The Thin Line

The older I get, the less certain I am where to draw the line—the line between caution and hypochondria.

 I never used to think of myself as even a potential hypochondriac. In fact, to avoid becoming one, I was apt to avoid going to the doctor when I experienced symptoms I’d heard other people talk about because I didn’t want my doctor to consider me a copy cat.

That changed one week about fifteen years ago.

I’d been experiencing some chest discomfort in the early morning for several days. It always went away within a matter of hours, and it wasn’t that severe to start with.

But that day when I got to work, it got worse. Not drastically worse, but bad enough to make me feel I wasn’t up to coping with the day. I went down to the reception area and zonked out on a sofa. I would have felt embarrassed about having people staring at me as they came and went, but I didn’t feel well enough to care.

I finally gave up. No way would I be able to drive myself to the doctor, so I asked the receptionist to call the Rescue Squad. The EMT’s comments in the ambulance convinced me that I’d had a heart attack.

Three days in the hospital proved them wrong. Finally.

I came home with prescriptions for anxiety and acid reflux. No heart problems then or since. I still take omeprozole, but I no longer have a prescription for the anxiety medicine. I’m doing a better job of letting God handle that.

Even though my problem turned out not to be life threatening, it still needed to be diagnosed and dealt with.

After living though that little adventure, it was only natural that I would start paying more attention to anything my body tried to tell me. But before going to the doctor, I take advantage of the Internet to look up my symptoms and—more often than not—discover that they apply to lesser problems as well as to ones that are more serious.

One problem with my anti-hypochondriac efforts is that age seems to bring on certain symptoms that apply more to the aging process itself than to specific conditions.

With the increase in healthcare costs brought on by the implementation of Obamacare, my family doctor co-pay has risen from $10 to $30. And not even the cheapest of my medicines is free now.

So I can no longer afford to become a hypochondriac.

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Best regards,