It’s hypochondria season, y’all! I’d love to say that this post about someone else. A friend or a relative with a webmd problem. And I could say that, but mostly it’s about me.
As a quick aside, let’s me take a moment to whine about this Age of Four. Honestly, I’m not a fan. Give me back a colicky, non-sleeping newborn. Or a biting 2 year old. Those ages have their challenges, but none of those challenges include asking, “Mommy, why do I sometimes float away from my dreams?” 15 minutes after telling me he’s never going to be six years old. See, that stuff just gives me the shivers– like he’s super-secretly telling me that he has an inoperable brain tumor. That all of the symptoms I’ve attributed to the typical winter cold are actually subtle warnings that I will reflect on, montage-style, while he’s struggling to breathe in the ICU.
Or when he tells me he’s going to miss me when he grows up. Why? Do you know something about my lifespan that I don’t? Perhaps he was just responding to the 45 minutes I spent timing my heart rate with a Fisher Price stethoscope and my Droid, mufwatch ap (yes, that is actually the name of my timer application. Yes, my husband did find it first. Yes, he pretends to “not get” why I roll my eyes every time he says the word.).
Or maybe he’s just talking out of his ass because he is, you know, FOUR. Which is what logical-brain reminds crazy-brain as often as possible.
‘Tis the season for Scattermom-hypochondria. Why? Because in December 2000, Dad got the flu. In January 2001, my Dad was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). By March 2001 he was dead from acute myelogenous leukemia (AML). Thus from now-ish until March I will half convince myself that one of us is chronically ill with something.
One of my most amusing incidents happened in Hypochondria Season 2007, when I took a look at my lady parts for the first time since birthing the almost 9 lb baby. That very afternoon, I was on a table, feet in stirrups, showing a laughing doctor my suspected vulvar cancer. He laughed and explained that childbirth is just traumatic to your lady parts and then offered me a number for a cosmetic surgeon, if I so desired. Dude, if I’m getting cosmetic surgery it will be a tummy tuck and/or boob lift. Really ladies, you’ve sparked a revolution of vanity surgery because you think your nether regions need to be perked up? Couldn’t you just do botox? Or are you wanting the lady parts to show emotion?
There have been some perks to my admittedly neurotic behavior. My husband no longer has a paratoid tumor growing out of his neck. This is a good thing, in my humble opinion.
Now, does this translate to my kids? Um, sometimes. Not enough to be clinically insane, or chronically bugging my pediatrician. Enough to annoy the bejesus out of my husband. And probably some of my friends. Ahem.
Ah, but my sane mom-friends, the women who quickly agreed with my tentative “is this crazy” question. The women that prevented me from taking kids with a typical winter cold and and morph it into asbestosis/histoplasmosis/any-other-sis disease. Really, telling me that doing so would label me as “that mom” and result in a flagged medical file was enough to calm down the hyper-focus.
Oh, ADHD medication. I really love you, and what you do for my brain 90% of the time. But the hyperfocus on random, time-wasting bullshit is a serious pain in the buttocks.
I normally handle stress really well. Seriously. I’m a last-minute, barely-make-the-deadline, come-out-looking-awesome, kind of girl. You would think that being a parent and repeating a constant refrain of “please make good choices” would result in my making…better choices. Like regular exercise and drinking water. Instead my reality seems to be filled with bad choices like compulsive consumption of fudge giblets, uncooked gingerbread man dough, and chasing my adderall with coffee. Obviously I need a time out to reflect.
Hey! Can I get a time out, please!
So, these next few months normally mark the onset of the “OMG, I (or the kids) could be secretly dying from XYZ” season. I don’t need a shrink to tell me that this kind of catastrophic over-thinking is the result of my father’s illness/death. I’m not an idiot. I can even remind myself why I’m doing it when I log onto WebMDs’ symptom checker or the rare diseases database. On the bright side, at least all of that clinical trial work experience leads me to more scientifically valid information. Most of the time.
Tonight I’m going to drink more hot tea, and cough up this funk in my chest. This funk that is cold and totally not lung cancer.