Thursday, November 20, 2008

I Told You I Was Sick

I am under a doctor's care for hypercholesterolemia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The COPD is sometimes aggravated by allergies, and it is what I usually get treated for. My cholesterol level has been way down into normal territory thanks to Vytorin, but my blood test day before yesterday showed abnormal liver function, and the phlebotomist insisted that I make a follow up appointment RIGHT NOW WITHOUT DELAY! So, I'm going in this afternoon to see the doctor. Could it be that taking Vytorin and being a booze hound at the same time don't really go together? That's what I'm hoping, that I just need to lay off alcohol (which I could if I wanted to but have not wanted to although I could easily do so) and everything will get back to normal.

Of course, my hypochondraic tendencies have emerged and are running at full speed. I'm a nervous wreck. I've avoided looking on the web for the possible significance of abnormal liver function readings becuae I know that I'll just hone in on the worst possible case and convince myself that I've got that.

When I was at the VA, I had to review medical records of veterans who were appealing decisions of the regional offices, and I invariably became convinced that I had whatever it was that the veteran I was working on had. This would go away when I got to the next case and discovered that I instead had what the new veteran had. Of course, I never had anything seriously wrong with me.

Unfortunately, I had a hiatal hernia, a condition which manifests itself with crushing chest pain radiating up the neck and feeling an awful lot like a heart attack. You can imagine that I was convinced that I was having a massive coronary when I had my first major attack. Later in life, I sometimes fretted that my hital hernia was masking a real heart problem and that I was dying of heart disease all along thinking I was having a bad case of indigestion. Of course, my EKGs have all been normal, and my chest pain never comes with exertion, just with eating too quickly or the wrong things.

My anxiety neurosis often manifests itself as physical symptoms such loose stool, irritable bowel, abdominal pains, headaches (brain tumors?), fatigue or tachycardia. If I didn't take Zoloft (ask your doctor if it's right for you) and an occasional Xanax, I'd be caught in a spiral of anxiety induced symptoms that I would interpret as deadly diseases that would elevate my anxiety in turn worsening the symptoms.

The weird thing is that I rarely go to the doctor for the symptoms that worry me, perhaps because I fear confirmation or because I know on some level that I'm just being nutty.

UPDATE: As I hoped, I just have to lay off the alcohol and retest.

1 comment:

Mike Gogulski said...

Yikes, man. Take care of yourself. Please.