As I’m going over the cases from this block I’m starting to notice a bit of a behavioural pattern:

Week 1. Thalassaemia. I become super fastidious about taking my iron + B12 tablets, when previously was very lax. Feeling ‘tired’ becomes a warning sign for my obvious blood disorder that I haven’t picked up on yet. Am convinced I’ve got nerve damage from lack of B12. Turns out…I just needed a nap + less wine. 

Week 2. Deep vein thrombosis. Stopped crossing legs despite lack of evidence that this even causes thrombi. Become very aware of leg veins. Convinced I will develop varicose veins. Perhaps already have. 

Week 3. Pneumonia. Reel away from anyone coughing. Glare at people who don’t cover their mouths. Entire cohort appears sick. Nowhere is safe. Why does this uni have ducted aircon and non-opening windows?

Week 4. Skin cancer. Totally and utterly convinced I am covered in melanomas. This is not helped by tutor explaining that ever mole has the potential to morph into a malignancy. Look up skin specialist. Make plans to make appointment but forget as next week brings…

Week 5. Colon cancer. I have colon cancer. Definately. Very strong family history. Pay ridiculous amount of attention to bowel habits. Wonder if anyone would do a quick colonoscopy on a 23 year old asymptomatic female? Research colonoscopy. Decide it’s unnecessary. 

Week 6. Tuberculosis. Conveniently coincides with our Mantoux testing, to which I have a decent immune reaction. Nurse tells me I’m fine because I’ve been exposed before blah blah blah. I feel fine! I feel great! Until I get to PBL & learn about TB. Spend whole week convinced I am riddled with TB filled granulomas that have somehow been missed. PBL group members start prefacing their presentations with “Another reason YOU don’t have latent TB is outlined in this learning issue here…” whilst pointedly looking at me. Feel mildly better. 

Week 7. Herpes. Before I started med I just knew I had had a few ‘cold sores’ on my lip in high-school. Now I know there is HSV-1 having a slumber party in my trigeminal ganglion. Just biding their sweet, sweet time. Beginning to really understand “ignorance is bliss” concept…

Week 8. Respiratory tract infections/Immunodeficiency. Of course, THIS would be the week that I actually get the cracker of a sore throat. 

Lets keep in mind that previously, I’ve never displayed signs of ill founded hypochondria. It’s not like I was fussed over as a child if I ever displayed symptoms. We were never rushed to hospital for anything. Growing up, if we complained of any pain my dad (a GP) would say “Have a glass of water” in a monotone voice, without lifting his eyes from whatever he was doing. My mum would say “Have a bath”. All ills can be cured by water in my family. 

Apparently, this imaginary disease thing common amongst medical students?


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6 Responses to “Pattern?”

  1. dragonfly Says:

    Heh, I have done the exact same thing. I believe it is very common (but not always talked about). I went to my GP concerned about bronchitis last year but he was thinking more TB (the size of my Mantoux wheal had doubled since the last time I had one but my CXR was normal).
    On the less clinical front I have friends who work in path labs who test themselves every time they get a sniffle (or who do full blood counts every couple of months – despite excellent health). Am not sure how it works with the funding of it but one of them currently has a FB status as “thank goodness my H1N1 self test was negative”.

    • C Says:

      lol. Kind of glad I don’t have access to a lab…the temptation would be too strong. I’m not making any appointments to check out phantom illnesses until exams are over…then it’s ON.

  2. dragonfly Says:

    🙂 My mother likes water for whatever ails one as well, but MAN did we ever get the peppermint oil (headaches), chamomile tea (everything), echinacea and teatree oil. To the point where I now get a Pavlovian mild nausea when drinking chamomile, because I associate it with feeling sick as a child (not that I really did, after a rocky entrance).
    I made an appointment with my optometrist for the day after my final 2nd year exams because I was concerned about my prescription. He explained “Strain” to me very patiently…

    • C Says:

      haha 🙂 we copped a fair bit of the eucalyptus steam inhaler thingy. But strangely I still love the smell?

  3. doctor007 Says:

    Yet more proof that you are indeed now a medical student. Those without at least mild hypochondriasis are those who merely deny they have it.

    Wait unitl psych next year…*evil laugh*

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