Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Hypochondriac

Photo by Abigail Thompson
I inherited my hypochondria the old fashioned way—handed down from great-grandmother to grandmother, skipping my mother’s generation and right on down to me. My great-grandmother, whom I had the pleasure to know well into my teen years, could describe all of the ailments that presented themselves to her with uncanny detail.

Teen Me: “Hiya, Granny! How are doing today?

Her, paraphrased, and in the most matter-of-fact manner you’ve ever seen: This is everything that happened to me today, and good chunk of my thought process, and a detailed description of my body’s actions, from what I ate, to what came well, you know….

So… while I could not help my genes when it came to inheriting the hypochondria, I have been able to keep the diatribe of potential illnesses and ailments from spilling out of my mouth.

Until today, I suppose, but you’ll have to tell me if this really counts after you read the post.

J and I have a running joke about how we are falling apart. I’m certain that we are not the only ones. Except, there, for a few weeks, it felt as if I were really falling apart.

My front tooth hurt. Well, no news flash there. I have teeth issues. So another freaking tooth hurts. Sheesh.

And then my lower back hurt. Since I have the world’s crappiest posture that even years of ballet couldn’t cure, that, again, is no surprise. Try sitting up straight, why don’t you?

Then the pain went to my hip, and down my leg. That was not a good sign. I would have attributed it to arthritis, except this was not joint pain. It wasn’t muscle pain, either, from my experience. It was more like nerve pain… although I question the validity of nerve pain, in general (since nerves are the things that carry all signals of pain, duh). I restructured my office and desk, changed the way I sat at home, tried mixing up my whole routine to find the culprit behavior that was causing my leg to go numb and shoot fire out of my toe (FYI- it was the wrong side of my leg to be sciatica). No dice. I started those physical therapy exercises that I quit a year ago when I started really exercising to lose weight. Nothing.

Then I complained to J. The first couple of days that I made mention of this to him (which was likely week 2 of the pain, because, again, I try to keep my hypochondria to myself, thank you) his prescription was a beer. “Here, hon, have a beer.”

It did work, and it worked much better than Advil (my drug of choice) did at this point, but I’m not a nightly drinker, and this was getting to be ridiculous.

So I tried to make an appointment with my doctor for this, even though I was sure all it would get me is another arthritis scan, blood stick, and an order for physical therapy. Which I did not want. I had to wait, which was fine, because maybe it would go away in the interim.

Then I THINK I had heart palpitations. Twice. Or maybe it was a twitching muscle. My heart wasn’t racing; it just felt as if it jumped. Which could be a muscle spasm. I don’t know. I’ve never had either in that region. The second time this happened, it scared me so badly that I called my mom and asked her what was up with all of that!

The Nana: Eh, I have those all of the time. Especially if I drink a Coke. There’s nothing that can be done. Drink a glass of water, sweetheart.

Please keep in mind that the Nana prescribes a glass of water like J prescribes a bottle of beer. Meaning, it’s the good, old stock answer. Nevertheless, she’s often right. So I drank a glass of water, and it didn’t happen again.

And then I realized that the Nana just admitted to having heart palpitations. What? Good grief, is there something wrong with my mother???

There’s nothing wrong with my mother, by the way.

But the water did not work for the leg, or my tooth, or my back, and no matter how much water I drank during week three, the pain wasn’t going away, and I started shedding more hair than normal.

Sometimes people will comment on my locks, and how thick they are. While they are complimenting me, I always have the same thoughts run through my mind:

1)     Yeah, it looks nice to you because you don’t have to wash and dry it.
2)     Have you ever sat on your hair? Yeah, I bet you wouldn’t be “jealous” then.
3)     You think this is thick? I shed more than a black Lab in July!

The amount of hair that was showing in my brush was alarming, even for me.

This is where I told J that I was literally falling apart this time. And he dispensed a new prescription, not alcohol-related.

J: I think something’s missing from your diet. I think you need a vitamin. Go take a Flintstones!

What? Since when did my husband become a doctor? I chided him for not taking me and my hypochondria seriously, and then—just to prove him wrong—I took a Flintstones. I expected it to do nothing, and then tomorrow, we could be on our merry way of him consoling me while body parts deteriorated and fell away from my person like I was a zombie on that Honda Civic commercial.

Except…. I felt better the next day. And then he force-fed me another Flintstones that day, and I felt downright, damn-near normal the following day.

Damn. It. I hate it when J’s right.

I went to the doctor just after that, practicing my argument about why I didn’t need more physical therapy or 15 different x-rays, and low and behold! I didn’t need a single one of those arguments at all! Amazingly enough, mentioning a chest twitch-- even if it’s not pain—will get a girl a whole whopping amount of attention.

Diagnosis: My levels of minerals, such as magnesium and potassium, were low. It just presented a bit odd. Most likely this is due to the extra cup of coffee I’ve been drinking in the morning. Otherwise, I’m fine.

As long as I take my Flintstones vitamin. And drink plenty of water, since we have the hard stuff where we live, and it’s chock full of minerals. Gah! Now every water fountain I see is my new BFF.

The Nana would be so freaking proud.

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