Still crazy! But not a hypochondriac!

By Mir
November 16, 2005

We are all clear on the fact that on the great spectrum of mental health, I do lean just a bit to the side with the padded room. The voices in my head tell me that it’s rather endearing, so shut up. Normally I am able to keep myself well-regulated with medication and copious amounts of chocolate, but even so, sometimes things get away from me.

For example: I am the queen of psychosomatic illnesses. Many people think psychosomatic means FAKE, when it fact it means ABSOLUTELY REAL PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS BROUGHT ON OR AGGRAVATED BY YOUR LEVEL OF CRAZY. I suffer from migraines. I struggle with insomnia. Probably there’s other stuff I’m not thinking of at this very moment. Real problems, fueled by my angst-ridden mind!

So when I started feeling kinda crummy I figured I had a cold or something. And then when it didn’t go away I figured I was just stressed out. And when it got a little worse I figured maybe I was a little depressed or something in addition to being stressed. And then when it started scaring the crap out of me I went to the doctor and said, “Hi! I am a hypochondriac, I think! Or possibly dying! Perhaps you could take my $15 and let me know which one! Thanks!”

Much to my horror, my doctor did not follow the script I had envisioned.

What SHOULD have happened was that I tell her about my symptoms and she nods and “mm-hmmm”s and tells me that it’s nothing. That’s what I’m paying her to do. That’s her job!

What DID happen is that I mentioned a few things and she asked me about a few things and it became clear that she was taking me seriously as if there was actually something wrong with me.

Me: So, yeah, my hands hurt and my knees hurt and my neck hurts and I dunno, I just feel crappy. Probably I’m just imagining there’s something wrong.
Doctor: That’s quite a lot of swelling, there. Let me see the other one. How long has this been going on?
Me: Here. Um… I dunno… a few weeks?
Doctor: I see. Hmmm. Does it hurt when I do this?
Me: Ow!
Doctor: Sorry. How about this?
Me: Owwwwww. Hey! I have an idea! Let’s assume it all hurts!
Doctor: Sorry. Let’s see. Have you been tired?
Me: I’m always tired.
Doctor: How about sore throat? Has your throat been sore at all?
Me: Sure, yeah. I have small children with many school germs. Of course my throat hurts.
Doctor: Have you had any vision problems? Double vision, blurred vision?
Me: Nope. That I don’t have. HEY! Why would I have vision problems? Do I have a brain tumor??
Doctor: Heh, well, I doubt that you do. How about skin rashes. Any of those?
Me: No. Do tumors cause rashes?
Doctor: Any connective tissue disorders in your family?
Me: My mom has lupus. OH MY GOD I HAVE LUPUS!
Doctor: Well we don’t know WHAT you have, yet. Let’s take some blood.
Me: Maybe I have a brain tumor AND lupus. Maybe it’s tumorous lupus!

And then the doctor started LAUGHING AT ME which I think was not very professional.

Anyway, I let her take about four gallons of blood from my arm. She assured me that the tests would be back by Monday, and that there were “plenty of viruses” going around that could be causing my symptoms.

Monday came and went, and the doctor’s office didn’t call. Great! No news is good news! I must be perfectly fine!

Tuesday rolled around and by the afternoon I thought, hmmm, perhaps I should call them. So I did. And I was told that my doctor had ordered an additional test (hence the delay) and that she would call me Wednesday (today).

I went to bed last night convinced that I was dying of something very rare and horrible. Like, perhaps, tumorous lupus!

This afternoon I STILL hadn’t heard anything, so I called again. I explained to the secretary that I was waiting on test results and probably didn’t have long to live. She was so deeply moved by my story that she put me on hold for about half an hour.

The good news is that I am not a hypochondriac! And I don’t have tumorous lupus! Or leukemia! Or ebola! Or bird flu!

