Thursday, July 28, 2005

Room 101

And today the theme is:

Hypochondriac work colleagues.

I'm not talking about the people who simply skive off when they have a hangover, or phone in sick when they feel like slumping under the duvet, watching Diagnosis Murder all day.

I'm talking about the people who make their health their hobby and topic of interest. They are always having blood tests, and going to the doctor, and telling you about it in microscopic detail. I'm always a bit mystified by the whole blood test issue; I've been on this earth for 36 years and I've not had a blood test once, but since I've been in paid employment I've met so many people who have to take the morning off to "have a blood test".

They always go to the doctor with things like sore throats, or coughs. I mean, just buy a packet of Strepsils you sad gits! It's no wonder that the NHS is over-stretched.

They always think they have ME, as well. Strangely, it's never the sort of ME that any doctor can diagnose, and it never stops them from doing anything interesting, like having a weekend away, or clubbing. No, it just makes them feel a bit peaky on a Monday morning. It's part of the human condition to feel peaky on a Monday morning!!!!

And then there are the details. I always remember the self obsessed cow who was convinced she had a stomach ulcer (an ulcer, by the way, which never seemed to interfere with anything pleasurable that she had planned), who gave us a blow by blow account of her drug regime, and her battle to get her GP to admit that there might be something wrong with her and prescribe something. I think the poor guy just caved in because he lost the will to live.

And the appalling woman in my last job who insisted on regaling me with details of her periods:
"I thought I was having one last week but it was just a dribble..." Eewww! I don't want to know!!

This last individual gave a virtuoso performance in the area of spurious health problems. In her previous post, she had actually managed to be signed off on sick leave for months for some undiagnosed muscular problem, and you could see the glint in her eyes as she counted down the days before she could try the same scam in her present position.

She also claimed to have "bad feet", and to only be able to wear one pair of mules because everything else was too painful. Possibly because she was so obese that those were the only shoes that fitted her.

And don't get me started on the woman in another company that I worked for who was signed off with a stress related illness, and who was unavailable to answer a question one day because she had "gone for a 12 mile bike ride", even though she was supposedly too unwell to sit in an office and work.

I don't mean to insult people who are genuinely ill or disabled. Over the years I have worked with: somebody with arthritis; a person who had had a nervous breakdown and endured regular injections of lithium; somebody with MS; an epileptic; a deaf person; and somebody who had a difficult pregnancy with twins and went from the office to casualty one day because she had a threatened miscarriage.

Strangely, these individuals seemed a lot more stoical about things, and a lot less likely to bore you with endless medical stories. They just got on with it.

As a rule of thumb, the more somebody talks about their health, the less likely it is that there is actually something wrong with them.


Anonymous Gert said...

A clue to ME - doctors don't call it that now - it's Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and it's difficult if not imposssible to diagnose except 'by elimination'.

BTW, I've regular blood tests for blood sugar levels (always high-end normal) for ovulation and for checking for liver damage resulting from the medication for poly-cystic ovaries; also for alcohol-induced pancreatitis after Uni 2nd year exams, anaemia, and for 'elimination' leading to CFS disgnosis.

They're a fairly useful way of quickly highlighting basic, easily treatable conditions - high blood sugar and low iron in particular. Also for any hormone-related condition.

That having been said, I've never specifically taken time off work for blood-tests. They either come as part of a hospital outpatients appointment or can be fitted in at GP's surgery/hospital on the way into or home from work

1:04 pm  
Blogger Strangeblueghost said...

I didn't mean to criticise people who genuinely need blood tests or have illnesses. I knew somebody with ME and it really did make them miss a lot of their early twenties.

The sort of people I'm talking about never seem that ill, it just becomes a sort of hobby for them.

7:59 pm  
Anonymous Gert said...

I understood that, no worries!

1:14 am  

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