Saturday, March 7, 2009


It came on so suddenly. Thursday night, after scrubbing my bathroom spotless, I sat down for a hard-earned rest, swallowed, and it cut like a knife -- at least it felt like I'd swallowed one. Could it be, I thought? Aside from my regular massive headaches (a malady that's plagued me since I was 8, graduating to full-blown migraines by the time I hit 30), I rarely get sick. In fact, dolor de cabeza notwithstanding, I hadn't been ill in nearly two years, since my first winter in Buenos Aires, and then all of a sudden, I wanted to just curl up in a ball and check out.

But I didn't. I ended up going out with my friend Luciano. In the past, whenever I've felt illness coming on, I've been able to ward it off with a good old night on the town. I'm not sure how this works. My friend Dave once hypothesized that alcohol (especially tequila) zaps the germs, chases them away. This sounds suspect to me, but on Thursday night I prayed that the whiskey would do its damage.

But it didn't -- which was actually both good and bad. When I woke up on Friday, I didn't have a killer hangover, but I did have the feeling that perhaps the knife I'd swallowed the night before had doubled in size. I'm already a complete hypochondriac, and because it's been such a long time since I've been sick, all these worst-case scenarios began popping into my head. Was this the beginning of the lethal illness that would eventually do me in? A three-hour visit from Sebastian did a lot to kill the pain (and my fear of impending doom), but when he left shortly after midnight, so did all signs of relief. By the end of the the night, I was imagining that the tendinitis that I had first contracted late last night year and has recently flared up again after months of dormancy was a sign that a heart attack was on the way.

I updated my Facebook status with news of my illness, spreading the word. Just in case the worst happened, it wouldn't take days for my lifeless body to be discovered. This morning my hypochondria has passed. I still feel pretty rotten, and my medication possibilities are limited. Instead of stocking up on Nyquil as I always did in New York during throat emergencies, I'm eating fruit salad, drinking lots of orange juice and downing an illness-fighting liquid-yogurt-like concoction called Actimel.

And I'm looking on the bright side. At least I have a great excuse to spend my Saturday doing nothing: no gym, no work, no going outside just to say that I spent a few hours enjoying this beautiful late summer day. And the best news is that tonight if I break any plans, I won't have to suffer from guilt. There's nothing like turning lemons into lemonade. Now pass the lemonade! I need all the vitamin C I can get.
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