Do I need medication for this?

I might be the world’s worst hypochondriac. Every pain, every twitch, every ache is something serious, something so terribly dire that I am sure to meet an untimely death. I’m not sure how I got to be this phobic, but I am sure the internet has added to my problems. It is far to easy to google a common symptom and find all kinds of horrific diseases associated with it. It’s also easy for me to read a news story about something terrible and then begin worrying that I have the same affliction.

Case in point. When Natasha Richardson fell, hit her head, and subsequently died several days ago, the press were on the story 24-7. It was impossible to access a news page online without seeing stories about how minor head injuries can prove fatal, or how doctors refer to the condition as “talk and die” because patients often experience no symptoms for hours before deteriorating quickly.

chickenhypo

Fast forward a few days. I’m out in the yard removing some branches that had fallen during our winter storm and one of the larger branches hits me in the side of the head. Not real hard, but enough to give me a headache. And right over my ear, which is where the news story had pointed out as the most dangerous spot to get hit. I panicked.

I wondered if I should go to the emergency room, but felt like I was probably overreacting. I went inside and laid in the recliner, trying to calm myself down but distressing over the possibility that I might be dead in an hour. Honey noticed that I had stopped talking, so he inquired what was wrong. I filled him in, knowing how crazy I sounded as I explained – something he was quick to confirm. An hour later, after realizing I was probably not going to die of a hematoma, I relaxed a little.

The internet isn’t all bad, though. I helped me figure out what was wrong when I had appendicitis and has helped me research many of the issues that I’ve discussed with my doctor – like high cholesterol. I think it has even helped me figure out another health problem that I’ve been having recently (real, not imagined).

Yesterday morning, my screaming bladder forced me out of bed around 4am. I had been drinking alot of water the evening before, thinking that the headaches I had been suffering daily for the last couple of weeks might be related to dehydration. As I stood over the toilet, I started feeling terribly weak and lightheaded. Then my hearing started going out. This, of course, caused panic and made my heart start racing. I quickly stumbled back to bed, where I laid for several minutes before my hearing returned to normal and my heart stopped pounding.

I figured this was related to some other symptoms that I’ve been having lately. I often get a rush to the head when I stand up after sitting for a long time, so much so that I can hear my heart beating in my ears and feel like I’m going to pass out. My headaches have been terrible, usually right along the back of my neck and top of my shoulders. I bent over to get something out a cabinet the other night and saw flashes of light for several moments after standing back up.

So, true to form, yesterday I turned to Dr. Google to find out what might be causing these problems. I suspected high blood pressure, but was surprised to learn that low blood pressure is normally the culprit in these situations. Apparently, in some people, the blood flow isn’t that great when seated or lying down, so changing positions causes the blood that has pooled in the lower extremities to be quickly forced into the upper body. This causes lightheadedness, headaches in the exact locations I mentioned earlier, and sometimes fainting while urinating.

The causes can be varied, but the two that stood out to me where dehydration and malnutrition. I already know that I don’t drink enough fluids. Two or three sodas each day just isn’t cutting it, and my diet usually varies somewhere between chocolate and hamburgers.

So, once again, I’ve decided that I have got to make some changes. I was already on the right path with the increased water intake, but I figure that I need to eat better and start taking a multivitamin. Hey, I know I’ve talked about this diet thing before, so I understand if you aren’t buying it.

Anyway, how funny/ironic is it that a self-diagnosed hypochondriac might also have self-diagnosed orthostatic hypotension? I’m pretty sure I don’t need medication for the latter, but am no longer so sure about the former.

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Comments

Caroline
Reply

We nurses call that “orthostatic hypotension.” It’s why we sit our patients on the edge of the bed for a few minutes before letting them stand. Drink more water, Brian!

And I think it’s good that you’re so aware of your health. During nursing school, I was pretty sure I had every disease in the book, too. :)

Liz
Reply

:)
Also, even though you may not look old…you are getting old…:) just thought I would point out the obvious! lol
love you!

ashley
Reply

I’m quite the hypochondriac too….I feel like I’m crying wolf all the time, but I’m convinced that there has to be some diagnosis that encompasses all these seemingly unrelated symptoms that I have. LOL. I realize that I sound a little crazy just typing this, but it’s true. I’m convinced. There is something wrong!

Brian
Reply

@ Caroline: I’ve been drinking water like crazy!!

@ Liz: :evil:

@ Ashley: Glad to know I’m not alone!

Wendy
Reply

Ugh, the Natasha Richardson tragedy got me thinking about that whole “talk and die” thing too! I hate hearing about that, and it pops up every few years. So yes, I’m hip to your hypochondria.

Brian
Reply

@ Wendy: I know it’s important to remain aware of such things, but, like you, I hate hearing about it.

Randomability
Reply

Another low blood pressure person here, and coupled with PVC (heart skipping a beat) leads to passing out. Not a fun combination!

Brian
Reply

@ Ramdomability: Both of my parents also suffer from PVCs. I hope that’s one thing I don’t inherit.

Eric
Reply

Much like @ Wendy, I too am hip to your hypochondria. I’m so terrified of getting sick that if I’m even around someone who is ill I’m suddenly chasing a fist full of vitamins with a gallon of OJ. And of course every headache is a tumor… It’s almost embarrassing to admit.

alyson
Reply

Okay, ever since I read this I have been experiencing headaches, along with diziness after lying down, or even bending down. The headaches aren’t new, I’ve had them all my life, although they had subsided alot in the last year but have come back with a vengance. However, the diziness is. Maybe what we read on the internet is contagious. Computer virus maybe?????

Brian
Reply

@ Eric: It is embarrassing! I have been feeling much better since taking a daily multivitamin and drinking more water. The headaches have become much more rare, too.

@ Alyson: LOL at “computer virus”! Have you been drinking plenty of fluids?

Chris
Reply

Did a post dissappear? I started to comment on it the other day but wanted to chew over my reflections first. I’ll save my comments until I know it’s cool.

Speaking about being a hypcondriac, I think it all depends on how you outlet it. If you allow it to fester and build in you til it controls your life, then it’s a negative. But if it makes you more aware of how you are treating yourself (i.e. diet/exercise) than it can be a positive. Perhaps, you feel subconsciously guilty about not treating your body better and so you feel like it’s going to turn on you. Or maybe you’re just afraid of death (I know I am). I think resolving the why you feel the way you do and how it in turn makes you react is a healthy practice that you could benefit greatly from.

Thanks for your nice comments on my blog! I stop by here regularly even though I don’t comment often. I guess I just get shy ;)

Brian
Reply

@ Chris: After much back-and-forth in my mind, I did make one of my recent posts private. I have a problem being completely open and honest about my feelings on here sometimes out of fear that the wrong person might read them.

Glad you commented. Don’t be shy!! :)

Chris
Reply

That’s what I was thinking and why I left my comment on that absent. Talknig vaguely, I was going to say that I struggle with that same thing though. I think I kept chewing that over in my brain as to why that might be from and what that says about me. I decided I’m ok w/ a healthy dose of skepticism. It’s self preservation, I believe

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