Smooth and Thick

Have been lying in bed most of the day, pondering on a very important, cosmic issue: what diseases would I have today? Will symptoms suddenly appear, like a thunderclap headache indicative of a subarachnoid hemorrhage, abdominal pain suggestive of cancer, or diarrhea that points to COVID? After rounds in Mary Mediatrix yesterday I ran to the house and immediately took a shower, and I then realized that the COVID particles could have been stuck on my hair and washed by the strong jet of water directly into my open mouth. When AVM (arteriovenous malformation) came into public consciousness a few years back after Isabel Granada succumbed to the disease, fake news went around that you have to take a bath from the foot going up. Wetting your head first with cold water would supposedly cause latent AVM’s to rupture.

Even before entering med school I have been making the rounds of cancer paranoia. I once ran to my ENT when I was still in my teens for difficulty of swallowing, and told him that I think I have a tumor somewhere in my esophagus. He just brushed it away and said “that’s just stress!”. After the consult I went to Jollibee to buy myself their cheap, thick, delicious strawberry milkshake. It ran smoothly down my throat. My dysphagia disappeared.
When I was a first year fellow the psychosomatism piled on, one on top of another. I would sometimes lose track of what malignancy I was afraid I could be harboring that time, because the simplest sore throat or hypogastric pain would take on new meaning and supplant a previous symptom. At one point a lingering right upper quadrant pain led me to order a triphasic abdominal CT scan with IV contrast for myself, despite already being poor. As soon as the scanning process was completed the tech told me that there was power failure and the machine couldn’t slide me out of the tube. I wriggled myself out of the machine. I then dragged Smoketh to the negatoscope to wet read the CT scan plates with me. “May bukol ba? Meron? Meron?!” I demanded. 
“Ummm… parang wala naman. But I can see your penis on the plates,” she said. After the scan I went back to the Cancer Institute to attend a lecture. The abdominal pain just disappeared all of a sudden. On the table was a box of Krispy Kreme and I quickly ate two donuts. The CT scan… cured me. The following day while waiting in the clinic, Uni-Horned Beef Jerky Alanis Whore caught me touching my neck. “Nagkakapa ka na naman,” she rebuked. Palpating has become a vile, vile habit.
These days I feel like there’s a nefarious race between COVID and a malignancy to kill me. I need a cheap, thick, delicious strawberry milkshake to run down my throat ASAP!
Or an overpriced, elaborate dessert.



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