Thursday, July 01, 2010

The (non)appendicitis was (not) rumbling

You might have seen me tweet on Sunday that I had been suffering from abdominal pain of unknown origin for 3 or 4 days. It was a most bizarre type for I could never pin it down to one place. Sometimes it was my right lower quadrant, sometimes it was my left flank. The one constant about it was that it was a dull ache that I just couldn't characterize as anything I'd ever felt before. My general rule of thumb is that if pain stays in one place, worry about it. If not, it's not likely to be serious.

Despite this rule of thumb, those of you that know me well know what happened next. In my grand tradition, I diagnosed myself with everything from appendicitis to ulcerative colitis to colon cancer. I swear, I am worse than the internet when it comes to turning relatively benign symptoms into something that could potentially be fatal. I don't consciously try to do it - it just happens. It comes from years of programming and my hard-wired anxious brain and my vast amount of medical knowledge that I have by virtue of my profession. The key to that last part is that, while I may have a lot of specific medical knowledge, I'm not a doctor so diagnosing is NOT my forte.

So here I was, a highly trained medical professional self-diagnosing on Wikipedia the other night. The pain was so highly localized to my right lower quadrant on Sunday night that I was certain I would be having an emergency appendectomy on Monday. For the record, my appendix is still in there and still vestigial. Even though my pain was never really acute enough for appendicitis and I had no other symptoms of it (no fever, no gastritis, no vomiting) I was convinced of it. When I stumbled across "rumbling appendicitis" - a chronic inflammation of the appendix that has milder symptoms - I figured that was my diagnosis, because, yeah, 4 days is chronic. Ish.

Clearly, I need to get a grip, and in the time that has passed I've found that grip. My pain has subsided a lot and I think it has a lot to do with the amount of pop I drink. So, much like Mary, my pop drinking days may be coming to an end.

After I work through the initial freak out, I can laugh at all this for the ridiculousness that it is - hence this post. There's a lady I work with who I have a long-standing joke with regarding my "latest diagnosis." I find that saying it out loud really helps me to realize how amazingly whacked and not based in reality those kinds of emotions and thoughts are. Inside my head, they are perfectly rational. But once you tell someone you have "rumbling appendicits" and you laugh uproariously over it, it's hard to take it, or yourself, too seriously.

1 comment:

mary35 said...

Paging Dr. Dan, paging Dr. Dan. I am embarrassed to admit that I was up to drinking six cans of diet pop per day (Four caf, two non caf). My ultimate goal is one because I don't know if I could ever completely eliminate it. I wonder if coffee is any better for a person?