Last night I threw up. This was not after some alcoholic affair or gastronomical adventure, but rather, just a mid-morning vomit for no apparent reason. When I was a child, I’d probably have started crying and called one of my parents in the room and dealt with the hot towels and sympathetic caresses of a concerned relative. But I’m an adult now, and with maturity comes a tremendous sense of doom.
A child would never consider cancer, or peptic ulcer or something pancreatic. In my youth, I don’t recall agonizing over kidney failure or intra-abdominal abcesses or intestinal volvulus. Kids don’t fear the potential embarrassment of rectal bleeding. But, inundated with impending travesty, I’ve become quite the hypochondriac in my middle age.
I’ve read a few medical journals – mostly by Dr. Seuss – and learned terminology that, frankly, scares the howling fantods out of me. I’ve watched the evening news and seen e.coli epidemics and viral outbreaks and avian flu. Take a stroll through your local pharmacy’s seventh aisle and you can witness medicated solutions for bodily maladies you never thought possible. Do you really know what a hemorrhoid is—good God!
The point here is this 3:00 a.m. projectile vomit holds some rather irritating implications. It is now seven o’clock in the morning and I feel perfect, as though I purged something during a fitful dream and can spend the rest of my day free of something infectious or debilitating. Deep down, however, in those survivalist neurals where the cerebrum defers to the reptilian part of the brain, I know I should consult someone about this issue. Is fear of diagnosis the opposite of preventative medicine?
But then, maybe it was just bad sushi. Right?