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Bad Brain

Emily Clever is the second winner of the SELS SHARE image contest!

Emily Clever is the second winner of the SELS SHARE image contest!

I have this weird sanity blind spot, where I never actually believe I am SICK. Even when I am demonstrably, incontrovertibly infected with microorganisms that are wrecking me on every possible level, like, say, I have a fever of 102.6 and mucus leaks from my wizened eye pits and I tremble when I stand, as if someone absconded with my real legs and then stuck newborn fawn legs into my hip sockets, I do not buy it.

Even when a doctor who went to actual medical school says YOU ARE SICK and then thrusts prescriptions at me, I still always suspect that I am faking it. Just really WELL. Ha Ha stupid doctor, I think as I vomit so forcefully my ab muscles become sore, I FOOLED YOU AND NOW I GET TO PLAY VIDEO GAMES ALL DAY JUST AS SOON AS I STOP PUKING IN THIS TRICKY, CLEVER, DOCTOR FOOLING MANNER.

FLASH OF INSIGHT: One thing that makes me an especially fun sick person is that I TELL PEOPLE I AM SICK. I say, “I do not feel good,” about 4 times a minute in a small, whiny voice. Scott really enjoys that. Because, who wouldn’t? But I just realized that I probably do this because I think he thinks I am faking it. Heck,*I* think I am faking it.DO YOU DO THIS? Seriously, is this just me?

HEY longtime best beloveds? Remember that time like 4 years ago when I ALMOST DIED? Part of the problem was, I was pretty sure I wasn’t ACTUALLY sick. Sure, I couldn’t work out without crying, and the fawn leg thing was happening, and I got dizzy if I turned my head too quickly, and I tended to shuffle along hunched over ETC ETC, but I was pretty sure I was just being dramatic.

This is us being Hoopy Froods. NAME THAT REFERENCE

This is us being Hoopy Froods. NAME THAT REFERENCE

So I had emergency surgery—-was flayed open on the table for more than 4 hours because of ALL THE THINGS That were deeply deeply wrong in my insides—-and later I found out my Lady Bits Vet (who is an exceptional doctor and also my friend) had stayed in the room while the abdominal guy worked to save my intestines, Because she stayed and worked (since I had to be open anyway) I got to keep my ovaries.

I thanked for that. Thanked her saving my ovaries.

An odd look crossed her face and she came over and patted my arm, “Honey, you are so insane,” she said. “We saved your life. You don’t really get that, do you? YOU WERE DYING. We saved YOUR LIFE.”

I assured her that I totally got that I had been actively dying and promised I would never again BULL THROUGH if I became ill, but instead I would seek medical aid before things got so bad. I was very sincere when I said it. But how can I get help when I am sick if I never, never BELIEVE it? I suspect I am secretly immortal.

Now, with this in mind, ask me if I am managing to stay horizontal and care for myself now that I have what feels like a totally fictional case of mono I fooled my doctor into diagnosing? I am SO amazingly tricky I must have payed my spleen and liver to pretend to be inflamed and to REAlLY sell the diagnosIs, I exchanged my throat glands for what feels like Cadbury Mini Eggs when I was sleeping.

When I realized Lydia was going to be in Greenville JUST TWO HOURS AWAY on Friday, I of COURSE got right into my car and went haring off on a long exhausting day trip.

swam rabbit HEY GUESS WHAT? I spent the weekend FLAT LAID OUT. Tremble-y and puffy and shake-y and sad sad sad. It turns out I MAY HAVE BEEN actually sick, after all, and MAYBE I shoudn’t have traveled to Greenville. Who could have predicted THAT?

Oh, right. Scott, Lydia, Sara, Karen, Alison and MY MOM.

Sara even wrote me a VERY stern note telling me to “ACCEPT THAT YOU ARE MONO’S BITCH” before something ruptures. HA.

I am still pretty wrecked, but, brightside! I got AWESOME PRIZES for you. You can see them later this week when I run Lydia’s 3Q. Also, we asked the SUPER STONED HIPSTER at Starbucks where the waterfall park in downtown Greenville was, and he immediately sent us an hour out into the wilds of SC to find the spooky SWAMP RABBIT TRAIL SLASH BREWERY. So. Onstar got us to the river park eventually, where we did a photo shoot of Lydia’s Melville and Wolf puppets being best friends in front of the waterfalls.


