There’s a Doctor in Each One of Us

Diagnosing symptoms like a pro

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

I feel sick.

Probably not the best way to start an article, and also probably not the best way to feel during a global pandemic. I don’t know if it’s the mental impact from all the gloom and doom on the news, or if I actually am sick. Whatever it is, I don’t feel so good.

When I woke up this morning, I had an episode of dry coughing. I asked around and did some research and I could well be COVID-positive. I had been feeling rather ill at ease for the past few days and I did feel a bit fatigued. Perhaps last night when I met a friend for a drink, I got a bit careless with my mask. I retraced the previous night. I had handed my car keys to the valet and out of habit, sanitised my hands straightaway. I had walked in, stepped onto the escalator, not touched anything, stepped off of it, stood 2 metres away from the security guard, asked him where the restaurant BOCA was, followed the signs to it, and then I had found my friend seated in a corner table. We didn’t hug, and we maintained distance because we weren’t part of a Greek tragedy and knew that nothing untoward would happen if we didn’t hug or kiss each other. Plus, she was going on holiday soon and didn’t want to risk getting a positive COVID test so ‘distance from everyone’ was her motto.

We ordered a sharing platter but obviously didn’t touch each other’s food. We drank loads. Perhaps the dry cough was from all the drinking. Perhaps this was just a hangover. Why do I feel so dreadful though? Well, I’m not getting any younger, as my parents don’t stop reminding me, so perhaps this is just my body rejecting the copious amounts of alcohol I consumed last night? Yes, this makes sense. I am hungover and I need to become a bit more responsible about what goes into my body. I should treat my body like a temple. Not like I treat the Sikh temple, though. Pre-COVID I would visit the temple only because it made my parents happy. This was going to be a different temple. I was going to be invested in this temple to make myself happy.

Why do I feel so sad though? When I turned on the radio in the car, I was expecting the music to make me feel better. Instead, one of the channels playing old school music played Nancy Sinatra’s ‘You Only Live Twice’, which sent me down a spiral of thoughts that I couldn’t have imagined. Think about it. Back in 1967 when the song was released to audiences, Nancy spoke about having two lives- one for yourself and one for your dreams. But I had consistently been told at university that you only live once. My cries of ‘I don't want to go out tonight’ would often be met with ‘Come on, YOLO!’ What had caused YOLT to become YOLO? Which life did we give up on? Our own or our dreams’? If we gave up our own life, did we at least accomplish our dream? Or if it was the life of dreams that we gave up, what became of our own lives?

Am I just depressed? I thought about the questions my brother had once asked me. Did I wake up feeling unmotivated? This morning alone I woke up thinking about all the work I knew I had to complete in the office before taking a day off to go to the beach. I was the most motivated I had been in a while. Did I feel sad most of the time? Well, not really. I was only sad now thinking about how YOLT became YOLO. Have I seen a reduction in the amount of pleasure or interest in doing things? No, I don’t think so. I really am fine, but sad at the moment. What could be causing that?

As I arrived at the office and walked out of the elevator, I was gripped with a sudden sense of nausea. Uh-oh. The movement in the car, the movement in the elevator? Perhaps that’s what this is, motion sickness. Or an extension of my hangover symptoms. Jesus, how bad is this hangover? Have hangovers always been like this? I don’t recall feeling this way at age twenty. Would that I could go back to twenty. Such a glorious time.

Why do I feel this way? This disgusting sensation of dry coughing, wanting to throw up, feeling so sad, and fatigued all at the same time? So far, I have diagnosed myself with COVID, depression, hangover, and nausea. Could I be pregnant? Don’t be silly.

It was when I sat down on my seat that a familiar unpleasant sensation hit me. My diagnosis dawned on me. I felt a sudden sense of relief and despair at the same time.

Yeah, I knew it. I’m on my period.



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Amandeep Ahuja

Amandeep Ahuja is the Author of ‘The Frustrated Women’s Club’. Buy a copy here: