Nine [edit: Ten] Diseases I Am Afraid of Getting

Posted: September 14, 2009 in Braak, Curse You Warren Ellis
Tags: , ,

rabiesThis is actually a kind of a trick, because if you asked me, “Chris, what diseases are you afraid of getting?” the only sensible answer I could reply with is, “All of them.”  But some diseases terrify me more than others because they are TERRIFYING.

As a public service to you, I am going to describe them, and describe why they are terrifying, so that way you will know which things you ought to be afraid of and when.

9. Rabies.

Once I got bit by a chipmunk, and I thought maybe I got rabies.  Afterwards, I kept checking to make sure that I liked water and wasn’t unusually irritable.  So far, I’ve just been irritable, not unusually irritable, but how long does it take rabies to manifest?  I don’t know!  There’s no way to know!  I’m going to go pour a glass of water right now.

8.  Swine Flu.

Porcine influenza, as I like to call it, is exactly like regular flu only it’s 1) a hundred times deadlier, 2) you can catch it from eating too much bacon, and 3) you’ve probably already caught it.  That’s the thing about the flu–it’s engineered (and don’t think it’s NOT engineered; the government totally invented the flu, why do you think they always know when “flu season” is, and they always have vaccines ready?) to just live in your system all the time, and then sometimes symptoms crop up.  Like, if you suddenly start coughing, or you have a little fever, that’s swine flu getting warmed up.  It doesn’t want to kill you JUST NOW, because it wants to give you a false sense of security.  Once you think you’re safe, then POW!  Dead.

7.  Tongue parasites.parasite_fish_tongue

Thanks to Warren Ellis for introducing me to this one.  This is a parasite that goes in a fish’s mouth and then replaces its tongue.  And, presumably, begins eating the fish from the inside.  Whatever, it’s horrible.  The only reason it’s not higher on the list is because human beings can’t get it haven’t gotten it.  Yet.

6.  Regular parasites.

The problem with parasites is there’s no way to know when you’ve got them.  Oh, you have a stomach ache?  Maybe it’s because of those enchiladas poblanas you had at the Mexican restaurant?  No, it’s parasites!  Parasites live in your intestines, and every time you feel something wrong in there, it’s the parasites trying to get out.  Not only that, but they also eat the best parts of your food, so there’s nothing left to nourish your body except transisomer unsaturated fats and mercury, so in addition to having parasites you’re also going to get heavy metal poisoning.  The only way to prevent the parasites from getting into your blood and taking over your brain is by drinking hard alcohol all the time.

5.  Heartworms.

Can people get heartworms?  I don’t know, actually, but they totally sound really shitty.

4.  Leprosy.

Every day I check to make sure I can still feel all of my extremities.  Once, when I was in the Klondike Derby in the Boy Scouts, I got frostbite and my right pinkie finger went numb, and I though maybe it was leprosy.  It turned out that it was just frostbite, but what the fuck did I know?  I was thirteen!


Also known as Myositis Ossificans Progressiva, this is a disease that makes your non-bone tissue ossify.  I am adding it in here right after Leprosy.  Thanks, Saramoira!  Now I am scared to shit of this thing, too!

3.  Fatal Familial Insomnia.

Fatal Familial Insomnia is a genetic condition that causes you to be unable to sleep, ever, at all, while your body falls apart and then you go into a coma and die.  Probably, you go kind of insane, too.  It doesn’t manifest until middle age, so you could just be going about your life and then Fatal Familial Insomnia.  You have three weeks to live, the end.  Jesus Christ, I couldn’t sleep last night.  Fuck, I can’t sleep RIGHT NOW, this one is going to be the one that gets me for sure.

2.  Brain amoebas.

There was an episode of House where Foreman got brain amoebas and they cured him by pumping him full of interferon, but here’s the thing about brain amoebas:  in reality THERE IS NO CURE FOR BRAIN AMOEBAS.  Once you get amoebas in your brain, which you can get by SWIMMING IN WATER, then they are in there until you die, which will be soon because they are EATING YOUR FUCKING BRAIN.

