Tuesday, September 11, 2012

What do Lyme Disease, Blood Panels and Sharpies Have in Common?

I’m a self-diagnosed, low-grade hypochondriac.  Those who know me well are aware that I can be nudged into a full-on panic attack at the discovery of a raised mole, a numb toe or a sore armpit. 

Because I’m all about full disclosure, I shared my ailment with Mr. Charming before the nuptials.  The poor man assumed I was exaggerating, until, that is, I told him I thought I was dying of leukemia or Lyme disease.  Okay, maybe that’s not totally accurate.  He assumed I was exaggerating until I began weeping uncontrollably as I explained that I thought I was dying of leukemia or Lyme disease.

Maybe he attributed the sloppy meltdown to pre-wedding nerves.  Or perhaps he felt somewhat heroic because he calmed by fears by pointing out that the rash spanning my torso was identical to his own and most likely caused by our foolish and vain attempts to tan our blinding bodies before the wedding day.  Needless to say, he married me anyway.  Sucker.

Since then he’s witnessed a handful of other sloppy meltdowns that are generally health-related and largely unfounded.  You can imagine the anxiety he observed the week of my yearly physical that included a blood panel. 

When the nurse called to tell me my white blood count, platelet count, and hemoglobin levels were normal, I asked, “So, does that mean I probably don’t have cancer?”  You could tell mine wasn’t a typical response, as it took her a few second to recover.  “Uhm…while not 100% definitive, you maybe probably don’t have cancer.”

While that may not alleviate the fears of a high-grade hypochondriac, I decided that if a certified nurse tells me I maybe probably don’t have cancer, I’m going to take her word for it.  After all, she is a professional.

When I relayed the conversation back to my husband later that night, he shook his head, most likely thinking, “I am sooooo lucky!”

Here is the actual conversation we had the night before my appointment:

Me: So, will you think less of me if it turns out I don’t have a life-threatening illness?

Him:  What?!?!  (insert puzzled expression here)

Me:  You know, being as how I hyped it up and all.  I mean, after all this anxiety, would you think less of me if I wasn’t actually dying of something?

Him:  Would I think less of you if you did have a life-threatening illness, being as how you probably attracted it with all your hypchondriactic thoughts?

Me, harrumphing:  You shouldn’t!  Wouldn’t that just make me psychic?  And isn’t it better to be a psychic than a hypochondriac?

Him, shaking his head again, still likely awestruck at his luck: Okay, so maybe best case scenario for you is early-onset diabetes.  That’s pretty serious, which justifies your concerns.  But it’s also totally reversible.

Me, nodding thoughtfully: I like that. 

Later that night, after showing Mr. Charming all the questionable moles I wanted my physician to examine, he said, “Maybe you should circle them with a Sharpie so you don’t forget.”  Excited that we were already finishing one another’s thoughts, I replied, “I was thinking the exact same thing.”  The only difference was he wasn’t serious and I was.

Turns out I have high cholesterol which is both congenital and potentially life-threatening.  Thankfully, my physician thinks it can be lowered through diet and exercise. 

And after all that, I still don’t know whether or not to tell Mike, “I told you so,” or “I’m sorry you married a freak.” 

Either way, he appreciates your condolences.

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