"Go to your doctor"


My great-grandmother was a raging hypochondriac. So was my mother. Hypochondriasis has been passed down through my mother’s side of the family. I know this because my maternal grandmother used to roll her eyes every time my mother thought she had some wasting disease or condition that required immediate medical attention. As a child, my mother would put band aids on herself before she’d go out to play in case she slipped, or fell off her bike, or got bruised horsing around. My grandmother told me she wondered where all the band aids went as she was buying a new box of them every week.


My great grandfather used to be invited to the Mayo clinic in Rochester Minnesota to watch surgical procedures. He figured if he ever had to have one of those procedures, at least he’d know what they’d be doing to him. His wife, my hypochondriac great grandmother, had stomach problems. Every time she belched she’d hike off to her doctor, fearing the worst. She had X-rays she’d take with her from her physical exams at Mayo Clinic. Same with my mother. Her grandmother passed on the hypochondriac gene to her. If my mother had a hangover from too much partying the night before, it wasn’t just a hangover, it was a serious, life threatening condition.


My sister and I have the hypochondriac gene as well. If we feel the least bit off kilter, we call the doctor. We both have bottles of medicine on hand in case we go to Def Com One. My sister, who’s travelled the world, brings all sorts of meds with her in case she gets sick. While other travelers come down with stomach cramps and other maladies, my sister sails right through because she’s taken precautions. She’s been vaccinated against anything and everything no matter what part of the world she travels to. When polio reemerged in the northern region of Pakistan, she had an adult booster shot just in case. The only time she got nailed with anything serious was when she was in Hanoi. A vicious viral respiratory infection took its toll. She cancelled the rest of her trip and flew home to her doctor.


There’s an advantage to being a hypochondriac. Hypochondriacs on the whole live longer than normal people do. That’s because we run off to the doctor anytime we’re the least bit off our game.physically or mentally. We get tests, blood drawn, X-rays, pinched and probed, just to make sure we’re not coming down with something lethal. I had an impact injury on my shoulder and was sure I needed rotator cuff surgery. I have a physical every six months like a dog off to the vet.


Ozzy Osbourne is a hypochondriac. We’ve chatted about our ills and chills. Ozzy’s advice to anyone who will listen is, “Go to your doctor.” Think about it. Ozzy’s life has been one of reckless abandon but once a week he’ll go to the doctor and get a tune-up. That’s good advice for all of us. We take care of our cars better than we do our bodies. If you haven’t been to the doctor in a while, go now. Get an oil change and filter too. You never know what’s lurking inside of you. Peace of mind is precious.