Confessions of a Hypochondriac

By: Red Hot Mamas

Published: May 26, 2010

I seem to have a bump on my head that isn’t going away. It’s a small bump, about the size of a pea (though, the thought of putting it in my ham soup makes me rather ill). It doesn’t seem to be growing in size or be getting any worse, but it certainly isn’t getting any better either.

I don’t think the bump has anything to do with my hypochondria tendencies. Throughout my life, I have been troubled by many different symptoms, all of which signal the onset of frightful (at times deadly) conditions. My bookshelves are filled with titles like Current Medical Diagnosis and Treatment, 1995 and text books like Lessons in Physiology and Hygiene and French’s Differential Diagnosis. My computer bookmarks allow me to stream information instantly from The American Medical Association and other top medical organizations. I am a self-admitted hypochondriac, but what people don’t realize is- this does not make me exempt from real life medical problems!

Since I’ve had the bump, I’ve been seeing the strangest things. Things that aren’t necessarily there all the time. Like the other day, it looked like my cat was growing a fern out of her head. A few days later, I noticed a face appearing in the dirty milk of my cereal bowl. The following week, I was on my way to bed and I got lost… in my own house. I ended up walking to the garage instead of my bedroom. The bump, the hallucinations, the memory lapse — are these all symptoms of an impending stroke or brain tumor? Anxiety. Panic. Medicine cabinet.

The Hypochondriac’s Medicine Closet

Pomades, tinctures and ordinary household items are all in my medicine closet. Some of my best and most effective I keep readily available:

  • Ovaltine and snickers
  • Six worms and spit
  • Molasses and chicken hearts (to add to a sitz bath)
  • Laxatives (they’re good for so many things!)
  • Poultice of warm milk and figs
  • Marshmallow enemas
  • Mouse urine
  • Tincture of lard and rum
  • Turpentine and stinkweed enemas
  • Dental floss (diligent tooth flossing has been known to reduce risk of encephalitis)
  • Other random nostrums

The Hypochondriac’s Afflictions

I admit, I have a tendency to over evaluate situations. My ex once told me that I turn every little hardly noticeable detail into a catastrophic tragedy. So, I’m emotional… and maybe a bit over imaginative at times. Like that time I was convinced my zit was actually one of two ailments:

  1. A malignant tumor of the adrenal gland
  2. A cannibal microbe that would eat my flesh until I eventually would turn into an amoeba

After a full scientific literary review, of the most prestigious medical publications, I decided to go get checked out by a doctor. My doctor friend (actually he’s a dentist) examined my protrusion and concluded it was in fact merely a zit. Phew.

I digress; that bump on my head and my hallucinations surely equate to serious illness. My incipient stroke and/or brain tumor was throwing me off and I needed some help from the doctor. I went in expecting the worst. After a series of complex medical tests, the doctor assured me I was not dying but my bump was in fact the result of a bug bite that was incessantly itched to the point of scarring and I was not going to die. I can’t tell you how relieved I was. Now that I know what it is, I can concentrate on these sniffles I’ve been having. I wonder if it’s Wegener’s granulomatosis? Sometimes seemingly benign symptoms of a cold can actually turn into a rare, whole system body breakdown that results in kidney failure, lung damage and even body deformities! Or, maybe it means I have Anthrax? Sounds like a catastrophe, right? Certainly. Is it far-fetched? I think not.

I am not in denial, I openly admit it, I have a disease. Hypochondria is not for the faint of heart. There is no real cause, nor a surefire cure. I will most likely suffer from it my entire life and can’t help looking everything up in my medical encyclopedia. Did you know that the common cold sore can be an initial sign of pemphigus vulgaris, a disease that causes mouth blisters, weeping, bleeding and funky smelling sores that spread to the skin of your scalp? Time to dig out the mouse urine from my medicine cabinet!