I know what you’re thinking; bad title. No one with a hangover or even the memory of a hangover would relish the thought of dissecting anything. Hangovers and dissection will often result in tossing your cookies in the general proximity of the gross anatomy lab. Trust me on that fact and we’ll leave it at that.
The worst part of the hangover for me isn’t the headache. Though it’s there, with bells on. No amount of pillows or darkness or ibuprofen will erase it. The nausea or general feeling of yuk isn’t the worst of it either.
The worst part of the hangover is my freaking imagination. That tiny grain of a thought that maybe this isn’t a hangover at all. That maybe the fact that I drank beers and shots and more beers last night is just a coincidence. There’s a blossoming idea in my head and it’s thumbing through the Rolodex of horrible central nervous system killers. Brain tumors and degenerative disorders with a side order of antibiotic-resistant infections. It’s building steam and branching out to other horrible illnesses.
Massive headache – isn’t that a sign of an sub-arachnoid hemorrhage and Dengue fever?
Sensitivity to light – that’s consistent with tumors on the optic nerve and Huntington’s Chorea, isn’t it?
Nausea – What illness doesn’t have nausea connected to it?
Soon I’ve convinced myself that I have some rare, horrific disorder. I’m then faced with yet another brutally upsetting idea. What if right now, lying in my bed trying to find a cool spot on the pillow to put over my face while suppressing increasingly moist, bourbon-scented belches is as good as it gets? What if every one of my days from here on out is even worse than this?! After all, this is the typical progression for Mongolian Brain Fever. You wake up one day with hangover-like symptoms, then within a month you’re lying in an iron lung with anti-nausea suppositories every 2 hours. Each day is worse than the one before it. I’ll look back in my morphine induced haze to this first day of hideous symptoms and wish I could feel this good again.
That’s it. Surely I’ve got Mongolian Brain Fever. Disregard the fact that I haven’t traveled to the Gobi Desert or ingested under-cooked Asian ground squirrel in the past several months. All logic is abandoned and I must accept that somehow it’s happened. I narrow it down to one of two questionable dietary choices in the previous couple of weeks. In a moment of extremely poor judgement, I had eaten one of those hot dogs on the heated roller thing down at the 7-11. I knew it was a bad idea, but I was weak with hunger and cash poor. The other possibility was that chicken salad from the week before last. I thought that it had might have been in the fridge a little too long, but when I smelled it, the fishy odor was very faint. Maybe I was too congested to notice, but it’s too late now. Before any of you smart asses start listing the differences between undercooked ground squirrel and chicken salad, allow me to point out that there are dozens of unscrupulous chicken farmers out there who will feed their hens any number of sketchy ingredients to fatten them up. We needn’t begin to speculate the actual ingredients of hot dogs. I know it’s all a little far fetched, but these kinds of delusions are typical with MBF.
Convinced that this horrid day will be the best one I have left as I close in on the great beyond, I struggle out of bed. I kiss my wife, despite her obvious annoyance with me, and my eyes well-up with tears. I’ll miss this place. I need to fight the throbbing in my head and get on with the business of the day. I had originally planned to spend the day cleaning out the garage and picking up dog dookie in the yard, but my plans must change. As this is likely the first day of my steep spiral down life’s drain, I’ll need to savor the hours I have left. I decide to spend my day on the couch, surrounded by my family as they work on the garage and clean up after the dog. I don’t want to burden them with the tragic news of my self-diagnosis. I want to enjoy them in their state of innocent bliss.
They’ll undoubtedly resent my lack of help today, but within a few weeks, they’ll regret their selfish, petty feelings as they witness my rapid wasting away. I’ll forgive them of course, they foolishly thought it was only a hangover.