Friday, May 01, 2009

Headline: Pandemic Leads to Hypochondriacal Drama

So yesterday my day started with this email:

From: (deep south relative whose identify I'm protecting)
To: Misty
Subject: Swin Flu

Hey are you feeling any flu stuff? How are things in Mexico?

At first, I was puzzled. Mexico. How the hell would I know how things are in Mexico?

Then I was optimistic. I bet she's extrapolating! She knows I work in a hospital, and knowledgeable about events in some places in the world. She much think, then, that I would know how things are in Mexico.

Eventully, I was sadly resigned. This relative, who doesn't read because it's boring and hasn't left her state in about 40 years except for brief, safe vacations around other like-minded people who believe that knowledge is a Tool of the Devil.

AND who just mailed me a check. To my address. IN NEW MEXICO for the NAMI walk.

She, does, indeed. Think that I live. in Mexico.

I puzzled over my response. How to you take advantage of a teachable moment without being condescending?

As far as I know, there have been no reported cases in the entire state of New Mexico. I'm not sure about Mexico, as those cases are very far away.

Her response: How far away?

Me: About 1000 miles. Actually, geographically speaking, they are closer to you, so keep your eyes peeled.

I have received no response yet.


No long after, I got the first of a series of emails from the hospital administration, that came about every 30 minutes, providing updates on how important it is to wash your hands and is it just me that is disturbed the administrator thinks that hospital personnel need to be reminded several times daily about hand-washing?

Then I got this text on my cell phone:




My youngest son, 18, never admits fear unless he's trying to get something. I'm positive he's been counseled other teenagers, something like that: Dude. Just tell your mom you're scared! I swear to God, they'll give you anything if you do the little boy thing. Go for it!


Later on, I did pay him a visit. He's doesn't even have a fever. He does, however, have another unexcused absense. Please, oh please, just let him graduate.

Later on, a voice mail from my daughter. I love her, but she is a bit dramatic. Therefore, her ring tone, by design, is very hard to hear. I frequently miss her calls. (Email me if you want to know how to do this.)

Hi, Mom! No, I'm okay, I just wanted you to know that {cough} that I've been sick for about 10 days now {cough} [personal note: she was not sick 3 days ago] and nothing has worked, so, I'm going to go to the clinic to get tested to make sure I don't have swine flu. I just wanted to call you so you wouldn't worry. Okay, bye! I love you mom!

All this was delivered in a loud, clear, energetic, very happy voice. I also got an email very soon after, saying the exact same thing, along with a very long poem she wrote about love. Reasonable people know that calling and saying I wanted you to know I'm going to the hospital so you wouldn't worry is some sort of linguistic oxymoron. I'm not sure what to call it, speech-wise. In behavioral health, we call it "bomb-dropping."

But my girl is all about drama, and an epidemic is a drama-queen's very best friend. She always, at any given time, is convinced that she has every single disease or condition currently reported in the media. She has a couple of real problems; she is about 100% overweight, is pre-diabetic, and has 20/400 vision in one eye.

But she won't exercise. or stop eating so much candy. Or wear her glasses.

But anyway. Late yesterday, my oldest child, a 25-year-old son in the US Army, wrote me an email:

I think I'm lactose intolerant.

I'm not sure how I got such hypochondriac children who tell me this stuff but don't have time to do to the doctor. I have always modeled the whole, quit complaining, suck it up, put your head down and do it thing. Where, oh where, does this come from?

Okay, I have to quit now. I feel a sick headache coming on.



  1. THIS is the funniest thing I've read all day - thanks for the mid day laugh - really!

  2. Hey, let's not kid about being lactose intolerant. That's no fun.

    Otherwise your relative reminds me of the Atlanta Olympics when somebody from New Mexico called to order tickets and the friendly person told them they had to call the international sales line since they were from another country. True story. I'm from Georgia, I can make fun. :)

  3. Growing up I lived in British Columbia (Canada, left coast in case anyone was wondering - WAAAAY north). My Dad brought home a letter one night from someone who'd written him at work, in Spanish, and talking about South America (but addressed correctly). Maybe the word Columbia somehow confused this person? We laughed about it for years.

    Being a klutz, I've ended up in the ER a few times the last few years and I know NEVER to call my Mom from there now...she doesn't like me to give her heart attacks when I say I'm calling from the hospital. Sympathy be damned! The stories of your children remind me of...this.

  4. Oh, David - I would never minimize any kind of food intelorance. What was unusual about that particular email was that it was followed by requests for information about symptoms, et cetera. The boy is in the Army, stateside, and has access to good medical care. I am not an MD. I told him to check with an MD, and let me know what happens.

  5. Just kidding on the lactose. That's me at home. The kids laugh at me when I continually remind them that I'm lactose intolerant. :) Just for fun.

    And it sounded so mild compared to the SWINE FLU.

  6. This is one of the funniest things you have ever posted. I can't stop tearing up from laughing.


  7. when they have kids they'll be all 'stop whining, toughen up' and you will be able to LAUGH AND LAUGH

  8. When I lived in New Hampshire I had lots of people ask me what state that was in.

    Anyway, you're giving me lots of material here to look forward to. Right now I can handle most complaints with "If it's not bleeding, you do NOT need a Princess Band-aid."

  9. You probably did not feel like laughing as you fielded those calls and texts - but OMG - I can't stop chuckling. What a great post. And since you made me smile - I'll try to return the favor. One) Have you seen Benson's post? And two) a friend of mine once told someone she was from Ohio and their response was, "'Round here we call that Eye-oh-wah." She had to explain that no, Ohio and Iowa were actually two separate states! Peace.

  10. Dear Misty,

    Children, despite lactose intolerance and other list of ills...make their way in the world.

    Keep shining, keep smilin'.

    I look to you for inspiration!



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