It’s hypochondria, but in a cute way. For my own amusement, really. It’s like a non-fatal version of The Red Shirt Diaries. Just a little mental entertainment.
Am I secretly an only child? Someone who grew up as part of a brood shouldn’t really have developed this idiosyncratic inner realm of self-sufficient entertainment.
Maybe I imagined my siblings as part of this rich (now semi) private head-world I retreat to. Do you think my parents just play along with it?
“Humor him. He might be dangerous.” – The Parentals
More likely, this is all the fault of the prophet Bill Murray and HBO. One too many viewings of What About Bob during my delayed onset formative years.
Too much hair in my sink? Alopecia.
Stiff neck? Cancer, obviously. This is actually happening right now.
Gastric distress? Norovirus. No way that it could be too much garlic in last nights dinner…
But at the same time, those self-diagnoses have created some interesting ironic moments in my doctors office.
I say interesting, he says, “Stop googling symptoms and just come into the office”.
I don’t know why he’s such a killjoy.
Well, maybe one or two for instances come to mind…
Like the time I had self-diagnosed with shin splints. I’d been increasing my running after making myself single again in an attempt to rid myself of the dreaded Relationship Body. Somewhere in there, my mind decided I was at that age where I needed to dip my toe into the realm of Extreme Sports, as people do as they age. Nothing crazy like the Iditarod…just the Seattle Marathon.
Having been (note the tense…foreshadowing!) a lifelong runner, I just decided to gradually lengthen the duration of my runs. Some training plan, eh? It was that increased training intensity that led me to attribute my lower leg pain to shin splints.
Power through, bucko…just a few weeks left and then you can back off.
Or, y’know, mention it to your totally self-absorbed doctor during your annual check up. I hadn’t planned on it, I was just so caught off guard when he asked me about me during my appointment that it just sort of came out.
Like premature ejaculation.
Literally, since he followed up with, “How long has this been going on?”
“About a month…maybe six weeks? But I just assume it’s normal with the extra training.” AKA: it happens to everyone.
And just like that awkward sexual encounter, my running life was over.
“Call this guy and make an appointment. And for gods sake, stop running.”
Him: You fractured your tibia. You’re retired from running. Find some other way to exercise.
Me: <puts gun in mouth>
But I’ve written about that struggle in other blogs. Go find it if you’re that curious.
Then there was that time that I’d followed orders and not googled my symptoms. Just meandered across the intersection and into the office.
It’s really great when you live diagonally across the street from your doctors office.
I mean, no reason for google. It was just a cold I couldn’t shake. But it was terrible: headaches, snot, fever.
“Do you have allergies?”, he asks like he doesn’t have my entire medical history right in front of him.
“What, are you playing solitaire on that thing?!? You’ve been seeing me for almost a decade! Of course I don’t have allergies.” I get cranky when I’m sick.
He goes on to make his case, trying to sell me on his theory.
I’m sitting there, shaking my head and thinking I got that doctor that finished last in his class.
Desperate for relief, I ask – for the sake of argument – what the treatment would be for allergies. Maybe there would be some benefit even from the wrong medicine.
Him: I’ve already sent some prescriptions to your pharmacy.
So, maybe he wasn’t the worst student in his med school class.
That doesn’t mean that that pain in my knee wouldn’t be better served by my insurance company approving knee replacement as an elective surgery. Acupuncture is working just fine at reducing the pain and increasing functionality, but, c’mon…it’s just delaying what is obviously the inevitable.
To a recreational hypochondriac, anyway.