Aging isn’t for sissies or hypochondriacs

This can cure a lot of things. Source: Google

No it isn’t!

Weird stuff happens to your body. Stuff you can’t explain.

For years you are a healthy person then all of a sudden you feel something when you swallow. Or there’s a suspicious looking thing on your leg. You swear it grows as you look at it.

There are two kinds of people. Those who ignore this stuff and those that freak out. Can you guess which group I belong to?

I have been taught to “get things checked out.” Easier when caught early. Get it fixed and move on.

I have a new rule. Unless it appears life threatening (and everything does for me) I try to hump it out for two months. Then maybe go to the doc. Or google. Or one of my friends.

Things disappear. The body heals itself. That ache where my kidney is, turned out to be muscular rather than any deadly disease. (No worries though. I did get someone to donate a kidney. It took a couple of margaritas and I don’t know if she remembers. I’ll have to get her to sign a paper next round of drinks.)

Have you ever googled symptoms (of course you have, come on! Fess up!) So far I’ve come up with some pretty scary diseases for what turned out to be…well…nothing.

So how do you know when to wait? You don’t. That lump when I swallowed turned out to be nothing (after some invasive tests involving nasty tasting stuff the memory of which could only be wiped away by many mocha lattes.) I still feel it occasionally but I don’t worry about it. Could be stress. It’s no longer taking over my life.

I am subject to heart beat irregularities. I’ve had them since I was in my 20s. (Ok, I’ve always been a hypochondriac.) I have been tested and retested by the best of the best. Nada. Could be stress (is there a theme here?). I have an extra heartbeat. A lot of people do but I can feel mine. That makes my EKG abnormal and I have to receive an “ok” from my heart doc before any procedure. (It also means I need a heart doc although there is technically nothing wrong with my heart.)

Doctors are humans. They are not gods. They do not know everything. I suffered from undiagnosed chronic appendicitis until a very enterprising young doctor decided to cut me open (they called it exploratory surgery back then) to see why I was having excruciating pain. Bingo. All fixed. After seven years of rewriting my will every week.

Women who have had radiation after breast cancer can get intercostal neuralgia. Many times it’s years later so you don’t get the connection. It is painful as hell but the worst part was that the docs didn’t know what it was.

I thought it was the big “C” making a comeback! (Insert emoji for psycho patient here.) Intercostal is the muscle between the ribs. One of my ribs eventually fractured. (Ouch!) My chiropractor figured it out. I rarely get it these days and when I do, it’s not severe. (It still requires chocolate or a margarita!)

New protocol is to wait two (very long) months before freaking out and increase my chocolate intake immediately.

Aging is not for sissies. (Or for hypochondriacs!)

 

85 thoughts on “Aging isn’t for sissies or hypochondriacs

  1. This post made me smile because I recognized myself … I’m definitely a jump-all-over-the-problem-fast-and-early kind of person. I’m a worrier by nature so both my husband and my doctor are used to talking me off the ceiling 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love this one – especially the title. It’s so true. I’m definitely an ignorer until my body simply forces me to take a break and/or see a doctor. Today, in fact, is one of those days which is why I am finally catching up on your blogs. Just what the doctor (would have) ordered!

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  3. I’m still trying to figure out at what point I stopped being able to run and suddenly needed a cane just to walk. But through the years I’ve broken both ankles (one of them twice), a couple of toes, and chewed up my hip falling in a culvert while fencing with my son. I guess old age has had a lot of my help putting my body in the shape it’s in.
    I wish I wasn’t allergic to chocolate. I’m sure that would help.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I used to be a worrier and still am to a lesser degree. I guess age and false alarms make it easier. Like you I’ve had irregular beats since my 20’s and other things that have turned into something but most that have not.
    Now I wait, like you, for a while and see what happens. I think our bodies tell us when we need another opinion. But who knows for sure…:)

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    • It’s at night when I’m lying in bed waiting to fall asleep that the worst of the worry comes on. Perhaps the quiet makes us more aware of what’s going on with our bodies and we can “feel” things better. I usually plan to make an appointment first thing the next morning. By the next morning I’m back to “good enough to wait a little bit yet.” Watching my Dad die within minutes from a massive heart attack at age 55 with no prior symptoms has affected me.

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      • The night time always seems to make things scarier or worse.
        I think my anxiety began in my late 20’s when my brother in law, who I was very close to, died of cancer at the age of 32 and a day after burying him my father her died of a sudden heart attack at the age of 62. Spending a week and a half in funeral homes changes you a bit and gives you a different outlook on life.

