I can’t believe this is happening. I assumed I had the monopoly on psycho-somatic illness, heavily tinged with hypochondria, and surrounded by a perpetual mist of free floating anxiety. I also thought I was the only one who could turn all these fears and tremblings into a real manifestation, but oh no, I have now been co-opted by my very own wife, Leslie.
For years and years I thought I had sole possession of a terrible fearful manifestation of my anxieties.
One morning, more than 30 years ago, I woke up with a start and felt this enormous protrusion, this edema that had puffed and swelled throughout the night on my lip, so that by the morning the left side of my face was beginning to look like the Stay-Puff man. My lips were so bulbous; they would make Angelina Jolie jealous.
The more I worried about this, the more intense the swelling became. I had gone from a relatively benign looking 35 year old, into a minor version of the Elephant Man. Over the years I made frequent trips to allergists, but to no real avail. They ruled out food and other allergies, leaving me with what was left, ironically the most appropriate diagnosis, fear and anxiety.
I never knew for 30 years when the next episode would appear. I’d lie in bed, in dread, on hot sweaty nights (as sweat and heat seemed to exacerbate the condition) that I would wake up in a start with some enormous welt on my face or my body.
Finally, after years, this particular torment seemed to run it’s course and for the last number of years I seem to have exorcised this particular plague from my system.
But now, out of the blue, Leslie has been struck by the same ailment. Her lips and mouth have started to swell out of control.
This couldn’t be sympathy pain, because she had felt no sympathy for me, only annoyance that I couldn’t let the ailment go. I had soaked it for all it’s worth.
But now, even my peculiar and original psychosomatic illness has been transferred to my wife. I pray that this condition will pass quickly from Leslie, as she seems to handle the situation far more gracefully than I have in the past.
As I lay in bed, I obsessed over the thought that I might receive what I most fear. I pray that the curse that has found its way it Leslie’s lips will not find its way once again to yours truly simply with a kiss.