Ricky Gervais has opened up about how his recent bout of illness left him gripped with fear he was suffering liver and stomach cancer.
The self-proclaimed hypochondriac comic, 61, said he was hit by vomiting and diarrhoea in the middle of the night that was so severe he also convinced himself he could be dying.
Ricky had told fans in a tweet on May 12 how he had been suffering from the ‘worst illness of my life’ when he was stricken by stomach pain over the course of eight horrendous hours.
He’s now opened up about the illness, telling fans in an online Q&A: ‘What happened was, it was Wednesday night, about 1am, and I had a pain in my side that woke me up – like a shooting pain. It was like “Aaaaah”. That never happens.
‘It was like, “Ooh, what was that?” Then it happened again. My first thought was obviously – liver cancer, right?’
Paranoia: Ricky Gervais has opened up about how his recent bout of illness left him gripped with fear he was suffering liver and stomach cancer
Hinting he feared his daily drinking sessions had finally got to him, Ricky added: ‘And in the middle of the night, you’re convinced – that it is, I’ve blown it, you know?’
He went on: ‘I got another pain, and it was, “Oh, oh God.” And I felt sick. And I went to throw up and couldn’t. So I thought, “Oh, maybe it’s stomach cancer.”
‘And then I couldn’t be sick – there was nothing there. Then the pain of the vomiting was incredible, there was an intensity.’
Ricky, who once said he had been drunk every day since the age of 18, added: ‘You forget how bad vomiting is – you forget just how f*****g awful.
‘I mean, never mind the illness and thinking you’re going to die – I can’t breathe. And I think I’m going to choke. And I think I’m not going to get my breath back in between each spasm.
‘The next day, when I coughed, my ribs – I thought, oh, I’ve ripped my stomach lining here.’
‘All this is happening in my head. That happened a few times, and I started sweating, and cold sweating. And I thought, “What is this.” Then I thought, “Ah – coronavirus.” I’ve had it before.
‘I caught it off one of my nieces, or great nieces, one Christmas. Everyone was ill. And again, that happened in the middle of the night, and I thought, “Oh, Jesus”.’
Ricky added paranoia then struck him he had been the victim of a Salisbury-style poisoning.
He said: ‘That didn’t stop me thinking at one point it might have been radiation sickness.
Illness: The self-proclaimed hypochondriac comic, 61, said he was hit by vomiting and diarrhoea in the middle of the night that was so severe he also convinced himself he could be suffering everything from radiation and cyanide poisoning to coronavirus
‘I just thought, “Well, it could be – you never know”. Someone might have been walking behind me with a bit of plutonium, once.
‘But anyway, I was pretty sure after a couple of hours this was coronavirus. So I was trying to fight it then.
‘And then the other end started, which is a relief really. Because I’d rather it came out that way instead of my face, you know what I mean?
‘Because diarrhoea you go, “Whatever, it’s not me, it’s just happening.” It’s like pulling the plug. I’d rather everything came out that way.
‘I was still sort of retching as well, and then nothing was coming out. Then there was brown stuff – and I thought, “Bile? Or am I vomiting from my a**e?”
‘I know sort of too much but not enough. I knew cyanide poisoning causes reverse peristalsis, from the bowel, so you are vomiting your own s**t. So I thought it was cyanide!’
Ricky continued: ‘But in general, give me diarrhoea over vomiting. Not even vomiting – (it was) retching without the relief. F*****g hell. Has anyone spoken about sick and s**t so much?
‘It was one o’clock, two o’clock, three o’clock rock, and it’s both ends. I know a lot of people during coronavirus told me they were sitting on the toilet and throwing up in the bath.
‘Now, because I’ve got a bit of cash, my bath is f*****g miles from the toilet. So I couldn’t do that. So I was having to spin round – I was having to try and time it, going, “Quick, sit down.”
‘The old Roxy Music song Both Ends Burning springs to mind. I couldn’t even drink – even water made me sick. Water gave me the urge to throw up.
‘Then eventually, what worked was I had a Lemsip and a Gaviscon. And it sort of worked, where I could lie down without wanting to be sick.
‘If I moved, I wanted to be sick, but I could lie down. It was all over by about 6 o’clock that morning. But I still couldn’t get up – I couldn’t eat.
‘I think I got up and had about half a banana for lunch. And I think I eventually got up about 3 o’clock, and it was all over. I still felt weak.’
Rick added: ‘I mean, I couldn’t even face a beer until about 8 o’clock that night. Unbelievable. I don’t want that again, but you know it’s going to happen again.”
His account of his illness on Twitter ended with Ricky saying he thought he was ‘going to die’.
Awful: His account of his illness on Twitter ended with Ricky saying he thought he was ‘going to die’
Well wishes: Responding to comments wishing him well, the comedian confirmed he believed he had caught norovirus
He tweeted earlier this month: ‘I’m not well today. In fact I’d say I just lived through the worst 8 hours of illness of my life.
‘Severe abdominal pains, vomiting every time I moved, (but only tiny bits of bile), hot sweats and chills, oh, and I really want to know who planted the 12 gravy bombs up my a**e.’
Fans immediately diagnosed him with a nasty norovirus that has been doing the rounds as they wished him well.
Ricky later tweeted: ‘Update: I’m out of bed and I’ve had a bath. Feel weak and annoyed that I wasted a whole day, but that is a huge improvement on believing that I was definitely going to die. Thanks for all your well wishes.’