Monday, March 19, 2007

Feeling better

Thanks to those of you who contacted me here and off-list. I'm feeling much better.

I'm not usually one who talks a whole lot about minor illnesses, having too many friends who've battled major ones to feel that a case of the flu is much to talk about. But I realize that some people make an art form of it, and I've been reflecting on some of the styles of reporting minor illnesses I've observed among friends and others over the years.

The Historian
This is the person who answers your question, "How have you been?", with a recital that starts with "Well, two weeks ago, I think it was Tuesday, I felt a little tickle in my throat. And then on Wednesday, I sneezed three times...." He or she will continue in this vein, building symptoms, recovery, and relapse into a saga worthy of a six-hour mini-series, and it will seem to you that you've already been on the phone about that long.

The Effluence Detailers
These folks feel compelled to describe in great detail the appearance anything that came out of any orifice during the course of their illness. The people who inspired others to coin the phrase "too much information."

The Child Effluence Detailers
These are parents who forget that with the possible exception of a child's grandmothers and one or two mothers at the day care center, absolutely no one wants to hear about the frequency with which things that were in the child ended up on the outside of the child, nor do they want to know about the quantity, color, or rate of acceleration of such effluence. If you think you might be tempted to use this phrase:

It was like something out of The Exorcist...

do not tell the story.

This goes double for pet owners.

The Hypochondriacal Reviewers
These are the people who tell you about all the pangs of anxiety they experienced while contemplating the horrible diseases their flu symptoms might have represented. It doesn't matter that they have known for days that it was the flu -- that's really not the point. No, it's a journey of one freakish self-diagnosis after another. "And then I was really worried, because you know, a fever of 100 degrees is a symptom of [name any deadly disease]." They will congratulate themselves on narrowly escaping a fate that was not within a thousand miles of real likelihood.

I am sure there are others....


Anonymous said...

I've got a friend who combines the Reviewer and the Historian and adds in a touch of the Oracle -- so you get a litany on the condition itself and the subsequent impact as recovery continues ("and I've been so tired since I got better that I'm afraid if I do anything, I'll relapse and it will morph into pneumonia, or dengue, or the black death...")

Jan Burke said...

Oh, yes! The Oracle!! How could I have forgotten!