My No-Vomit Rule, and Other Assorted Hypochondrias

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I’ve had writer’s block for going on two months now. Haven’t written a thing; in fact, I haven’t even tried. I just stopped caring, and I’m not sure why. But I knew the urge to write, and to write on this blog, would come swooping back at some point.

Swooping back like a hard and fast case of explosive diarrhea.

I’m a bit of an hypochondriac. By that I mean I sanitize everything – pretty much – every day. I just really don’t like being sick, and more than not liking being sick, I don’t like caring for people that are sick. Because then I get sick, and moreover I’m filled with this overwhelming sense of a) guilt that I cannot do anything, really, to take it away; and, b) there is always that ever looming fear of “what if?” What if this is something worse? I’ve read enough Huffington Post articles about a woman that goes in for a routine check up and dies one week later of some obscure form of melanoma; I’ve heard about MERS making its way around the United States.

I know how many of you now don’t vaccinate your kids…

In any event, to curb illness, and my own cases of heebie-jeebies, I have some rules in the house. Relative to my hypochondria, that is.

Rule 1. No vomiting. I know you are all thinking that this is insane, and never works – BUT …this actually works as a rule a fair amount of the time. Everyone knows that Mom can’t handle vomit, so they do their best to keep their nausea down when ill, or at the very least just tell themselves they are fine until it comes out the other end. Too graphic? Well, blowing chunks is too graphic to me and since I’m the one who has to clean everything up around here, they (usually) control it.

Rule 2. Always ALWAYS ALWAYS wash your hands when returning home. From anywhere. I don’t give a flying fig if you just stepped outside to let the dog pee for 30 seconds. You leave the house, you wash your hands. Very simple, works like a charm.

Rule 3. If Mom says you are sick, you are fucking sick. My husband and my father (both of whom live in our home) have this habit of being sick but denying it. “No, I don’t have a cold, it’s just an allergy…” “No I don’t have a stomach bug, my body is just doing its own colon cleanse…”

Bullshit on that noise. If I say you are sick, you are sick and you will act accordingly (as in, stay away from everyone else in the house and DO NOT – whatever you do – go to work/school/playdates/extra-curriculars/etc to just make things worse).

On a related note, I’d say that about 95% of the time, I’m right. Even with the dog – who we just adopted a week ago, and I just knew wasn’t feeling well. Everyone said I was being paranoid, but I insisted and now she’s on antibiotics for suspected pneumonia from kennel cough (a relic of being a shelter dog just over a week ago before we brought her home).

Rule 4. If you are sick, and you know you are sick – you have accepted it into your heart as absolute truth, independent of whatever denial you have put yourself through prior to said acceptance – just let Mom know. Just let her know! Give her a shout out! A text, a Tweet, a trail of snot rags to the end result of a note on the fridge saying “I clearly have a cold…” WHATEVER. Just let me know, because then I can sanitize the shit out of the house, preventing others from getting your plague.

I think we fair pretty well on the iron fist of my glaring, and probably unhealthy, hypochondria.

But it doesn’t go without its problems. By that, I mean that I usually always assume people in the house are sick. Germy. Ready to spew everywhere, or at the very least take an uncontrolled dump on my nicely cleaned carpeting. See, the thing about hypochondria and paranoia about germs is you realize that all those sons of bitches around you don’t think like you do. Suddenly everyone is the enemy – germy, disgusting, unclean enemies just trying to make you ill. Their hands are not riddled with eczema from excessive hand washing. Their lungs are not coated with a thin layer of Clorox solution from daily inhalation of the fumes that waft up from the constant scrubbing of surfaces that would be riddled with germs, had it not been for your daily sanitization routine.

You see? I’m PSYCHOTIC.

Like I said: I’ve read the articles. I’ve seen the bacteria booth at the county fair that shows you how much shit is caked all over your household. It’s disgusting. Really, I think a slash-and-burn style approach to all of our things would be best, but then we’d need to be independently wealthy and have no moral qualms with intentionally destroying all of our things and starting anew, just because I may be slightly a-kilter in the mental health department.

So when my husband pounds down food and beverage in a way that is both unsavory to watch, and unholy to his innards; and subsequently gives himself a case of explosive diarrhea … well, I flip the fuck out. Maybe explosive diarrhea is a bit of an exaggeration – what do I know, he doesn’t share the details with me, and all I have is the mess to clean up (ewwwww, gross, is the only thought you should be having there…), but just imagine this…

In less than twelve hours, you consume: a large cup of coffee, a half a loaf of banana bread, a taco salad layered in salsa and avocado, two Bud Light Limes, a turkey dog, a plate of salted watermelon, two corn on the cobs, baked potato chips with far too much olive oil, a large energy drink, another cup of coffee, and another half a loaf of banana bread… well, if you consume that, your tum tum might be a little achy, seeing as about 3/4 of those things act as natural laxatives. If you consumed all of that in that short period of time, you should be going to bed saying to yourself: “self…tomorrow seems to be a good day for diarrhea.”

