My hero Anne Lamott once said: “It is not second nature for me to believe that everything is more or less OK.”
She could have been talking about me when she said that, and today was a particularly good example of my specific type of mental illness.
You see, two days ago, I came down with a cold. Or at least, I thought it was a cold. It never went to my nose, but it went everywhere else: my head hurt, I was sweating and chilled at the same time, my lungs filled up with greeny-browny crap, and let’s just say I spent more time on the bathroom, catching up on my reading, than I have for awhile. Oh, and also? I was exhausted. To the point where going to work or even to the doctors was an impossibility. It was a preview of getting old, if, in my old age, I contract AIDS-related dysentery.
Here’s the thing: The symptoms I’m describing? Yeah, that’s pretty much the swine flu. Never mind that no one in New York currently has it. Never mind that the CDC has a cute little map to that effect. No, in my mind, I am completely riddled with swine flu and will be headed to my reward any moment.
Sgt Lucky, who is not a hypochondriac and is probably feeling around on the floor for the silent alarm right this very minute suggested that I go to the doctor. He actually suggested it somewhat forcefully, after I bade him a solemn goodbye this morning and suggested that our neighbor Eric could find him a nice new girlfriend when I pass. (Eric is married and therefore knows lots of girls.)
So now I have a doctor’s appointment but I’m terrified to go. I’m sure there will be hateful swabbing and lancing and sticking and feeling. I just hate the doctor so much and in my heart of hearts believe that going there is what makes people sick.
Two things occur to me:
1) I am out of practice with being sick, possibly because I don’t stay out as late anymore and take vitamins, or possibly because we have a dishwasher and I am the anti-autoclave when I wash dishes by hand. Seriously, it’s amazing I’m not dead.
2) I’m a little nuts.
That last one is a shock to no one, but I think it’s sort of charming that it continues to surprise me.