So, you know how you’re looking for your wedding rings in your dog’s poop pen, and you’re thinking, “Gosh, I hope I find them!” But then you’re also thinking, “Gosh, I hope I don’t.” Not only because of the grossness factor, but also because finding them in there means that you were dumb enough to set them down somewhere that your bulldog, Wonderbutt, would eat them, which means you are losing it even more than usual, and also because of the medical implications it might have for Wonderbutt after ingesting a solitaire cut diamond ring which could technically etch glass so probably did not slide through his intestines without causing some kind of damage that would require you to finance the yacht your veterinarian has had his eye on ever since you brought Wonderbutt in for his first checkup.
And then you think how you can blame your husband for the loss of such rings by saying, “Well, this wouldn’t have happened if you would hire a maid like I asked – or at least invest in a water softener.” Because you wouldn’t have to take off your rings so often if you didn’t have to spend all of your time cleaning the toilet with Lime Away. And then you remember that you’ve been meaning to Google Lime Away to see if it damages rings or just makes them look cleaner, too.
While in the midst of the Lime Away Google, you get somewhat sidetracked, and learn that Miley Cyrus recently suffered from a bad case of twerking, which, of course, compels you to learn what twerking is in case you need to add it to one of your Pathophobic Pinterest boards and then you wonder how you have gone this long without noticing that twerking is a thing, but it is not a disease or even a symptom of one. And, speaking of being oblivious about stuff, you wonder how long it would take your husband to notice you aren’t wearing the rings because it’s already been three days and he hasn’t said anything. And you resolve to make this into a psychological experiment as well as a metaphor for your marriage. But then you blurt it out during dinner that you can’t find them because you suck at keeping secrets and, besides, your husband is the Finder in the family – as long as the thing you are trying to find is not a place on a map.
And he gets worried, and you remind him of all of the other things you’ve lost that eventually turned up and even the things other people have lost that eventually turned up – like the wedding band that was wrapped around a carrot. And that does not really comfort him for some reason. Mostly because he has been trying to grow carrots in your backyard ever since you moved into this house, and the squirrels keep eating them.
And because your husband is not really full of sympathy, you seek comfort in typing your frustrations into a blog post on your computer, and you glance down at the floor when you can’t think of anythingelse2say.
And. You. See. Your. Rings.
And you pick them up and do the best twerking exhibition ever – with only Wonderbutt there to appreciate your rhythmic perfection.
And he doesn’t.
It takes a lot of work to sit down at your computer, open up your browser, and Google a bunch of symptoms. Then, we are required to expend our remaining energy on focusing on the list of results so we can narrow it down to the exact fatal disease that is killing us this week. This requires a single-minded commitment that most of us do not possess. So, we often end up finding all kinds of infirmities that don’t precisely fit our conditions, but have great potential for afflicting us in the future. I don’t know how you deal with this plethora of plagues, but I used to save them all in bookmarks on my browser. Just in case. I mean, just because you don’t have Elephantiasis now doesn’t mean you won’t be swollen up by Christmas. It’s important to be prepared.
Then it occurred to me that this is the exact type of situation for which Pinterest was invented.
Who needs boards full of cutesy craft projects, ridiculously complicated recipes, and quippy quixotic quotes?
What I need is a board that shows me all of the different diseases I can get if I’m bitten by a tick in South America.
So, I set about creating my Pathophobic Pinterest Boards.
They include: Parasites That Live Inside Humans, Skin Gone Wrong, Infections Caused by Sea Snails Under Your Skin, Can I Die From Inhaling Dog Farts on a Regular Basis?, What to Do If You Suspect You Have Ebola, and What Does It Mean When Your Left Eye Keeps Twitching?
Note that I added the Sea Snail pin to two boards because it is obviously a matter of Skin Gone Wrong as well as a prime example of Infections Caused by Sea Snails Under Your Skin.
You may notice that I have not actually pinned anything on to the Diseases You Get from Being Bitten By a Tick in South America board. Google was very unhelpful on that subject. But I’m leaving the board there. Because I know that it’s only a matter of time.
The great thing about using Pinterest is that you are notified if someone else has pinned that exact same item on a board. This is gratifying because then you can be comforted by the fact that you are not the only obsessive compulsive hypochondriac collecting potential diseases.
I am sure I will be adding more boards and pins soon. In fact, I have been playing around with the idea of adding an Experimental Drugs That I Will Probably Need in the Future board because it’s really hard to keep track of those pesky trials and you never know when you’re going to need one. The problem with adding that one is that I’m afraid the drug companies will get wind of my interest and hike up their prices and/or fabricate the results.
It’s difficult being a paranoid hypochondriac with a social network.
I was watching Roswell with my daughter the other night on Netflix (and no, I would not recommend it – not because it’s scary, because it definitely isn’t – but mostly because the guy who is supposed to be sexy just gives me the creeps, and I consider a television show a complete waste of time if I can’t have a crush on the lead actor) when it suddenly hit me that I am an alien.
