Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Jungle Fever (repeat episode)


Before the arrival of cable TV, summer was the series of reruns for the Big Three networks. No doubt they wanted children cavorting outdoors instead of sitting in front of the television.
The Prude figures if it is good enough for NBC it is good enough for her.
Below is a reprint of a post from Sept. 2010. If you’ve read it already, feel free to go outside and cavort.
The Prude's non-meningitis afflicted son bought her this book after reading this post


Jungle Fever

The Prude’s son called to inform her that he was ill. With a fever. And a headache. And a sore neck.  And of course (at this point) The Prude realized he must have Meningitis and she spent the rest of the day calling him and waking him from a sound sleep to have him check if he could bend his head to his chest.

The Prude is a hypochondriac. A RAGING HYPOCHONDRIAC.  She can trace it back to watching ‘Marcus Welby MD’ when she was an extremely innocent 11-year-old Prudling, convinced she had syphilis. She couldn’t understand her mother’s reaction to the disclosure (unmitigated hilarity). The Prude learned quickly that hypochondriacs do not watch medical dramas.  She has never seen 'St. Elsewhere', 'Doogie Howser MD', 'Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman', 'Scrubs', 'Grey’s Anatomy' or 'House'. 

The condition grew exponentially worse during childbearing and rearing.  During pregnancy, 2 simultaneous kicks in opposite directions meant the baby must have 4 legs. As the children grew (with only 2 legs apiece) she spent many hours diagnosing their symptoms.
Not thirsty? Rabies.  Too thirsty? Type 2 diabetes.
Too long a nap? Sleeping sickness.  Not tired? Insomniac.
Pale and tired? Jungle fever.  Cheeks too rosy? Tuberculosis.
A rash could mean scabies, a sore was leprosy, and swollen lymph nodes must be elephantiasis.

Hypochondria, left unchecked, develops a related condition as yet un-named. We can call it Worst-Case-Scenariosis.  If my child walked near the edge of the Grand Canyon I was convinced a landslide would occur at that very moment at the very place the child stood. I would debate the propriety of checking the batteries in the smoke and carbon detectors at homes where my children participated in sleepovers, and sweeping the area for radioactive materials. Swimming in a pool could expose them to chlorine-resistant bacteria, swimming in lakes meant unknown creatures could nibble their toes, rivers had currents, the ocean had riptides and Jaws.

A whole new world of anxiety opened when they learned to drive.  Instructions included:
‘Watch out for deer and drunk drivers and wild turkeys that fly into your windshield’
‘It is windy today. Don’t drive alongside semis- they will tip over on you.’
‘It is raining today. Don’t hydroplane, and watch for hippo-sized potholes to open in the road under you.’
‘It is snowing today. Stay home till May.’

The Prude has mercifully restrained from steering you into the entire iceberg of symptoms and what-ifs. She has only jabbed you with the tip.  If you are feeling a little sore and tender right now, be warned.  You may have rickets.

3 comments:

Robin J. Steinweg said...

Oh dear, Prude--I'm afraid--yes, I'm AFRAID this malady of hypochondriosis is generationalosis!

You are too funny!!!!!

Lori Lipsky said...

This is a great post, too! The first time and in re-run.

The other day you asked us to choose our favorite post and share it with you. Do you have a favorite, Prude? Maybe another day you'll share your favorite/favorites. I'd love that.

Joanie said...

Love it!