It's like when you first got your glasses and realized the world didn't need to have a blurry edge. Well, sometimes that happens to people on a greater scale--people don't understand the level that their quality of life is supposed to be, especially if they've never experienced that level before. Is your quality of life suffering?
Here were some of the answers.
A Nose By Any Other NameGiphy
Up until junior high, I didn't understand why people would freak out over how things smelt. "Ooo these flowers smell amazing" "oh my god that fish is rotten " or "does anyone smell that".
My "smelling" was this weird feeling of kinda like a temperature or pressure in my nose it's hard to explain. There just was a difference in the air that I wasn't smelling but could feel.
Wasn't until I got nasal polyps removed that I understood. And boy was it overwhelming.
For some time now, I would sometimes (like, once every several months or so) yawn large enough that my jaw sort of gets stuck open. It always corrects itself within a few minutes, with a distinct feeling that the jaw was slipping back into place. Didn't think anything of it, just thought it was something that happens when you open your mouth that wide.
Then it happened a few days ago while I was in the same room as my mother (a doctor). Turns out that no, this is not normal behavior for someone's jaw. It's something called temporomandibular joint dysfunction, or TMJ. Still doesn't seem like an incredibly pressing thing, but I'll certainly bring it up the next time I see my dentist.
The Bagel Backing
I have a Schatzki Ring (a narrowing of the lower esophagus) which means I have to drink a LOT of water with anything I eat to get it down (especially dry foods like bread). Otherwise food gets stuck in my esophagus and I end up in a lot of pain. Once when I was maybe 11 or 12, I watched a man eat an entire bagel without drinking anything and I was SHOCKED.
I have OCD and did not get diagnosed until I was well into adulthood. My understanding of OCD was based on pop culture, so I had no idea that that's what my intrusive thoughts and compulsions were. I am learning that things are abnormal all the time now.
The Sleeper HoldGiphy
Daytime idiopathic hypersomnia. Basically during the day I'm sleepy regardless of how much I sleep and they don't know why. I also fell asleep and entered REM sleep in 7 seconds during the daytime sleep study which I'm told you aren't supposed to do.
I was in the Marines and I started seeing an on base therapist for depression among other issues. She recommended me I am off base psychiatrist to get medication because she couldn't prescribe any. The psychiatrist wanted the sleep study before she would prescribe any sleep medication, she sent word back to base and medical called me a couple days later with a time and date for a consultation for me with an off base sleep specialist at a sleep clinic. I never saw a bill, never found it myself, I was more or less just told I was going to do one.
For the study I showed up at 8 p.m. to be prepped where they glued nodes to my head. I was supposed to sleep from 10 to 6 in the morning and the rooms were almost like hotel rooms with a nice bed and a tv in the corner plus some chairs and a little table. I slept through the night with nothing significantly abnormal, I was actually mad at the time because it was the most sleep I had gotten in a couple weeks and I was afraid they would accuse me of malingering(a serious crime in the military). However starting at 6 you are supposed to try and sleep for 20 minutes out of every 2 hours when they tell you to until 4 p.m. I spent the day in the room and the first 2 hours I did ok and I just barely slept the last minute or so if the 20. From there it only got worse, I started falling asleep between times and they would have to wake me and my time to fall asleep sleep during the 20 minute intervals kept getting drastically shorter and shorter until the final one where I was out and in full REM sleep in 7 seconds.
Afterwords I met with the Dr. for his initial diagnosis where we discussed some of my other symptoms. I had sleep paralysis, occasional nighttime insomnia(which he thankfully believed), and excessive daytime tiredness which I discussed with him. I did not discuss cataplexy, which I have only experienced about 3 times ever or my intense dreams, which I didn't realize were significant at the time, so make sure you tell your Dr. everything because now I may have narcolepsy. This is also when he told me about the 7 second thing which was very significant because he had never had a patient come close to that. He told me most people don't sleep at all during he daytime study, or if they did it was only the last couple minutes of the afternoon naps. He said he would go over my results more throughly and let me know if diagnosis changed and then send my results to base who would then pass them on to psychiatrist.