It makes perfect sense when you think about it. And now that you are reading this, you are obviously thinking about it. But, you might have to think about it a bit longer than this to see the logic that led me to this conclusion. So, I guess I can’t say, “It makes perfect sense when you think about it.” Because that implies an immediacy to the sense-making that probably doesn’t really happen until you get a little more information. So, a better statement would be, “It makes perfect sense after you read the following paragraphs that give you the scientific reasoning that clearly leads to this conclusion, and no other.”
All my life I have been fearing that I would contract my mother’s hypochondria. The last few years, I have been consulting a few different doctors for various ailments that seem to elude any kind of definitive diagnosis. Thus, leading me to reluctantly admit that I, indeed, have developed full onset hypochondria with disturbingly realistic symptoms. I mean, if there is something really wrong with me, wouldn’t some doctor have figured it out by now?
Not. If. I. Have. An. Alien. Anatomy.
This would totally explain those times when I am positive than I have a raging fever, and the thermometer says my temp is 96.2. Well, for humans, that would be a bit low, but normal. But for an alien, that could very well be dangerously close to my brain exploding!
If I even have a brain.
My alien anatomy also completely supports my supposition that I am genuinely ill with some kind of real health issue and proves that my doctors’ implications that my pain is all in my head is just an indication that they are not well-versed in the physiology of other creatures who deserve to be treated without being accused of mental health problems.
I feel a bit sorry for my daughter because this all clearly means that she has some difficult times ahead of her. But, at least she will not have to worry about inheriting my hypochondria.
Whew. Dodged that bullet.
“Have you had your thyroid checked lately?”
“Well, you just seem to be losing more hair than usual.”
This slightly disturbing dialogue occurred between my hair stylist’s sister and me as she was washing my hair. I don’t think she realized that she was pouring gasoline on a hypochondriac’s fire.
It didn’t help when my hair stylist, himself, said, “Oh yes, we had a client who had thyroid problems. But instead of losing her hair, she lost her eyebrows.”
I think you can predict what I did when I went home.
It says a lot about my husband’s understanding of me when he said nothing after walking in on me in the bathroom with my nose pressed to the mirror, trying to look for evidence of any missing eyebrow hair.
The truth is, I have been thinking of getting my thyroid checked. It was checked 3 years ago, but my sister, Crash, had already planted the idea in my head a couple of weeks ago that I should make another go at it, and I am a firm believer that one medical test is never enough. Especially when it comes out negative. I’m not paranoid (much), but it seems to me that there are a lot things that can go wrong between the draining of my blood in one office building and the examination of it in some anonymous warehouse under a microscope. Just check out the “Non-Fat Yogurt” episode of Seinfeld, and you’ll be
paranoid, moderately suspicious too.
What I’m trying to figure out, though, is how I can get my doctor to just order the tests without me having to go in and explain my rationale for needing them. Because I already paid my hair stylist $150. I don’t see why I need to add a $20 co-pay to the mix.
“Hello? Yes, I wanted to see if Dr. Jimmy can order some thyroid tests for me? No, I don’t need to meet with him first. My hair stylist’s sister already diagnosed me. Plus, I did the internet checklist. Really, the blood tests are just a formality. If Dr. Jimmy wants, we can skip those, too, and he can just start giving me the drugs.”
Yes, I’m sure that would work.
I’m pretty sure I have shingles. My father-in-law had shingles. Then he died. Not necessarily a cause and effect situation. Especially since it was 3 years later. But still.
You seem skeptical. I understand. I mean, we all know I have a history of hypochondriacal tendencies that are often exacerbated by Google and television commercials. Like the time I became convinced that I had mesothelioma merely because I dreamed that I had it, and logically deduced that I could never dream a disease that I hadn’t even heard of. So, in my estimation, I was a psychic with lung disease, probably contracted from working in the coal mines. Wondering why my psychic powers waited until after I was dying to kick in. And then I realized that a mesothelioma commercial plays on Robin & Friends on HLN every morning while I’m getting dressed. So, I wasn’t psychic and, oh yeah, I never worked in a coal mine. So, it was quite possible that I had not contracted mesothelioma and I could stop cuing my hacking cough every time my husband walked into the room so he would feel sorry for me. Or walk out of the room in disgust. (He being the disgusted one – not I.)
This time, I am well aware that shingles have been highly commercialized. They are scaring the you-know-what out of me. And when you have an inefficient colon, that’s a pretty big deal.
What makes me mad is that I thought I was safe.
You know, when you’re in your twenties, you hear about all of these adults who get chicken pox who never had it when they were kids, and it’s so much worse when you’re an adult?
