August 17th, 2011
I’m the kind of person who goes to the doctor and then tries to resolve every single medical concern I’ve had over the year. No matter if I’m at the appointment for gout, I’ll also ask if it’s weird my nose has grown two sizes in six months, what’s up with my butt, why I’m so gassy, should my hair be so thin, what’s this on my elbow, should this thing be infected, and can I get a prescription for wine. The really strong behind-the-counter kind.
It’s a very charming trait I have. Some people call it hypochondria.
I’ve gone to the same doctor’s office for about 10 years, and while the doctors come and go (most especially the one who took off to beauty school in Texas. In the middle of the night. Without telling anyone. And left a note saying she was pursuing a career in cosmetology and fashion. Her name was Dr. Joan Collins, and I hope she’s very happy with her medical-cosmetic degree), my patient file has outlasted them all and is encyclopedia thick. I’m sure there’s a large red “HYPOCHONDRIAC” stamp on every page. I keep trying to distract the nurse who carries it around (true story) so she’ll leave it in the doctor’s office and I can page through it at my leisure. I’m especially looking forward to getting to the page where I thought I had Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
All this is to say that each time I go to the doctor and ask my million questions and have my billion health concerns addressed, there’s always the one thing I didn’t ask that turns out to be an issue. For instance, one time I went to the doctor and after all the “my joints hurt,” “I think my knee is going bad,” “How’s my heart?” “Is this a blood clot?” and “This mole looks especially mole-y” lamenting, my doctor said “What’s this?” Looking down, I realized she meant my belly button. “Oh!” I said non-hypochondriactedly, “That’s my belly button. It popped out after my second pregnancy and never went back in. So, is my left arm longer than my right?”
“That’s not a belly button,” she said. “It’s a hernia.”
“My belly button is a hernia?????” I gasped.
“No, Your belly button is a belly button. This other belly button is a hernia.”
So stuff like that happens.
The other day, as you might know, I went to the doctor again. As I regaled her for hours with tales of sore stomachs and adult acne, she doodled in my medical file. Finally, she asked me to disrobe for my “well woman” exam. I kept talking as she got to my chest. “And then I ate an orange and ingested a part of the peel. Will I get Vitamin C poisoning? There’s hair in my throat. Will it embed in my larynx and grow more hairs? How long can I survive a hairy larynx?”
“What’s this?” She asked, stopping at my right boob.
“Oh God what?” I asked back, thinking that maybe it finally happened. My armpit was now a boob.
“This mass.” She said, fingering something massive. “It’s about the size of a pea.”
“Oh my GOD, oh my God, oh my God. I TOLD you I probably had something!”
“You could have been more specific than I have ‘everything.'”
“How long do I have?” In my head, I’d already started making videos to my kids.
“Just get it checked out. We need to be proactive given your history.”
I admit I cried a little. I mean, I thought I was so on top of everything that happened to and inside my body.
“Does my massive boob have anything to do with the twitching?” I blubbered.
So now I’m going in for a blood test to see if my muscles are withering.
Thankfully the boob is OK.
It’s the gout/Lou Gehrig’s Disease/hair tumor I worry about now.