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Op-eds

Hysterical About Listeriosis

  • Howard Feldman 2018
I am convinced that I have caught Listeriosis. I have suffered from flu-like symptoms for days now and I can almost detect a very uncomfortable and queasy feeling in my stomach. If I concentrate.
by HOWARD FELDMAN | Mar 08, 2018

I have, to date, experienced no sudden and dramatic weight loss, but I believe that this could happen at any time and I am keeping a very close eye on this. As soon as I stop eating the choc-chip cookies that my wife is experimenting on, I suspect this symptom might present itself.

Loss of appetite also only seems to occur at so-called kosher functions. And I am a bit off chicken right now. But isn’t everyone?

The fact that every serious illness that I might be incubating begins with flu-like symptoms really bothers me. Surely in this age of glorious medical knowledge (i.e. Google), we should be able to narrow this down and become a little more specific.

We are able to determine which shipment imported the bacteria from which country in South America, for goodness sake, but the best we can do on the medical side is to watch out for “flu-like symptoms”! If I had a dollar for every time I self-diagnosed with Bilharzia or Ebola, well, I would be writing this column from deep within a Malaria area, wouldn’t I?

I come from a long line of hypochondriacs. My late grandmother only really felt at peace with the world when she was in hospital having a toe removed. No idea why. On reflection, I shudder to think what would have happened had she lived past the 90-something years allocated to her. It could have become quite messy.

“Tanya, you are looking so well!” someone would suggest on seeing her after an absence. “Oy!” she would respond, “you should only know how I feel!” No one could convince her that she was stronger and tougher than most men half her age. Get between her and a piece of cheesecake she had her eye on, and you would find out. She eventually did pass away. Four toes remaining.

I will never forget one Friday night, my mother proudly telling me how much weight she lost and then following it up with a “you don’t think I am sick, do you?” As sons tend to do, I rolled my eyes and told her to pull herself together. Turns out she did have stage 4 pancreatic cancer, so that might not be the most successful example to use. Because that proves to any respectable neurotic that sometimes our fears are founded. And when that happens, the results could be deadly.

I think it’s a Jewish thing. Generations of persecution and interbreeding have turned us into walking time bombs. The dangers are everywhere. And if the anti-Semites aren’t out to get us, our genes certainly are.

I was told that each decade, the average Jewish male adds at least one prescription medication to his arsenal. Starting in one’s 30s it’s Crestor for cholesterol, Nexium for reflux and Tareg for high blood pressure. Then there is a fork in the road, and lifestyle will determine if you go the Glucophage or Viagra route. The choice is apparently yours.

Little wonder we are neurotic. (On this note, it is well worth checking your vitamin D levels and thyroid because undiagnosed, this could become a significant factor). We have reason to be.

And if this isn’t bad enough, we are constantly on the defence against the most exotic and cunning of illnesses. Crafty and wicked. And they can be anywhere. Even embedded in polonies. Like a non-vegetarian Trojan horse, waiting for the opportunity to kill us.

Like anti-Semites.

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