Hypochondriac’s nightmare

January 27, 2016

Morocco, 2013.  Portal to a beautiful place.

I made my annual women’s health appointment the other day and got an email back inviting me to connect to my doctor’s health care portal. There, I can view all of my records and test results, it said.

This, my friends, is a hypochondriac’s nightmare, don’t you think?

It’s not the first time I’ve been invited to a portal. When my internist asked if I wanted to be connected to hers, I said “shoot me first” and she never broached the subject again.

Now, I wasn’t always a hypochondriac. In fact, you might say I lived in denial that anything could possible go wrong with my  health. Even when I had a lumpectomy, I was certain it was nothing.

It was nothing.

And then, my mother got sick. Every single time she had a test, they discovered some fresh hell. Since I was with her for many of these tests, the experience imprinted on me in some strange way. From then on, I approached every test and even every doctor’s visit with dread. Every pain was a serious disease that might lead to death, I feared. I got a case of hypochondria.

Girlfriend, on the other hand, had a different point of view. She had everything checked out.

“Get it checked out,” she’d say. “You want to catch things early so you can do something about them.”

“I know, I know,” I’d say back.  And then, finally, I’d make an appointment. And tell her.

Well, she’s gone now. But she’s still holding me accountable.

The other day I made three doctor’s appointments, thinking about her and telling her as I recorded each one in my planner.

I’ve decided to try something new. From now on, I’m going to think about portals and tests and doctor visits as doorways to beautiful, serene and holy places.

And before each visit, I’ll sit a while wrapped in the soft, beautiful blanket she gave me the week before she died, willing her to infuse me with just a little of the courage with which she faced life.


23 comments on “Hypochondriac’s nightmare
  1. What a stunning place to visit. Loved ones are never far and are always with us.

  2. I would love to take photos at the place in Moracco! It’s hard not to think the worst about our own health. Try to stay calm and think “its nothing!” Usually for me it is nothing at all. Wishing you the best!

  3. Donna says:

    I was immediately intrigued by your use of the term “imprint” because I have been trying to attach a word to a traumatic experience of my own. the word is imprint. Thank you. I have come to understand that we all experience horrific things, wonderful things, life changing, spiritual, and whatever else you need to put on that list. Yours is medical with tests coming back with bad news, so of course you would react that way. I have a friend who won’t go to the mail box or answer the phone because of financial problems. Even though the problems are better the imprint is firmly in place. I have gone through therapy to try and reduce the effects of the recession imprint, only to find out the recession simply exposed problems that had always been there but had never been resolved. The recession and subsequent financial tsunami exposed my leaky roof. Since I am not a doctor or even a very good guesser I don’t know if your mother’s medical tests was your leaky roof, but I can tell you if it was, the news is good. The universe is giving you an opportunity to strengthen something in your life. As I said, I’m not a doctor, but this pattern was mine and when I discover it in other folks I wonder if we have something in common. Only today was I able to attach a word to it that made sense. Once again, thanks!!

  4. Your perspective of this totally resonates with me. I’ve never been much concerned with my health…until my mother died at 59. Since then, I’ve had a irresistible urge to shy away from doctor appts and the hard numbers associated with being healthy. I’m finally getting better about it, but I totally hear you about how hard it can be.

  5. andrea says:

    sometimes – hypochondria can really be someone being careful about their body

  6. Helene Cohen Bludman says:

    You are such an amazing writer, Carol. I have also wanted to hide my head in the sand. But as we get older we really need to stay on top of my health. I am sorry for the loss of your friend. I’m glad you have something of hers that will always remind you of her.

  7. Jennifer says:

    I have never logged into those portals. I would just rather wait for the call or something but seeing everything in front of me and not knowing what any of it meant… no thanks, not for me haha.

  8. Diane says:

    If only we could bottle courage. But I think that blanket will do the same thing! Bless your friend. And bless you!

  9. I’m so sorry about your mom and friend. It is not easy, almost impossible, to believe we can actually die. At least it is for me.

  10. Laurie says:

    Wow. Really loved this. As someone who suffers from severe white coat syndrome, I totally get the fear. I’m a wreck before each doctor’s visit, sure it’ll be a portal to some medical hell. Still, I make the appointments as we all must. Thanks for this.

  11. Alana says:

    My eyes teared as I read this post. My best friend from childhood had a virtual colonoscopy in 2012. It revealed a spot on her lung. This past September, she died after it went into her brain. On the other hand, my mother in law went for a routine test, found she had cancer, and they got it all. Life can be so uncertain. I am starting to dread going to the doctor. I don’t want to go too far down that road. I loved your post.

  12. MyTeenGuide says:

    I’m sorry to hear about your mom. I have this fear, too after being diagnosed with a gallstone. I love your positive outlook. I need to do this, too.

  13. Jeanine says:

    I think these types of portals are wonderful. For someone like me who worries a lot, while waiting it’s super helpful. Wish my doctor did this.

    Sorry about your mom. I lost mine to Lung cancer back in 2001.

  14. Liz Mays says:

    What a wonderful way to redirect it to a positive place. I can see how you would be affected by all that went on with your mom though.

  15. Felita says:

    They sent an email out to us at work. They are offering free screenings. I had that hesitancy of dreading if my blood sugar was up. Why do we sometimes think “If I ignore it, maybe it will go away.” Your post reminded me that we can’t make good decisions without knowledge.

  16. I tend to be tech phonic about certain things, those portals being one of them. But it really sounds like you are taking care of your health, which is what we all should do. I’m glad your friend is still helping you!

  17. I think I’d rather not know – I’m am the world’s biggest worrier and avoidance works fine 🙂 I’ll just take on board any thing the doctor tells me and leave it at that.

  18. I work in healthcare and have mixed feelings about these portals. Giving people access to these records without anybody but WebMD to explain to them what they might mean seems like a good way to cause unnecessary anxiety

  19. Elena Peters says:

    The past two years have been filled with tests for my mom so I know exactly what you mean. Sometimes I feel like I can’t deal with me being sick too so I just put off tests. I know that is wrong. I love the way you find comfort from the memories and I wish you health and happiness.

  20. Medit says:

    Great read. Thanks for all the work you put in!

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