Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Five Stages of Sickness, or, I Am Now Dying

This may be my last blog post, because I'm probably dying. I have a really sore throat, people. So I'm tracking my Five Stages of Grieving (read up on Wikipedia, a non-credible source, if you don't know what those are). I think these stages -- and their order -- pretty much describe every illness I've ever had.

Enjoy my pain.

This usually occurs Day 1. I wake up with a sore throat, and cheerfully scold myself, "Oh, you! You drank too much coffee yesterday and then slept with your mouth open!" Self grumbles, but knows this to be true. Illness is not an option.

Denial becomes a little more difficult as the day goes on, and gallons of water don't seem to hydrate throat enough to make it stop hurting. "No, no, NO, I am NOT sick!" is the refrain because my body is like a lizard -- if something goes wrong, I'll just regrow a tail or a pancreas or whatever I need to not have a sore throat.

Upon waking on Day 2 with a sore throat, acceptance comes. It sounds like this:

"I'm siiiiiiiiiiiiiickkkkkk!"

Paranoia is a common side affect of acceptance -- I accept that I'm sick, but I also accept that someone, somewhere gave me germs and it was probably on purpose. This time, I doubt it was bin Laden because he's dead, but I haven't ruled out some other terrorists. Or my co-workers. They're interrogated appropriately about their recent symptoms.

"When you got sick, was your throat sore? How long? Tell me, dammit! Or," I continue ominously, "this unicorn and its pet puppy will pay."

Day 3 falls on a weekend, almost invariably. This brings on ANGER. I think that's pretty self-explanatory.

This can fall on Day 3, too, since I quarantine myself and then I get bored. I might as well bargain as watch Dirty Dancing again.

Example bargains:
- If I'm going to die, at least I'm a martyr -- I'm protecting innnocent lives from the death I'm about to experience, because if it can take on my hearty immune system it's clearly the kernel of a pandemic. You're welcome, world, for staying home and eating popcorn.

- If I'm going to die, people had better say nice things about me at my funeral. My best friend gets an email asking about the eulogy she should have planned. She responds that it will be awesome but refuses to provide details for my editing. My mother gets a text about my impending death and a request that she not tell "humorous" stories at my funeral. She agrees to talk about my nobility of character, my beautiful visage, and my humility. She seems eager to talk about my humility.

- If I'm going to die, I need to at least survive until I'm done eating the chocolate truffles in my apartment, because they are $1.19 for three now. They used to be $0.89, for goodness sake! I'm eating them before I die, even if they scratch up my throat that is already killing me.

I'm not good at bargaining.

You might be surprised, but Kubler-Ross didn't say the stages she outlined followed her chronology. Sure, acceptance would be awesome here, but really -- depression is all that's left. Depressed that I'm never going to get well. Depressed that the consulting nurse told me over the phone that if I don't have strep throat I probably have acid dripping down the back of my throat (like a mutant or a dragon... both of those are bad). Depressed that the doctor ran tests and confirmed I *don't* have strep (but asked me if I planned to spit on him. I have never spit on him before... in fact, I've never met him. I just look like someone who spits on strangers).

On the off chance I survive, it's scheduled for Thursday. But by then I'll have run out of stages of sickness and/or grieving. Do you experience any stages I didn't mention?