Sunday, January 24, 2010

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I Still Think it was the Mumps.

I developed a sore throat and painful pressure in my genitals. My testicles felt over-filled, like someone had put too much water in a balloon. Whenever I get sick, my first assumption is that the illness is terminal. Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, Acute Leukemia, Pancreatic Cancer, all terminal, all waiting to strike. I have suffered from these notions of death most of my life but they magnified after the birth of my son. I was 24 years old and a father. Having a child forced me act old. I became irritable over messes and bills. My days consisted of changing diapers instead of chasing ass. I gained weight and was oblivious to my clothing going stale. In the mirror was a daddy; how many milestones were left?

I awoke at 7 a.m. from the discomfort in my groin and logged onto the WebMD.com symptom checker. It must have been cancer, or a tumor, or a cancerous tumor. I clicked on the part of the body that was troubling me, listed my symptoms, and waited for the diagnosis. The Mumps. It told me I had The Mumps. Yes, there were other illnesses listed, Epididymitis, Male Chlamydia, but The Mumps was at the top of the screen. It was listed, and it had to be that.

“You’re not dying,” Mel said. “Even if it is The Mumps, you won’t die.”

“You’re not a doctor, Mel,” I said. “You are not a doctor.”

Mel made the appointment because I was too emotional. I hid in the basement periodically dropping my pants and examining myself in a full-length mirror. Kneading my testicles between my fingers, I felt for lumps or further swelling. My face was drawn in close and mist developed on the glass. My testicles did not look different hidden in the loose skin of my sack, but I could feel that something had changed. They felt fuller, weightier, and stiff.

I went to the doctor and they swabbed my throat, took my blood, and rolled my testicles. The doctor was a tall, lean, midwestern man. He drew out his O’s and his A’s. Minnesota nice was his disposition. He told me the tests came up negative, my white blood cell levels are normal, and the swelling in my genitals was minimal.

“Well ah, I don’t know,” He said. “Looks to me like a virus.”

“Virus?” I said. I told him about Webmd.com. “What about the Mumps?” I pointed to my groin and my neck and nodded.

“I thought about that,” He said, “but the swelling. Not much swelling.”

 “What about cancer? Did you check for cancer?” I opened my eyes and he rubbed his palms across his slacks.

He smiled and asked, “What’s your age?”

“27.”

He told me that I did not have cancer, and that the chances of someone my age getting cancer is one in a million. “Old men get cancer.” He said. “Go home, drink some fluids, and get some rest.”

I left the doctor’s office without even a prescription. 

2 comments:

Elise said...

:) I'm glad to know it's not just med students that are hypochondriacs. And I am glad to know your testicles are no longer swollen and sore. I hope all is going well for you and your gorgeous family these days!!!!!

Ty n Casey's Mom said...

Once again, laughing my A off. Oh, Clint, what would I do without you?