1.  Spinal Meningitis.

Spinal Meningitis is a disease that causes your brain to swell up and explode.  It kills you in a few hours, and you can catch it from a public water fountain or if someone sneezes on you.  The symptoms of spinal meningitis are fever and a stiff neck.  Every time I wake up with a stiff neck, I go to the hospital to make sure it’s not spinal meningitis.  So far it hasn’t been, but what the fuck am I supposed to do?  You know the ONE TIME I don’t go to the hospital, that’s going to be the time my brain swells up and I die.

  1. I have recently had nightmares about swine flu, even though my rational side keeps telling me, “Dude, it’s just the flu with a soupćon of cable-news hysteria, and you are a healthy adult with a good immune system.” Because the ones most at risk of death are the very old and very young … like my two-year-old. Oh shit.

    Brain diseases — specifically, brain tumors — have always scared the hell out of me because a) even non-cancerous brain growths can be fatal, not to mention impossible to remove surgically, and b) JESUS CHRIST THAT’S MY BRAIN. Until someone discovers soul cancer (e.g. when Cheney submits to his next physical), it’s the closest thing you can have to a disease that attacks your essential self-ness.

    Braak, if you use that tongue parasite as a plot device in a steampunk/SF novel before I do, expect a court summons.

  2. katastic says:

    I had the swine flu recently, or what I strongly suspect was swine flu. Remind me to cough all over your stuff.

  3. Jeff Holland says:

    Boy, it’s hell being Chris.

  4. Saramoira says:

    What about the ossification disease? Where all of your non-bone tissue turns into bone? I think it’s called Münchmeyer disease. sounds pretty awful.

  5. richie says:

    Herpes. Period, end of list.

  6. Amanda says:

    I can’t figure out if this post is in earnest, or if it has irony in the “fears” expressed….Like, I’m pretty sure quite a bit of your descriptions are mass misunderstandings of the diseases at hand, but I can’t be certain….

    And most importantly: how did you get bitten by a chipmunk????

  7. braak says:

    Contrary to popular belief, chipmunks are vicious, aggressive animals. If you see a chipmunk in your yard, do not approach it.

  8. Jeff Holland says:

    That’s true. And they can’t sing for SHIT.

  9. John Laycock says:

    I had a brain tumor!! Also, Fatal Familial Insomnia only runs in a handful of interbred European families. But yeah, it sounds fucking terrible.

  10. V.I.P. Referee says:

    A very responsible and educational public service announcement. I’m going to immediately send a link to everyone I know and ask that they forward it to everyone they know (but not to the person who forwarded it–they already know!) and then, I’m going to have a “Wikipedia” page made or updated and then…wouldn’t that tongue parasite have made a very confusing muppet?

  11. V.I.P. Referee says:

    I have to admit, Holland, I was more impressed than I expected to be when I’d heard them sing for the first time. You just can’t prepare yourself for something like that…

  12. Dave says:

    Nothing about Creuztfeldt-Jakob disease? Sure, you with all your fancy diseases probably think it’s passé but we here in Britain – we were there man. We all heard about BSE and thought hell – I hope I don’t get that – turns out its human variant had been in the food chain for 10 years so, if we were going to get it, we had it already.

    I don’t know… you get one X-Files episode about it and you don’t care anymore.

    So go away with your brain amoebas – just don’t swim, ok?

    I’ve got a ticking timebomb of cerebral C4 in my body right now. So didn’t even think of trying to compete.

  13. Lisa says:

    Ok ok – a few things since you’ve mentionned a couple typically animal related diseases.
    1) Rabies manifests in 10 days or less. If you don’t have any symptoms after 10 days, you’re in the clear. PS – You’ll like water the whole time, so that won’t make a difference. You will, however, go completely insane & try to bite & hurt people. It’s true – all the zombie flicks ever are based on real cases of humans with rabies.
    2) Humans can’t get heartworm. Not the same heartworm that occurs in dogs anyway. That’s not to say that there aren’t other wormy parasites that can’t make their way into your heart. There are plenty of them.

    Have you never heard of Ebola? Are you insane that you’re not afraid of Ebola?!?!?! With Ebola (or any other hemorrhagic fevers) your blood turns into a giant virus manufacturing machine and you hemmorhage out of every oriface and even the pores of your skin. Seriously.

