Stephanie likes to kid around that I’m a hypochondriac (wait – is she kidding?). The definition:

“A person with hypochondria is preoccupied with physical health and body. The diagnosis is used when a person for at least 6 months believes, fears or is convinced that he has a serious disease despite medical reassurance. This fear of disease or preoccupation with symptoms is unpleasant, interferes with the patient’s daily life in a negative way and leads to medical examinations and/or treatment. The patient can only temporarily accept assurance that there is no physical explanation to his symptoms.”

I don’t know. Some of this is probably true, but my case is not nearly as dramatic as the definition. For example, it doesn’t really interfere with my daily life and I’m not a serial visitor to the doctor. Once-a-year physicals are plenty. That said, I readily admit that I’m prone to believing that I might have a serious disease if I get, say, a headache (brain tumor). Or a stomach ache (appendicicits). Always been that way and the two recent deaths of people I know don’t help things. Even back in high school, when I played on a team each autumn made up of various local high school players, I remember Dan McNabb, a funny guy who played for St. Bernard’s and Joe Lisio, who played for North Middlesex, asking me before every game how my heart was because I had told them previously that I had some pain in my left shoulder – sometimes a symptom of heart attack. I bet if I saw McNabb today he’d ask me how my heart is. I wonder what those guys are up to these days…..

My grandfather was much worse than I was with this stuff. I don’t know specific details, but I do believe he’d go to the hospital on occasion and insist he was ill or suffering and needed surgery. They would test him, turn him around and send him home with no diagnosed problems. Now that is what I call “interfering with daily life!” And god forbid you ever asked him how he was doing! You’d get a fairly detailed diatribe, complete with information that was totally unnecessary. If I ever do that to anyone, stab me with a fork.

How do you handle such things?