I’m not a fan of anything medical, it makes me squeamish. If I have to visit anyone in hospital I’m the worlds worst visitor. A Florence Nightingale I am not. I cannot watch any medical dramas on TV as they make me feel ill. This is particularly unfortunate since one of my favourite programmes is' House' and when they do something visually horrible I have to shut my eyes, stick my fingers in my ears and go “Blah. Blah. Blah.” until it’s over but I endure the rest of it as I love the character Dr House. However, since watching it I am convinced I have lupus.
Fortunately my local GP’s are fully aware of my foibles and meet me in their surgery with an exasperated sigh and rolling of eyes, knowing I’m highly unlikely to do anything that I find traumatising. A while back I had stomach pains and deduced from my medical knowledge and research that I had an ulcer. The Doctor suggested an endoscopy.
“If you think for one minute, I am having a hose pipe shoved down my throat you can think again Dr Death. This procedure is medieval and barbaric and without you knocking me senseless it wont happen” I said in my serious tone.
I convinced the Doc to give me some medicine first to see if it worked. Thankfully it did.
Now my medical knowledge came about from some intense reading. Some spiteful friend found it funny to buy me a medical book for a laugh knowing full well I would look up every ailment and fear for my life. They didn’t laugh so much when they had a cramping pain in their arm one day and I asked:
“Is it dull or sharp?” as I flicked through the pages of my book looking concerned.
“Err, dull ish” they replied.
“Oh dear...are you breathless, can you smell burning?” I queried.
“Burning? Why burning?” they breathed in deeply trying to smell (it’s a good idea at this stage to have just burnt some toast in your toaster)
“This could be the onset of a heart attack” I offered gravely. (it's a good idea at this stage to say “JUST KIDDING!” incase you give them one.)
Anyway, said medical book became my bible. A cold was no longer a cold, it was pneumonia. The pain in my muscles and the constant fatigue were not me overdoing it, they were the result of fibromyalgia. The swelling in my leg was not because I had slammed it in the car door but because I had deep vein thrombosis. I was terrified yet compelled to self diagnose. I was the only woman to have suffered a dropped testicle.
One day I woke up with small spots on the inside of my hand. According to my medical book I had ‘Foot and mouth’ disease. I called the Doctors immediately.
“Help! You need to get me in today I’m extremely contagious and currently wearing gloves. I also live near cows and may be a danger to livestock! I can’t possibly touch anyone without risking plague like conditions!” I urged. You have to be this dramatic to doctors receptionists or you will not get seen until a week on Thursday. She bought it.
I was ushered straight in to the surgery and I sat down in front of the Doctor, ripped off my gloves, my palms up in her face and said “I have FOOT AND MOUTH DISEASE”.
She laughed. Loudly. Whilst it was hand, foot and mouth disease (so, I was right then) it wasn’t the same as the one cows get and is actually a common virus that needs no treatment. The Doctor told me to get rid of my book as “A little knowledge is dangerous.”
The book magically disappeared one day as I believe my friends and family threw it away.
But, since reading it I have to be very careful not to read the leaflets on any tablets (for I will get the side effects) and not listen to peoples symptoms of illness incase I start to empathise. I am careful to avoid all issues relating to anything medical unless absolutely necessary and then the other day some bright spark sent me an e mail with a link saying:
Sitting down kills you. I immediately stood up and carried on reading. Because I sit down at my computer for most of the day I am 40% more likely to die 15 years before people who don’t. I could get deep vein thrombosis (again) plus diabetes and never get out of my chair alive. I spent the rest of the day doing star jumps and learning to type and walk with my ipad.
Now I have to stand to deliver and it takes me twice as long to do any work. Great, just great.