HK Magazine Vintage Covers
HomeSquare

The Doctor’s Orders...

By Amy Ma | Nov 19, 2009

Share this article

The doctor’s orders were to quit my job.

Those weren’t his words exactly, but he certainly gave me plenty of reasons to start daydreaming about my life as a cartoonist, or some other less life-threatening vocation.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves here. The whole thing had started off on a much more reassuring note. I had signed my name onto the emergency waitlist at the gastrointestinal specialist because for three days straight, it felt like someone was repeatedly punching my stomach from the inside at regular intervals.

“It’s probably just food poisoning,” said the kind doctor.

Then, somewhere during the awkward silence when he was pressing down on my lower abdomen, I mentioned I was a food writer.

“Oh,” he paused, grabbing a pen to scribble down a note. “Now I see.”

In films, they call the point when things take a turn for the worse the “Hitchcock Moment”—a strange glance, the room darkens slightly, and instantly, the once safe surroundings seem to pose immediate danger.

I played the role of the dumb protagonist walking straight into the trap. It wasn’t until I had been sent two floors down to a test center that I realized telling your gastrointestinal specialist you were a food writer was the equivalent of telling an airport security guard you enjoyed your vacation frolicking with pigs in Mexico at the peak of an H1N1 outbreak. They treated me like I was an Ebola monkey from the hot zone.

“You drink a lot, don’t you?” asked one of the nurses. I shook my head. “Sure..” she said with a wink. Geez, I said, “food writer,” not human garbage can or the biggest fatty on earth.

Someone pricked me with twenty little needles. “An allergy test,” she explained, adding a totally inappropriate side note: “You must eat all sorts of crap, like bugs and worms and dogs.”

A breath test, blood test, and ultrasound scan later, the entire office was convinced I was patient zero and my stomach was the petri dish from which all mutant bacterial strains would spawn. There was talk that I might have gout or gallstones. I told myself I’d draw the line at any suggestion of an anal probe.

When the results came back, the doctor started off with the good news:

“You don’t have any lethal poisons in your system.” Followed by the bad news: “You’re allergic to certain varieties of onions, wheat, and you’re moderately lactose intolerant.”

Really? Because that’s not what my French onion soup told me when it went down without a hitch a few days ago at a Parisian bistro.

I shrugged off the warnings and went home that night still undiagnosed. Four days of pain later, I was told I may have gotten a “bug”—no further details given—and that it might return one day... with a vengeance.

Sigh, I don’t get paid enough for this.

Related Articles

On my very first birthday, I accidentally decided the fate of my life. It was an age-old Chinese tradition: You place a baby in the middle of a floor strewn with different objects, and the first three objects the clueless…
She told me that she usually orders a bowl of water on the side of her meal, into which she has to dip every morsel of food before it enters her mouth. “To wash off the excess oil,” she said.…
Easy for her to say...she wasn’t the one dangling upside down on some medieval-torture device. In all fairness, neither was I...but it sure felt like it at the time. The contraption I was hooked onto was a Gyrotonics machine, designed for…
Wow, this is awkward. I think I’m in love with my editor’s husband. His name is Malcolm Minns and he is dreamy. This is him. Look at those twinkling eyes, that sheepish grin, those cheekbones. Can you say dreamboat? I…
Are We All Going to Die of Media Panic?
Since January, Hong Kong’s leading dailies have served up an astonishing average of two fresh health scares per month (except for August when, presumably, everyone was away on holiday). Some scares appeared just briefly: Hairy crabs bearing liver-damaging antibiotics scuttled…
HK Magazine Sign Up Form
 


Sign up for HK News, Hot Deals, and Party Invites!


 
* Email


 
 
Prefer to read HK on your computer? Get your free PDF download by signing up to this. Delivered weekly

Exclusive deals and discounts from our partners. Delivered no more than twice a week

Plan your next 48 hours off with our curated list of happenings over the weekend. Delivered weekly

 
   


 
HK Magazine Vintage Covers
Barfly App by HK Magazine