Chapter 9, Part 6: The Many Ailments of Bratty McBratFace
Hypochondria (as defined by The Mayo Clinic): Obsession with the idea of having a serious but undiagnosed medical condition. Symptoms include a long-term and intense fear of having a serious condition and worry that minor symptoms indicate something serious. A person may frequently visit or switch doctors.
Bratty McBratFace has always been convinced that she has endometriosis like her mother. She complained of painful cramps and periods but never had an official diagnosis. As we recall, Bratty had some issues during her study abroad program which she used to gain ‘special accommodations’ including extra time to turn in assignments.
After arriving back home, Bratty remained steadfast in her conviction of her self-proclaimed diagnosis and thought she required surgery. She was suffering! Our living room sofa has a lovely chaise-end seat, and I’ve set up a lamp, table and bookshelf there for a quiet reading nook. Bratty took over the space and made it her personal infirmary: a heating pad to help her pain, a blanket (in the middle of summer) and a giant bottle of Advil next to her at all times for everyone to see.
One day I asked Bratty if she wanted to join me on a hike. It was a 2-3 hour hike and involved a good uphill climb. A nice little weekend workout. Bratty surprisingly said yes. It was a warm day so I recommended Bratty bring extra water. She brought one tiny half-liter bottle of water that she carried in one hand, and in the other hand was the giant bottle of Advil. Now I figured Bratty was doing this for attention because how many Advil can one person take on a 3 hour hike? So I completely ignored it and pretended it wasn’t there.
Halfway through the hike Bratty was getting tired of carrying the Advil and she hadn’t brought a backpack of any kind. I had a backpack but I deliberately didn’t offer to take it. Finally Bratty asks if I mind carrying it and I said sure, but for future reference you wouldn’t need an entire bottle on a hike. Just put a couple in your pocket next time. Bratty said nothing. When I got home I also told SO that Bratty’s make-shift in our living room hospital bed needed to be cleared out. It was in the way and if Bratty was really that ill she should stay in her room. The stuff was gone by the end of that day.
Bratty made an appointment to ‘confirm’ her self-diagnosis. The doctor explained to her that the only real way to affirmatively diagnose endometriosis was by surgery, but it didn’t change the course of treatment which was to regulate the monthly cycle with hormones (which is why Bratty had an IUD implanted prior to leaving for Amsterdam). Bratty was unconvinced and said she needed surgery, now. The doctor said that surgery was not advised at her young age and carried risks. The doctor also said that no respectable doctor would have a contrary opinion. Bratty left in a huff and immediately made another appointment with a different doctor. That doctor gave her the same opinion as the first doctor.
Bratty came home defeated and had a meltdown when SO asked her how it went. I did not catch the first part of the conversation because it started at a normal voice level and I was in another room. But it ended up with Bratty in tears screaming at SO that no one would believe her or help her. SO calmed her down and told her to try a different doctor, but Bratty never did. Eventually Bratty’s self-diagnosis changed from endometriosis to chronic pain, which poor Bratty still claims she suffers from today.
Now, my observations of Bratty’s chronic pain is one of cause and effect.
- Cause: Wake up early for work = Effect: Bratty has chronic pain and can’t get out of bed.
- Cause: A paper is due for school = Effect: Bratty has chronic pain and can’t get out of bed.
- Cause: Packing for a flight back to school = Effect: Bratty has chronic pain and can’t get out of bed.
- Cause: Clean the bathroom = Effect: Bratty has chronic pain and can’t get out of bed.
- Cause: Clean anything = Effect: Bratty has chronic pain and can’t get out of bed.
- Cause: None, Bratty slept in. = Effect: Bratty made excuses in the afternoon when she finally woke up about how bad her pain was the night before.
It is important to note that Bratty’s chronic pain syndrome is temporarily and miraculously cured in certain circumstances, such as:
- Cause: Free tickets to Disneyland (scored by yours truly) = Effect: No pain. Can we leave earlier and stay longer?
- Cause: There is free food at a festival = Effect: No pain. Get the hell out of my way.
- Cause: There is a free T-shirt offered at an event = Effect: No pain. Get the hell out of my way AND they better have my size.
Poor, brave Bratty McBratFace. It was her personal triumph to prevail over such challenges and Bratty made certain to share this with everyone on her social media accounts.
I can tell you poor Bratty did manage to survive the summer. And through her summer drama, I had found and was seeing a therapist. Now we’ll get to what the good doctor said, and we’ll see how the Summer of Terror 2.0 finally ended with Bratty’s departure back to school for the fall semester.