The Hypochondriac and the Crack Doctor

Here’s what happens when you cross a hypochondriac with the only small town doctor that her crack health care insurance covers: 


I’d been having this hip pain which I attributed to my running hunched over with a crooked hip from my scoliosis (ahhh Deenie, yes, I think of her often).  After one late night of internet medical research, I discovered I likely have is a sciatica problem — the back problem du jour, no? Yoga and ibuprofen, right?


Then about a week ago, after the long holiday weekend of scrunching over in a car for hours on end, lifting heavy things, carrying children, plus a few rounds of drunken, competitive badminton, I thought very little (unusual for me) when I got this weird tingly feeling in my ring finger and pinky – that is, until I mentioned the numbness to my friend, the cancer survivor.  I told her I had a weird numbness in my last two fingers. She told me that numbness should always get checked out.


“Why? Could numbness be something bad?”


“You could have tumors on your spine.”


Okay.  I’ll give her a long leash for saying that — she did survive cancer, but WTF? I didn’t sleep a wink that night.  The next day I went in immediately to see the small town crack doctor.  I was expecting her to confirm my second diagnosis made after another late night of internet medical research: I have a sciatica problem and I also have a pinched nerve. 


Meanwhile, the doctor doesn’t ask me anything. She doesn’t ask me, for example: what do you do for exercise? Are you on the computer a lot? Do you have any pain in your neck? What kind of shoes do you wear? Have you injured your neck/arm/elbow recently? Have you tried Ibuprofen? Nothing.


Instead she whacks my knees with her rubber hammer and has me squeeze her fingers.  I tell her I’m sure I just have a pinched nerve but I just want to make sure I don’t have tumors on my spine.


“I doubt you have any tumors on your spine” she says.




“I also wanted to make sure I don’t have MS or something” I say.


“Yeah, I thought about MS” she says.


Thought about MS?


“But you don’t think I have MS – right?” I say.


“Well it is suspicious that you have two injuries affecting nerves in your back.  I wonder if that’s a coincidence” she says.


Suspicious? Wonder? Coincidence?


“Well,” she says, glancing at her watch, “I think we should start with muscle relaxers and steroid injections and then go from there”.


“But DO YOU think I have MS?” I say.


“No, I don’t think so, but if you want I can do an MRI on your brain, that way we can tell for sure.”


“Do you think I NEED an MRI on my BRAIN?”


“No, not unless you want one.  Let’s start with the muscle relaxers.  If you have MS or tumors on your spine, the muscle relaxers won’t mask that.”


Mask it?


“So you DO think I have MS.”


“No, I don’t think so,” she glances at her watch again, “but talk it over with your husband and if you decide you want an MRI, just call me.”


“Do YOU think I need an MRI on my BRAIN?”


“No, but if you want one, call me.”


“But why would I want one, do you think I NEED one?”


“No, let’s start with the muscle relaxers first and see if they work.”


I swear to god.  This Abbott and Costello thing went on for like 10 minutes.  I was seriously wetting my pants.  MRI, Tumors, MS, Brain.  Are you kidding me? I mean who wants an MRI?


I didn’t sleep for like three days.  MRI, Tumors, MS, Brain, MRI, Tumors, MS, Brain.


One week later and the tingling is gone. I swallowed a bunch of vitamin B (more late night internet medical research) and have tried to stay off the computer since this seemed to make my fingers more tingly (Hmmmm – coincidence?). My back is better, too.  I’ve been running less, stretching more and we rotated our mattress.  


I’m still worried, though. Every time I have an itch, a tingle or my foot falls asleep, I worry/obsess. MRI, Tumors, MS, Brain.


Warning:Hypochondriac and Crack Doctor – Do not mix.   

11 thoughts on “The Hypochondriac and the Crack Doctor

  1. Oh no! I would totally be like you on this . . . no sleep, worrying and every little twinge would compound it all!

    Yes, I’ve been googling and googling for days…which doesn’t seem to help my hand. Oy. I’m in trouble.

  2. I was also born and raised in a very small town…my experience was in South Central Texas. I know exactly what you’re talking about. We had two doctors and both were characters from a Flannery O’Connor short story—errant as hell and chocked full of wacky human frailties.

    This is my first time to your blog. I’ll be back. You write beautifully!!


    Thank you. I’ve read your amazing blog. Your compliment was the highlight of my day. It even made me forget my very important ailments..for an hour or so.

  3. Oh My Goodness, you made me choke on my popcorn. That was hilarious. It’s never good when you the doctor “doubts” it. Medical school, schemedical school…

    I couldn’t agree more. Who needs medical school when there’s Google?

  4. My mind always wonders to the insurance side of things. Is the insurance company going to pay for an MRI if they doctor note says, “Patient going to decide if she thinks she needs an MRI”?? I like a little more direction from the doctor…given the whole medical school thing and how much I am paying for the “expertise”.

    Sheesh. I hope your tingles go into remission. Yikes. I shouldn’t have used the word remission.

    Omigosh. MRI. Tumors. MS. Brain. Remission. MRI. Tumors. MS. Brain. Remission.

  5. Always start with the drugs!!!

    Worst case scenario from the drugs is maybe you wet yourself a little, which, if you’ve had kids and you sneeze a lot, is probably nothing new.

    Oh also, sometimes the steroid shots give you hiccups.

    I’m pretty sure that’s not a MS symptom.

    Hmmm…drugs, hiccuping and wetting my pants? That makes the MRI look good.

  6. NEVER GOOGLE MEDICAL INFORMATION! That is a rule of mine now after several years of similar experiences. I live in a large suburb of Atlanta and still got this crazy type of scenario with a neurologist. In the end, no one could figure out what was wrong. Ended up, I had OCD, but have been well now for about 6 years thanks to a doctor who knew what the heck she was doing! And more importantly, thanks to God who brought me out of that miry pit. I still have weird neurological stuff, but now, I just ignore it all and go on. Miracles abound!!

    Amen, sister!

  7. I agree you can self diagnose and decide how to treat via internet. The only thing you need the doctor for is to write a Rx.

    Yeah really…we need an

  8. Found a few minutes to “check-in”…love your writing style & feel more connected now. PEACE! D2

    Kum-by-ah, my good friend! Thanks for the visit.

  9. Oh this is too funny! I found your blog through Wellsphere’s “related blogs” in their “Pinched Nerve” section. Mine’s listed because I, too, have a pinched nerve.

    I still have my numb fingers, but at least I’m getting lots of mileage out of them in the humor department!

    Glad to help a fellow numb-fingerer. Hope yours heals fast.

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