My husband is a hypochondriac
My husband is a hypochondriac! | Photo ©monkey business / Adobe Stock
My husband is a hypochondriac
This is a true story of how a wife discovered her husband is a hypochondriac and what she did to cope with and support him in unexpected ways
The scratch that almost killed my husband – Or so he thought.
“I think it’s infected,” he said to me.
I looked at him, perplexed. That would be horrible news indeed! We were in the middle of nowhere, and in the middle of our camping trip. The nearest hospital was far away, and quite unpleasant, and closed on a Sunday. An infection would have been terrible news… were it not for the fact that his injury was only a few hours old.
We were on a fantastic adventure, roughing it through the mountains in Transylvania, hopping from village to village. He saw a couple of kids playing football, and couldn’t resist.
“Is it ok if I go play a bit? Please?” He gave me the puppy eyes.
I couldn’t say no. “Put on your sneakers though.”
“Nah, if the kids can do it barefoot so can I!”
A few hours later we were staring at the gigantic holes on the side of his ankle, gained during an epic dive to save the ball that got the kids cheering.
“No, seriously.” My laughing only made him look more concerned. “I think I feel a fever coming on.”
As hard as I tried to convince him it couldn’t possibly be infected, he didn’t seem appeased. He thought I wasn’t taking his concern seriously, and it’s true, I wasn’t. I’d cleaned and dressed the injury and drenched it in antiseptic. I just couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about.
He’d asked me if I was sure another hundred times before dinner. I was building a fire, trying not to kill us by salmonella poisoning.
My patience wasn’t at its best so after the hundredth, “but how do you know,” I decided to take action.
I picked up his ankle, took off the dressing, and said
“Look. See? It looks normal. If it’s infected, you will see thick red lines radiating out from the injury. There’s nothing there, so it’s fine.”
Yeah, I know. I lied. Of course, there’s no such thing. I can’t believe I did that. I can’t believe he believed me. The fact that he still trusts me to care for him when he is ill is a testament to his love. But I was desperate and exhausted, and I just wanted him to calm down for five minutes.
And it worked! He kept checking it out, sure, but he was visibly reassured each time. I didn’t give it another thought. The pine trees and the river and the sunset kept us company throughout dinner, and we were about to go blissfully to sleep.
And then it stopped working. I found him sitting down and looking at his ankle. He was sweating, breathing heavily, and generally freaking out.
“I’m going to die.”
Surely not? “What happened?”
“Look, it’s just like you said. I can see red lines around the injury. See? It’s infected. I’m in trouble.”
I blinked hard a few times to clear my vision, though what I was clearing it for I’m not sure. Is he really telling me that the symptoms I invented are coming true? No way.
My husband is a hypochondriac!
"l have learned much about controlling my anxiety since I discovered my husband is a hypochondriac."
I’ll admit, unless I’m absolutely certain he’s not sick, I’ll never tell him he’s being "crazy" (or any other harmful ableist language). He knows that if he feels he needs it, we can go to the hospital anytime. No judgment. Perhaps in some way, that thought in itself provides some comfort. And we’ve surely had our share of awkward doctor visits over the last few years.
I’ve figured out that “let’s do some blood tests, and in the meantime, take these vitamins” is the doctor's code for “THERE’S NOTHING WRONG, PLEASE STOP COMING.”
Being married to a hypochondriac means I’ve had a lot of scares. One of the more notable “I’m going to die” experiences was when my dear hypochondriac husband said his legs were tingling, and he couldn’t feel two of his fingers on the right hand.
To be fair to him, that would have scared anyone, and it sure made my shorts shiver when I heard it. What was it, you ask? Nothing. It went away by itself. And in the meantime? He got to take vitamins.
Being married to a hypochondriac husband means that hypochondria is somewhat contagious!
What is it like living with a hypochondriac?
What is it like living with a hypochondriac? What is it like married to a hypochondriac Well, let me tell you!
It means we’re chummy with our doctor, and drinking buddies with our physiotherapist, and practically having a menage-a-cinque with three of our four village pharmacists? It’s a good way to make new friends!
So what if I keep every medicine they will legally sell me in my bathroom? I know how and when to use every single one of them.
So what if I took first aid lessons for both people and canines? I’ve expanded my mind and gained new knowledge!
And, in the end, so what if my husband thinks for sure he’s going to die on a weekly basis. Maybe that’s what keeps him so happy to be alive. And that’s how I want him.
And in the meantime, my hypochondriac husband gets to take vitamins!
This is what it is like living with a hypochondriac husband!
Alex Pana, the author of "My husband is a hypochondriac," is an Expat from Romania living in Italy, Alex shares her life with her musician husband, crazy dog, and her mad passion for writing stories.