccine?).
Another thing I tend to do when I’m sick is self-diagnose and/or look up frightening articles about deadly diseases online. Mostly the latter. That could contribute to why I always think that every sniffle or sneeze will be my last; but then again, if I didn’t scour the Internet for all these nasty things, I probably wouldn’t have anything to write about.