Everything is wrong with me
Monday, May 02, 2005
fake illness
I am a hypochondriac. I've mentioned this numerous times before. At best, it gives my friends and roommates yet another thing to make fun of me about; i.e. when I'm hungover and I tell my roommate Ben that I'm convinced my brain is hemorrhaging or when I have the runs and I tell my roommate Brian that I'm certain I have diphtheria (though diphtheria has nothing to do with pooping, I don't think).

But at worst, it makes me incapable of leading a normal life. One of my oldest hypochondriacal fantasies is that I'm 100% positive that any day now I'm going to have a massive heart attack. Let's look at the facts here: I am not exactly what most doctors would call "in shape". I get winded from even the shortest amount of stairs or even if I'm standing for too long. A good long pee leaves me exhausted. There are times when I masturbate that I seriously contemplate stopping, since my heart feels like it's going to explode, but one thing that I have learned for sure is that my lust is greater than my hypochondria (thank the lord - though I can't imagine ever having sex again with numerous stoppages and Gatorade and/or Bayer aspirin breaks).

And my diet isn't too "healthy" or perhaps even "reasonable". Sure, I'm getting better and substituting the occasional protein bar or protein shake for a meal, but I do this only because the shit actually tastes good (not quite a candy bar and not quite a milkshake, but pretty close). Nearly every meal I eat comes with dessert, and there are occasional double-whammies when I'll have $12 of Taco Bell or a giant chicken parm sandwich followed by a whole pint of whatever Haagen Dazs or Ben & Jerry's pint moves me at the moment (strongly recommended: HD Cookies 'n' Cream and B&J's Oatmeal Cookie Chunk). On weekends, I'll wake up hungover and have a double sausage egg and cheese bagel and a quart of chocolate milk before retiring back to bed, waiting it out and collecting myself before I can start drinking again (twenty alcoholic including but not limited to: beer, vodka, vodka/red bull, shots, melted plastics, ink, etc).

And so this adds to the hypochondria. It sucks. I'm that dude who has to take his bottle of pills everywhere, a bottle containing two day's worth of: four different kinds of vitamins; two different kinds of prescription heartburn medicine; Ambein, Sonata, Xanax, and this; as well as Claritin, Day-Quil, Aleve, and a ton of Bayer (to prevent heart attacks). Yeah - awesome.

It's weird because in my normal moments, I know that there's nothing wrong with me. I mean, yeah, I'm fat, but I'm also pretty fucking awesome and thus can't be expected to worry about or bothered by lame stuff like "health". But when I'm hungover and miserable, my liver working overtime to dispense itself of the poisons I ingested the night before and my brain sucking on my skull for hydration, there's pretty much no way that you can convince me that I don't have some sort of heart condition or life-threatening illness.

This past week, I developed a new and exciting illness: appendicitis. Some background: for about a week, I've been experiencing this weird feeling in my lower right stomach, across from my hip joint. Not pain per se, but sort of a realization that something is there that wasn't there before. Upon feeling this, I immediately went to webmd, also know as the worst thing to ever happen to hypochondriacs the world over. If you're a hypochondriac and you visit webmd, within six or seven minutes you can self-diagnose yourself with a variety of diseases or afflictions. Stomach pain? Ulcer. Headache? Brian aneurysm. Leg asleep? Deep vein thrombosis. Nervous? Embolism. Seriously, check it out next time you don't feel well and want to make yourself believe that you will die very, very soon.

The good news is that according to webmd, I didn't show any signs of appendicitis. The bad news is that by then I had convinced myself that I had appendicitis and didn't believe webmd. What the hell do they know any way? Internet doctors? All it takes is a domain name and an audience and a person can be anything he/she wants (see: Jason Mulgrew, Internet Quasi-Celebrity). Assholes.

And so for the next few days I went about my life as normally as I could (apartment hunting, over-eating, crying in the shower - the usual), all the while cognizant of my impending appendicitis. However, on my way home from work on Friday I felt especially appendicitis-y. I mentioned this to my roommates, who "supported" me in the usual way: "Dude, stop being gay" and "God, you are so weird". Unsatisfied, I called my friend Abby. I figured I needed a woman's opinion on this, and since I went to the wedding last weekend with her she owed me and could sit and listen to me complain about my imaginary problems.

Abby wasn't as familiar with my hypochondria as my roommates, and when I finished my panic-induced diatribe, she said, "I don't know...maybe you should go to the hospital."

