The perils of traveling for a hypochondriac


Thanking my stars we have TP here in Canada, unlike in Cuba

My kids think I’m a total hypochondriac. They could be right, but hey, I AM a nurse, so unfortunately, I know just enough to be able to detect statistically improbable diseases in me (or them) given three symptoms.

I’m not always delusional. I told one son he had H1N1 last year or so after hearing his symptoms over the phone and yes, he did have it (blood work said so, so there!) I diagnosed scarlet fever in my son, Shigella in my ex, and MS in me, so I should have some street cred.

Alas. No.

So perhaps traveling to Cuba wasn’t the BEST idea, but you’ve got to give me credit for not going to, say, Borneo or Mali.

I knew the likelihood of a tenderfoot like myself getting ill was pretty high. But I pretended it wasn’t. I was with my well-travelled kids, after all, and didn’t want to seem like any more of a wuss than my MS body would do already. I wanted to be cool, groovy. And I only brought one tiny bottle of hand sanitizer, which we all shared. Truth be told, I assumed my immunizations and copious amounts of rum would kill pretty well anything that approached me. I think they did, until I got home and stopped drinking.

So I got sick.. Yep. The “Grippers” as Regis Philbin used to call them. Fevers. Exhaustion. Headache. Been flat on my back for the last week – am typing now only because I am SO BORED I can barely breathe.  But I’ll have to lie down again soon, despite the gasoline-strength coffee I’m inhaling in a desperate attempt to stay vertical (and yes, I know it doesn’t help but I’ve been without coffee for a whole four days now and I am barely sentient).

Can’t let it lie, though. As a certified hypochondriac, I had to look up alternative diseases I COULD have from my time spent in the country. Turns out there’s a fairly high probability I have Dengue fever. Doesn’t that sound deliciously awful? And the first bout of Dengue seems to be fairly benign – later ones are bad and I know Dengue is a scourge of many countries and they have my sympathies –  and there’s always the risk of spraying blood suddenly from my gums, but so far I merely have the toasty feeling and a really good disease name.


When I looked up the disease, the public health page warned me strongly to keep the screens closed. Obviously they weren’t staying where I was – not a screen (or glass) to be seen – just funky wooden slats. Not many bugs showed up, strangely – only one hapless beetle on our last day (who I helped on to his next reincarnation), but I did wake up the last day with a ring of bites around my neck and on my elbow.

So I’ve diagnosed myself. I merely need to develop the rash.

Of course, it can’t be the flu, or the fact that everyone was sick on the airplane with some viral thing.

Not for a pro hypochondriac like me!