PLAYING CHAR-AIDS WITH A MEDICAL ACTOR
My ex-boyfriend is an actor, and when he’s not starring in cool movies with famous people, or looking like a jaunty ginger man-child, he gets to play sick for eight hours a day and still make way more money than most of his friends do at their shitty, minimum wage jobs. Here's how being a medical actor works: you get a script with the profile of a patient, a background of the disease, and a list of symptoms, and you act it out as med students try to deal with you, whether it's getting you to admit to something that caused your condition (doing drugs, having unprotected sex, sticking a broomstick up your ass) or just practicing communication with someone who is totally bonkers. It's basically a test of bedside manner and protocol. Sometimes he ends up doing the same scenario 50 times in a day and by the end of it his brain gets all melty and he starts saying shit that makes no sense.
One time a girl he had a thing with in high school was in the group of medical students. He had to act like a schizophrenic with impaired mental capacity, so basically he spazzed out like a six year old. At one point he looked over at her, and she had an expression he described as, "a mix of horror, pity, and disgust." There was no de-briefing after that particular session, so she just had to leave the room and they never spoke of it. He thought that was pretty harsh tokes, but I thought it was hilarious. Anyway, minus the fact that it makes girls think you're a creep, medical acting sounds kind of fun.
Even though it's not really about guessing the disease, I recently asked him to reenact some of those scenarios while some friends with zero medical training tried to guess what disease they thought he had. We called the game char-AIDS.
Friend 1: Wiener rash. I mean, genital herpes.
Friend 2: Diarrhea, he's just holding it in to take this photo, then it’s a quick dash for the toilet.
Friend 3: Definitely constipation. I read on Wikipedia this can occur form fear of pain, maybe he doesn't want to get his heart broken by you again.
Actual illness: Irritable bowel syndrome.
Friend 2: Cocaine cloud, because I saw him last night doing bumps the size of baby fingers.
Friend 3: ACHOOO
Actual illness: Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus allergy (aka dust allergy).
Friend 1: English Sweate it was invented by the British government to thin the growing ginger population that was organizing a coup in 1485. Look it up!
Friend 2: Hyperhidrosis, aka the super-sweats.
Actual illness: He just found out he has cancer, you insensitive dickheads.
Friend 1: Finally, one that I get. He’s going for spastic mentalist here.
Friend 2: He’s a retard.
Friend 3: Retardation.
Actual illness: He's just mid-sneeze. You guys are mean.