EEEEHHHHH [that's a buzzer sound] - wrong answer, Abby. The correct answer would have been: "Don't be silly, there is nothing from with you. Just watch some of your porno movies and calm down." After hearing this, I almost twisted my ankle running for the Xanax in my bathroom. Abby tried to calm me down, but the damage was done. I was in full-blown panic mode. Crap.

And so I hung up with Abby and did what felt like the right thing to do: called my mom. However, my dad answered the phone and told me my mom was at work. I've written before about my dad - moustache, tattoos, cigarettes, etc - and I didn't want to let on that his first born son was having an anxiety attack about a made-up illness. And so I shot the shit for a little while before asking:

Me: "So dad, have you ever gotten your appendix out?"
Dad: [smoking] "Yeah. Oh yeah."
Me: "What did it feel like? I kinda have this weird pain in my side where the appendix is, but it's not too bad or anything."
Dad: [smoking] "I was 27, I think. The pain started at 10 in the morning. At 11:30 at night, your mother found me collapsed in the shower. It was so bad that I couldn't even get up to turn the water off. It felt like being stabbed."

Now, my dad is pretty tough when it comes to pain (I should point out that if anyone knows what it feels like to be stabbed, it's my dad, as he was stabbed). At the very least, he's much, much tougher than I am. So if the pain was so bad that it caused him to collapse in the shower at 11:30pm, then I would have been dead from a panic-induced heart attack by 2pm of that day.

So that conversation made me feel better. If I had appendicitis, I would surely really, really feel it, and not some slight discomfort (if it even was discomfort at all and not a figment of my imagination). To celebrate, I took a bottle of white wine into the shower and drank it all. I got out, got ready, had a couple of vodka red bulls and Brian and I had a standard Friday night: Brian got thrown out of a bar because he was too drunk, we almost bought drugs from some teenage in Alphabet City, we had big plans to meet up with some girls but were too drunk the find them and so drank alone before getting some pizza and going home. The usual, really.

And what followed was a very hungover Saturday, a hangover exacerbated by a 10am apartment viewing and then five hours of walking around the city looking at shitty, over-priced apartments ("$2200 a month for a 6x5 living room/kitchen area! Sweet!").

And so since Saturday I've been back on the appendicitis kick. I know what you're probably thinking: "This post is long and boring. Where the fuck is he going with this?" You could also possibly be thinking: "Why doesn't he just go to the doctor?" Well, I can't go to the doctor. My doctor is the coolest guy in the world, who asked me before administering an STD test, "So, do you have any weird shit on your dick or your balls or anything? Anything that just don't like right?" If I went to my doctor to tell him that I'm worried about a fake illness, he might punch me in the face for being such a pussy.

And therapy...forget it. I went to therapy for like five months because I couldn't sleep, and it was the biggest waste of time.

Therapist: "So what brings you here?"
Me: "I can't sleep."
Therapist: "Any traumatic events in your life? Accidents, death, divorce?"
Me: "Parents are divorced."
Therapist: "That's why you can't sleep."

Therapist: "How are you?"
Me: "Last week, I tried to rip my penis off. Almost got it too, but I gave up because I got tired."
Therapist: "That's because your parents are divorced."

Therapist: "How are you?"
Me: "I get aroused when I watch shows like 'Cold Case Files' and at funerals. I just think it's hot."
Therapist: "That's because your parents are divorced."

Therapist: "How are you?"
Me: "I took a handful of pills on Sunday and beat up a women, two dogs, and a fence."
Therapist: "That's because your parents are divorced."

Therapist: "How are you?"
Me: "I burned down some churches and threw a hooker off a bridge. Also, I'm not coming here anymore."
Therapist: "That's because your parents are divorced. Also, please keep coming. I'm making a killing off you."

So therapy is out.

And so I turn to you, my readers, to save me from myself. If you have ever had appendicitis, your appendix removed, or are a doctor or med student, tell me about your experiences with it. I know this is pathetic and a last ditch effort, but I'm running out of options here. Also, I'm running out of Xanax, which is the only thing that helps me sleep, and I can't think of a good reason to get it refilled and would never buy prescription pills for a drug dealer.

Drop me a line to help calm me down. I should warn you, if you make my panicy, I will hunt you down and punch you in the stomach. Hard. Let's keep it clean, let's keep it fair, and everyone will be happy. Otherwise, I'm going to have to start thinking of a good excuse for more anti-anxiety meds (already did flights and a "severe" break-up...maybe I have an audition of some sort? A death? I don't know. God I love drugs.)

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