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.”
“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.