As promised, here is the first of four excerpts of the book “Prescription For Disaster: The Funny Side Of Falling Apart” by Candace Lafluer which I recently reviewed here. Candace has graciously agreed to post some excerpts for our reading enjoyment. I'm sure you will enjoy it as much as I did.
Please No, Anything But Hypochondria!
Anyone with a chronic illness I’m sure can understand the frustration in getting a diagnosis. I hear from people all the time that for the longest while they knew that something was wrong with them but they just couldn’t articulate what it was.
Now, for someone like me with a hideous fear of being thought a hypochondriac that right there is pretty horrifying. Couple that with my over-apologetic Canadian nature and you’ve got a pretty entertaining patient sat in A&E. I’ve been to the hospital more times than I care to count in the two and a half years since having Sarc and every time I am sure that I will be turned away and told to stop wasting their time. I refuse to go in to the hospital until my husband or work colleagues practically drag me there, and once I get there – what do I say? Every visit starts with a growly A&E receptionist barking out my name and date of birth, annoyed that I’ve not memorized my hospital number. I then sit quietly in the waiting room looking perfectly normal and surrounded by people gripping their stomachs, clutching bloodied bandages and yowling in torment. Oh, I’d like to join them in their A&E opera of despair but I know that if I let it out there is little chance I will be able to rein it back in. So I sit there quietly, wanting to scream and unsure of whether or not I will be able to stand when they call my name.
And when I finally do see the doctor, what can I say? How can I describe what is happening without sounding like a lunatic? Today, for example, I am sat in a room at A&E. I’ve got pink eye you see, and yes, that has put me into the hospital. Pink eye.
However, with all of the drastic immunosuppressant’s I am on (such as chemotherapy and steroids) these things cause my sarc to go haywire, flaring in waves across my body and in my brain. So I went to the A&E for pink eye. How humiliating.
Then comes actually talking to a doctor about it – once they’ve given you the “I cannot believe you are wasting our time with pink eye” look. I begin to stammer, my confidence faltering. They ask for my symptoms and I tell them about my goopy, red eye. My near-narcolepsy fatigue. My sarc flaring, which I suspect is from an infection of some sort. The doctor doesn’t look impressed – clearly I am an idiot here for pink eye. Or maybe a drug addict. I want to stand up and shout that something is very wrong and beg them to believe me, but it is a losing battle. I am considering exit strategies and whether or not I could just sneak out and go home, pretending this never happened and that it will surely get better on its own.
Then they ask for my history and I tell them about the Sarcoidosis, the chemotherapy. The stroke. The Bell’s Palsy. Their demeanor changes. Student doctors are called in to “see this”. I’m popped onto a bed and IV’s are going in – things suddenly become much more intense. More student nurses and offers of drugs. Specialists are on their way down as I apologize profusely for taking so much of everyone’s time. I assure them that I’m certain it will go away on its own, I really am fine – to which I am usually scolded for not having come in sooner. Then I am admitted, and the real fun begins.
This is the reaction every single time, though I still have a complete, heart crushing fear of being thought a hypochondriac.
How do you explain the unexplainable? How do you explain the mind-numbing fatigue without just sounding lazy? How do you explain the fevers and chills when it is the law of nature that it never happens when you finally get to the hospital? When you want to run into the emergency room screaming “LOOK AT THIS! QUICK! SOMEBODY LOOK AT THIS BEFORE IT GOES AWAY! I need a witness!” and then by the time someone actually comes to see it (that isn’t just the receptionist) the flare has subsided, damn. You are left sat in the waiting room looking like the world’s biggest hypochondriac and eyeing up the exit like an Olympic sprinter.
I know it isn’t just me. I know a woman with Sarc in America that frequented her local hospital like this so many times that the hospital sent her a letter asking her to stop coming to the hospital. My fear reached entirely new heights once I heard that, terrified to receive such a scathing letter from a hospital yet vowing to have it framed as art for my living room if I do.
I hope that you enjoyed that as much as I did, and am sure that you are anxious to go now and get your own copy for your Kindle reader. Just click here to be taken to the Amazon web site where you can download your copy, and if you would prefer a printed copy, click here.