Friday, August 22, 2008

The Book

There used to be a big blue book in my parent's room when I was a kid that was filled with the most glorious information a little hypochondriac could ever ask for. It was like the Encyclopedia Brittanica of WebMd. On steroids.

My favorite part of the book, and the part I looked at almost daily, was the symptom checker. You start with a simple symptom, answer yes and no questions while following arrows, depending upon your answers. Ultimately it ends up at a diagnosis. Sweet freedom for a hypo.

There was one particular day(s) that I was concerned about some symptoms I was experiencing and like the smart 9 year old that I was, I took those symptoms to "The Book". After answering the many questions and following a maze of arrows throughout the entire book, my diagnosis became clear.

Sickle Cell Anemia.

I handled it ok but quickly knew I needed support. I took The Book with me for verification and presented my family with the news. What I didn't expect was how they would take it. Tears? Of course, I thought. LAUGHTER? Now how dare they. I was dying a slow painful death and I get LAUGHTER?

After a brief explanation of my "heritage", I find that this particular diagnosis may not quite fit my symptoms and I dive back in to The Book. This became a daily affair.

Fast-forward to this week.

I make a bagel pizza for lunch and a few bites into it, I realize someone must have emptied the salt-shaker on it. Saaaaaaaaalllllllltttttyyyyyy. Whew. Couldn't finish it.

Decide to snack on some Sun Chips instead. Well DANG. Which one of my kids got a hold of the salt-shaker and how did they get into the chips stored on top of the fridge?

Then dinner rolls around and I am so very excited that 1) Kara made dinner and 2) it's my all-time fave: manicotti and 3) I'm absolutely starving because I didn't each lunch. First bite in, I look around to see who's figured it out with me. I don't see any other looks. A few more bites in and I'm glancing for the salt-shaker. Seriously, who is playing this mad prank on me? Still, no one else notices the saltiness like I do, so as not to make Kara feel bad, I keep on trucking.

Later when I put 2 and 2 together and realize this may not be normal, I go to Mr.Web. Not quite as good a friend as The Book, but he'll do. And he again pulls through for me. A diagnosis. I presented Carter with the news because I knew I needed support on this one.

I didn't want to die a slow, painful, salty death alone.

So I accepted the truth.

I have an abnormal depletion of body fluids. Did you hear that? Abnormal.

Folks, I'm dehydrated. There, I said it.

Surely it wasn't because the only thing I had drunk for a few days had been coffee and Coke.

The treatment plan is harsh, but I'm willing to do anything to keep myself alive and salt-free. I must drink excessive amounts of water. Grueling and painful, but I'm a fighter and I'll fight this disease with everything that's within me.

Starting now.


kara said...

stick to the clear liquids, my friend!!

Alicia said...

And let's not forget the time you called your mom and read her my symptoms....geographic tongue...what in the world is that? Oh yeah, then you referred me to a pediatrician although we were in College at the time. Oh're the best!!!

karen said...

Ahh the memories... I too immediately thought about the geographic tongue diagnosis. I think you should have been Pre Med...