The bad news is that the delay was because one of my tests came back positive, and that prompted my doctor to order something called a Western Blot, which is a very complicated immunological assay difficult for a layperson to understand, so I will give you the simplified version: The Western Blot is the test you order when you’ve discovered your patient has Lyme disease, and rather than calling and telling her that RIGHT AWAY so that she will stop imagining all sorts of other horrible diseases, you decide to leave her stewing while you get some more information so that you can then get on the phone with her and say “Guess what! You absolutely for sure have Lyme disease!”

Which, seriously? Lyme disease?? Must’ve been all that frolicking in the tall grass while I was having that little mental breakdown this summer!

So hey, no biggie. One month of antibiotics and I should be fixed right up. I hope. Because I feel like ass, assuming that the ass in question has severe fatigue and moderate arthritis.

On the other hand, I’m feeling gypped. Where’s my tick bite? My bullseye rash? How the hell did I get this? It sort of feels like a chapter is missing, you know? Plus, this whole month I’ve been working and going and doing and feeling horrible but assuming I had no choice but to soldier on. I’m going to have to do a lot of excuse-making just to catch up, now.

“No, I can’t make it… I’ve got Lyme disease.”
“Make your own lunch! Can’t you see I’ve got Lyme disease?”
“Well, I would have made the deadline… but… I’ve got Lyme disease.”

Anyway. Just thought you’d like to know. Now go get me some more Advil, dammit.


  1. Shiz

    Poor Mir! We want a well Mir! Get all healthy super fastly, ok?

  2. Amy-GO

    *Pet* I’m so glad it’s not tumorous Lupus. ‘Cause that sounds really bad. *Pet*

  3. Bob

    its all of that cavorting with deer that did it. just how well did you get to know bambi?

  4. M&Co.

    You were playing with deer rats this summer? Isn’t that what causes Lymes disease? Take care of yourself, and keep an eye on those kiddos!

  5. steff

    At least your writing skills and sense of humor are not affected!

    Rest up!

  6. Christine

    I came across your site from MommyBloggers and your post prompted me to write in! Must be the hypochondriac in me as well because reading through your conversation with the doctor was like deja vu!

    Hope you feel better!

  7. Eeek

    De-lurking to say, I was reading your symptoms I actually said out loud, “sounds like Lyme disease.” I am sorry you are sick, but I feel so fake-doctor smart.
    p.s. Love your site.

  8. Crystal

    Ah, the JOYS of living in the Northeast. I’m glad you finally got checked out, Lyme disease can really suck if left untreated. Anyway, so glad it’s not Ebola. Nothing sucks worse than Ebola, I assume. ;)

  9. Lynn

    Lyme disease? I’m sorry to hear that. And there I was, at the beginning of the post, thinking you were just a hypochondriac.

  10. Zee

    I read an article in the Boston Globe a few months ago about a family in Lynn, MA that ALL had Lyme disease. Even the dog. And it was caused by the water or something. (Will have to find that article now.)

    Anyway, I’m glad your case will be taken care of easily by anti-b’s! Hope you feel all better soon.

  11. Chookooloonks

    Oh, ick. I’m sorry, boo. At least it’s fixable. I really hope you feel better.

    And, thanks to you, today, all day, I know I’m going to find myself muttering “tumorous lupus, tumorous lupus, tumorous lupus…”

  12. chris

    The joys of New England, sigh.
    My son had Lyme Disease this summer. He never got the stereotypical rash either, but he was so so sick.

    The antobiotics had him feeling better in a few days. Hoping the same for you :-)

  13. Zuska

    Okay, tumorous lupus is just too funny!! I love it when you detail your conversations with your doctors…not that I want you to have alot of doctor visits or anything.

    I had Lyme many years ago (also no bullseye rash or tick to remove) and all I remember was that my dr. warned me that the first day on the antibiotics would be hell. And it was – I felt MORE awful. Not wishing that on you, of course, but if you DO feel worse, that might be why.

