Wait… I’ve Got WHAT???

Well day-um!

In light of Miss Plummy’s diagnosis of cholera, of all things(!) I find myself wondering what bizarre ailments other folks have found themselves to have.

My weirdest? Well, about three or four years ago, I had a cold that lingered, and lingered, and lingered… and lingered. Eventually I broke down and went to a doctor only to discover that what I had thought was a cold was actually pertussis, otherwise known as whooping cough. Whooping cough! I’d never even known anyone who had had whooping cough! I thought it was nearly mythic by that point. Little did I know it was on the rise.

Now I see PSAs on TV all the time reminding adults to get the pertussis vaccine.

Still, that ain’t nothing to cholera. The closest I’ve ever gotten to knowing anyone who had that was when I read The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgeson Burnett as a child. The heroine, Mary, loses both her parents to cholera in India and is shipped off back to England and her reclusive uncle… and, well, I enjoyed it when I was ten. It still appeals to the part of me that goes back once in a blue moon to re-read Jane Eyre and The Scarlet Letter.

But back to surprising illnesses.

What is the most surprising diagnosis you’ve ever gotten? Had you ever known anyone who had suffered from the same thing?

And Plummy? Feel better soonest.

29 Responses to “Wait… I’ve Got WHAT???”

  1. Andrea April 22, 2012 at 12:30 pm #

    The weirdest thing I’ve ever hard was pleurisy, which is an infection of the lining of the lungs. Again,it was a cold that lasted and lasted. When the pain started, I thought it was pneumonia. I had never heard of pleurisy and have never heard of someone else having it.

  2. Cat April 22, 2012 at 12:39 pm #

    I had whooping cough when I was in 8th grade! I also had walking pneumonia when I was in college — it also seemed like a cold that just wouldn’t go away. I finally went to the doctor three months later, after I coughed so hard one morning that I felt a searing pain in my chest and thought I’d broken a rib. Turned out I had just torn some cartilage away from my ribcage because that whole area was so inflamed. That hurt.

  3. Elaine C. April 22, 2012 at 12:48 pm #

    I got Shingles when I was 14, and really wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. I never knew young people could get it but I was one of the lucky few. Also, I picked up The Secret Garden last year and re-read it for the first time since I was 12 or so. It help up surprisingly well!

  4. Jezebella April 22, 2012 at 1:17 pm #

    After multiple visits to the dentist and the ENT trying to figure out a throbbing pain in my jaw, I was finally diagnosed with a blocked salivary gland. Seriously, who knew? Thought it was a cavity, then TMJ, then some kind of sinus infection. The cure was to drink tons and tons of water.

  5. Chantal H April 22, 2012 at 2:20 pm #

    Recurring mono! Three years ago I spent Boxing Day (December 26) in the emergency room because my throat had been so sore and swollen I hadn’t eaten anything in 3 weeks. I was diagnosed with virulent strep throat, mono, and three assorted bacterial infections. The doctors were calling over interns to come and see my throat because they couldn’t believe I could still breathe. I was on IV antibiotics and steroids for an entire day, plus they put two litres of fluid back into my body via IV because I was so dehydrated. I had to come back every 6 hours for the next day for another round of antibiotics and steroids – the hospital was full so they couldn’t admit me. I was fully recovered from the bacterial infections after a month but for the next TWO years I would come down with strep throat and mono again about once every three months – it only stopped when I had my tonsils surgically removed. Basically I would never fully get better via antibiotics, the infection lived my tonsils and whenever my immune system took a hit it would come back out swinging.

    Also my dad had pertussis two years ago – apparently it’s coming back! How weird is that?

  6. lucy April 22, 2012 at 4:40 pm #

    I had Scarlet Fever, and I got it right after I read Little Women. Luckily I was more excited that I got to miss 2 weeks of school than concerned I was going to die :p

  7. KESW April 22, 2012 at 7:08 pm #

    I’ve had pleurisy, which was odd — thankfully it was just 12 hours between noticing the particular pain (I thought I was having a heart attack) and diagnosis/treatment. An EMT friend actually told me at church that morning that she thought I had pleurisy, to which I replied “What on earth is pleurisy?!”

    And may I just make a little PSA for all who read: get your colds that last and last checked out, and if you need to get a second opinion. My MIL was sent home continually being told that she just had a cold, there was no bigger infection to treat, and 8 months after the symptoms’ onset she was finally diagnosed with stage III non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which left untreated would have killed her in another 4 months. Thanks to the Lord and modern medicine she’s fully recovered, but we all shudder to think what would have happened if she had kept on waiting it out.

    Oh, and I think I may need to go get tested for pertussis because I’m in week 6 of the cough that never ends, long after my other cold symptoms have vanished.

  8. The gold digger April 22, 2012 at 8:18 pm #

    Fortunately, I’ve never been really sick, although I do get frequent headaches – caffeine, glare, low blood sugar, and stress are my triggers. Thank goodness none of those are an issue in my life.

