I’m a hypochondriac. This basically means that when I get sick, or something weird happens with my body, I become completely unbearable to live with. It’s not that I am unaware, I totally get that I am ridiculous, but knowing this is not enough to prevent me from spiralling completely out of control into a crumpled mess of histrionics and self-pity.
It’s all about perception. For example:
Hey, I’d love to be one of those people who is totally stoic, never complains and just grins and bears it, but I’m not built that way! Can I help it if I’m just super aware of my fragility, my physicality, my mortality? I’m a control freak, so when my body starts behaving in ways I can’t control I pretty much curl up into the foetal position and await death. I’m hoping by exposing my craziness in a light-hearted manner that my long-suffering husband will perhaps understand me a little better and maybe someday forgive me for the weeks of sheer hell that I’ve just put him through.
It all started about a month ago with a sore throat and earache. After some Googling, I discovered it was most likely throat cancer. This knowledge prevented me from going to the doctor when I should have; I just wasn’t ready to hear my death sentence yet – it was nearly Christmas, for crying out loud. Just let me get through Christmas!
About five days before Christmas my husband made me go to the doctor (not my regular doctor, either, so I really didn’t want to go). I was told I had laryngitis (but I didn’t believe the diagnosis was correct) and was given antibiotics. I started feeling nauseated and dizzy towards the end of the course and blamed it on the antibiotics. A week after finishing them I had vertigo so bad that I could barely move my eyes. My extensive Internet research told me that the ongoing nausea and dizziness must have another cause (as antibiotics don’t stay in your system for that long). The fact that the antibiotics hadn’t made me feel better only proved to me that the original diagnosis was wrong.
My regular doctor was away over the Christmas/New Year period and when she finally did come back to work she was immediately booked out for a whole week. Why didn’t I want to see another doctor? Because I’m loyal, dammit. I love my doctor. I trust only her and will never leave her (barring some kind of restraining order). Anyhoo, I made an appointment for a week’s time and spent the next seven days trying to find a cause for my symptoms like some kind of obsessive House wannabe.
It wasn’t long before my husband couldn’t take it anymore and marched me off to the walk-in centre. I didn’t want go, I wanted to wait and see my regular doctor (who is some sort of squishy, lovely, angel doctor with the logic of Spock, the patience of Buddha and the sweetness of Shirley Temple). I waited for two hours and paid forty dollars for a consultation that literally lasted less than two minutes. The doctor didn’t even sit down; he looked at my throat for less than a millisecond, said, “Yes, your throat is very swollen”, gave me a script for Stemzine (medication for the dizziness) then told me, and I quote, “If the dizziness does not go away in six weeks, get a brain scan because it might be a brain tumour.”
My husband and I had quite different reactions on hearing this. It looked something like this.
It was just what my husband needed at this point. A doctor telling his totally manic, hypochondriac wife that she might have a brain tumour.
This is my perception of how the consultation went down.
I was absolutely horrified. What kind of doctor tells you that your throat is swollen and then does absolutely nothing about it? What kind of doctor tells you that you might have a brain tumour based on almost zero information? Walk-in centres blow. Big time.
The appointment with my squishy, lovely, angel doctor could not arrive soon enough. She put me on a course of stronger antibiotics and reassured me that I don’t have a brain tumour as the dizziness is most likely due to my hayfever and throat infection. I felt comforted and happy when I left her office. Everything was going to be juuust fine.
Or, so I thought. I woke up this morning with my right ear completely blocked and my left ear throbbing painfully. But it’s okay, I’ve narrowed it down to vestibular neuritis, Menier’s disease or referred otalgia due to a decaying tooth that desperately needs looking at.
I really should go see my dentist.