And I thought, “Whew. Dodged that bullet. Missed a whole week of school and got to stay up late to watch The Wizard of Oz when my mom found a pock behind my ear. And she had totally forbidden me to stay up to watch it because I had school the next day. And that was WAY before DVR’s. No adult chicken pox for me, nosirree. I am immune.” Never mind that I was scarred for life by the Wicked Witch of the West and her untimely death by water, quite possibly the reason I refused to enter the lake for an entire season of swimming lessons the following summer.
But now, the Shingles Soothsayers are telling me, “Haha! You stupid fool! You had chicken pox when you were a kid. So now this deadly virus is just hiding out in your body waiting until your First Very Important Interview with Jon Stewart on the Daily Show. And then Herpes Zoster, AKA Shingles, will swoop in and give you ‘small sores that begin to dry and form crusts’. But, don’t worry, the crusts ‘fall off in 2 to 3 weeks.’ And, ‘Scarring is rare.’
And it’s only possible, but not certain, that it will cause genital warts.”
And I just want to know how successfully triumphing over chicken pox when I am 8 throws me down the rocky path to contracting a venereal disease when I’m 60.
This is what I get for wishing a pox on myself just so I could watch two witches get exterminated by a girl with a dog in a basket.
After reflecting on my year of blogging, and the subsequent downslide of readers, I have come to the conclusion that changes must be made. One suggestion from somewhere by someone was that blogs should have a niche. I think this might also be known as a “gimmick”. I have thought long and hard, and fallen asleep, and then woke up, and now have come to the conclusion that I will appeal to the hypochondriac hamsters who read my blog by offering you a new diabolical diagnosis every once in awhile. It won’t be daily, although that is implied in the title of this post. I like alliteration, and “Disease/Disorder of the Moment during Which I Feel Like Writing About It” did not really seem to flow.
Have you ever looked at a loved one, and thought, he/she is an alien, and I probably should club him or her over the head with the frying pan to save mankind? If you do not live near Roswell, and have not recently had any unexplained power outages or crop circles in your back yard, then you, my friend, may suffer from Capgras Syndrome.
Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen and Hamsters, this is a true disorder from which people can suffer. Sometimes, the poor patients become convinced that an impostor has taken over a close friend or family member – an impostor that looks identical to the true person. This, as I am sure you can understand, can be quite disconcerting. Sharing a bedroom with an alien pretending to be your spouse can tend to put one a bit on edge.
There are different thoughts as to the causes of Capgras Syndrome. One of the world’s most famous neuroscientists, V.S. Ramachandran, believes that it is related to a disconnect between the parts of the brain that recognize faces and emotions. This structural defect could be brought on by a physical incident, such as a car accident. Other scientists surmise that it is purely a psychological issue.
Despite all of my research, I have found no evidence that this is a syndrome that occurs once a month, usually lasting about a week. So, I think my husband and I will need to do a bit more investigating to uncover the reason for our own apparently cyclical personality changes. We cannot seem to agree on which one of us is the impostor. Which is worse – to be the person who suspects a loved one of having his or her body taken over by aliens, or to be the person who actually was taken over by aliens and doesn’t believe it when you tell them (I’m not sure what they call that syndrome)? You can see our dilemma.
So, the next time you look at your husband, wife, or child, and think, “This person is acting completely out of character,” rest assured. The problem you think is a problem is not really the problem you think it is. In other words – it’s not them, it’s you.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or psychiatrist, and I’m not particularly intelligent, so don’t go bonking your husband or wife on their noggin with a kitchen appliance and blame it on this post.
I was happily painting my toe-nails and reading my Oprah magazine when I realized that I need more testosterone.
(Ha. That would be a very funny statement coming from a guy, wouldn’t it?)
I am not a guy.
As a self-diagnosed hypochondriac, I often discover that I need new treatment for my heretofore undiagnosed diseases that my lazy doctors are unable to cure. So, it was with great delight that I read an article in Oprah that identified all of my current symptoms (plus or minus 3 or 4) and the underlying cause – low testosterone.
I informed my hair stylist of this revelation. My hair stylist is suffering from the same exact symptoms. He is a guy. A gay guy. He thinks I may be on to something.
My husband thinks that I am off of something – my rocker.
Here are the symptoms – just in case you are interested in diagnosing yourself: depression, severe lack of energy, inability to focus, blah, blah, blah. See?!!!! You need more testosterone, too.
Wait a second.
I’m watching David Letterman, and he says I’m a hamster, and that’s why I’m depressed.
No, he’s a hamster.
No – hamsters that were exposed to late night television showed brain activity that resembles depression.
I wonder who the hamsters were watching.
See?!!! Inability to focus. Classic symptom of low testosterone levels.
If you are a hamster, and you are reading this – get thee to a testosterone testing technician immediately. You need your energy for running on that wheel.
If you are a person, and you are reading this – get thee to a psychiatrist.
I’ll meet you there.