Here’s something you may not know about me: I tend to imagine the worst possible outcome in nearly every situation. It may be due to my professional background, having been trained to imagine all conceivable ways that things can go wrong in order to adequately insure against them, but still the tendency to exaggerate the potential for impending doom is always with me.
When you have kids, there’s no shortage of stuff to worry about, but being an overachiever, I participate in what can only be called Extreme Worrying.
I worry when my oldest son is out that he’ll be in a car accident and the impact will cause the aerosol cans of Axe body spray stashed in his car to combust. I fret that my middle son will die of a severe Vitamin D deficiency from failing to venture out of his darkened room for days at a time. I imagine my youngest son’s brain cells dissolving into dust with every minute spent playing video games instead of reading.
Nothing, however, has the power to freak me out quite like noticing an unusual change within my own body.
Once, after successfully sticking with a new exercise program for several weeks, I was shocked to discover a tough bulging area on my inner thigh. My mind was convinced that it was a fast-growing tumor and I mentally prepared myself to get my affairs in order.
I told my husband that I was most likely going to die of cancer. He was stunned and asked why I would say such a thing. Had I been to the doctor?
I showed him the growth on my leg. After poking it a couple of times, he laughed and told me he was quite sure I wasn’t going to die. Apparently the strange bulge on my inner thigh was an adductor muscle, happily making its presence known due to the success of my exercise program. (Oh shut up. As if you’ve never mistaken a muscle for a tumor.)
For the past year, I’ve been experiencing a rather bizarre set of symptoms. I’ll feel overly warm, as if a furnace has been turned on high inside my body. Then the warmth spreads upward to my head, causing me to feel as if I’m going to pass out. The lightheaded sensation causes me to panic, especially when the heart palpitations and nausea kick in.
When it’s all over, I suddenly feel chilled, as if someone has shoved me into the snow while naked. Oddly, I do not enjoy this as much as you’d think I would.
Because my symptoms are intermittent, I’m more apprehensive about them than usual. I never know when they’re going to happen or where I’m going to be. The sense of feeling so out of control when they do happen has caused me to stay close to home for fear of them happening in public. Yes, in spite of my previous experience with passing out in a public place, I’m still wary of a repeat performance.
Most people would simply go to a doctor but this creates even more anxiety for neurotic me. What if the doctor finds something even worse? What if they want to do tests? What if I pass out from the blood work? And the most horrifying thought of all: Will I have to sell a kidney in order to afford to pay my bill?
Medical intervention is too awful to consider. It’s much easier to stress over the symptoms for nearly a year so that’s exactly what I’ve done. Well, until recently, that is.
I’ve mentioned before about my love affair with Google. I Google everything, from how to make an origami crane (hey, it’s a hit with the kids) to how to tell if your hermit crab is dead or simply molting. You can’t find information like this just anywhere, you know.
Google is kind of like everyone’s crazy Aunt Phyllis: you may have to disregard two thirds of whatever she says but eventually, if you hang in there, she dispenses a true pearl of wisdom. And what a pearl of wisdom it is. I’m convinced that Google is a wise and powerful oracle which holds the secrets of the universe, or at the very least, how to get used chewing gum out of a jeans pocket.
I decided to see if the All-Knowing Google could tell me the cause of my strange symptoms even though I know that searching for medical conditions on the internet is risky. The results might suggest that I have something truly rare and bizarre like typhoid fever or testicular cancer, so I prepared myself for whatever results I’d see.
Nervously, I typed “hot, dizzy, chills, palpitations” into the Google search box. I was surprised to see that nearly every search result contained two words: hot and flash.
Oh my gosh. A hot flash. Could I really be that stupid? Evidently I am. Thanks to Google, I learned that I’ve been having hot flashes, an entirely normal experience for a woman like me in her late forties.
So it appears that I’m not dying as I’d originally feared. What a relief! I guess this means I’m free to resume worrying about other things.
I wonder if Google can tell me how much force it would take for a can of Axe to combust?