Qi, baby, ain’t I good to you?
I’ve been going down … hill.
And licking … my wounds.
And spooning … ice cream. And cats, of course.
Just as I was running out of reasons to funnel obscene quantities of desserts into my pie hole — let’s face it, I could coast along on the dumped-in-an-email excuse for only so long — I tested positive for mono.
(You might be wondering the source of the virus. There’s no way of knowing for sure. But I have a conspiracy theory. It involves someone’s grassy knoll.)
Before I was diagnosed, for the second time in a year a medical professional suggested that I might have toxoplasmosis, better known as cat scratch fever. It would be an honor. It seemed unlikely, though. I mean, it’s not as if Isabel dips her paw into my cereal bowl to sneak slurps of skim milk. And Teva certainly does not chow down on baby spinach leaves in my salads. And I would never — never, I say — share a popsicle with Isabel. It’s a little something I like to call “boundaries,” kittens.
I knew I was in for a doozy because Mango, the neck lump that taught me everything I know about my cervix, made a triumphant return, and this time brought all of her gland friends. My tonsils were so inflamed that for about 10 days, my diet consisted of only
mint chocolate chip ice cream popsicles hot chocolate spiked with Bailey’s broth. I beached myself on the couch and watched “All My Children” public broadcasting. Per doctor’s orders, I missed more than a week of work and had to skip the gym indefinitely. It was awesome so sad.
During my second office visit, while the nurse practitioner was inspecting how infected my throat was, she asked, “Is your tongue always black?” No, just my ass. I gingerly rolled off the examination table, gawked at my mouth in the mirror and confirmed the discoloration. While checking off orders for a strep culture and litany of lab tests, she nonchalantly said, “I’ll prescribe a mouthwash. You have oral thrush.” You know, no big deal. Happens all the time. Nothing to be embarrassed about. It’s just a yeast infection. in. your. mouth. Feelin’ sexy.
Armed with a Sick Sense, Isabel and Teva always seem to know when I’m ill. They took turns playing the role of hot water bottle, roosting around the clock on my belly, as if good health would hatch if they could just keep it incubated.
At the height of my quarantine, when the only human I had laid eyes on in days was the overnight pharmacist at CVS, I killed a completely normal amount of time that society definitely wouldn’t frown upon by snapping cell phone photos of Isabel napping on my neck. That’s when I noticed that she seems to have plumped up a bit. And that from behind she bears a striking resemblance to Grimace.
Amid all my ailments, I went for an MRI on my tailbone, which began aching for no apparent reason almost to the day that I turned 30 — just stop aging; save yourselves — and kept getting progressively worse. My dad wore out his knees over decades of marathon training. I broke my butt by sitting through one too many “Golden Girls” marathons. I got the better deal.
After the MRI came back normal, the doctor offered me a prescription for prednisone. Friends had warned me about that steroid. Sarah cautioned, “You’ll never sleep again.” Bob weighed in, “My dog went crazy on it.” And the orthopedist was all, “This shit will fuck you up.”
I declined the drugs and opted for a cortisone shot. This was after ruling out a chiropractor when I googled the treatment and came across the phrases “lubricated latex glove” and “push past the second sphincter.” You’re welcome for not linking to it.
I also took a chance on Eastern medicine by trying acupuncture twice a week for a month. It didn’t help, although it cleared my head and totally put my life in perspective. One time, I was primed and pinned, but just couldn’t shake the feeling that I was overlooking something. I’d already postponed all my sessions with my personal trainer, citing health reasons. I’d conferred with my financial adviser about my yearly Roth IRA contribution. I’d crossed everything off my Whole Foods shopping list. Then it was as if the epiphany zipped through one of the narrow needles, hit a nerve and made a beeline to my brain. Yup — eeeeee! I was out of organic cat kibble. Post-appointment, I hopped back into my Prius and picked some up before using my iPhone to call in sick to my job in the liberal media.
Despite a few lingering aches and pains, I’m feeling mostly better. Everything’s run its course. Except me. No running, just resting — doctor’s orders. Bummer. But to recap, I got an injection in the crack of my ass, I quit exercising while simultaneously becoming hooked on sugar, I’ve been hallucinating a McDonald’s mascot, there was an overgrowth of fungus on my tongue and I still may have the remnants of a highly contagious virus transmittable by kissing.
Please tell all your single friends: I’m ready to start dating again.