hypochondria?

This is day 3 so I can now say with confidence that I have a mild dose of Bronchitis, the important but odd word there is “mild”, I’ve never had a mild dose in my life. I can only guess that my meds for my COPD is holding it at a low level, so I am just going to wait and see what happens, not point screaming for antibiotics if it will heal itself. I was really surprised that I didn’t get it last year, with my economy drive with the heating, I was just waiting for it to happen, as I know that whenever I have had to live in a cold house, I have always had 2 or 3 bouts over the winter months. This is the first bout I have had since we moved out of first home together, it was rented, freezing cold, with windows that didn’t fit and no heating at all, apart from the living room fire. Other than that and the weird fact that only after we rented it did I discover that there wasn’t an oven, just a hob, it was lovely, we were actually really happy there and it was our first home, the place where we started our life together and got married from, so despite the unseal floor boards and odd things we kept finding in cupboards, we loved it. We lived there for just over a year and despite all the flaws of the flat we were so happy and so full of plans for the future, 16 years on and life has no resemblance to any of those dreams at all.

Our biggest dream was that buying our first home, the one we are still in, was just a stepping stone, we had this idea that we were going to buy a home in the middle of nowhere. We wanted a house where we couldn’t see our neighbours and our views would be either of the sea or mountains preferably both, at the time it seemed so possible, we both were working the property market was good and it felt like all we had to do was to improve this place, which we have, then sell up and move, doing it all over again, until we could afford what we wanted. Now, well it will never happen, but it doesn’t stop us dreaming. None of us can see the future but 15 years ago when we married, I really thought I could and I really believed in the words happy ever after. Don’t get me wrong, we are very happy, but it’s not the fairytale that I honestly believed it would be at the time. Everything about Adam and I were so different from any other relationship I had been in, and together I honestly believed that the world was our oyster and our future charmed, in comparison to my past, life was a pure joy. I guess I was hoping for too much, as my past wasn’t gone just quietly waiting to strike me down big style.

You would think that once you have that fought for diagnosis that you would then stop looking for things that are wrong with your body, but I have realised recently that that just isn’t true. When you have spent so many years being told there is nothing wrong with you, well you get into a habit, of searching and questioning every small thing that happens. I spent nearly 20 years making lists in my mind, checking every section of me and questioning things that were probably perfectly normal to everyone else in the world, not having anyone who believes that you are ill, actually does turn you into a hypochondriac. It is actually human nature to assume that if someone else can’t find it, then it has to be something really serious, something they have either never seen before or is so rare that they are just missing it. You start to grasp at straws, to read everything you can find that might be in any way similar to what you are going through and when you do go to the doctor with a diagnosis in your head, you don’t tell them, as then they too will think you are a hypochondriac, mind you most of them already do. You spend so many years tied up inside and unable to get anyone to believe, that even once you do know and someone does believe, well you actually can’t fully stop doing it.

There is a fine line between listening to your body to be sure you aren’t pushing yourself too hard, or doing anything that will make you worse for a few days, or listening to your body and deciding there is something seriously wrong, when there isn’t. It’s nearly 14 years since I was given my diagnosis, one so serious that you would think that I would just accept it and work with what is known, but I can’t stop just checking, picking on something I feel or a pain that is somewhere new and starting all over with ‘the what is that’, what could it be and eventually finding a name I can hang on it, with a large question mark attached. Last year I found my COPD and gallstones, so maybe it isn’t all bad, as at least we are all prepared for the future they bring, but I just can’t stop wondering about this and that, my mind is never totally a rest over any of it. In an odd way, the NHS has taught me how to be a hypochondriac, because it was the only place where I could and sometimes still can, make any logical sense, of what my body does to me. I expect I will be far from the only one who will totally understand how being chronically ill, somehow it keeps you looking for any other possible illness just waiting to be diagnosed and you just can’t stop looking as that is how you have spent your entire life. I don’t like the hypochondria, but it is the only one available, we didn’t and don’t make up the things we feel and find, I just think we are quicker and more tuned to noticing changes that other don’t and yes we self-diagnose but only because we have learned that doctors just don’t always listen and don’t know everything.

Please read my blog from 2 years ago today – 27/02/12 – Rehab 

I actually had a visitor today a real human being walked through my front door. She didn’t bring any gift, even though she is the first person to visit here in 2012, she brought 2 hours of questions and checks. I gave in trying and hoping that the increased pain levels I have had for the last few weeks would go away

(At this point I was calling my form of MS RPMS instead of PRMS this is simply as the doctor who gave me my diagnosis as “relapsing progressive”, instead of what I now know is the accepted version of “progressive relapsing” which I have used since I was corrected.)

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