We drove past a stadium in Greenville called THE COURT WELLNESS ARENA, and Lydia posited that this was where people met to try OUT HEALTH each other, at which point the COMPETE-Y WIN MONSTER that lives just under my skin cme roaring to life and I wanted nothing more than to go OUT HEALTH ALL COMERS. Lydia had to remind me that I HAD MONO, and even that did not deter me. Because I never think I am REALLY sick, remember? Heck, I could knock out ANYONE with my single white blood cell tied behind my back. Seriously, does anyone else do this? Is there a NAME for this lunacy? What is the opposite of hypochondria?

I am moderately better today, NOT THAT I WAS SICK, but just in case I was, I am spending the next five days in bed in a luxurious mountain cabin I have been loaned by kind church friends, working on my book and NOT MOVING OFF THIS MATTRESS. Not even to hike beautiful Tallulah Gorge which is VERY close and I am sure that if I just hiked it a LITTLE BIT I wouldn’t rupture my spleen much at ALL.

18 comments to Bad Brain

  • Oh, I do that illness-denying thing too. I like to think I wouldn’t do it if I had anything serious but I’d sooner not test that theory,

    Oh, and nice Hitchhiker reference — I bet you froods really know where your towels are.

  • Brigitte

    Well, I don’t exactly deny my sickness, but I do feel guilty and oddly sure that everyone ELSE will think I’m faking it.

  • Martha Jedlicka

    Do you have older brothers? Because you can’t actually BE sick if you have older brothers who have spent a lifetime telling you that you are a FAKER and go to SCHOOL. I am never sick. I can’t miss work or be late because that is what FAKERS do. Even when in the hospital I believe the doctors are just being overly dramatic. I mean, seriously, THAT many stiches? Totally show-offy. Thyroid cancer is just BABY POOP compared to real cancer. Get over myself already. So what if they slit my throat. Was it really necessary to put me in intensive care?? I would have been FINE in a regular room. Sigh.

  • I’m glad I got to see you but I’m sorry you had such a bad weekend.

  • Deb

    So I Googled “opposite of hypochondriac” and I got answer. “Man”. You must be a man. They ignore and deny illness better than any woman I know.


    Okay. I also walk around feeling guilty for being sick to the extent that I emergency left my classroom in the spring to go to the doctor because I really couldn’t breathe well at all even after a steroid shot. She gave me a breathing treatment IN the office, an antibiotic, a round of steroids and two different inhalers then told me to GO HOME. And I went back to my classroom because I ONLY had lunch and three more classes to teach and I knew they couldn’t find a sub AND it was Friday.

    What I think is this. You are a woman AND a mother which does, in fact, mean you have Super Powers and are invincible. You are tough and determined and you DO NOT WANT To be sick therefore you will not be. But let me remind you ever so gently that it’s much easier to find A Person (YOU) when you pass out in a yoga class filled with folks than when you and your baby fawn legs decide to go amble through that gorge because it’s so lovely out and ONLY 89 degrees in summertime GA rather than 102.

  • Rams

    Well, far be it from me to play the nickel-psychology-card, here, but do I not remember a certain element of the military in your background? An element that might not have indulged malingering, letting down the team, being a wuss? Worst of all, that might have displeased the commanding officer/person in the world you most wanted to please? Okay, maybe not. So how about talking to somebody who IS QUALIFIED TO HELP FIGURE OUT THIS PARTICULAR HITCH IN YOUR GETALONG BEFORE YOU KILLS YO’ SWEET SELF?

  • Jill W.

    Please take care of yourself, or we will be forced to come and read Vogon poetry to you…

  • Shelley

    Well it should be hyperchondria… While I do acknowledge that a doctor will tell me I am sick, I am unwilling to let pneumonia keep me from hiking in Yosemite. How important can breathing be anyway?

