#13 Perfectly Healthy

by Tina Mortimer

At best, my hypochondria was annoying; at worst, it was paralyzing. A pain in my side was not a muscle sprain; it was a burst appendix. A twitch in my eye was not fatigue; it was Parkinson’s. A headache was not a headache; it was a brain tumor. Of course, none of these symptoms ever proved to be the death sentences I imagined them to be. My husband blamed my hypochondria on the Internet. “Stop looking up your symptoms online and you’ll feel better,” he said. He was right, and I did feel better for a short time, until one of my worst-case scenarios came true. A bright red drop of blood on my underwear at 10 weeks into my pregnancy wasn’t normal spotting. It was a miscarriage.

“One in four women will miscarry in her lifetime,” my doctor said. Yet, for all my worrying, I never imagined I’d be the one in four. I fretted over far more exotic ailments – salmonella, avian flu, and ringworm. Miscarriages happened to other women, not me. I took comfort in knowing I wasn’t alone. A good friend, a sister-in-law and a neighbor had all suffered miscarriages. And so I convinced myself I was fine. The next pregnancy would be successful. However, after a second and then a third loss, I began to doubt there wasn’t something seriously wrong with me. Desperate for answers, I underwent a battery of tests, some invasive, that all arrived at the same conclusion: I was perfectly healthy.


Jonathan Riley said...

I really like the sense of dread evoked by the worrying. I like the last line a lot to. There is so much to be left open to interpretation but I really love where my mind took this one. One suggestion I have for improvement is to cut out the first sentence. The second is a much stronger hook and shows us she's a hypochondriac without telling us. Not to mention you refer to it again several times later.

Tina M. said...

John, thank you for the kind words and feedback. Looking at my story now, it seems so obvious that the first line should go, or at least be changed.