Friday, March 2, 2012

Hypochondria caused by an excess of googling

When I was pregnant, my doctor wrote me a prescription and handed it to me.  It said:

So on Sunday, I was kneeling on the floor doing a puzzle with Lucy.  When I stood up, my legs felt strange.  Not numb exactly but it almost felt like my legs weren't connected to my brain, like they were made of rubber and might give out.  I got totally freaked out. I was sure that I had Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

You should know 2 things:
1. The week before, I had heard a presentation on MS, signs and symptoms
2. I have had a pinched nerve in my lower back for the past couple weeks

Now, one who is in possession of her sanity might think of point #2, followed by point #1 and concur that I was overreacting and it was likely due to point #2.  No, not me. I am not in possession of my sanity.  I nearly hyperventilated. But I was home alone with my daughter so I got it together and shortly after a dear friend came over and talked to me and I felt better.
But not better enough to stay away from the computer. That night I googled 'numb legs' and 'symptoms of MS' and 'rubbery legs' and was propelled back into a panic.  "Look at this!" I told my poor husband.  "Oh my God! Look at THIS one!"  I got up for some water and when I returned, Tad handed the laptop back to me.  "Look at this one!" He said. 
He had googled "Hypochondriac"
But he was right and I settled down again. 
But on Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday I had tingling feelings in my legs which made me panic more until I wasn't sure if I was really feeling it or just thought I was feeling it.
I went to the doctor on Thursday.
I was incredibly worked up. I explained my problem to the nurse, self-diagnosing my MS.  She took my temperature. I had a fever! "A fever!" I exclaimed, beginning to freak out, "Why do I have a fever?!!"  My blood pressure, as you might expect, was rather high.
When the doctor came in, I burst into tears.  She and I had a chat and she told me
1. I most likely do not have MS
2. I need to stop googling ailments
3. It is probably due to the pinched nerve in my back but we'd do some blood tests for vitamin D deficiencies which also causes such sensations.
She also talked a lot about the mind-body connection (which made me very happy) and how these days we are all so stressed out, she's seeing more and more patients come in with physical sensations mocking illnesses and diseases and are really just panic attacks.  She told me to talk myself down when I get worked up like that.  And once again to stop googling things.

I left feeling two things: 1: like a huge ass and 2: much much much much better.

So since yesterday, I have felt back to my normal self.  And I will not do any more googling of any more ailments ever ever ever again. 

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