I didn't get a call so I assume it never changed but I got prescribed ambien for nighttime insomnia and provigil for daytime hypersomnia. Both worked but, I quit taking ambien when I discovered, through other marines asking wtf I was doing he night before, that I was getting out of bed and walking around the barracks blacked out. I quit taking provigil after I left the military, partly because I didn't have an easy access to a paid for prescription and partly because I didn't want to do pills forever. I found that with less stressful environments than military life that I manage decently though.
Deviated septum. 95% of my right nostril was blocked. I never thought anything of it; sure, it whistled sometimes, and colds really sucked, but doesn't everyone's nose whistle sometimes, and don't cold suck like this for everyone? Turns out, the answer was no. Best part? The gov't paid for the nose job due to the severe blockage. When I had the stints removed, it was a f*cking life changing moment. I could breath - out of my face!!! It was like colour-blind people seeing the full spectrum for the first time - life changing, and you don't know how you survived before without it. Now I take it for granted, as I do everything.
I Might Have This One
Idiopathic insomnia. It used to be called childhood onset insomnia and it's exactly what it sounds like. Trouble falling asleep even from a young age. It's basically a lifelong thing with no real cure which makes it super annoying to deal with. My parents told me I would never take naps as an infant and would cry whenever being put down to sleep. Was never tired as a kid and never had the urge to sleep. I would always tell my friends and family how hard it is to fall asleep and that they understand the pain. I would get confused looks followed by "It's not hard. I'm out in 10 minutes most nights". Turns out taking 2 hours to fall asleep at night isn't a normal thing. It had just been so prevalent to me that I assumed everyone had to schedule bedtime 2 hours in advance in order to get enough sleep for the next day. I have medicine now that helps me fall asleep faster but it's not perfect. Sometimes it cuts my time down to 45 minutes but other times, it does absolutely nothing. Extremely hit or miss. I love sleep but it's impossible for me to just get it.
You Had One Job, Mom
Thought the bloating and urge to sh*t your pants was a normal trade-off for eating dairy, like how some peppers can be painfully spicy, until an ex of mine pointed out I was probably lactose intolerant. Doctor confirmed it, told me to stay the hell away from cheese. I was 18.
To be fair, I had mentioned it several times to my mom growing up, who is also lactose intolerant but still eats dairy and suffers through it, and she just assumed I knew what lactose intolerance was and brushed it off as something else. I was homeschooled though, so not sure where else she'd assume I'd learn that...
Life In The Heart-Fast Lane
I have ventricular tachycardia. Basically, my heart has an extra "spark plug," and without medication it beats about twice as fast as it should.
I first noticed it in high school and thought "Hm I'm not sure if my heart should be beating this fast," but I was an idiot and did nothing about it. I didn't feel any symptoms, so I thought I was fine.
Then one day I felt really short of breath going up a flight of stairs and almost passed out, so my dad rushed me to the ER. When we arrived and the EKG results came in, the staff absolutely flipped out and sprinted a crash cart into my room. That was the most terrified I've ever been. I should probably be dead.
If you think something is going on with your heart, get it looked at immediately.
Just A FaceGiphy
I have prosopagnosia. I don't easily recognize people by looking at faces. I figure out who you are by your profile, hairstyle, voice, walk, and sometimes just guessing from context or what you're talking about.
For half my life I had no idea I wasn't normal. You know those cop shows on TV, where they walk into a bar and show a photo to the bartender? "Has this guy been in here this week?" I remember seeing that as a kid and thinking it was totally ridiculous. No freaking way could anyone recognize someone they don't know from a picture!
My husband and I were at Walmart once and a man approached asking how I'm doing, etc. I did my usual 'make small talk while figuring out who this is' thing, but no joy, I didn't know who he was. After he walked away, I asked my husband, "I wonder who that was?" My husband said, "That was the guy you were dating when I met you!" Oh, haha, guess he wasn't too special, huh.
Now that I've been diagnosed, everything makes a lot more sense!
What is something you thought was normal but turned out to be a medical condition?