  • DebR

    Well, I’m not going to say I do that too but OTOH, a few years ago I walked around with a broken bone in my foot for 3 weeks before I finally agreed that MAYBE it wasn’t healing on its own and PERHAPS I should have it x-rayed to see if I had done something more serious than strain it. (The doctor who looked at the x-rays seemed both appalled and impressed at my having ignored it as long as I did.)

    And a few months ago, after my gallbladder got nearly to the bursting point before I had it taken out, I may have whined a tiny bit about not being able to hop up and feel totally normal the day after the surgery because, after all (as I said to my Dad on the phone) they only took out a LITTLE organ, it shouldn’t make me feel that bad, right? RIGHT??

    I don’t know what it’s called officially, but I like Shelley’s suggestion. 🙂

  • I have a theory. Because yes, indeed, you are sick. You are one sick puppy. And if you keep all that sickness in and try to act all normally and stuff, it slithers down into the rest of your body and then ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE and you ALMOST DIE! And we can’t be having that now, can we?

    So embrace your sickness. Go be sick. Get it all out of your system. But DON’T DIE ever, ever again!

  • This. I understand this completely. Every time I stand up, I test my right leg to be sure it’ll hold me. But that doesn’t mean I need to see a doctor or anything. It’ll get better, right? Of course!

    Okay, Sickly Sister o’ Mine, let’s agree that for the rest of this month and all of August, we’re going to be responsible and adult – and admit that we need medical help. Deal?

  • Elizabeth J

    if glycemia and thyroid and thermia are to be believed, I would say you ate suffering from hypER chondria.
    please take care of yourself. (or better still, let others take care of you.)

  • the_celt

    Okay, so I have this thing where I think I might have some disease or something, but then I refuse to go to the doctor until I’m pretty much dying (so yeah, large glands and not being able to stand are some obvious symptoms). It’s similar and must be related to your own version of not-hypochondria, but it’s different in that I admit something is probably wrong, but I just don’t want to go to the doctor to do anything about it unless I can’t possibly deny that I need assistance any longer.

    And because you are being so un-healthful-like, I’m going to read you the Vogon poem I wrote for the J!NX Vogon Poetry contest, which I did not win (although losing might be kind of like winning on Earth, because it wasn’t the best Vogon poem, which would actually be like winning a contest for the world’s worst poem, I think):

    Why so hep to the inglebrettsflarg?
    When blingile glubs and glubbile blings
    Shake free from the klavooting kavurdles,
    Wilt thou still platont like the turtles?

    Why so cool with the fliggledyblots?
    When the gallivanting splivvering splots
    Rise up and cry, “Higgledy piggledy!”
    Shalt thou spring forth with skiving skitterbellies?

    Now rest, darn you, or I will be forced to make up more Vogonic poems and to read them to you!

  • Whatever this non-hypochondria you have is, I have it too. It is, in fact, the only sickness I believe I can possibly really have. Of course, I tend toward denying injury as much as illness because if I am not actively bleeding and all my limbs are accounted for, I must be whole enough to do whatever it was I was planning to do.

    Please take care of thyself, and I’m so glad to see some blogs popping back up! I’ve missed them (but not enough for you to guilt-blog! You have MONO! Milk it, lady!)

  • See, I’m inclined to think the opposite of hypochondriac is WOMAN, because I know way too many women (myself included) whose tendency is to put their own wants and needs and HEALTH last while they take care of everybody else. I do also have that thing where I’m afraid others will think I’m faking it. But I think that comes from having faked it so many times as a kid.

  • Kim

    I agree with the consensus on hyperchondria. I was struck with it last fall when I spent about 4 weeks coughing up a lung before even thinking of going to the doctor — and ending up with pneumonia that took multiple rounds of antibiotics to shake. UGH!

    BTW, I was worried for you as soon as I saw Lydia’s tweet (or FB post or whatever) that you were spending the day with her. Glad you got to explore a bit, but sorry it knocked you out. REST!!

  • CindyS

    please, please take care of yourelf!! I need to know that you will be able to write more books!!! selfish of me, I know 🙂 but seriously!!!! take care of yourself!!!!