Saturday, December 25, 2010

Hypochondriasis

I’ve lost 5 pounds since Thanksgiving.  Some people might liken this to a sort of Christmas miracle.  Others might brush it off as a general lack of nourishment and exercise while studying for exams.  But I’m a medical student.  So I think I have cancer.  This is the funny thing about stuffing your head full of facts on disease.  You are exposed to so many ways your body can malfunction that you become incredulous to the idea that anyone can actually be healthy.
I think this is why rheumatologists don’t run or play basketball.  They’re afraid of getting osteoarthritis and needing that bilateral knee replacement.  And I have yet to meet an ophthalmologist who wears contacts.  Because there’s this pseudomonas infection that eats through your cornea in 12 hours and leaves you blind.  Heck, I’m surprised Ob-gyns don’t just adopt.  It may seem a little crazy, but med school has a way of infusing some anxiety into every little ache or pain.
I remember accidentally puncturing the outside of my right ankle while cycling about 6 months ago.  It was a nice deep puncture, full of dirt and bike grease that oozed blood onto my sock.  I vividly recall worrying about all the tendons with funny Latin names in that part of my ankle.  Crap, did I slice my flexor digitorum longus?  But even as images of ankle anatomy flashed through my mind, my more sensible inclinations took over, and I forced myself to rinse out the wound, put on my shoe, and continue cycling.
Three days later, my foot swelled up with infection.  Now, I was sure I had necrotizing fasciitis.  I remember turning to my girlfriend, Tiffany, and telling her that I would need my foot amputated, at which point she promised to still love me.  But of course, the infection went away with antibiotics.  It turns out there was no necrotizing bacteria, and I still have my right foot.
I think they warned me before starting school that I would become a hypochondriac.  I’m pretty sure our dean even addressed this at our white coat ceremony.  But at the time I laughed it off, certain this only happened to the crazy kids.  I didn’t have to worry because I was level-headed and still fairly invincible.  But that’s the thing with studying tumors and tendons—you lose a bit of that invincibility.  So I guess I am susceptible to bouts of hypochondria after all.  But really what I’m worried about is this new bump on the back of my head.  Like I said, I think it may be cancer.

5 comments:

  1. I've had this pinpoint headache for the past three days. I think I have a brain tumor. Great post. :)

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  2. Great post! Try to cope with this bump, and hopefully it will go away. :)

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  3. If you lost your right foot, I would not love you anymore.

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  4. Speaking of hypochondriasis, I've been thinking that I'm constipated! But I'm sure I'm really ok. My last bowel movement was only 11 days ago.

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  5. your blogs are so high level now! i have to skim so many long latin phrases! i'm so proud of how smart you are, as shown by the amount of skimming i must do.

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