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  5. I’m the under-worrier. There was no pain and the symptoms, while possibly serious, also pointed to dehydration. I drank more water right up to the cancer diagnosis. It will be removed and I will be fine (it’s not an aggressive one) but I now see that the over-worriers may have a point.

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  6. There is very little that can’t be cured with chocolate (or, in my case, red licorice) and margaritas. And, if it can’t be cured, they make the pain go away… at least for a little while. I have a tendency to ignore signs of potential problems but, fortunately, they have only turned out to be something serious once… and I was in my late twenties.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I usually go to the doctor once a year and only because I need thyroid meds but last year I saw the doctor 3 times (bronchitis and pneumonia) and had an emergency room visit (fell and needed stitches)! So far this year no visits but will go for my physical.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Mom so can relate to your worries. In fact, she can’t really say them verbally in front of us anipals or daddy. If we hear her worry, then oh my piggy heavens, the sky is falling and we are all doomed. So mom has learned to keep it to herself… at least for a couple of months. Then if it’s still there, she goes to the doctor for what she calls a wellness check.. then afterwards a margarita for a consolation prize. See you two would get along perfectly ❤ XOXO – Bacon

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  9. When I am trying to decide if going to the doctor is the appropriate decision – usually based on self-diagnosis with the aid of google – I also consider this -will my symptoms still be there when I actually see the doctor? Too many times in my life have I had to wait for an appointment, only to have the symptoms disappear before I get to see the doctor.

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  10. Glad your aches and lumps haven’t brought bad news. I’ve tried the Google route a few times and usually find I’ve got some serious and even terminal problem, had to quit doing that. 🙂 I know it’s not a great idea but my habit is, don’t think about and it might go away. Now, if Mister or the kids have a issue, I push for them to get it checked out.

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    • There are some things I will patiently wait out. It’s only the ones that I don’t understand that seem terminal. I fell off of a ladder once and waited a week to get my leg checked. I never bother with cold or flu symptoms or even short term stomach issues. However, give me an ached at a new place and I’m ready to call the undertaker.

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    • It’s hard, isn’t it? Last time I was in for my annual checkup, I asked the doc where my pancreas is because from time to time I get a high back ache and you know where my mind goes! He laughed and said, “No, it’s not there.”

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    • That’s the truth! Back when Jake was diagnosed with diabetes (around 2006) I did a lot of googling to understand it. There is a fabulous feline diabetes site that gave me so much support and information.

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  11. My dad always says it’ll go away when he has something and puts off going to the doctor as long as he can… I won’t encourage his chocolate eating habit though as he’s trying to lose weight 😉

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  12. Hypochondriac is my middle name. Followed by my other two names, fear and procrastination. I truly don’t google any symptoms because of what I might find out! Wish I had a different approach.

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    • I like to get it taken care of and on with my life. Most of my issues are of unknown origin. “They” say “could be caused by stress.” I’m retired! The stress I have is not knowing why I have an ache or pain.

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  13. I wait two weeks. Then three. Then a month. Then two months. Sometimes I might even go to the doctor, but mostly I don’t. I’ve been looking after myself for years, it’s got to be something I can’t deal with myself (or can’t understand) to make me see someone and get it checked out.

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  14. The doctor said there was nothing wrong with me that needed fixing. Hooray! Then I went to my Health Portal and saw his notes, which was a laundry list of problems. Now I wonder if he thought I was so old it wasn’t worth the trouble.

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  15. You’re right, Kate, the body does have a natural way of healing itself with many things. I haven’t taken an antibiotic in 30 years. I go for my regular check up stuff, but when it comes to aches and pain, I let it ride and it typically subsides.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This spring, after the throat thing, I started getting heartburn every night. I was taking OTC pills (the ones that supposedly shorten your life) almost every day. They it started to subside. I remarked to my husband this week that I haven’t had heartburn in 2 months. What changed? No idea! It had just hit the 2 month mark and I was thinking about getting checked out. Hence my 2 month rule rules!

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  16. This was a good read, as always. I’m of the wait-and-see variety, but I get jolted a bit when I read of some Big Name whose life could have been saved if he/she had gone to the hospital one hour earlier. I wonder if they factored in the wait time to be seen in the ER. Probably not, we’re talking a Big Name here. For common people like me, your hour would be up before you got to the ER. Reminder to self: don’t drive yourself to the hospital. Call the hearse instead.

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  17. Ah Kate, I want to thank people like you! I’ve worked as a medical assistant and then as a medical transcriptionist for my entire career (over 40 years total) so of course I am a doctor now and by hearing and seeing the aches and pains that people (hypochondriacs) come in with, I know that most of the time it is nothing, so I hardly ever go to the doctors. After our last child was born I didn’t see a doctor for about 15 years, until I had a fall and needed to check for broken bones – there weren’t any but it was my hands and arms that were involved and that’s how I make my living but even then I waited at least a week!

