Monday, 29 March 2010

Confessions of a hypochondriac


I confess to being a Hypocondriac, I remember spending hours as a child reading medical dictionaries (Mum was a nurse so they were always close at hand and I used to sneak off to read them as I was absolutely fascinated by the different illnesses). I'm not sure if I do remember (or if my mind is playing tricks on me) being told I was a hypocondriac and thinking "at last, I've found out, there is something wrong with me!".

Today I went to the doctor and was told I have Acute Torticollis. To most people this would just be a stiff neck, something to take a couple of paracetamol for and an excuse for a day off work. For me it is absolute eye watering pain. Yes, I'm a wimp too. On Saturday morning I couldn't actually lift my head off the pillow, everything felt like it was spasming and each setp I took compounded the issue. I spent much of Saturday and pretty much all of Sunday lying in bed reading my classic books on my DS (thankfully that was lighter than an actual book!).

(I have what this little guy has, but I don't look quite so cute)

I am soildering on though, I am in work today (despite the fact that I really don't think I should actually be driving if I can't look over my right shoulder) and being big and brave (and feeling very smug that although the pharmacist refused to sell me Voltarol over the counter because he said I couldn't take it with asthma, my doctor prescribed me 84 tablets of proper strength (4 times the Boots ones) and I didn't have to pay for it as I got a pre-payment certificate from my parents for my birthday (an absolutely awesome present idea if ever there was one. It's the present that keeps on giving). My doctor is an absolute angel, she clearly saw I was in pain and didn't take offence to my screaming and swearing when she tried to make my head go straight (it's at a bit of a wonky angle). She knew right away what it was and didn't hesitate to prescribe me something for it (apparently if I don't get affected by ibuprofen or asprin then diclofenac won't have an effect either, something the pharmacist neglected to tell me as he sold me ibuprofen).

I have a thing about diagnoses. When I was *ill* a few years back I spent many a session with my psychiatrist persisently asking here "what is exactly wrong with me" as if the diagnosis would immediately make it better. It wouldn't have done of course and I only really ended up with a pretty shaky "well you might have X and it could be Y".

Anyway, I saw an article on the Daily Mail website which peaked my interest called (as you can probably guess by now) "Confessions of a hypochondriac: A neurotic woman on why we are right to worry about our health"...

"I concede I am a hypochondriac. The news that women are more likely to be hypochondriacs than men but are more healthy is unsurprising. Hypochondriacs are healthier because we never, ever say of a symptom: 'I'm sure it's nothing.'

How is it possible for me to be sure that 'it's nothing' when my degree is in English literature, not medicine or nursing? I don't expect the greengrocer to fix my washing machine, how could a writer know that a twinge in the chest is so obviously 'nothing'?


In my world, all symptoms are a sign of heart attack, cancer, stroke, brain tumour, Alzheimer's or incredibly rare illnesses which can be diagnosed only by renowned television doctor Greg House.

Any bodily ache and pain could be the first faint bat squeak of a warning that my body is facing catastrophe. Why wouldn't I get that checked out - and then re-checked out with a second opinion?

My strategy has varying results. On one occasion, while lightly touching my neck at lunchtime, I detected not one but a whole row of lumps. For such dire emergencies I have back-up - a private GP in Golders Green who will see me the same day. An hour after the neck-touching, I was walking into his surgery.

'How's the writing going,' he asked brightly. 'Enough of the chit- chat,' I said. 'I've found a row of lumps in my neck. It's cancer, isn't?'

'No, they are the nodes that enlarge to drain the sinuses when you have a cold, which I can tell you have by that tissue in your pocket.'

I paid him £85 and went home, embarrassed but delighted to be alive, and with nothing more than a runny nose."

Full article can be found here.

No comments:

Post a Comment