Medical Student Hyperchondriac Syndrome

Actual date 18/10/12

There is such a thing as medical student hyperchondriac syndrome. This is where medical students learn about a condition in a lecture and because they have one or two of the symptoms, they decide that they have the problem. A lot of the time they realise that they’re being daft quickly and nothing more comes of it. But every now and again we present to our GPs with these problems that we’ve been told about.

Subsequently we were told that medical students and doctors are less likely to present to their GP. However when they do present they report more symptoms, but only symptoms that we think fit with our own diagnosis.

I have been to the doctors three times in the last week. Once to hospital and twice to my GP. The first time was an appointment because I’d noticed in football training that I was becoming breathless quite easily which is not normal for me because I’m generally quite fit. My GP has decided (I’m a little sceptical personally) that I have asthma so I’ve been given an inhaler to try out for a while. Will let you know how it goes.

The following day in clinical skills I was having an abdominal examination and for some reason my liver was enlarged. This isn’t normal, so, after I’d had 20 people or so examine my liver the doctor supervising us told me it was nothing to worry about, but get an appointment with your GP on Monday. So I did, ordered more blood tests and an ultrasound of my liver and again told me not to worry, as I don’t drink much at all I probably haven’t destroyed my liver.

In between these two trips to my GP was the weekend and a visit to the hospital. I made my debut for the medics football team on Saturday night. This was a big deal for me, I’ve not played competitive football since I was 18 because of a series of dislocated shoulders.  I’m a goalkeeper and I used to be a pretty good one, so I was very excited to get back into playing. 6 minutes in and I’ve already conceded one goal, to be fair though it was a very good shot that I didn’t stand a chance with. 2 minutes later I’m shielding the ball to let it go out at the edge of my box for a goal kick.

The next thing I know, there is absolutely crippling pain in my right knee. One of the opposition players, in an attempt to win the ball from me (for what purpose I don’t know as all he could do was put it out) had gone through the side of my knee, sending me over into the fence that stands around the pitch.

I don’t think I’ve ever sworn as much or as loudly as I did then. I was on the floor for about five minutes before I hobbled back on, determined to run it off. 30 seconds later when the ball was played to me and I tried to kick it I knew I’d made a terrible mistake. Fortunately Alex was in town, so I was able to ring her to get Lilly to come and collect me and take me to hospital. This required being carried by 3 members of my team to the car (a very small car). The journey to the hospital was agonising. Every single bump sent waves of pain through my knee up my leg, I shouted and swore a lot. I was genuinely impressed that Lilly got us to the hospital (not my hospital) as quickly as she did.

After being wheeled to A&E in a wheelchair and given some codeine I waited 4 hours to be told there was nothing wrong. I was shocked. I was given a pair of crutches and told to get off them within a week.

In the end, my GP sent me back to the hospital, who saw me straight away and told me that I had in fact done some damage to my medial collateral ligament and my menisci (cartilage). I was on crutches for 5 weeks. Nothing wrong my arse.


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