Sunday, March 29, 2009

Hypochondriac

I’d like to simultaneously curse and kiss the creators of those health/medical portals that have sprung up on the Internet. Is it just me, or do you also immediately jump to these sites at the first hint of strangeness occurring in your body? You’re not yet ready to call the doctor so you log on, immerse yourself in the symptom checker and next thing you know you’ve diagnosed yourself with a flesh-eating bacteria that is only minutes away from devouring your body from toes to tongue.

Over the past several days, I’ve been experiencing a consistent amount of tingling/pre-cramping in the muscles of my feet, legs and arms that is slowly driving me nuts. I’ve always had problems with excruciating calf cramps waking me up in the middle of the night, as my college roommates and husband can attest to. In college, these cramps happened so frequently that as soon as I started thrashing around in pain, my roommate would rise up out of her bed, sleepwalk over to me, stretch out my leg to make it stop and then retreat back to her bed without a word. The first night my husband had the pleasure of awakening to one of these episodes, he nearly had a heart attack. For all my screaming and writhing in pain, the only logical explanation he could come up with was that a giant, slobbering psycho murderer had found his way into our bed and was tearing me apart limb by limb. Once the pain subsided I was able to breathlessly explain ‘my calf...cramp.’ This turned out to be an unsatisfactory reply. And yet, with time and a few pointers from my old roommate, dear husband, too, has mastered the art of stretching out my leg while remaining half asleep.

The symptoms I’ve been feeling recently feel much like the precursor to the calf cramps of yore. It starts with a tingling – a vague sort of early warning system that tells me to stop pointing my toes or flexing my calf because damn, THIS IS GONNA HURT. Except this time, the cramp never comes. Instead the early warning system continues on for hours on end. I suppose I should be grateful. The pain of a muscle cramp can leave you hopping up and down, gritting your teeth and hyperventilating from the torment. But this low grade twinge in my legs and arms is frustrating. I’m not yet ready to call the doctor. I just assume that this will pass within a matter of days. In the meantime, I’ll probably convince myself that I have MS, fibromyalgia, or the exotic-sounding Guillan- Barré (who doesn’t want an affliction with an accent over the ‘e’) Syndrome when in reality what I probably need to do is drink a tall glass of milk and eat a couple bananas.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Try a magnesium pill...

V-Lo said...

I totally appreciate this, especially since I work in the medical industry. Every time my eye twitches I think I have MS (multiple sclerosis)

jennifersnt said...

Hey Sarah- my Mom had Guillen Barre Syndrome in 1990. Her case was so bad she was on life support for 2 weeks. Typical 'super mom' who took care of others before herself, she overlooked a bad sore throat and a constant tingling in her upper body. One morning she woke up unable to move, by the time she got to the hospital she lost the ability to breathe. GB is a virus of the central nervous system, worse cases go into a coma, my mom was one step below that and only able to move her eyelids.
After 3 months in the hospital and a month of rehab my mother finally returned home. She had to learn how to walk and eat and function again. Today thankfully she is fine. It was a terrible experience but our story has a happy ending.- Jennifer Williams

Jon J. said...

So glad you're blogging again - how I've missed it. While reading this one, the following Google Ad was displayed next to it:

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God, I hate/love advertising.