Tuesday, July 27, 2010

hy·po·chon·dri·a [hahy-puh-kon-dree-uh]

1.  Also, hy·po·chon·dri·a·sis  [hahy-poh-kuhn-drahy-uh-sis]  Psychiatry . an excessive preoccupation with one's health, usually focusing on some particular symptom, as cardiac or gastric problems.
2.  excessive worry or talk about one's health.

So, do I suffer from hypochondria or have I developed new symptoms? 

For example, sometimes at work I struggle to solve a problem and it’s not long before I am wiping the showers of sweat from my brow.  I find myself thinking, “oh boy, I really need to figure this out, it’s what I’m getting paid for”!  Of course I’m convinced it’s a cognitive function change and forget that the problem at hand really is difficult.  Half of the people I work with cannot not figure this out!  Besides, cognition also includes the ability to organize and plan.  If you saw my task management system you would worry that I am in need of a therapist to work through my OCD issues. 

Recently, however, my left eye has been causing me a lot of grief.  It hurts which I don’t like.  I look to the left, it hurts. I look to the right, it hurts.  I swear I’ve felt something like this before in the past, long before my diagnosis.  I assure myself that maybe my eye is tired, from strain. After all, my job requires me to look at my computer all day.  My eye also feels a bit swollen and yet when I look in the mirror, everything looks completely normal.  A lovely hazel eyeball is what I see.  No swelling, no redness.  I blink a few times, just to be sure.  No swelling, no redness.  Oh dear.  Naturally I am anxious and need to find out what’s wrong.  Immediately. 

Like anyone else in need of instant medical information, I scan the web for the MS symptoms that will perfectly describe what I’m feeling.   Optic Neuritis?  Maybe.  I’ve got pain and I’m pretty sure the color saturation is now different than my other eye.  I cover my right eye with my hand and then switch over to cover my left eye.  Yep.  Something’s off here.  I do it again.  And, once more just to be sure.  For good luck.  Yep.  The saturation is definitely off.  Everything looks flat through my left eye and normal through my right eye.  Uncontrolled eye movements?  Nope.  Double vision?  Nope.  Then I read “blindness” and definitely begin to panic.  I frantically try to picture my last scan.  I will freak out if I go blind.  Compounded with my hearing impairment, I will become the modern day Helen Keller.  I’d have to learn a new language because I don’t know Braille.  I barely learned French and Italian. Ciao.  Come va?  Bonjour.  Comment allez-vous?  I try harder to remember the MRI scan.  “Where exactly is the new lesion?” I ask myself, “is it near my freakin’ optic nerve”?  I look at Google images of brains, eye balls, and nerves.   Hundreds of them.  I remind myself, “the doc said that I would not feel any symptoms from this new lesion”.  Then why do you suppose I am having all of these symptoms?  Still, I should call him just in case I’m remembering something wrong.   Have I talked myself into getting optic neuritis?  Or, is something else wrong?  Am I simply a hypochondriac?  I am going to drive myself nuts.  Well, could ‘ya blame me? 

Stay tuned.   I’ve got doctor’s appointment tomorrow morning.


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