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Can I Borrow a Hug?

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I'm a hypochondriac. Is there a support group out there anywhere for people like me? Or am I in this alone, wallowing in my misery? I really, really like Howie Mandel.

I need a Hug Club. They say "an apple a day keeps the doctor away." I'd like to amend that and replace the word "apple" with "hug."

I go through life on a psychological high-wire, and nobody will throw me a net. My husband Buffoon has ignored me for the past 35 years while I've suffered through PMS, perimenopause, the real menopause, post traumatic menopause syndrome and anger-management-post-dramatic-menopause disorder (the last one largely due to getting in line at the grocery store behind stupid people who can't see the sign that says: Express Lane!... "Hey! This is a 12-items-or-less line! Take your 82 items and go to the full-service line over there where that nice cashier with the balloon on his head is standing!").

I need to calm down. I can't handle undiagnosed "symptoms" that pop up for no good reason: the mystery bruises, the muscle spasms in my lower back, the twitch in my lower lip, the horrible tooth ache (it's those silver fillings my dentist put in when I was a kid that is probably filled with mercury and now I have lead poising).

I have to switch the channel on my TV when a medical doctor comes on to chat about the latest health issue and what the symptoms are. If I hear a symptom, I have it within minutes. I hum loudly to myself while trying to find the remote control so I can change to the Food Network. I really don't want to know what the symptoms are for arthritis, heart problems, mononucleosis, diabetes, or any other life-changing health issue (but I would like someone to discuss toe fungus intelligently just once).

I think my hypochondriac personality first surfaced when I gave birth to my first child oh so long ago and realized there is horrible pain associated with trying to push an elephant out of my uterus. My doctor (who I'm pretty sure was delivering his first baby) was determined to make me wait until my cervix was dilated to nine centimeters (the max being 10 to give birth) before he would give me an epidural to make the bad pain go away. I wanted the epidural at one centimeter.

So my doctor is in the middle of checking for holes in the ozone while I'm pretty much screaming my head off in the delivery room saying things to him I ordinarily wouldn't even think about saying out loud. He walks over in that tacky green hospital gown and the paper hat to check one more time to see if I'm dilated enough to warrant a pain killer... and tells me to relax.

"Hey you low down, right-wing double crossing gynecologist swine. I'm about to poop a howling ball! - Give me some drugs or get this baby out of me!"

"Relax. Just try to relax."

"Relax? I'll show you relax. Let me grab your testicles, slide them into a bench vise and clamp them together like smashed prunes until you holler for your mama!... Get this baby out of me now!!"

I can't handle mental or physical stress (and pain is out of the question) because it makes me hyper and needy. When I get needy, I want a gentle hug (the kind that doesn't require taking off my panties). Buffoon is not a hugger. He doesn't take my need to be cuddled seriously. When I'm stressed and loaded for bear, instead of a little tenderness, he tends to preach to me about being a habitual over-reactor.

"I am not over-reacting! Why do you keep saying that to me?! I have symptoms. Something's wrong. Why can't you just give me a hug? I'm not crazy about the way your mother raised you! Did you have a goat for a nanny? One hug -- how hard is that?"

When I go to the doctor -- which is as often as I have symptoms of anything -- sometimes he'll order a battery of tests on me to rule out everything that could possibly be wrong. I go over with him what could possibly be wrong if there were to actually be something wrong -- then the tears -- then out comes the prescription pad. Antidepressant anyone?

I'm terrified of taking medicine (especially something I haven't taken before) because there are at least 103 possible side effects for every medicine out there. If I read the warning label (which I now try not to), I guarantee you I will have at least one or two side effects (usually the one that requires using a roll of toilet paper).

I guess my point to all of this is, if Buffoon were hug friendly, maybe I wouldn't "overreact" to anonymous symptoms (child birth pain doesn't count as over-reacting). If he gave me a hug a day, I would be more likely to cook him nice dinners and rub his feet and hold his hand and maybe let him have his way with me (I said maybe). Hugs are good for the soul, and, quite frankly, I could never get enough hugs. I just wish I'd get one every now and then. Anyone want to hug me? Please.

If you need a hug, take a listen to this great song by Nat King Cole.