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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

little miss hypochondriac, or not

Whenever someone complains to me about the pains he/she is feeling, I'm always quick to dispense advice - be it as simple as taking an over-the-counter drug, or to the more tedious process of finding a doctor and getting a medical check-up. But the thing about giving advices is that you never seem to follow your own. Yes, I am a nurse who hates taking medications, and has to be coerced into going for a check-up when something is bothering me. I have nothing against doctors, needles, or laboratory exams - it's the results that I fear.

I am something of a hypochondriac -
Hypochondria is often characterized by fears that minor bodily symptoms may indicate a serious illness, constant self-examination and self-diagnosis, and a preoccupation with one's body. Many individuals with hypochondriasis express doubt and disbelief in the doctors' diagnosis, and report that doctors’ reassurance about an absence of a serious medical condition is unconvincing, or un-lasting. Many hypochondriacs require constant reassurance, either from doctors, family, or friends, and the disorder can become a disabling torment for the individual with hypochondriasis, as well as his or her family and friends. Some hypochondriacal individuals completely avoid any reminder of illness, whereas others frequently visit doctors’ offices. Other hypochondriacs will never speak about their terror, convinced that their fear of having a serious illness will not be taken seriously by those in whom they confide.
- Ok fine, so maybe not really. But I do have a penchant for thinking that my pains are something more serious, and I tend to diagnose myself with outrageous diseases.

Let me sight an example. There was a time when I had cough and colds, and a major headache. Carl and Jojo told me (as a joke) that I had TB Meningitis. And stupid me, I read all about it from my medical books, and I freaked out when I had most symptoms, and then I started to believe them. I never even stopped to think and consider that whatever I had is nothing more than just cough and colds. I was convinced I was dying, until Janz snapped me back to reality and scolded Carl and Jojo for convincing me about TB Menigitis.

I get a headache, I think I have a migraine. I get abdominal pains, I immediately think about appendicitis, salphingitis, diverticulosis, endometriosis, or worse, colon cancer. I once felt a lump in my breast (at least, I thought I did), and I thought about breast cancer. Turned out my breasts were just tender from the hormonal changes brought about by my impending menstrual period. God, am I paranoid or what?

The thing about studying Nursing is that you are privy to a lot of medical knowledge most people won't know about. You know which symptoms are indicative of a disease, and you know the possible complications that comes with it. If you're lucky (or unlucky, depends on how you view it), you also know how it can affect a person, because you've had/seen a patient saddled with it.

Anyway, back to me. I've been having right lower quadrant abdominal pains (usually indicative of appendicitis, but seeing as I never experienced fever, and no rebound tenderness upon palpation, I crossed it off my list) since last summer. My cousin asked me if I wanted to go see a doctor, but since I was busy with Crit Care then, I postponed it. Then my abdomen stopped bothering me, so I decided to forgo the check up. It comes and it goes, but it was tolerable, so I never really minded.

Until today. While my Mom and Dad were preparing to attend a wedding reception (I like weddings, but I decided not to go since, eventhough the groom is a relative, I don't know him personally, so why bother?), I was left to tend to our store until we close it at 6:30. It was during those times when I started to feel the now familiar sharp, stabbing pain at my lower abdomen, only this time it was more painful than before. I was toying with the idea of getting an ultrasound before, but I never really got to it. So i went up and told my Mom, and our conversation went like this:

Me: Mi, palagay mo kailangan ko na magpa-ultrasound?
Mom: Bakit?
Me: Kay yung tiyan ko gad sumasakit na naman. Summer pa to nag-start, pero since di man lagi masakit, pinabayaan mo lang.
Mom: Matagal na pala yan, ngayon ka lang nag-worry?
Me: Kay tolerable pa man.
Mom: Magaling ka din ano? Kanino ka papacheck up?
Me: Sa Mommy na lang ni Janelle. Sa clinic.
Mom: Oh sige, punta ka bukas.
That's how it is with my Mom. Straight to the point. No how-are-you-feeling-are-you-okay's with her, just okay-you're-hurt-what-are-you-gonna-do-about-it? But it doesn't mean she doesn't care, though. She'd show it in some other way, like tucking me in when I sleep (I love this, I feel like such a baby), buying me ice cream (oh, yeah, she does that), or cooking me my ultimate feel-better food - sinigang. I love sinigang, just thinking about it make me feel better already.

And so, that's the story of how I ended up with an appointment to go see Janz' Mom tomorrow. Janez told me I'm supposed to go on NPO, and I saw it as a challenge ("Challenge Accepted!" Barney-style), but then she said her Mom said that I SHOULD eat some crackers and drink a little water, which is a bummer.

I'm never one to follow orders, though, but I think I'll obey it this time. Not because I'm a good obedient child, but because I don't think I'll last 8 hours without shoving some sort of food down my throat.

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