I have been a hypochondriac for as long as I can remember and that behavior never changed as I have gotten older. True story: When I was born, I actually burst out of the womb in a tiny yellow rain slicker and I immediately started questioning whether the birthmark on my right arm wasn’t actually a malignant melanoma? In grade school I wasn’t allowed in the nurse’s office because I would read the symptom posters on the walls and get convinced I had diabetes or whatever poster was up at the time. High School was worse because I had been gifted with a medical dictionary on my birthday, so my maladies weren’t just limited to the common diseases anymore. When I was in college, it was only a matter of time before I wasn’t allowed in the Health Services Office – but not for the usual reasons…This time it was different.
In college, I refused to take classes on Mondays or Fridays so that I could have a more flexible schedule and so all of my classes were on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. I didn’t really need a flexible schedule for a job or really any specific reason other than laziness, but it was the principle of the matter. During my second sophomore year, my 11:3o class on Tuesdays and Thursdays was Geography of something. Throughout the first two months, I only made it there on time twice which I thought was a pretty good start. The professor was from Africa with a very thick accent and she would constantly hold me after class to tell me that in her country they take education very seriously and would think it was disrespectful to show up late. I would say it was not going to happen again, and then continue with my pattern. She didn’t seem to be a big fan of mine and one day she actually attacked me in front of the whole class about the lateness. Granted, I was waltzing into the room over forty-five minutes after the class had started, so she might have had a point; what can I say, when I’m late – I’m late. My theory was that as long as you showed up before the class was over you weren’t really late, right? She apparently didn’t feel the same way.
In her super thick accent she started yelling at me “What are you doing? You cannot keep doing this!” At first, I didn’t realize she was talking to me and then when I did, I tried to ignore her and pretend as if she wasn’t, but that’s really hard to do when twenty other people are smirking and hanging on her every word. Also, she was yelling at me and no one else was talking so it was really awkward…”You think you’re mad – How do you think my 10 o’ clock teacher feels– I never make it to that one…” Before she could even respond to my sarcastic stupidity, I muttered “I’m sorry, it couldn’t be helped” I figured that would be the end of it and tried to take my seat when she came marching over to me. “This is disruptive and you come late to every single class – Why do you bother showing up at all?”
At this point, a normal person would have thrown themselves to the wolves, admitted they were wrong and apologized – but not me. Very softly I muttered “Listen, I’m really sorry – it couldn’t be helped because I’m sick. I’m sure you’ve never heard of it before because you’re from Africa and all, but I have a little something called Mono and that’s really serious. I feel lucky that I can make it out of bed and get here at all.” In my mind, I was celebrating how quickly that I had thought of that and how smart I was, figuring that she would apologize and see the error in her ways. Of course, I was delusional and should have realized that she, and everyone else in the class for that matter, could see right through me and tell that I was lying. That’s when she really let me have it and for a second I felt like her strong accent fell right to the wayside so she could yell at me in perfectly clear English.
“Are you kidding me? I’ve been teaching for a long time and do you really think that you’re the first person to try and tell me that they have Mono? Of course I know what Mono is, I’m not an idiot – where’s your Doctor’s note?”
Once again, a normal person would have admitted defeat and let it go at that, but not me. “How dare you! What kind of a person do you think I am? I am so insulted, who would make that kind of thing up? I’m a sick person (ironically, this was the only true statement that I had made all morning) Do you think I’m crazy? Go to Health Services and ask them in there! How dare you question me?” Now as a side note, I was as positive as one of Maury‘s paternity tests that I didn’t have Mono and that there was absolutely nothing wrong with me except for laziness, but if I didn’t at least get defensive she would have immediately known that I was lying.
Sure as can be, she was disgusted with me and dropped it and I got the stink eye from half the class. The other half could have cared less about the scene I was making. The girl who sat next to me was just staring with that look of disgust that usually takes people getting to know me for a few months before it develops and I looked at her and then rubbed my stomach to motion to her that I was sick. She rolled her eyes to motion to me that I was an idiot.
I got the hell out of there after class and ran down to the Health Services Office. I had actually never been down there before because they don’t prescribe anything besides aspirin and I had learned to self-medicate with my prescription for any malady: Imodium AD and beer. (It worked every time and if it didn’t work I’d add a joint to the mix and be at 100% in no time.) Actually, that’s still my go-to remedy and you know what? It still works. Your stomach hurts? You take Imodium and you’re OK. You have a headache? Take Imodium, you’re OK. You break your ankle? Yep, you guessed it. Works like a charm.
I didn’t have faith in any of the people working in that Health Services office, but I needed to make sure that if my professor ever did check up on my stupid Mono story, there would be a record of me going there. I went in and really milked it for all I was worth. I was leaning on the counter, moaning, and generally trying to look as sick as I could (that was the only time my naturally albino-pale complexion has been a positive thing in my life) so they would think I had Mono.
The numbskull there had me lie down on the cot and tell her my symptoms so of course I laid it on really thick:
ME: I feel like it’s just too much. I have no energy to go to class and it’s just every day…It’s Mono, I just know it
HER: Are you taking any medications? Drugs? Alcohol?
ME: Not me. No way that I would ever do that. I’m here to study and I just wish that I could get out of bed and make it to class. Can you give me something? I just know it’s Mono
HER: We can’t be sure what’s going on until we run some blood and urine samples, but it’s probably not Mono…
ME: (interrupting) Of course it’s Mono. I know my body.