    But I did have to be tested for weird things before I completed my Peace Corps stint. The government has no interest in paying for post PC medical expenses, so they tested us for everything.

    The worst thing I had to do was give a sample. Of feces. I don’t remember the disease they were looking for, but I remember what I had to do. Over a period of three days, I had to collect three samples the size of half a lentil. I had three little glass tubes, one for each sample.

    Once I had all the samples, I wrapped the tubes in a plastic bag and then put the plastic bag in a brown paper bag. I took the bag to the lab and waited at the counter for the clerk. While I waited, a man approached with something in his hand. I looked as he slapped the contents of his hand down on the counter. Three glass tubes. Full. Completely full. Stuffed full. Of sample. He was so proud.

  9. Jennifer April 22, 2012 at 10:25 pm #

    I had Scarlet Fever as a child. I don’t really remember much except being confined to my room and people coming to visit and bringing presents, but being very quiet so I couldn’t always tell who was there.

    When I got to high school I was talking with several friends who commented they also had Scarlet Fever when they were small.

    Turns out we all had it at the same time because we all had the same pediatrician.

  10. Erin April 23, 2012 at 2:27 am #

    Did you know you can get a fungus in your digestive tract?

    Yeah, there was a time when I didn’t know that either.

  11. La Petite Acadienne April 23, 2012 at 10:13 am #

    When one has a toddler, one discovers all sorts of new and interesting diseases. The most unusual one that I had was hand, foot and mouth disease.

    It started off with a horrible fever and chills, and then progressed to painful blisters all in my mouth and throat. Ever have a shard of popcorn kernel stuck in the back of your throat? Picture that through your entire mouth and throat, and you’re getting close.

    And the crazy thing was that I had an important work event that day, and being new at my job, did not want to be seen as unreliable. So I went and worked the event. I’m sure people wondered why I was wearing a wool sweater in August, but it was the only way I could keep the chills away.

    The next day, hundreds of tiny blisters broke out on my hands. At that point, I figured that calling in sick would be the best option. For four days, all I could ingest was milkshakes. Everything else hurt too much.

  12. Janey April 23, 2012 at 10:20 am #

    I had scarlet fever too! Left me with a heart murmur.

  13. Courtney April 23, 2012 at 12:49 pm #

    The only somewhat surprising diagnosis I’ve ever had was pneumonia. I was having trouble breathing for a couple weeks, but it wasn’t anything particularly bad, so I thought my asthma was just acting up. After two weeks of mild breathing issues, I got really sick one day and ended up laying on the floor coughing with a headache and barely able to stand up because my body hurt. So we went to a minor emergency clinic and they’re like, oh, yeah, you’ve got pneumonia. I have no idea how I got it, or where, but apparently asthmatics are more prone to getting it.

  14. Margo A April 23, 2012 at 2:25 pm #

    I had Scarlet fever, no one ever figured out where I got it. And thanks to my new Kindle, I’ve been rereading a lot of childhood favorites. I just finished both The Secret Garden and the best girl’s book ever written, A Little Princess.

  15. Karin April 23, 2012 at 3:05 pm #

    I get a lot of off the wall sicknesses (I go to the doctor because my ear is a bit clogged and I’m told I have a middle ear infection from hell and it’s surprising I’m not writhing in pain).

    Anyway, the weirdest I’ve had to deal with was a benign tumor in the bone of the tip of my finger. My finger got caught in the strap of my purse and overextended, thus breaking my finger. When I went to get it checked out the doctor looked at the X-ray and saw that there was a shadow which turned out to be tumor that had dissolved the bone in the tip of my finger. The tumors are genetically linked and you know you have one when your bone breaks because the tumor caused it to become brittle.
    End of story: I had to have some bone chipped off the radius bone of my arm to fill up the hole that the tumor caused in my finger.

  16. GrammaK April 23, 2012 at 4:38 pm #

    I had whooping cough in the 2nd grade. I don’t remember much about it except that I coughed a lot. I swear that I had the Hanta Virus in the early ’90s. I had all of the symptoms, except that I didn’t die. I also didn’t go to the Dr., so I’ll never know for sure (I was younger then- I’d hie my sorry self to the Dr. immediately if I felt like that now).

  17. Ellen W. April 23, 2012 at 5:24 pm #

    GoldDigger- I had a friend who worked at one of the labs that did those tests in DC. That is actually a disturbingly common ocurrence. What’s even better is sometimes they would get samples in the mail. Wrapped in newspaper.

    Erin- I think I’m going to try to go back to not knowing, if that’s okay with you.

    Margo- Scarlet fever is just strep throat gone systemic, so the germs for it are all over the place.

