Every now and then Jayne and I text each other with some kind of terrible, self-diagnosed condition. It’s always out of the blue like, “Someone sneezed near me and I’m sure I now have the Avian flu,” or “I know I caught my coworker’s stupidity,” or “I think I’m going bald.”
We know it’s irrational when the other person is the one with the problem, but when we have a cut on our hand that isn’t doing what it’s supposed to, it’s ABSOLUTELY DEFINITELY SEPSIS.
The first step is to try to talk the other one down from the WebMD-induced hypochondria ledge. Which can backfire.
Like that time I cut my hand, slapped a band-aid on it, and called it a day–only to discover two days later that it was doing the opposite of healing.
J: “It’ll be ok, just put some Neosporin on it.”
T: “I did, but if it doesn’t get better, I think I should hunt a nurse down.”
J: “Don’t worry, dude. I’m sure if it was tetanus, you’d know.”
T: “…Tetanus? I was just worried about a regular, run-of-the-mill infection. I hadn’t considered tetanus.”
J: “Shit. Forget I said anything.”
Oh, God. What if it’s tetanus? I don’t know what shots I’ve had. What if I never got the tetanus shot? What if I’m walking around here with a target on my back? A target for poking me with metal.
This is usually when Jayne reminds me that I’m a deranged person who should close Google/WebMD/the medical encyclopedia, take a few deep breaths, and relax.
Chances are, my arm is not going to be amputated because of this scratch. Not even a little. I trust Jayne because I know that if she’s not panicking, I shouldn’t worry. Plus, she has this totally chill way about her that is just contagious. In a good way.
When I get these kind of texts, though, my move is to offer sound medical advice, because I am absolutely an armchair physician.
My advice is usually some kind of natural remedy because you can take the gal out of Russia (or Russia-adjacent territories) but you can’t take Russia out of the girl.
So when Jayne tells me she drank too much or ate too much or made some questionable sushi choices–I give her the ol’ charcoal talk. I tell her, “Eat some damn charcoal. Why does no one listen to me when I tell them to eat charcoal?” and then I imagine the look she must be giving me and follow up with, “At hospitals, they give it to people who OD. Cause it’s porous and absorbs stuff, or something.” Then Jayne actually trusts me and swallows a bunch of activated charcoal pills and tells me she feels better.
Or I lecture her about chicken soup or emergen-C (my elixir of life) or nag her to stay in bed and drink fluids like a total mom.
But we actually listen to each other. We are kind of like our own nurse hotline/healthcare system. We trust each other with our health and well-being, whether it’s just sharing tales of woe or getting advice and perspective. Jayne’s usually the first person I go to when something’s wrong and physical ailments are no different. One “Dude, you’re totally overreacting” later, I feel better and my world’s looking up. And I like to think Jayne appreciates that my babushka instinct comes out to make sure she’s staying warm and drinking plenty of OJ when she’s unwell. Right, boo? Right?