Unfortunately, Starr, people like you never die.
I am a hypochondriac. I spend most of my life worrying about obscure yet potentially life threatening ailments and/or accidents while patiently waiting for the moment when all this impending doom that I feel finally materializes and kills me. Surely, it will be untimely and the most tragic aspect of my demise will be that I will be too dead to say, “told you so.”
Being a hypochondriac can be trying for my family and friends. In fact, for Christmas, one of my best friends actually got me this cardboard wheel that displays a list of symptoms that match up with the worst-case scenario, more likely explanations and who to call for medical advice as well as tips on what to stress out about next.
For example, a headache could potentially mean a brain tumor, but is more likely caused by simple allergies or stress. I should call a neurologist, and why not worry about losing my sense of smell while I wait for the doctor to call back?
I think she meant it as a gag gift, but I can’t tell you how many times it’s come in handy.
Believe it or not, I have mellowed out. And while I still refuse to drink diet soda (God only knows what all that robot-sugar will do to you) or stand too close to a castor bean plant (which contains poison more deadly than cyanide), I’m not nearly as crazy as I used to be.
In fact, at one point I was freaking out so bad that my doctor recommended that I start taking an anti-anxiety drug. And I would have, too, if I hadn’t been certain that I would have a fatal reaction to the medicine.
This whole media frenzy about the death of Heath Ledger isn’t helping my condition. No matter how he died, it’s scary. If it was a bad combination of prescription drugs, then I feel like I need to head to Kaiser and interrogate my doctor.
Is this prescription okay to take with acetaminophen?
But not with alcohol?
Well, what about the trace amounts left behind after gargling mouthwash?
When I told a friend that I read Ledger’s death could have been from “natural causes,” he grimaced. “No 28-year-old dies from natural causes,” he said. “Hell, no 38-year-old dies from natural causes.”
Oh contraire! Although rare, it happens. And if it happens, it’s something to worry about.
My hypochondria has transferred to my kids. Most noticeably in my six-year-old daughter. My husband and I lovingly refer to her as our little “Danger Ranger” because she’s always reminding us to buckle up, drink less soda, wash our hands and construct a fire safety plan for our household.
I think she’s so careful because I’ve raised her with the “Don’t (INSERT FROWNED-UPON ACTIVITY) unless you want to die” approach. Admittedly, it’s caused some psychological problems, but I’d rather her be a little strange and safe then very normal and dead.
My latest fear is that I will be kidnapped/murdered/crushed by a trolley when I go to San Francisco this week. I’m also concerned about the possibility that I will be drugged by a stranger, have an allergic reaction and/or simply drop dead of a random heart attack in the hotel–so very far away from my family–which would be very sad.
I could also suffer a head injury and get amnesia, eventually becoming forever lost in the continental U.S., which now that I think about it, might actually be a fate worse than death.
Starr Begley feels that Disney’s Wicked Step-Mothers are simply misunderstood. MTW