Framing the Dialogue

Hypochondria (hī′pə kän′drē ə)

chickenhypoHypochondria is defined as:

“abnormal anxiety over one’s health, often with imaginary illnesses and severe melancholy.”

…or a more serious definition:

“A psychiatric disorder characterized by the conviction that one is ill or soon to become ill, often accompanied by physical symptoms, when illness is neither present nor likely.”

How about a quote?

“The best cure for hypochondria is to forget about your body and get interested in someone else’s.”

Goodman Ace

Can you use it in a sentence?

As I sit here suffering from the H1N1 flu and surrounded by used tissues watching daytime television I truly understand the beginning pangs of hypochondria.

Example 1:  My wife and I were visiting our daughter at her college this weekend.  It take around 4 hours to get there and we got an early start on Friday, but I was pretty tired.  I punked out on my wife in the evening and went back to the hotel.  Saturday was a blah day, but we spent some nice time with our child (when she finally awakened).  Saturday night was bad, very bad. 

I drifted between sleep and semi-consciousness only to find myself wracked by severe chills.  I have never had chills that violent in my life.  Every inch of my body seemed to shake independently as I searched for warmth.  I was so desperate, I used the bed cover from the hotel even though you’re not supposed to touch them because of the “fluids” that some news magazine found on them.  Eventually I reached a delicate equilibrium that was easily shattered by my slightest movement. 

Then came the heat.  Searing heat.  We were not at home, so I have no way of documenting my temperature, but I am guessing that it was at least 120 degrees Fahrenheit (yes I know that is impossible, but I don’t fish and have to lie my own way).   I seemed to bake for hours, but I figured that my body was fighting off the enemy and the battle would soon subside.  I chanced a glance at the clock and it was only just after one AM.  Since I went to bed after eleven, my torment had only lasted two hours!

That is when the first pangs of HYPOCHONDRIA crept in.

Example 2:  Same illness, next day and we checked out of the hotel and drove to say goodbye to our daughter.  I stayed away but limply waved from inside the car.  I felt like bubble boy except in reverse.

1027091254At work, we recently had to complete an on-line learning module on the expected flu season.  My wife and I were pretty sure that I had the flu and she diagnosed H1N1.  I stayed away from the rest of my family and settled in the basement.

Sleep was illusive so I watched a great deal of television.  Not just daytime television, but late night stuff where very unusual exercise machine and kitchen gadgets are sold.  If you believe me within the next 30 minutes, I’ll send you double the product (separate S&H apply).  I felt somewhat better on Monday now that the fever had subsided and figured that I was on the mend.

That is until I watched the news! 

To say there is hype about the H1N1 virus is putting it mildly.  I faced news story about deaths, lack of vaccines and warnings of pandemics to come.  It was the deaths that got to me.  I am not quite ready to die as I hope to be around to see my children have children and deal with thier children.

One that struck me in particular was the death of a local high school student.  Officials had not confirmed why she died, but the news readers had it pegged as H1N1.  No facts, just hype.  While I had not slept much over the past few days, sleep on Monday night was impossible.  With every new muscle tweak or cough, that hypochondria effect crept in.  Missing a decent nights’ sleep since Thursday, I could still rationalize that I was not dying or even in serious condition, but there was always that sleep-deprived doubt.

h1n1-flu-virus-symptomsExample 3:  As I heard my family awaken on Tuesday to get ready for school and work, my abdomen hurt from coughing.  I definitely had a raspy sound when I took a deep breath.  I actually did the right thing and went to my doctor.  We discussed the hype surrounding H1N1 and he confirmed that he believed that is what I had.  He is a calming influence and prescribed some medications to help my cough and ensure that my illness would not get worse. 

My hypochondria has subsided and my wife has just returned with my prescriptions.  I am off to health and hopefully sleep!

2 CommentsLeave one

  1. Kevin says:

    “I hope to be around to see my children have children and deal with thier children.”

    I sure hope so too! I think the news did blow it out of proportion, but it shouldn’t be taken lightly. I’ve washed and sanitized my hands more than I ever have before in the past few weeks.

    Give it a few more days of rest and then you can get back to blogging…

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