Wednesday, April 27, 2016

On Becoming a Hypochondriac

I used to be a financial professional, teacher, secretary, retail sales clerk, and a couple of other occupations over the years. Now retired, I do not need a paying profession. I can move on to other interesting pursuits.

I discovered a thought-provoking endeavor.

Hypochondria. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines hypochondria as, unusual or excessive concern about your health: a tendency to fear or imagine that you have illnesses that you do not actually have.

I have plenty of time to imagine illnesses and lots of time to extensively be concerned about my health.

My means of education is commercials. I am learning all about aches and pains and diseases from my TV. My attention span is short nowadays, so commercials are an ideal learning tool.

There was a time I did not listen to commercials. I checked email, emptied the dishwasher, tossed laundry from the washer into the dryer, peed. But my routine changed once I took on the task of becoming a hypochondriac.

In my previous 60+ years I doubt anyone labeled me a hypochondriac. Sometimes I ignored ailments to see if they disappeared, and at times they did.

No more. Now, with the help of TV commercials and ads in newspapers, magazines, online and other venues, I ponder what each ache, pain, and symptom might be.

Restless leg syndrome? Sometimes I get a weird feeling in my legs and get the urge to move my feet. 

Too many excess pounds? I have fought a weight problem since my teen years. Maybe I should try a pill.

Diabetes is turning into a worldwide epidemic. So far my numbers are good, but you never know. I may have pre-diabetes. 90% of people who have it do not know they are victims of the condition. That is what the no-nonsense woman on the commercial states. She wouldn’t lie - maybe stretch the truth, but not lie. I may need whatever drug is advertised. Better contact my doctor…

Problems falling asleep or waking too soon? I may need a pill to fall asleep sooner and sleep longer. Family and friends envy my ability to lay my head down and be in la-la land almost immediately, but maybe I can shave a few seconds off that time.

Allergies? Even at my advanced age people have been known to contract allergies. Sometimes my eyes water and I sneeze. I may need an allergy prescription.


Fibromyalgia? Never heard the word until recently. Sometimes I have muscle aches and pains, fatigue and memory loss. Another question for my doctor.

Depression? Another problem to contemplate. Sometimes I feel down, but I don’t think I have clinical depression, although I get more and more depressed watching drug commercials…

In addition to studying various ailments, I am learning the side effects of medications. Announcers rattle them off quickly and I barely catch them, but frequently include fatigue, drowsiness, swelling, constipation or diarrhea, skin rashes, nausea, and possibly death.

Death?

There could not be a more severe side effect than death.

Wow, I have a lot to worry about. All these ailments, a variety of symptoms I used to ignore, the side effects of drugs, and then there is the cost of drugs. After all, drug companies are not non-profits. They are in the business of making money. Lots of money.

The only sane solution is to stop watching commercials. Summer is coming, and there are a lot of alternative activities to take up my time.

Maybe it is time to put aside my hypochondriac studies and move on to something else.

Recently while wandering grocery store aisles I began reading ingredients on food packages. I have been told if I do not know what an ingredient is - usually a chemical additive - do not purchase the item.

All those chemicals swishing around my body, doing I don’t know what damage. Maybe I should figure it out…

Uh oh. I am a hypochondriac. 

18 comments:

  1. Fun post with a good point. The side effects are often more dangerous than the condition the drug treats.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed my post. You are so right about the side effects. I have stopped using a med or two in the past because of negative side effects.

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  2. That is such a funny post. I have often wondered about the side effect of death. You might die from X or the treatment for X.

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    1. Sometimes we have to decide on the lesser of the two evils - the ailment or the pill supposed to cure it.

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  3. Why don't you just face it -- you're falling apart at the seams with all those medical problems you don't know you have from those chemicals in the foods you're eating. Better live it up in the unknown time you have left!

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    1. Great advice. I think I will make an effort to 'live it up' before all the problems and chemicals gets me!

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    2. If you DON'T live it up you may not live any long...it will just seem that way.

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  4. webmd.com will open a whole new world of diseases for you to research. You'll have symptoms you never dreamed you could have if you go to this web site. lol

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    1. I will take a look on a cold day next winter. Something to look forward to!

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  5. That's webMD.com Sorry I wrote it wrong. If I'm still wrong, you can google it. lol

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  6. When I was a kid my father said "you enjoy poor health." I was something of a hypochondriac until we went to Africa three years ago. Amid all those animals and all that beauty, I kind of found my real place in the world. I decided to leave my hypochondria on the savannah.

    Most of the time, it's still there.

    Most of the time.

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    1. I admire your travels around the world. Sometimes we need to look beyond ourselves...

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  7. Definitely shelve hypochondria till summer's over. Winter's the ticket - all those dark days to stay inside and brood.

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    1. Something to look forward to next winter - examining all my aches and pains!

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  8. I also listen in amazement at the list of side effects and wonder about them. It's enough to give a person the willies. Pretty sure they have a drug for that condition, too. Fun post! :-)

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  9. As a bit of a hypochondriac myself, I maintain it's only reasonable to become more concerned about your health and your aches and pains as you get older. But ... we have plenty to worry about with the commercials!

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  10. Actually, I hate that word, its so demeaning of people's suffering. Besides, its meaningless for the most part as deciding who is one is subjective. And how many people think "It will never happen to me?"

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  11. OK, you made me laugh. Isn't it the truth that all those commercials have made us quasi-experts on diseases we have never even heard of.

    But on the flip side of the coin, I had a "place" on my nose and I ignored it until it began bleeding profusely. After a month of xray treatment the basal cell cancer is probably gone...we will see. Something should never be ignored. The doctor tells me that it will never kill me so at least I have that!

    Keep your sense of humor...as I am always telling my friends and family, "...you will be JUST fine." :)

    b+

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