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    • I have decades where I only did my yearly gyn appointment. I didn’t even get colds. Maybe that’s what freaks me out when something aches. Nowadays, it’s not just a primary care appointment. It’s almost always followed by a specialist and tests. Maybe that’s the new way or because I’ve reached a certain age.

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  18. I often ask google (although I promised myself to ignore dr. g.) and I’m always the one who has the symptoms of something really horrible…. and I think I need a new kitchen cabinet… for all the things dr. g. suggested for fabulous home made meds ;O)))))

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  19. You made me smile again! 🙂 I think you seem to have it all planned out right with chocolate, Latte’s and Margaritas’s, I am going to remember that!

    I can’t believe I have actually met someone who also suffered with chronic appendicitis! Mine was almost ruptured by the time they took it out! I was so swollen by the time they found the problem, I looked like I was 3 months pregnant! I was 20 years old and single at the time. My surgery was actually delayed because they couldn’t find my ….. pregnancy test results and insisted on drawing my blood one more time!

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    • I was the same age and had it since I was about 14 or so. I’d get it every other month and it was diagnosed as ovarian cysts and all sorts of stuff. It would last for 18 to 24 hours. It got progressively more painful and more frequent. The new doc looked at my test results and said, “I can’t see your appendix, did you have it removed.” Nope. It was blocked and inflamed. That’s when they decided to do the exploratory.

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      • That’s just crazy that you were the same age! And Oh yes, I had the ovarian cysts diagnosis as well and went through test after test after test. They did do my surgery with the intention of removing my appendix but not because they were convinced that was the problem. I think it was more of well what things can we remove that she really doesn’t need and that MAY help whatever is wrong with her.
        I did some research on it later and found out that another name for it is called “grumbling appendicitis”, it was diagnosed in England first. Guess we both should have been British,eh! ” 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • They were going to start at my appendix but if that wasn’t the issue they were going to look further. They drew a big smiley mark across my abdomen prior to the surgery. Fortunately they only had to cut a few inches and found the problem so I was spared a huge scar.

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  20. I’ve been living with chronic pain for about fifteen years plus–so I am the queen of ignoring my body. I assume it’s nothing–until something swells up or bleeds or something really drastic happens–do my best to put it out of my mind. Every day. Life is too short. I focus on trying to enjoy whatever I can while I can–LOL! 😉 But, you’re right–never expected getting old to be like this.

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    • It was an eye opener. I thought older people who talked about illness and operations were obsessive. Now I’m one of them although I try not to talk about it. I remember how boring it was listening when I was young. Once in a while I’ll find a kindred spirit and we can share remedies.

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  21. I’m on Team Ignore It. Experience has taught me that even if I do bring anything to a doc’s attention, they’ll dismiss what I say about myself. It’s only when I end up in the ER that any medico takes me seriously. [Not quite the truth, but close to is, sad to say.]

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    • I get dismissed a lot too but so far it’s been nothing serious. That appendicitis thing was awful. It was back in the 60s when they didn’t have MRI, cat scan and all the other equipment. I had a lower GI series but it always showed clear. I can’t imagine a doctor saying today, “We have no idea what it is but we’re going to open you up and look.”

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  22. Oh Kate, you’ve done it again! As soon as I saw the title I thought to myself “there is going to be some gem here that I will relate to” and boy do I ever. It does seem like practically overnight my body developed odd symptoms and ironically, I too experienced a strange sensation when swallowing and food seemed to “stick” and it kept happening for awhile. I finally realized that I had a swollen lymph node (otherwise called a gland, I think) only on the left side. Yup, you guessed it, went straight to Google and one of the things it could be is cancer…..or of course……nothing. I didn’t go to the doctor, it has gone away (for a while now anyway) and I stopped thinking about it…… till this post. I also get aches and pains in various places at different times but have learned to “wait them out” and they seem to go away on their own. Of course if I actually made an appointment to see my doctor, the symptoms would have vanished by the time I got there. grrrrrrrrr

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    • That happens to me too. When I made the appointment for my throat it didn’t do it for 24 hours before. I still got it checked out. Once you’ve had any cancer you are a higher risk. Then again, my mind can go crazy when there is nothing (or stress).

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    • I know! I start thinking of my funeral although lately I’ve been thinking if I can’t be there, I don’t want one. The really bad part is that I “reward” myself with retail since I’m not going to be around long anyway!

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