Most everyone knows at least one hypochondriac. They are those folks who turn a case of the sniffles into pneumonia, a headache into a tumor, and a freckle into cancer. I know this because I have something of a hypochondriacal mindset myself.
One hypochondriac can be fun to mess with. Say, “You know that cough sounds pretty serious. I hear there’s a bronchial disease making the rounds. High mortality rate. Very bad.” Then stand back and watch them scramble for an appointment at Convenient Care.
But two hypochondriacs in one room can be really interesting. Let’s listen in on Gloria and Zelda at the birthday party of a mutual friend.
Gloria: Zelda, darling, it’s been ages!
Zelda: I know! I’ve just been in so much pain. Gallstones, you know.
Gloria: I had gallstones last year! They were awful, but not nearly as bad as the kidney stones I had last month. I swear, my doctor said mine were as big as a Buick! It was like giving birth to a freaking Buick!!
Zelda: Oh, my kidney stones were worse than that. It was like a roll of double-edged razor blades was trying to escape from my body. Just horrible. The doctor said he’d never seen anyone in so much pain. Of course that was nothing compared to when my youngest was born.
Gloria: You’re telling me! My first baby weighed 10 pounds, 6 ounces. A Buick sized baby! It took me 15 hours to push him out. I couldn’t sit down for a month! I swore I’d never have another, but I’m extra fertile you know.
Zelda: Me, too! I was in labor for four days before the doctor decided to do an emergency C-section. Thank goodness that was my last child. The doctor said it took three hours just to stitch me up. I’ll tell you, I’ve never been quite the same.
Gloria: Three hours is nothing! That’s how long it took for the surgeon to make the initial incision for my tonsillectomy back in ’08.
Zelda: Were your tonsils Buick sized?
Gloria: Well, yes! How’d you know?
Zelda: I just had a feeling. Listen, I’d love to talk longer, but my back is killing me. I think I’ve ruptured a disk, and the doctor wants to run some tests. They’re going to inject some dye into my spine. I’ll have to be immobilized for 24 hours. I’m afraid he thinks it might be a tumor.
Gloria: I know! When my back was out the doctor wanted to do exploratory surgery. You can’t imagine the pain! It was like having hot pokers rammed into my spine. Over and over again. Hot pokers the size of Buicks.
Zelda: I hope we run into each other again, but if I have a tumor this might be it for me.
Gloria: Well, I’d tell you to keep me posted, but I’m having surgery on my sinuses at the end of this month, and you know they’re going to be working close to my brain so there’s a possibility I won’t make it. Or even worse I’ll be a vegetable.
Zelda: Or a Buick.