Queen of the Hypochondriacs
Beneath the outer shell of spunky cuteness that is my mother lies a dirty little secret; Mom is a hypochondriac..and I mean big time. She could compete in the intergalactic Olympics of hypochondria. This has been going on for many, many years, and has only gotten worse as she has entered her nineties.
I remember distinctly at the age of twelve, my mother telling me she was going to die soon. You can imagine how this made me feel. The frequency of this proclamation increased over the years whenever I was driving to a nighttime band practice, going out for pizza with friends, and especially when I left for college. Of course, I drove to FSU in tears, thinking I may never see my mother again. My mom is one “tough old bird” (her words), however. I should have realized that sooner-it would have saved me years of therapy.
Now that Mom is ninety-two and I am fifty, she saves the “I’m going to die soon” for the Christmas season, always a heart-warming addition to any family gathering. My sister and I have determined that she will be here long after we are all gone, and we’ve set up provisions with the grand kids and great-grand kids that they will be responsible for helping Grandma as she heads toward her bicentennial.
In addition to her impending doom, Mom is able to catch any major malady just by hearing about it on television or from one of her friends. She will also exhibit symptoms of any illness or injury that my sister and I come down with (though my broken ankle was a stretch for her, she still did an admirable job). If she gets a headache, it must be a tumor from a fall she had a few years back (Aunt Sara had a tumor, you know). If her arthritis is acting up, she’s going to lose her leg “I heard about this man on the news..”). If her eye hurts- tumor. If her chest hurts-tumor. Intestinal problems? You guessed it, tumor. She lives in fear of falling and not being found for days (“that happened to Martha, you know!”).
Lord help us if she every really comes down with something.
She argues with her doctors at every appointment.
“Mrs. Williams, you have severe arthritis in your hip and spine, but other than that, you are healthy as a horse!”
“Well, I know my body, and there is something bad wrong with me!” (As an aside to me, “I don’t care what those doctors say- they don’t know my body like I do!”)
God bless Mom’s very sweet and patient gerontologist. She has earned her star in Heaven many times over.
It all boils down to one thing: attention. My mom, at the venerable age of ninety-two, likes to be the center of attention. Always. We kid, “Lest we forget, it’s all about Dorothy!” Mom sort of liked that, countering with, “Well, at my age, sometimes it IS all about me, and it should be!”
So, if you come to visit Mom, please don’t mention any illnesses, aches, pains, or tragedies. I guarantee that Dorothy will top anything you can come up with. Every time. Lest you forget- It’s all about Dorothy- and she likes it that way.