Tuesday, September 11, 2012

What do Lyme Disease, Blood Panels and Sharpies Have in Common?

I’m a self-diagnosed, low-grade hypochondriac.  Those who know me well are aware that I can be nudged into a full-on panic attack at the discovery of a raised mole, a numb toe or a sore armpit. 

Because I’m all about full disclosure, I shared my ailment with Mr. Charming before the nuptials.  The poor man assumed I was exaggerating, until, that is, I told him I thought I was dying of leukemia or Lyme disease.  Okay, maybe that’s not totally accurate.  He assumed I was exaggerating until I began weeping uncontrollably as I explained that I thought I was dying of leukemia or Lyme disease.

Maybe he attributed the sloppy meltdown to pre-wedding nerves.  Or perhaps he felt somewhat heroic because he calmed by fears by pointing out that the rash spanning my torso was identical to his own and most likely caused by our foolish and vain attempts to tan our blinding bodies before the wedding day.  Needless to say, he married me anyway.  Sucker.

Since then he’s witnessed a handful of other sloppy meltdowns that are generally health-related and largely unfounded.  You can imagine the anxiety he observed the week of my yearly physical that included a blood panel. 

When the nurse called to tell me my white blood count, platelet count, and hemoglobin levels were normal, I asked, “So, does that mean I probably don’t have cancer?”  You could tell mine wasn’t a typical response, as it took her a few second to recover.  “Uhm…while not 100% definitive, you maybe probably don’t have cancer.”

While that may not alleviate the fears of a high-grade hypochondriac, I decided that if a certified nurse tells me I maybe probably don’t have cancer, I’m going to take her word for it.  After all, she is a professional.

When I relayed the conversation back to my husband later that night, he shook his head, most likely thinking, “I am sooooo lucky!”

Here is the actual conversation we had the night before my appointment:

Me: So, will you think less of me if it turns out I don’t have a life-threatening illness?

Him:  What?!?!  (insert puzzled expression here)

Me:  You know, being as how I hyped it up and all.  I mean, after all this anxiety, would you think less of me if I wasn’t actually dying of something?

Him:  Would I think less of you if you did have a life-threatening illness, being as how you probably attracted it with all your hypchondriactic thoughts?

Me, harrumphing:  You shouldn’t!  Wouldn’t that just make me psychic?  And isn’t it better to be a psychic than a hypochondriac?

Him, shaking his head again, still likely awestruck at his luck: Okay, so maybe best case scenario for you is early-onset diabetes.  That’s pretty serious, which justifies your concerns.  But it’s also totally reversible.

Me, nodding thoughtfully: I like that. 

Later that night, after showing Mr. Charming all the questionable moles I wanted my physician to examine, he said, “Maybe you should circle them with a Sharpie so you don’t forget.”  Excited that we were already finishing one another’s thoughts, I replied, “I was thinking the exact same thing.”  The only difference was he wasn’t serious and I was.

Turns out I have high cholesterol which is both congenital and potentially life-threatening.  Thankfully, my physician thinks it can be lowered through diet and exercise. 

And after all that, I still don’t know whether or not to tell Mike, “I told you so,” or “I’m sorry you married a freak.” 

Either way, he appreciates your condolences.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

My Son the Doctor

The Doctor
When you meet my oldest offspring for the first time, he will introduce himself as The Doctor.  He’ll most likely be wearing a dry-clean-only suit jacket that I accidentally ran through the washer and now has three-quarter length cuffs.  Oh, and a bow tie with blue Converses. 

For that narrow margin of my demographic that watches sci-fi time travel episodic television, you’ve probably guessed that my son is currently obsessed with Dr. Who, having watched all six seasons this summer via Netflix.  

For those of you who aren’t, well, Whovians, Dr. Who is a BBC television program with a protagonist called “the Doctor.”  The Doctor is an alien in human form that travels through time and space in a British police box (otherwise known as the TARDIS—Time And Relevant Dimensions In Space).  I know.  My brain is already winded.

This dramatic shift follows years of superhero worship and a brief stint idolizing Ezio Auditore da Firenze, a hooded assassin from a video game he shouldn’t have been playing in the first place.  So I guess, all things considered, Dr. Who is a welcome change.  

And heavens knows, the Belyoak’s doors have always been open to fictional characters.  In fact, we’re like a halfway house for Marvel superheroes, little ponies and time lords.  So walk through our threshold and you better be prepared for heated discussions on alternate Spiderman costumes, allusions to Princess Celestia, Dr. Who knock-knock jokes (they write themselves, really) and any crossovers that might exist.  For those that may be interested, there is, in fact, a Dr. Who/My Little Pony episode on YouTube called Dr. Hooves.  As Leah would say, “Get it?”

I have no room to judge.  When I was six, I believed I was Wonder Woman’s daughter, orphaned so that she could continue to save the universe.  So I understand the allure of assuming an alternate identity.  In fact, my previous work as the imaginary birth child of a fictional Amazon warrior princess enabled me to celebrate my boy’s initial infatuation with Spiderman.  And I admit, I kinda miss the days when, wearing a threadbare Spiderman costume, he would follow me down the grocery aisles.  Periodically he would crouch amidst the canned goods and extend his hands in web-shooting fashion.  In those moments, I was simultaneously Wonder Mother and Matron Saint of Imagination. 

These days I question my ability to handle either of those roles.  Just the other day, I asked Mr. Charming if my little Time Lord needed a refrigerator box from which to fashion his own TARDIS or a therapy consult.  It’s a fine line, people.  A fine line. 

So we’re going to sit this one out in hopes that at some point his interest in girls overrides his interest in Dr. Who.  I’m guessing that’s the point at which he’ll begin dressing like an 11-year old again and stop flashing his Sonic Screwdriver at strangers.  And maybe he’ll even remember to wear deodorant. 

Hey, if my children can be superheros and time lords, I can afford to dream big.  Right?