Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Hypochondria and other ills...

So when I had my physical last week, they decided I needed a tetanus shot since it had been 9 years since my last one (good Lord, how did 9 years pass so quickly?) No big deal, said me, I'm not afraid of needles! The lovely nurse brings in my Tdap shot (wouldn't want whooping cough either, you know) and proceeds to stick me with it. Do you remember your last tetanus booster? Do you remember how freaking painful they are??! My arm still aches a week later! And of course, in my mind, I am developing a MRSA infection that won't be treatable and I'm going to lose my left arm at the shoulder. Because I'm a hypochondriac. And always have been.

When I was about 21, I broke out in hives from head to toe, and suffered with them for years. Chronic hives are not something I would wish on my worst enemy. Several doctors and many tests later, no cause was ever discovered but they did eventually subside on their own. Just imagine though, all the thoughts that ran through my head - do you have any idea how many things can cause hives? Thyroid problems, leukemia, auto-immune disorders, the list goes on and on.

When I was newly pregnant with Jason, Matt went to the local barber for a haircut. They shaved the back of his neck with a straight razor, and the barber gave him a pretty good nick. I, of course, was convinced we'd both been infected with hepatitis at the least, HIV at the worst.

It's not just me I worry about; every little ill with my kids is cancer or something else that's horrible. That's not just a mole on William's arm, it's melanoma. I was really freaked out when Jason was a baby because he had a staph infection in his diaper area that was pretty stubborn. I was convinced he had an immune disorder and was going to grow up as the boy in the plastic bubble, if he grew up at all (we were all going to die of AIDS, as mentioned above). My imagination is my worst enemy, and the internet is my enabler.

My sister also suffers from hypochondria; a sore on her tongue sent her to the internet, which quickly sent her into a fainting spell after reading all the horrors of oral cancer. It turned out to be nothing, but she now avoids the internet for medical diagnosis and relies on the professionals instead.

So now, I try not to freak out, and remind myself that my shoulder hurts because I probably strained it doing the strength training for my race and also from the tetanus shot; not because I have a bacterial cocktail brewing in my upper arm. I give odd symptoms a week or so to go away on their own, and if they don't I go see a doctor. Better safe than sorry, or worse, worrying for no reason. There are so many other things to worry about! Like the pistachios I bought at the store today because I read you could eat more of them for the same calories - brought them home, ate a few, then flipped through the newspaper and saw a blurb about the FDA saying not to eat pistachios. Salmonella. Go figure.


  1. I have to say, that's funny. Sad for you but it sure makes a funny read!

    Thanks for visiting me and becoming a follower. Come back often!

  2. I know how you feel...a few years back I thought for sure death was just around the corner as soon as the certain to happen bird flu pendemic hit the world.


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