I am a hypochondriac.
I don't watch medical shows on TV, because when I do, I have all the symptoms of that week's disease about two seconds after the closing credits roll. I watched HOUSE for three seasons before I gave up. Most of his diseases were so exotic even I couldn't develop symptoms. But after three seasons House's dyspepsia did me in. So, in a way, it was a disease that killed that show for me as well.
About a month ago, my brother had surgery in which a couple of stents were placed where stents are placed to open up whatever stents open up. Naturally, since that time, I have had chest pains that radiate down my left arm. I had these same pains ten years ago and went through all the steps people go through with these pains and was declared free of any kind of heart issues. Since I was officially declared free, I stopped worrying about the pains. Now, they're back and it's because I am incapable of not sharing other people's maladies.
Today, as I sat at Barnes and Noble innocently working on a play, the two ladies sitting in front of me doing the volunteer Christmas wrapping thing started discussing a friend of theirs who had passed away. Not a heart attack, but something to do with chest pain.
I wanted to take their wrapping paper and just...wrap the hell out of them.
I have three little lumps of something in my right palm. A year ago, I showed these lumps to my dermatologist. She smiled and said, "Oh, we don't usually do anything about these lumps. Unless there's pain, we just leave them alone."
I've gone a year not worrying about the lumps.
But recently, it occurred to me that it was my dermatologist telling me there was nothing to worry about.
What the hell does a dermatologist know?
So now I'm worrying about the lumps again.
Last Christmas, I was feeling some muscle pain in my neck and skull area. Went to my doctor at Lahey Clinic on CHRISTMAS EVE! He looked at me for about 32 seconds, felt my head, told me I was fine. And I was.
Until this week, when the pains returned.
Now I'm worrying about the pains again.
Maybe it's a Christmas thing.
Every slight discoloration on my body must be melanoma.
Every headache must be a brain tumor.
Every chest ache must be a heart attack.
Every cough must be lung cancer.
I need an episode of HOUSE where, at the end, Hugh Laurie looks into the camera and says, "Nobody is sick. Everybody is well. You, particularly, Neary, have nothing to worry about."
That'll last me a while.
Until I overhear another symptom in the line at CVS.
Well, at least at CVS I can pick up something to take for the ailment.
Whatever it may be.
I am a lunatic.