Covid HYPERchondria

Comedian Gail Forrest thought she was tough, but Covid has her psyche in overdrive. If only she could get Dr. Fauci's phone number...

My brain is spinning into butter from fear of everything: kitchen counters, gas pumps, door knobs, elevators, other humans and, the deadliest of all, my own hands. Did I wash them? If I can’t remember, I immediately wash them again. I am certain I no longer have fingerprints. I have hand sanitizer in every room as well as bottles of it stuffed into the glove compartment of my car and yet I still question if I use it enough. I almost washed my hair with Purell before I snapped back into consciousness. I don’t know if the twenty second rule applies to hand sanitizer like soap. Does it require “Happy Birthday” or something shorter like “Row, row, row your boat”? Has Dr. Fauci mentioned this? Does anyone have his phone number? I need his phone number! Doc, I think I have a fever — or do I? I checked ten minutes ago yet double checked with a different thermometer for verification. You can’t be too sure. Uh oh, is that a small rash on my stomach? Have rashes been mentioned as a symptom of Covid? Or just lack of showering?

Did I just cough? I think I did, but it’s possible it’s the giant calcium pill stuck in my throat

My morning coffee is preceded by hot water and lemon because I heard from one of my friends it repels the virus. She has no scientific data to substantiate this claim but I believe her. I now believe everyone regardless of their lack of a science or medical background. I follow the lemon water with Emergen-C Immune Plus, Centrum Silver, calcium with vitamin D3, and Ecological Formulas Tri-Salts and feel safe from a lot of ailments, but not really Covid. Did I just cough? I think I did, but it’s possible it’s the giant calcium pill stuck in my throat. I have learned to count my coughs and put them into categories: choking, clearing my throat, and allergies. So far none have been out of the ordinary but I am very vigilant.   

I am convinced I suffer from Covid Hyperchondria. I think this a whole new psychological disorder. It definitely has all the ingredients. I’m betting it will be a candidate for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders someday.  It seems unavoidable given 24/7 “breaking virus news” plus a year of isolation with endless time to think about how I feel minute to minute. And if the regular old Covid virus isn’t enough to make my head explode, how about the new mutation out of the UK that has reached our shores…pay back for the Revolutionary War? And now South African viruses are here or not here or still in Africa…where are they? Help! Dr. Fauci, what is your phone number? 

Covid and isolation have put my psyche into overdrive

I am acutely aware of every bodily ache, pain, rash, sneeze or oddly red toe, and spend hours googling my latest complaint. I literally was up at midnight researching “heart attacks in women” until I decoded my symptoms as a panic attack. I took a Xanax and went to sleep. My heart attack was gone by morning. Covid and isolation have put my psyche into overdrive. It has raised the bar of bodily complaints to heights inconceivable to me a year ago.

I thought I was tough. After all, as a child I made it through a textbook case of Chicken Pox, Measles, German Measles, Mumps and endless bloody knees because my roller skates unclipped from my shoes and I splattered on the sidewalk. I can provide witnesses to my walking and going out to dinner on a broken ankle after a horse dumped me at a jump. Years later, the same fall happened again – other ankle. Smarter this time, I carefully got up and drove myself to the ER. I also had a C-section and was back in the saddle within the month. I broke my foot playing tennis and still managed to finish the set. I was bomb proof. 

I have a sore throat and immediately call three girlfriends for a diagnosis

Where is that person? Mostly on the phone with friends comparing and contrasting symptoms. I have a sore throat and immediately call three girlfriends for a diagnosis.  Usually one of the three has one also. We reinforce and scare the shit out of each other on a daily basis. I call them all again later, frantic that I got too close to someone in the wine aisle at Trader Joe’s. Was I six feet away from the person or two? I don’t know and math confuses me. Did I hear someone sneeze over in produce? I was headed there next but hightailed it to the checkout line instead. I ran back to my car to check my temperature.

It’s been a year of me, me, me and more me. I am sick of me-time but so far the money spent on hand sanitizer has been worth it. I didn’t learn Italian, how to play the piano, or make a nice sourdough bread; honestly, I never planned to. I do have a rash on the top of each hand that I am hoping goes away when I can throw out the Purell. Some things you never want to see or use again.

 Tony, call me!       





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Gail Forresthttp://www.gailforrest.com
Gail Forrest recently started doing standup which she finds is a complete blast. Gonepausal is her blog and she has a book on Amazon by the same name filled with stories of her skewed, funny view on midlife and all its attendant surprises. Humor is the only way forward at this point.


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