Over the last few weeks, I’ve been taken out of commission by a variety of physical issues, from my stomach to my head. I’m not a healthy person, but none of its life-threatening stuff… more just life-annoyance stuff. Of course, this is nothing new.. so let’s go through my history of ailments – solved and unsolved. This post probably isn’t hilarious (unless you have a very dark sense of humor), but it’s not really a plea for sympathy, either. I just figured, for how often I talk about my health issues, might as well get it all out at once. Consider this post dedicated to all of you hypochondriacs out there :).
For the first couple years of my life, my mom likes to say how I survived on nothing but Cheerios and Ensure. That’s probably not LITERALLY true, but I was as naturally stubborn then as I am now, and I’ve always been a picky eater, so it’s likely mostly true. These are important years for growth and development, so it’s possible I deprived my body in some way because I wouldn’t eat a variety of things.
As I grew older, I was also a pretty clean kid. I wasn’t some neat-freak afraid of germs, I just wasn’t much of an outdoors, play in the dirt, rough and tumble boy who enjoyed messes and came in contact with a lot of germs. I didn’t have friends in the neighborhood, and played inside much more often than outside, so I may have been exposed to less at an early age.
The major factor, though, is my genes. I share a number of obvious ailments with my parents, and they just so happen to combine in ways that tend to really screw me over at times :).
The Major Issues:
– Allergies –
When I was about 8, my sister and I went to the doc for allergy tests. Her results weren’t too bad. I, on the other hand, was allergic to the world. Milk, tomatoes, dogs, cats, every tree and flower known to man… I was a mess. I remember actually trying goat’s milk after that, but I never came to any substitutions that I found enjoyable, so I didn’t really have much milk for a few years. Lack of calcium? Don’t see how that could affect anything ;). I had weekly allergy shots for a number of years, until my dad quit his job and we lost the insurance.
– Asthma –
This was discovered around the time of my allergies, though it was pretty manageable until I got a little older. I had inhalers, sure, but rarely used them until around the age of 11. That all changed a year later. After returning from a weekend trip from a dude ranch that our junior high did every year (a short version of something our school actually did for 2nd/3rd graders for a week every couple of years), I came home and couldn’t catch my breath. Normally I could take a deep breath and be okay, but that wasn’t working. My emergency inhaler didn’t really seem to do much, either, so my doc was cool and met us at his office. I wasn’t dying, but suddenly my breathing had become more difficult than it had before. My asthma reacted to two things – certain allergies and physical exertion, so for the rest of junior high and into high school, I had a pass out of P.E.. Sounds cool, sure, but I didn’t challenge my lungs or heart, so I became very out of shape – and stayed that way. I wasn’t a fat kid, or anything, but I’d get winded like one.
– Scoliosis –
As I entered my teen years, I began to have issues with a sore back and shoulders – especially my lower back. Eventually I visited a specialist, and an X-ray showed my spine to curve and twist to the right. If you ever see me with my shirt off (lucky you!), you can see my left ribs and shoulder sticking out a little more, and my torso leans down to the right a bit. It wasn’t in need of surgery, but it was a major source of my muscle soreness and tension… the misshapen bones pulling and stressing the muscles in ways they shouldn’t be.
– My Gut –
Around my late teens, I began developing curious stomach issues. This is one ailment I’ll spare you the details on, but as the years went on, I’ve had a variety of issues with my digestion system. From time to time I’ve experienced periods of being doubled over with sharp stomach pains, and if I’m late getting somewhere, there’s a good chance it’s because I was in the bathroom. The more painful times have come and gone over the years, though the general annoyance is much more regular.
– Anxiety –
If you’ve spent time around me since I was in my early teens, you are more than aware that I have nervous tics. It started with a throat-clearing, something my doctor thought was allergy related. Over the years, I have dealt with excessive blinking, the throat noise, a cough, rocking back and forth, head twitches, and various combinations of these. Whether it’s a generalized anxiety, something more specific like Tourette’s (a newer theory that I’ve come to on my own, especially since my sister and dad have similar issues), allergy-related, or a combination… it’s annoying, and I’m very aware of it. These tics are what Tourette’s folks call “unvoluntary,” because I can certainly stop myself from doing it.. but only for a short time while it builds up and then has to come out. Also, because of my naturally tense state of being (ever casually walked up to me and startled the crap outta me? Yeah, I’m wound tight), I do things like clench my jaw or other things, and can get headaches from that. On very rare occasion, I’ll wake up feeling completely relaxed… no tics, deep breathing… but it never lasts long.
– Depression –
This one’s contentious, in terms of what I call it, but I can’t deny there’s something. I’ll never forget the first time I felt miserable for no discernible reason. It was probably during Jr. High, so I’d be 12 or 13, and I remember shuffling around my house one weekend night… first laying face down on the kitchen couch, and just lethargically moping about with the very clear feeling of being tired of life. Not suicidal, just being tired of living. Of course, as I got a little older and those hormones only amplified my emotions, those moments hit harder. One afternoon, while driving home from my junior or senior year of high school, I half-considered aiming my car straight into an overpass pillar on the 73. Those more serious times have come and gone, though the bottom still drops out from time to time. Regardless, these periods can take their toll.
Those issues above are the larger and more common, so I’ll go through the rest in list form…
– blurred vision
– random nausea
– my injured wrist
– arthritic soreness in damp weather
– muscles spasms
– random sharp/dull pains throughout my body
– temporary earaches
…and I think that’s it. Well, at least, that’s all I’ve come up for today. There might be a sequel at some point… just wait until I get old ;).