So recently I have embarked on a kind of quest of self-discovery. For years I never sought medical help of any kind, and was "content", for lack of a better word, with making my own self-diagnosis and treating myself accordingly. But now things have changed. Maybe it's being mature enough to ask for help. Maybe it's seeking confirmation that what I thought all along is actually true. Maybe it's fear of being a hypocrite since I started working in the healthcare industry. Maybe it's the support I get from my beautiful wife, and instead of resigning to the fact that she'd leave me for something better I actually want to be better for her. Maybe it's realizing that now that I'm a father, I actually have a reason to spend more time on this Earth. Most likely, it's a mix of all of those. But now the question is, exactly what all is wrong with me?
A modest start
So I said part of this health revival I'm on was because of my new job. It's worth noting that a major factor in this is that they offer incentives such as reducing the annual deductible of my insurance for participating in certain events. This includes things like getting a physical, which inspired me to get a PCP for the first time in almost 20 years, getting flu shots for the first time in my life, and finally losing weight. These are things I never would have done had they not appealed to my love of not spending money, and saving money whenever possible.
BACK to the doc
Anyone who knows me well knows I've had back issues ever since my time as a line cook. Long story short, there was a woman cook who would purposely sabotage other cooks just to make herself look good so everyone would kiss her butt. She was jealous of how much better I was not just at cooking, but at life in general, and left the ENTIRE kitchen empty when I relieved her shift. I then hurt my back running back and forth from the grill to the freezer to restock everything while cooking for a surprise rush that came out of nowhere.
So I after that my back would constantly get tight and painful when I stood for too long, carried anything too heavy, or moved too much. At one point I left work to go to the ER as the pain was so severe, and was diagnosed with "deeply bruised muscle" in my lower back. I resigned myself to having back issues for the rest of my life and adjusted accordingly. Within the last two years, I dropped a significant amount of weight but noticed no difference in the pain levels. So after several trips to different specialists, X-Rays, MRIs, and other tests, it was determined that the muscles were to blame but should not still be hurting. I was prescribed physical therapy for several weeks, and now my pain levels in a resting position have dropped from a constant 2 to a 0. I'm also able to hold my kids and play with them without my back locking up for hours afterward.
Seeking help of a different kind
Another major aspect of my personality is the fact that I'm more of a loner, opting to keep quietly to myself and avoid interactions of any kind, while trying my best to keep my temper, which is rather significant, in check. I would let things build up until I'd snap and lash out at anyone around, and if no one was around I'd sit there feeling sorry for myself. I've also been open about seriously thinking of suicide in my high school year, when I was at my lowest; and while I was never a cutter I would beat my head off the hardest surface around to release my anger and replace the mental anguish with physical pain. I had to cut down on that when, I'm fairly certain, I gave myself a concussion in the middle of school. I always said my self-esteem was low and that I suffered from depression, but really that's most teengers saying stuff like that anyway. After one too many of those teenage angst lash outs were still happening in my late 30s I decided to use that lowered deductible and find a psychiatrist to see if I was right. Turns out I was when I was diagnosed with clinical depression, and while I do also social anxiety that is worsened by the depression, that's "just below the line" of requiring professional assistance.While not such an easy fix, I've been working, and continue to work, on living with this the best I can.
What else can we pile on?
So now the question is, which of my other self-diagnosis is worth me looking into to see if I'm right, and what I can do about it. I've covered all the "big ones" now it's just a matter of seeing what else I'm right about. I'm always a little hesitant to find out exactly how bad things really are, because I'm always afraid I'll get one of two answers. I always think if the doctor doesn't come in shock saying it's so bad they're not sure how I've been functional up to this point, that they'll say there's nothing wrong and that it's all in my head.
Now to end the public airing of my health issues, I'm going to just list what I think is wrong and why...
- Knee issues
- family history of knee problems
- had problems since childhood
- had x-rays as a teenager, was told I had "excess cartilage" on the patella and told to use a sleeve to hold in in place
- still have pain, especially in colder weather
- can't see anything when told to picture something in my mind
- always thought when people talked about "seeing" things in the mind's eye, it was just an expression
- have read several articles as this has recently been diagnosed as a real disorder, and they all seem to align with what I've lived with my entire life
- Have problems remembering numbers, especially dates
- Rely too heavily on spellcheck, as I transpose or omit letters regularly
- When reading longer articles, I lose my place frequently and need to reread some things 2 or 3 times before I "get it".
- Read slower than most people
- Avoid "paperwork" and meetings when working, even going as far as to avoid promotions and recognition for work done to achieve this
- Becoming distracting when trying to concentrate while reading
- Difficulty following directions, constantly making wrong turns even when following GPS
- Difficulty recalling past conversations, to the point of being regularly accused of not listening and not paying attention.
If I follow up on any of those, or any other new ones I find along the way, I'll either update this post or write a followup; depending how much of an update I have.