Here is what went through my head when I felt a little tightness as I took a deep breath while waiting for the kettle to boil last Sunday:
Is this the start of a heart attack?
I don’t ignore it like most people do; I blow it out of proportion and then try and think of a more dramatic solution - as illustrated by the second thought out of my brain:
I have lung cancer.
You see that? No maybe about it. I had flat out decided before I had even finished my breath that I had cancer. Then with every inhale I psyched myself further into the ICU:
My parents were smokers as I was growing up so it was only a matter of time.
Robyn is outside in the garden and it’ll be a while before she finds me when I pass.
Getting the big ‘C’ this young means that it is going to be really bad.
There you have it; with that last thought you can see that I determined that having cancer was not bad enough. Oh no, I had to then diagnose myself with a terminal, extremely aggressive, non-operable tumor. I won’t bore you with the next five minutes of neurotic thoughts but suffice to say that by the time the jug boiled I was already fretting about my lack of life insurance and what songs I wanted played at the service.
And this isn’t unusual, my standard practice is to take any physical defect that I discover - actual or perceived - and spin it wildly out of proportion (I once decided that a twinge I felt in my lower back was in fact the first symptom of ebloa and it was only a matter of time before my organs turned to into a cloudy liquid and I started vomiting my spleen into the kitchen sink). I know that I do this and so tend to reign it back in pretty quickly but to many of my spare thoughts are taken up a worse, worst case scenario of how I’m going to come to a grizzly death.
In case you’re wondering I don’t have a tumor or respiratory parasites or any of the things that danced across my mind as I made my cup of tea. I just had the start of a cold.