  14. Hsiang says:

    I am absolutely terrified of Saturday Night Fever.

  15. braak says:

    @Lisa: Ebola’s manifestation rate compared to its communicability rate is too high for it to represent a significant contagious pandemic threat.

    Jeez, paranoid much?

  16. V.I.P. Referee says:

    May I suggest a Broadway-bound musical rendition of “Outbreak”?

  17. Jeff Holland says:

    “Ebola’s manifestation rate compared to its communicability rate is too high for it to represent a significant contagious pandemic threat.”

    @chris: It’s amazing how many words you can use just to say, “Ebola? Pfft! What are the ODDS?”

  18. V.I.P. Referee says:

    Holland: The fancy version seems more reassuring, somehow.

  19. Hsiang says:

    @V.I.P.: ” Don’t sugar-coat it doc, tell me what I got…On second thought, sugar-coat the hell out of it and use really big words.
    Maybe show me pictures of kittens while you talk.”

  20. V.I.P. Referee says:

    Hsiang, I dare you to “LOLCats” that tongue-parasite thing. It’s so cute, it makes me want to shower in bleach and kerosene.

  21. Lisa says:

    But seriously! You bleed from EVERY orifice. You’re worried about leprosy & fatal familial insomnia but you’re not worried about Ebola? All you need is 1 person who has recently been to Gabon or Niger to be sitting next to you on your next business trip. Just 1.

    Or someone who works closely with monkeys. Like I used to.

  22. braak says:

    I have insomnia every night. Do you know how many people I know from Gabon? NONE. Do you know how many business trips I go on? NONE. That is because I do not have a business. Ebola just doesn’t seem like a realistic thing for me to be afraid of.

  23. V.I.P. Referee says:

    Wait–Dave’s from Britain? Oooo–hello, Dave.

  24. Dave says:

    Um. Wotcher, V.I.P?

    Strike a light?

    Yeah. Hi.

  25. Carl says:

    No one said tapeworm?

    No one said TAPEWORM? TAPEWORM, people! It grows in your digestive system like the parasitic thing from ALIEN. Then eventually it works its way up and out your mouth. UP AND OUT OF YOUR MOUTH, people! Up to six feet long. SIX FEET!


  26. Carl says:

    Okay, I suppose ‘parasites’ covers it. Sort of. Hardly, actually. Not it heartworms get their own entry.


  27. Carl says:

    *not “it” but “if”. tapeworm.

  28. V.I.P. Referee says:

    Apparently, Braak’s idea of “provocative” is to yell “Fire!” in a crowded theater. How very Dadaist.

    Oh, yes,Dave. Doesn’t all this cozy, sexy talk about parasites and communicable diseases, remind you of the ephemeral immediacy of our existence? The rawness–the vulnerability–of our collective humanity? Sometimes you have to seize the moment, the exquisite moment

  29. braak says:

    @Carl: Tapeworm is covered under parasites! You think I don’t know about tapeworms? I know about tapeworms! You don’t get into college still weighing a hundred and twenty three pounds without fucking hearing about tapeworms every day!

    @VIP: I am not sure that this is the best discussion forum for hitting on Dave.

  30. V.I.P. Referee says:

    Wha–I wasn’t “hitting on” Dave! You said “Be nice!” I’m prepared to be very nice!

    Fine. Dave: I apologize for any behavior that may have been construed as “inappropriate” or “awkward” or “sexual harassment”. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of “Threat Quality Press” or any of TQP’s affiliates…you Britty Manx, you.

  31. Dave says:

    @ VIP Referee: It’s Okay, really. You know, what doesn’t kill you only makes you bleed uncontrollably through the eyes and ears.

    @Braak – it was the mention of Herpes that really made it seem inappropriate. Syphilis, on the other hand, that would have made me feel more at home.

  32. […] it qualifies as an eating disorder, or anything.  I mean, I’m neurotic about a lot of stuff (diseases, for instance), but it usually never crosses into the field of “disorder”–as in, […]

  33. мeкy says:

    Да уж. Спасибо, что заставили задуматься 🙂

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