Diagnosis:Hypochondria

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Categories Medical, Mommy Issues

First, let me give credit where credit is due.  My husband is the one who actually came up with the idea for this post.  The idea came to him following a recent discussion we had after I observed both of my girls sneezing.

Ella: (Sneeze).
Amelia: (Sneeze).
Me: Ugh!  Do you think they might have the Swine Flu?
J: Um, no, I do not think they have the Swine Flu.  I do think there might be something wrong with you, though.

Anyone who knows me in real life knows that I can be a bit of a nervous Nelly, especially when it comes to all things medical.  I have self-diagnosed myself with a myriad of conditions over the years.  And, yes, I am often wrong.  How often, you ask?  Well, if this was a game of baseball, I would be batting about 1 for 1000.  Okay, maybe worse.  But, for the record, my 1 correct diagnosis has more than made up for the other 999 misdiagnoses. 

Between weeks 30 and 32 of my pregnancy with the girls, I started to get itchy.  Really itchy.  I was scratching my belly raw, and my hands and feet would often burn from the intense itching.  After my OB chalked up my symptoms to normal pregnancy-related discomfort, I decided to pay a visit to Dr. Google late one itchy night.  I just typed in “severe itching during pregnancy,” and I had myself a winning diagnosis within seconds of hitting the enter button.  Obstetric cholestasis.  During my 34th week of pregnancy, I was in fact diagnosed (by a real M.D.) with cholestasis, after going to the ER following a particularly sleepless night due to severe itching (and crying!).  Thankfully, with the help of daily liver medicine and bi-weekly non-stress tests, both of my girls were born healthy and with no ill effects.     

Unfortunately, my somewhat casual hobby of misdiagnosing ailments kicked into overdrive shortly after the babies were born.  It didn’t help matters that our pediatrician diagnosed Amelia with torticollis at her two-month check-up.  Torti-what?  Two guesses what I did as soon as I got home from that pediatrician’s appointment?  Yep, I Googled it.  From Amelia’s initial diagnosis until the day she was discharged from physical therapy, I spent countless hours online researching therapies and treatments. 

And, don’t even get me started on ear infections!  The hours I have spent online (okay, and in the waiting room at the pediatrician’s office) trying to distinguish between teething symptoms and those of an ear infection are innumerable.  For the record, we have yet to see an ear infection in this house, but I am seriously considering purchasing one of those home ear check machines.  I simply cannot suffer the humiliation of leaving the pediatrician’s office with my tail between my legs one more time, apologizing as I go, “Sorry.  I really thought she had one this time.” 

So, there you have it.  I am a hypochondriac.  Since the girls were born, I have Googled everything (probably more than once!) from “diaper rash” to “teething sypmtoms” to “mucous in a baby’s stool.”  Don’t even ask about that last one.  I actually brought the diaper to the pediatrician’s office.  Long story; see above for similar, humiliating ending.  Anyway, I have come to accept this quirk in my personality, and I can even laugh about it now (obviously, since I am sharing it with the blogosphere!).  While I’ve always had the propensity towards hyphochondria, having twins has just brought it to a whole-new, freakish level. 

Please tell me I am not the only one!  Is some of this just part and parcel of being a first-time mom?  Did having two (or more) babies at once bring out the inner hypochondriac in you, too?

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7 thoughts on “Diagnosis:Hypochondria”

  1. For me, it was probably the opposite. I don’t really like doctors (I always feel like I’m botehring them with stupid questions) so my tendency is to just say, “Oh, they’re FINE!” This also probably has to do with the fact that I rarely get sick and when I do, I like to pretend I’m not.

    Luckily, we have not had any illnesses in our 7+ months with the twins. My husband is always convinced there is sickness looming (like when we took a walk and it was 50 degrees outside – he was certian they would die of pneumonia…) but so far, so good. I will be pretty embarassed if I end up on the other side of the spectrum, ignoring obvious symptoms and having the doctor yell at me for not coming in sooner.
    .-= Nicole´s last blog ..Saturday Snapshots: Teaching my kids… =-.

  2. I avoid the whole “ear” visits unless there is a fever – they ended up with one after a bad cold. Unless they are prone to them I wouldn’t worry about them unless there is congestion that might result in some. Many kids pull on their ears – when teething or irritated. Penny did it once when she overate (I know!) and had a tummy ache.
    I would tell you to trust your instincts. Moms usually know when something is wrong. I bring a list of questions in for our doctor’s appointments and I write down (on my blog usually) the results of any discussions so I have them for future reference.
    I wonder if men are dismissed so quickly when they bring in a sick child or think there is something wrong? Do women automatically get the “hysterical” label? Of course I also don’t know many men who do as much internet research about kids and medical issues as their wives do.
    .-= Mommy, Esq.´s last blog ..The Motherlode of Penny Updates =-.

  3. Ah, Dr. Google! A hypochondriac’s best friend!

    I wrote a post a while ago making fun of my hypochondria and googling insanity. I’m sharing so you don’t feel so alone :) http://whatacard.blogspot.com/2008/03/paging-dr-google.html

    I’m actually fairly good at avoiding Dr. Google for my kids. It freaks me out too severely. I did, one unforgettable day, convince myself that one of my son’s had an immune system deficiency (he doesn’t, though his doctor did test him for it…either she was just being nice and coddling the crazy mom, or he actually had enough symptoms to rule it out). I also, thanks to Dr. Google, dx’d him with potential food allergies without him ever having had a reaction…I *know* his pedi didn’t want to test him for food allergies, but she agreed to it, and was shocked when it came back positive.

    I’m pretty sure that’s the only time I’ve ever been right about anything I found online, though :) So I haven’t let it go to my head.

    Hang in there, trust your instincts, and just know I’m with you in the Dr. Google love affair!
    .-= WhatACard´s last blog ..House update, again =-.

  4. Great post sis. I think you missed the mark a bit when describing the full extent of your hypochondria, but I guess you were limited by the total number of characters allowed!
    Have you had your EKG yet?!!
    Love you!

  5. Gotta love a sister like Nicole to keep you in check!

    With 14 month old twins, I am quite the opposite. I used to think maybe I’d be more hyper-everything if I had had a singleton and simply don’t have the time to worry about stuff, particularly as a working mom. But it might just also be my personality, too: I am not a worrier by nature. I am a do-er. I like to figure things out, deal with them independently. Rather than visits to the clinic, I dole out healthy doses of TLC with equal parts ‘rub some dirt on it’.
    .-= Rachel´s last blog ..In Lieu Of Worship =-.

  6. I’m not so much of a hypochondriac – rather laid back and figure things will pass on its own. I did find this post interesting and a bit scary, though, and made me think a little more about my laid back outlook. I think I had the Obstetric cholestasis you mention. I could not sleep at all; I scratched myself raw – bleeding! I had my husband dig at my skin as hard as he could all night long. I would cry because it was so bad and I couldn’t sleep. We had multiple bottles of lotion and Hydrocortisone cream bedside. I did call my OB and general physician to talk about it. They both told me it was a symptom of pregnancy (and probably worse since I was carrying twins) and not anything that could be done about it. I wish, now, that I would have done more research. Seeing that it could have ended in stillbirth, or some less life-threatening outcome, scares me! So, you may overreact at times, but in some cases – better safe than sorry!!!

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