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February 27, 2008


I have this thing with authority figures. I not only respect them, I kind of fear them, I guess. Some people, certain journalism professors, perhaps, might think this would preclude me from being a good reporter, but it's not real authority figures (i.e. elected officials) that get my goat, but rather bosses, teachers and doctors. Ever since I was little, having a one-on-one with those types brought me close to tears, even if the meeting was completely positive.

Aside: there was a professor in the J-school I really looked up to and saw as my mentor. We'd chat at least once a week about my classes, the college pape and other things going on in my life. Even THAT made me want to cry. Now you see what I mean.

The recurrence of my pestilence this week meant another trip to the doc today, and this one took on a special sense of urgency: I'm leaving for Paris on Monday, and I need to be in tip-top shape for the trip I've been planning for months (and dreaming about since I was a fetus). While I waited for Herr Doctor I browsed through a coffee table book he had on hand about European castles. Versailles, of course, was the second one featured, and the sight of it made me tear up as I thought about the travesty that would be missing this trip.

I tried to calm myself, but to no avail. As Doc listened to my lungs and did a particularly nasty test for influenza that involved sticking an elongated Q-tip up all the way up my nose, tears started rolling down my cheeks. At first he attributed it to the discomfort, I think, but when I started sniffling as well he asked me if everything was OK.

"I'm su-supposed to go to P-Paris on Monday!" I wailed. "I c-can't miss this trip!"

He assured me that based on my description of my symptoms it appeared I would be on the mend within a few days. Talk turned to fevers. Was I experiencing particularly bad ones?

"Well it seems to get worse when I'm stressed at work," I offered.

He asked me what I did.

"I'm-I'm a reporter," I said, tears starting up again. "I'm sorry, but they're making me cover this ho-horse all the time."

He asked me what I usually cover.


With a concerned look on his face, he backed out of the room to check on my lab results. Meanwhile I drank five Dixie cups of water and took deep, cleansing breaths to calm myself down. When he came back in, I told him I had remembered a symptom I hadn't yet told him about. Sometimes, I said, I start to cough so hard I gag. I don't actually throw up, but I feel like I'm going to.

He told me the coughing neurons live right next to the vomiting neurons in the brain, so sometimes when the coughing stirs up too many electrons my brain thinks I need to puke. I told him I was relieved it didn't mean I had a puke-inducing stomach bug as well because I hadn't puked in more than five years.

"Oh. You mean self-induced vomiting?" he asked, insinuating I was five years from a bulimic past.

"No!" I responded, horrified. "It's just, you know, a personal record."

Mortified that he now thought I was a recovering bulimic as well as schizophrenic, I started crying. Again.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. Maybe you're sick because you're stressed all the time? All this crying and worrying can never be good for you. Start meditating or something, girl.