HER: OK, let’s run the blood and urine and see what’s going on and you can come back in a day or two for the results. It’s too soon to say what it could be or if there’s anything wrong with you at all.
ME: Oh, I know there’s something wrong with me (The only other true statement I uttered that day!)
After the urine sample, she tried to take blood and I got light-headed and had to lie down to recover while she got me a cookie and soda. That was the only real symptom I had the whole time I was in that office and it had nothing to do with Mono – it was because I am a major pussy and I pass out from needles! I left there feeling mighty victorious and went home to celebrate how smart I was.
I went back a couple of days later and as I was waiting for her to go over the results with me, I was laying it on thick again and had her go and fetch me some water just to make it look good. I knew that there was a better chance of her telling me that I was going to be Valedictorian than there was of her telling me that I had Mono, but I had to make it look real. She came in with her associate, shut the door, and pulled their chairs right next to where I was laying on the cot. They didn’t say anything and looked at each other and then finally:
HER: “It’s not Mono…” before she could get any further, I grabbed my chest and said “Oh my God, its Hepatitis isn’t it?” knowing full well that there was no way it was.
HER: “Why would you think you have Hepatitis? Have you been in contact with someone who has it?”
ME: “You never know…”
HER: We know what’s going on here and you know that you don’t have Mono. I think you’re a very depressed person and it’s very serious. We’ve seen it before and it’s nothing to be embarrassed about.
ME: (Hysterical laughing) Whoa sister, I’m not depressed. I may not have Mono, but I’m not depressed.
HER: Really, then how do you explain the tiredness, achiness, not going to class, the excessive sleeping, we ran your blood and urine remember? Your triglyceride count was through the roof which means you are drinking so excessively that it’s triple the count of what it should be. And the imaginary symptoms and thinking you have major illnesses is another sign. How do you explain the drugs in your system? This is depression, plain and simple. I know it when I see it.
ME: OK, seriously…I knew that I didn’t have Mono and joking around about Hepatitis is not funny. I get that, but here’s what happened: I always come late and so I lied to my Geography Professor and told her that I had Mono so I needed a record of me coming here to be treated for it in case she checked because she didn’t believe me. I didn’t think she even knew what Mono was; she’s from Africa for God’s sake. There’s nothing wrong with me – I’m just lazy. I realize just how stupid this sounds as I hear myself say it out loud, but it’s really true.
HER: Really? Do you think we believe that? That is the dumbest thing I have ever heard. What kind of person would do something like that? You’re depressed and you need to talk to someone. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. I already called your father and…
ME: WHAT!!!! YOU DID WHAT??? ARE YOU FUCKING CRAZY? WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT? My father is a lunatic and that is the last thing you should have done. What about my privacy? I’m not fucking depressed, I’m pissed off. You’re nuts lady – I’m outta here!!!
Of course she called my father and he is a fucking crazy person to put it mildly: I have already expressed my wishes that he never be near me in a medical crisis and that is especially true when it is a fake medical crisis that I have just made up!!! This is how the call went after she asked for him and introduced herself:
HER: Sir, I’m calling about your son. I think he’s depressed. He came to the Health Services Office pretending to have Mono and we…
HIM: Lady, we’re all depressed, what do you want from me? The Mets are on – and then he hung up on her! Yep, that’s my Father! Good thing I wasn’t on a ledge somewhere…
I tried to go on my merry way and forget any of this had happened, but then I got a call from the Dean’s secretary a few days later to come to her office immediately. I had run-ins with the Dean on numerous occasions and had accidentally told her daughter that I thought she (the Dean, not her daughter) was a Fat Fuck just a few days earlier so I wasn’t exactly sure what she wanted from me. (I didn’t realize it was her mother until I said “What is that Fat Fuck doing here?” and she said “What Fat Fuck?” And I said “What Fat Fuck? The Dean, who else” and she said “That Fat Fuck happens to be my mother!” and I said “That Fat Fuck is your mother?” and she said “Yes” and I repeated “That Fat Fuck is your mother?” which just made it worse. I don’t know why I thought she would be kidding, but I didn’t believe her. Needless to say, she did not think any part of it was funny. Also, it was in front of about ten people in the lounge, so she really didn’t think it was funny but it wasn’t like I could take it back at that point.
Needless to say, I had to explain the whole situation to the Dean because the hookers from the Health Services Office had gone running to her after my father hung up on her. Those bitches actually tried to block me from being able to register for classes until I went and saw a counselor so she wanted to talk to me and hear my side of the story. Talk about eating humble pie – thank God she knew I was an idiot. She knew that I was telling her the truth and she did threaten to make me go to the counselor out of spite, but did chuckle a little bit at the situation and said “Only you, anyone else and I would never have believed that kind of stupidity…and then we both laughed.
I ended up sweet talking that little African princess and she passed me but it was close. I had to lay on my charm and actually had to show up on time a few times…The lesson we learn here: The problem with health care is not the idiots faking illnesses to get out of something, but the crazy bitches that need to learn how to keep their traps shut!!!
As a postscript to this, a few months later they thought my aunt had Tuberculosis (seriously this time) and I needed a TB test immediately. Obviously I couldn’t go back into that Health Services Office after faking Mono and Hepatitis and tell those nitwits that I needed a TB test so I had to go to the local hospital for it. If you’re thinking of writing in the comments below about the boy who cried wolf – don’t! No one like a smart ass!
Hey Yenta - tell your friends!