Seeing the world through ordinary eyes


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A list of vague, changeable but definitely tangible symptoms took me off to the doctor’s surgery this week.  Having to wait 12 days for an appointment sucked (hey, this is the UK and the NHS still does her duty but, like me, she moves a little more slowly these days).  So, 12 days plus the two weeks prior to that of unrelenting (but vague) symptoms makes it a month already … abdominal pain, headaches, nausea … all relatively non-specific but definitely showing up every day to annoy me.  (I’m sure they’re there, I think).  And so, after my  8 minute consultation (less than average although possibly not unusual), with my GP speed-talking through my extensive medical history and various possible diagnoses (?auto-immune disease, ?thyroid malfunction, ?diabetes, ?stomach ulcer), I left with another appointment to run some extensive blood work the following morning and an ultrasound the following week.  And there we have it … the 24 hour wait.  The rule should absolutely definitely be DO NOT GOOGLE SYMPTOMS while waiting for any kind of testing to be done.   Driving to the lab, my usually clear and logical mind just went completely feral and ran amok.  During the 25 minutes waiting my turn, I had diagnosed myself with everything from diverticulitis to fibromyalgia and all the way to pancreatic cancer and back again via IBS and Celiac disease, none of which seem to fit entirely but my brain took them all on until I was practically on the verge of ordering a coffin.  The nurse called my name.  I hastily put my phone away, lest I should be caught – God forbid I should be taken for a panicking fool.  While I sat there with the lovely (but apparently blind) phlebotomist, I had time to reflect as she dug deep for blood, on the absurdity of anxiety.  How easily we buy into doom and gloom, symptomatic of these strange times we are living through where every loud noise sparks panic and we constantly check our phones for news of the next global disaster.  The paranoia of our age – it has to stop.  It definitely has to stop for me or I’ll make myself sick over it.   I left the lab knowing that Google, today at least, has been my insidious enemy.  I can wait for the test results; there is no logic in the torture of self-diagnosis.   I drove home feeling more like my logical, sensible self.  My husband took me out for lunch.  Pan-fried plaice with a butter sauce and fries on the side.  A glass of Prosecco.  Expresso to follow.  Relaxed, happy, enjoying the moment – and guess what?  No sign of those symptoms.


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