  18. jana April 23, 2012 at 8:55 pm #

    i had a”bullseye rash” to penicillin. Red outer edge, blue center. They called the interns to take a look.

    jana

  19. Kate April 23, 2012 at 9:47 pm #

    I also had a bout of shingles about a year ago. I’m only 32, so I had no idea it was even possible. Painful doesn’t even begin to describe it.

  20. the misfit April 23, 2012 at 11:19 pm #

    Ooh! Ooh! Vitiligo! You know how Michael Jackson claimed that he had a rare autoimmune disorder that progressively destroyed the pigment in his skin, to explain the repeated plastic surgeries that lightened his face? As I understand it, he didn’t have any such disease; just (very sad) body dysmorphia that was politically incorrect in a black man (because changing his skin color was implicitly changing his race).

    So anyway, it turns out I actually DO have vitiligo. I have increasingly large spots on my hands and arms that are brilliant, shiny, silvery-white. The good news is that I’m about Plummy’s color by nature, so the difference is almost invisible in summer and totally invisible in winter (plus no complicated racial/cultural issues in my case). I figure if I have to have an autoimmune disorder, a totally harmless and almost invisible one is the one to have – plus a fun conversation piece. And if I can take this hit for someone who shows actual skin pigmentation who might really look peculiar with white spots, hey, no problem.

    So I think I get bonus points for CURRENTLY having a weird disease (it’s permanent). But nothing life-threatening, so, concededly, Plumcake is still winning for drama.

  21. Desideria April 24, 2012 at 12:20 am #

    Gout. I mean who gets gout besides over-indulging, beef-eating, sherry-swilling, middle-aged, English gentlemen of by-gone centuries? And yet I’ve recently heard from two people in my life who have become afflicted: one a woman and one a man. Imagine needles (uric acid crystals) inside your joints constantly pricking you and causing painful inflammation. Classic movie reference, _Captain Blood_ (1935): Errol Flynn, as physician Peter Blood, proves adept at treating gout and, thus, avoids labouring as a slave on a plantation in the Caribbean…and then becomes a pirate!

  22. Socialite Dreams April 24, 2012 at 12:34 am #

    hidradenitis suppurativa AND lymphedema..i’d never heard of this weird crap and wasn’t diagnosed with it until like 8 years ago even though i’d been putting up with it for a while before that….yay me

  23. ZaftigWendy April 24, 2012 at 3:24 am #

    I was sick as a dog on Christmas Day last year with what I thought was the flu, but I thought it was strange that I had no respiratory symptoms. I did have HORRIBLE back and joint pain and a fever of over 103.

    Two days later my family forces me to the doctor’s office where they do the requisite pee test. Doc walks back into the exam room with a horrified look on her face and says, “You have a RAGING kidney infection, with resistant bacteria.”

    Thank God for super-antibiotics!

  24. The gold digger April 24, 2012 at 7:36 pm #

    I forgot! I had rabies shots when I was five! I was bit by a mouse – the very mouse my mother told me to leave alone but I did not and somehow, my mom found out, probably because I wrapped my bloody finger in a kleenex. She took me to the doctor, who said the mouse might be rabid, might not but we would never know without decapitating the mouse and testing it so I had to have the rabies series just to be sure.

    Back then, the rabies series consisted of a shot in the muscle of the abdomen once a day for 14 days. The first shot, I didn’t know what was coming. After the first one, I hid under the bed and had to be dragged out by my feet as I held onto the bedposts. I had them at home because Dr J, who lived down the hall from us, had agreed to give them to me.

    Almost 40 years later, when both Dr J and my mom were widowed, they would become an item.

    I had 14 of those very painful shots, my mom sitting on my hands and Dr J sitting on my legs. I learned not to mess with animals I didn’t know.

    And then I learned a few years ago that those rabies shots probably would not have done a darn thing had that mouse actually been rabid.

  25. Julie April 24, 2012 at 11:21 pm #

    I had a small tumor on the tip of my tongue called a traumatic neuroma.

    I also had a thyroglossal duct cyst, a leftover of embryological development requiring surgery to remove it and the hyoid bone with it.

    Great question! Interesting answers.

  26. Rebekka April 25, 2012 at 3:50 am #

    I have hidradenitis suppurativa too. It sucks.

  27. JenniferA April 25, 2012 at 7:31 am #

    I had Lyme disease as a kid. And most recently I had an itchy rash in my stomach and no matter what I put on it, it kept getting more itchy and spread. After a week, I finally went to Dr and she said it was ringworm, which I did not know, that despite the name, is a fungal infection. The medicine I was using all week to make it stop itching was in fact making it spread! I got the right medicine and it slowly started to heal.

  28. The gold digger April 28, 2012 at 3:03 pm #

    GoldDigger- I had a friend who worked at one of the labs that did those tests in DC. That is actually a disturbingly common ocurrence. What’s even better is sometimes they would get samples in the mail. Wrapped in newspaper.

    I just now realized that you mean “wrapped in newspaper but not contained within plastic or glass.”

    Oh gross.

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