Friday, January 12, 2007

Hypochondria And The Four Year Old (X2)

I haven’t often written at length about my twins Lucy and Ethel (not their real names of course, those have been changed to protect the somewhat innocent), however something has been going on with them the last few days that I finally deemed blogworthy. I hope you don’t mind, I was really short on ideas today.

No matter what spin I choose to put on it, Lucy and Ethel are hypochondriacs. As I haven’t been around a lot of four years olds, maybe this type of behavior is normal for that age. I really don’t know, but it’s starting to concern (and yes, annoy) me. I have no idea where they learned to make a big deal out of every scratch, scrape and boo-boo. Certainly not from me. While I may have been accused in the past of being one, I was exonerated of all accusations two summers ago when I had to have major, major surgery. It kind of wiped the slate clean, so to speak. Their latest episode concerns a few shots they had to receive in order to be registered for public school.

Going on day 4 of the post shot trauma, Lucy and Ethel are still acting as though the arms that received the shots do not work. They both are holding their arms close to their body as a bird would hold its broken wing. That is of course until something exciting happens, at which point they forget about the ‘pain’ and let the injured arm in question flail about. They are terrified of the band-aids coming off and keep acting as if this devastating incident has permanently changed their lives. As one of them walked into the bathroom the other day, I actually heard her grunt rather angrily that she would never get another shot again. I had to laugh since it’s exactly how a grumpy old man would act in the same situation. Needless to say, my laughter wasn’t appreciated.

As a father, I feel bad for them, up to a certain point. By now though, I figure it’s time to move on and get over the pain. I am also starting to worry that Lucy and Ethel will both lose the use of their band-aided arms due to atrophy. They will each move the wrists on those arms, but that’s it. You should see them try to give me five with just their wrists and minimal arm movement. I’ve tried to engage them in using their hurt arms, but both refuse. We were able to get the band-aids off last night by bribing them with chocolate. I knew that would work, as a chocolate bribe (cleverly hidden inside the ring box) was the same way that I persuaded my wife to marry me. It was comical when the band-aid came off. You could see the momentary flash of surprise on their faces when the removal didn’t hurt before they went back and resumed their crying. Hopefully the absence of band-aids and the sweet smell of chocolate adrift in the house will get us past this traumatic event.

It concerns me though that hypochondria may be a permanent character attribute for both of them. I had a doctor tell me a few months ago that the health provider network he works for did a study where they discovered that a very small percentage of their patients used the majority of their services. I certainly do not want Lucy and Ethel to fall into that small percentage. I have worked with hypochondriacs before and it gets very annoying to deal with. These are usually the unluckiest people in the world. In one year, they can catch the Avian Flu, Tuberculosis, get frostbitten, dyslexia and even be diagnosed as manic-depressive and illiterate. I guess I should feel more compassionate for someone so unlucky!

Not knowing where Lucy and Ethel got this characteristic from makes it hard to stop. I guess we will have to manage one illness at a time. I just wish I knew where they had seen this hypo-behavior so that I could cut it off at the source. Oh well, maybe it’ll get better with time. For now, I guess I’d better get going and make my own doctor’s appointment. It seems that with several people in the office currently sick and the twins coughing in my face for the last three weeks, I’ve come down with the Bubonic Plague…

9 comments:

R2K said...

: )

Josie said...

That's too funny. I thought it was only little boys that acted like that. One of our Munchkins, when he's sick, will lie on the chesterfield and moan, really loudly, "I'm soooo sick...." But to have it times two, omigosh!

Lucy and Ethel sound adorable.

Cheers,
Josie

Lizza said...

Kids as little tyrants are bad enough, but little hypochondriacs too? Haha! Your twin girls sound so adorable; my littlest one acts the same way when I have to remove a Band-Aid from her!

Awesome Mom said...

That is pretty normal at that age. They like the attention so they keep playing up the injury. I doubt very much that they will continue that behavior if you ignore it. They will grow out of it I am sure.

Odat said...

I just got my flu shot! I can't type these comments so good right now. My arm is hurting! :-( I think I need chocolate!!! Hurry!!!

I'm sure they'll grow out of it...it's just a phase...like all of them will be...hahahah...Good luck...they do sound sweet tho....
Peace

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Hypochondria often disappears when there is an activity its poor suffering victim is dying (oops) to participate in, but can't because obviously, she is too sick.

Good luck with this. The children are certainly feeding off each other, and perhaps there is a tacit point of honor agreement in which neither can change the behavior without feeling disloyal.

Twins: Twice the angst. Twice the delight. You lucky man!

mist1 said...

I also suffer from hypochondria. I am on placebo-replacement therapy because I got addicted to the first placebos that I was on. My hypochondria has been in remission for a bit although my throat feels a little scratchy.

Yasamin said...

im not a parent and probably the worst person to give advice for this. i grew up with people around me tellin me to suck it up and walk it off and i turned out fine... albeit a little psycho... lol

may i reccomend that?

SGT DUB said...

With my daughter, I always made more fuss over what they just ran into, like a bookcase, did you dent that bookcase, let me make sure it's ok. This worked more often than not, I think you could pull it off with them, tell them the doctor called and said they broke his needle.