Diary of a hypochondriac


This isn't life, this is Groundhog Day. Every morning is identical: I wake feeling desperately fatigued, overwhelmed by the spacey feeling that comes with prolonged sleep deprivation, and glance at the digital clock at the end of the bed expecting to see 3.03am blinking back. But it never is - it's always 8.48 - and from this beginning the day proceeds in a manner indistinguishable from the one before. Take the Diary of a Hypochondriac which appears on this page today. It strikes me as utterly indistinguishable from the one a fortnight ago. I think I must be going mad. Still, thank God this unbreakable cycle is not affecting my work.


This isn't life, this is Groundhog Day. Every morning is identical. I wake feeling desperately fatigued, overwhelmed by the spacey feeling that comes with prolonged sleep deprivation. Still, thank the Lord my work is not suffering.


This isn't life, this is Groundhog Day. Yet again, I awake with puffy eyes, a fuggy feeling in my head and twice as tired as when I went to bed. When I mention this to my wife over breakfast, she begins an elaborate tiptoe towards the drinks shelf. "Oh, Christ have mercy, no," I scream, "not one of your mimes." Placing a shushing finger to her lips, she picks up a near empty bottle of Glenlivet, peers into it, shakes it from side to side and turns it upside down, all the time wearing an exaggerated, eyebrows-raised look of bemusement. Silent now, I collect my keys and head for the front door.


Once again I am obliged to complain of desperate fatigue. "Please, please, if any vestige of the feeling that led you to accept my hand in marriage all those years ago survives," I say to Rebecca, "don't start the Marcel Marceau nonsense again. That whisky bottle's been empty for weeks." She asks if this is true. It is. Ever since suffering what struck me as an aortic aneurism outside Shepherds Bush tube station, but which my physician Sarah Jarvis diagnosed over the phone as "alcoholic indigestion", I have given up alcohol, limiting myself to beer, red wine and other soft drinks.


There are many possible causes of the syndrome doctors call TATT (tired all the time) and while leukaemia, pernicious anaemia or an invasive malignancy can hardly be ruled out, the odds are firmly on sleep apnoea caused by my significantly deviated septum. My brain is being denied oxygen because no air can get through the nostrils. The situation is critical but two months after my appointment at Charing Cross hospital's ear, nose and throat department I have heard nothing about the operation.


My personal physician, Sarah Jarvis, pops in with a birthday present for Rebecca, and examines the back of my head when I complain of two disturbing swellings. "Didn't we have this conversation a few months ago?" she wonders, having diagnosed the growths as "bits of your skull". We did, of course. It's Groundhog Day. "But they're very painful doctor and they feel heavy and numb." The doctor suspects that the lymph nodes in the region may be affected by a virus. "I see. And by the way, what about my septum?" "What about your septum?"

"I haven't heard from the hospital and I can't wait for ever. I may have to go private." The doctor promises to write to Mr Richards, the Harley Street ENT man I saw five years ago.


Last night I tried to watch Groundhog Day, but drifted off after half an hour. Rebecca watched it through to the end and I ask her, as she slices a breakfast mango, to remind me how Bill Murray finally manages to break the cycle. "He slept with Andie McDowell," says Rebecca. "Perhaps you should sleep with Andie McDowell, if it would stop you whining about being so exhausted."

"I'd be delighted to sleep with Andie McDowell," I reply, "but I'm much too tired. Why am I continually so tired?" Rebecca puts down her mango, heads for the drinks shelf and raises a near empty bottle of Calvados, holding it up to the light and squinting at the contents. So it goes on and on and on...

Thanks to guardian.co.uk who have provided this article. View the original here.


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