Sloane Crosley: I will obsess over a paper cut. It’s not hypochondria. The diagnosis is 'being a big baby'

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For the average person, taken to their sick bed, it takes a serious bout of pneumonia or a full body cast to completely forget the life they had prior to falling off the rollercoaster. I, however, will do this over a paper cut on my thumb, obsessing of said cut and being generally consumed by it. It's not hypochondria. The medical diagnosis of my condition is something like "being a big baby."

So imagine what happens if you give someone like me the flu. Oh, and now do a couple of other things, will you? Put me in a fleapit hotel – alone – in Los Angeles. Have you forgotten to add questionable stains on the carpet and a chair that actually breaks when I sit in it?

I was in LA researching a story. The anxiety of missing interviews was not helping my postnasal drip. In my oversized terrycloth bathrobe, I'd shift from the bed to the sofa and then back to the bed once I decided the sofa hadn't been cleaned since the 1990s. I'd stare out of the window at the bright Los Angeles weather and let out a boy-in-the-bubble sigh of longing.

(This is the thing about LA. Unlike every other city in America where you have to locate the main attractions, the sole attraction of the place is delivered to your home each morning, provided that home includes a window. LA knows how to rub it in your face if you're sick.)

I sighed on the phone to family, who wished me well but – what could they do from 3,000 miles away? I sighed to the man at the front desk. He didn't speak English. My voice was barely audible. Friends hung up on me, thinking we'd been disconnected. Was there no-one who would understand my plight? In the middle of the night, out of aspirin, I found a 24-hour delivery service to bring me drugs. When a teenager knocked on my door half an hour later, he said, almost sweetly: "You look terrible. Hope this helps." I thanked him. Here was someone who understood how bad this was!

"No problem," he said, "it's 3am. I'm just happy to be delivering to someone who's not drunk."

Sloane Crosley is the author of 'How Did You Get This Number' (Portobello)

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