  14. Angela

    Because you ALWAYS look on the bright side like the cheerful, glass half full person you are (hehe…maybe I am thinking of another blogger), I just KNOW that you are being thankful that you are NOT having to make your excuses by saying “I’ve got Crabs” or “I’ve got chiggers (the fun of living in the hot south), or “I’ve got a leech in my nose sucking all of my blood” (Saw that on a show on TV the other day. OMG, I nearly passed out) I, too, am thankful that it’s not tumorous lupus…..or leprosy….or malria…or penile erectile dysfunction…..Although you would probably not have to ever work again from the money you could make selling THAT story.

  15. Theresa

    Tumorous lupus..I am so glad I put my drink down every time I read your blog. So…lyme disease huh? That sucks. BUT, it is an excuse, right?

  16. Jessie

    Sorry to hear you’re not feeling well. I hope those antibiotics take effect quickly for you and you feel better soon!

    Also, maybe my husband had the target rash for you, because he had one and they ran tests and no lyme disease but there was still this horrible rash all over his arms and legs and stomach. It was all worth it to me though when we went to see one of his friends and his friend saw his arm, backed up, and said “Dude, you’ve got the itis. Back away!”. Ha!

  17. Dave

    Have you been talking to my wife? She has fretted over Lupis as well as many other ailments (including Lyme Disease) most of which only affect .0003% of the population of Frostbite Falls. Durring an extremely stressful period of our lives she had every test known to medical science. And yes, went through the “I was told” sweats. Finally “the last” doctor told her it was stress. Only recently found your site which I enjoy very much.
    It seems the links on the best sites link to the other best sites!

  18. Fraulein N

    Only you could make tumorous lupus funny. Feel better soon!

  19. LB

    Feel better soon!

  20. gillian

    Well, I’m glad that your doctor listened to you. I have a friend who was feeling rotten and she had to go to four doctors before someone would check her out (the first three just told her it was stress). It turns out she has ovarian cancer, at age 23.

  21. Alison

    So I’m thinking wow, Lyme Disease, another one of those things they have in the States that we in the UK don’t have to worry about. Wrong! It’s happening here too, and frankly doesn’t sound too pleasant. I’m so glad you’ve got a doctor who listens and has diagnosed, I hope you feel better very quickly. I shall be avoiding any deer that cross my path from now on.

  22. elswhere

    Hey, Meg Cabot has lyme disease too! And she’s a really funny writer. And rich, too, from all those Princess Diaries books. So since you’re funny and a writer and also have lyme disease, maybe this foretells future riches for you.

  23. Monkey loves Kitten

    Okay, but you have to refer to it as “the Lyme disease,” as in, “I can’t explain my hair to you, I have the Lyme disease.”

  24. Nancy

    Holy fright, Mir! Take good care of you, okay?

  25. Cyndi

    Oh, Mir, punkin’…I am so sorry. Feel better soon. Take your pills like a good girl and drink lots of fluids and stuff.

    But, really, it should be against the rules for you to make us laugh at you when we ought to be feeling bad for you. Seriously. I am trying to feel bad for you, cuz I know the kind of ass you feel like is a giant, hairy, pimply one. But I am so glad you don’t have tumorous lupus, well, all I can do is laugh. Cuz you’re funny. It’s just wrong.

    Want me to send you some chicken soup? It cures anything.

  26. Lin

    Lyme disease is fixable. So happy. Also have to admit I kind of laughed when one of your readers (Gillian) said her friend kept going to doctors and finally found out she had ovarian cancer (which I had and felt great when it was diagnosed…go figure).
    Lyme disease and the upcoming hols. I’m assuming this doesn’t give you a bye? You poor thing. Rest, rest, rest.

  27. Emily G.

    Hello! I hope you feel better. I saw your stuff on the mommybloggers site and I must say, you are hilarious. The world needs more of you. So get better. Oh, and if you want, I’ll tell your evil little bacteria to get the hell out and leave you alone.

    An aside: I work in a lab and we do Western Blots. Like what your doctor ordered. That amused me.

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