But do I just think that my husband having a gut ache and a bad case of “I ate an entire box of Ex-Lax” is your standard fair, and worth nothing more than an “I hope you feel better?” Oh hell no. Even after he told me that at lunchtime he basically resumed porking down food at unprecedented rates, I sat rocking back and forth like the Rainman of disease paranoia, wondering just to what lengths I should go to rid our home of his dreaded germs.

I just – basically – cleaned the entire house, from top to bottom. I sanitized everything IN RUBBER LATEX GLOVES …just to be safe. And I asked him about fifteen times if he was sure he’s better now, which he is (obviously). Then the only thing I could think to do was sit down with my glass of wine – the smell of Clorox fresh in my nose – and write a blog about it.

So that – ladies and gentlemen – are the illness-related rules in our house, the public proof of my clear psychosis, and the story of how my husband’s bowels ended my terrible bout of writer’s block.

Thanks honey.

My Hypochondriosis

I am sick right now, which means I’ve been pacing around for the seven days that I’ve been sick worrying that something very serious is wrong with me. Of course everyone in my family has been sick, and I clearly just have a cold; but in the past few days I’ve self-diagnosed myself with tuberculosis, pneumonia, bronchitis, and lung cancer.

I’m sure all of you are like “well if you are so concerned, why not go to the doctor?” The truth is that I have fallen down that trap before, only to be laughed out of the office for being so stupid. Finally I forced myself into a “wait and see” approach – if it goes longer than two weeks, whatever it is, then I’ll go. I also have a great disdain for people that overuse their physicians, and I really dislike putting medications into my body. So wait and see it is, and while I wait I pace.

After the fact, I always get great entertainment out of the bizarre things I agonize over in my head. Typically it isn’t as cut and dry as “I have a cough, I must have pneumonia.” No, no faithful blog followers – my paranoias run very close to my impending psychosis. In fact, I’m sure once you read all of them, you’ll be starting a petition of some sort to get me to the psych ward.

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I Have a Headache

Most people get a headache and think they had a hard day at work, or they have been sitting in a room full of screaming kids for too long. Some people are a little more paranoid and assume they are developing a brain tumor.

I worry that I’m going to learn that I have a twin conjoined to the back of my neck that I am only now learning about.

I Have an Itchy Chest

Usually my chest gets itchy if one of two things is going on: either I’ve gotten sunburned on my upper chest (around my collar bone); or, I’ve dropped too many crumbs down my bra and my boobs are tickled.

Regardless, I never go to find the crumbs first, or check for aloe vera in the medicine cabinet. Well, at least I never used to – up until recently, I thought that an itchy chest meant I was growing another nipple.

I Have a Stomach Ache

I assume I’m pregnant.

I Feel Like I’m Going to Throw Up

I assume I’m pregnant.

I’m Having Mood Swings

I assume I’m pregnant.

I Have Cramps

I assume I’m pregnant and that shit’s gone ectopic.

I Have a Bad Taste In My Mouth After Eating Garlic-y Food

Completely forgetting about what I’ve eaten in the course of the same day, after eating garlic-y, onion-y, or any other mouth-tasting-of-nightmare food, I get a taste in my mouth that is horrid and just assume this means my taste buds are all dying in some rare, dramatic taste bud death disease.

I Straighten My Hair and Find Two or Three Strands on the Floor

Ignoring my incredibly thick head of hair; hair that has been described as “three times the amount a normal person has;” when I find a few strands on the floor after pulling hairs out with my hair straightener, I then obsess over whether or not I’m going bald.

And then there was that one time I thought I was developing crotch rot…

By “crotch rot” I can only assume that I’m talking about bacterial vagi-whatever-it’s-called; or maybe a yeast infection. I don’t know, I’ve never had either. Sure, I’ve had my share of bladder infections where flames shot out of my urethra and burned the ground beneath me, but the problems that inspire ladies to shove yogurt up their hoo-has have never been an issue for me.

At least not yet.

But there was that one time that I got two bladder infections in the course of three months. It ended up being all about using the wrong antibiotic the first time, and what my doctor so eloquently referred to as “honeymooner cystitis.” But I was so freaked out about the fact that the two infections were so close together that I ran the whole gamut of vaginal doomsday scenarios through my head.

“I must be getting crotch rot!” I thought to myself. That morphed into “oh my God, my cooter is going to smell like musty, old lady.” Then I spent almost an entire week trying to figure out if I could have caught chlamydia or some other venereal disease from a public toilet – that’s right, faithful blog followers, I thought that I had contracted a sexually transmitted infection through four layers of toilet seat coverings.

Because yes, I do place four toilet seat covers on the top of a public toilet. Sometimes I layer the seat at home too, depending on how many people have been hanging out around my house without me cleaning it. Don’t you?

So you can see that I’m a little paranoid on matters of health. Well, I’m not really paranoid, so much as I am a hypochondriac. And maybe I’m not even so much of a hypochondriac either as I am just insane.

Now I have to get back to nursing my cold-slash-TB-slash-double pneumonia-slash-insert lung disease here. Because now my conjoined twin is starting to make the back of my head hurt again and I need to go Google that shit to find out how to get it removed.