Acute Patience

Friends, family, and members of the many online support groups to which I belong:

I have just returned home from a visit with my doctor. Some of you know that I have been conferring with numerous professional and paraprofessional medical men and women (and one neurosis-sniffing dog) for the better part of the past year, primarily to deal with my acute hypochondriasis, but also with some lesser maladies, among them hypochondria, health phobia, and health anxiety. It would appear, however, that I was correct, after all: There is something wrong with me. There are several things wrong with me, in fact.

Thus it is with a heavy heart that I share with you this news about my health: After my most comprehensive physical, mental, and spiritual examination to date, which included a battery of tests—some superficial, others mind-bogglingly invasive, and still others that did not involve me at all—my chief internist has concluded that I have an excess of protons in some of the Beryllium-Astatine-Erbium (BeAtEr) molecules in my striated cardiac muscle... increasing the weight of my ticker medically negligibly but noticeably... resulting in a condition known technically as “completely invented myocardial ionization,” but which in layman terms might be called “heavy heart.” It is not fatal, or even actual, but still, there it is, and I thought you all should know.

Ever since I was in my late twenties, I’d had a gut feeling that my health isn’t quite what it could or should be, and now at least I have official confirmation that I am, physiologically speaking, an anomaly. Indeed, besides my heart thing, I also have a gastrointestinal thing, as I just mentioned. Most people don’t have nerves in their alimentary canals—the tubes by which bilaterian animals, including humans, transfer food to their digestive organs—but, wouldn’t you know it, I have them in mine, the result of which is that I literally have gut feelings. “Bilaterian,” by the way, means “having bilateral symmetry”—that is, having a front end and a back end, as well as an upside and a downside. The downside of being able to sense the progress of my food as it travels from my front end to my back end is that it is very difficult not to pay attention to it. The upside, I suppose, is that it takes my mind off many of my other health issues.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. No, trust me—I do. You’re thinking that it’s all in my head... that I’ve just got well-being on the brain. Well, you’re not far off. I do have something on my brain, it turns out, and it’s sort of well-being. Dr. Waggletail barked out a theory at one point that led the rest of the team to discover that I have oxygen on my brain—a thin layer of it, surrounding my grey matter. It’s not the kind of excess oxygen in an organ that can lead to toxicity, mind you. No, what I’ve got is just enough extra oxygen on my brain that I’ll probably outlive everybody I know, including all of my doctors, and while I continue to live, my brain will have some extra oxygen to keep me thinking about all of my health problems without interruption until ultimately one kills me, eventually. Just my luck, right?

Finally, and just to give you the complete picture, in addition to both Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and Blatant Anxiety Disorder (BAD), I have Multifaceted Ancillary Disorder (MAD), and I am not happy about it.

So that’s my story. Thanks for reading this, and thanks for being patient (no pun intended) with me. If there’s anything I can do for any of you, please don’t hesitate to ask. If I’m unable to help at first, it’ll only be because my hands are tied, but I’ve already scheduled a procedure to have that condition fixed.

Matthew David Brozik wrote this and many other short humor pieces, which have been published in print and online by The New Yorker, Adult Swim, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Grin & Tonic, The Big Jewel, and no one.

Read more humor here. Or read some fiction here.