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When I was a kid I believed that a heart attack was caused by tiny grass-skirt wearing Africans inside your body throwing spears at your heart. I have no idea how I came up with this theory, but I held it tightly for years.
When I was a child, I had ingrown toenails that were very painful. Unfortunately, I misunderstood my parents and the doctor and was going around telling everyone that I had 'negro' toenails. I could never figure out how a black person had switched toenails with me, but it did explain the pain. This went on for months before a teacher heard me and set me straight.
When i was like 10 or 11 i had an extreme fear of getting herpes, after seeing a picture of them at my doctors office. For some reason i was firm in my resolve that i could get herpes from toilet seats and sharing drinks, so i would never sit down until i had a good 20 layers of TP on the potty and would check myself constantly by looking at the back of my throat (for some reason i thought they were bumps at the back of my throat) Finally i became tired of my obsession and rationalized that having herpes wouldnt be that bad because "they are in the back of your throat anyway"
The first time we visited close family friends after staying away because the kids had chicken pox, I was looking for the feathers on the floor.
When i first got the chicken pots/pocks--whatever they are--my mum told me that in the morning i would turn into a chicken. i cried real bad all night and my mum felt guilty and tried to persuade me it wasn't true. In the morning when i saw i was me i smiled all day!
as a child, i would sit with grandmother, she told me fanciful stories, one went like this.." When you sit too much, your ankles swell, When you sit too much, your knee caps blow, When you sit too much, cankles grow! ".. .i now cant sit for more than 5 minutes.
I used to think that I would get AIDS if I let my head get too close to the toilet when I flushed it.
If you had a mouth ulcer it's because you've been telling lies.
I once asked my mother how people got AIDS. She responded, "By being naughty." I was baffled trying to come up with a mechanism by which particular germs could enter my system only when I disobeyed my parents.
As a child I was plagued with the unfortunate, frequent occurances of cold sores. When asked by friends about what was on my lip, I would say, "Oh, it's just a coldslaw." Then I would get puzzled looks. I guess my mother's thick accent made the word sound wrong but I didn't know it.
When I was maybe 8 I used to be very scared of catching rabies.
I had read/heard that if you have rabies, you get really scared of water, and can't stand to drink it.
Sometimes, to see if I had rabies or not, I would pour myself a glass of water and see if I was scared of it.
Then I would see how much I could drink. If I could drink the whole glassfull, that meant I didn't have rabies. But if I couldn't, that meant I had rabies.
I expect that then I would tell my mum, who would give me some 'special medicine' to cure my rabies (after unsuccessfully trying to convince me that I didn't have rabies in the first place.)
Growing up during the 80s scared the living shit out of me. Almost everyday, there was talk about diseases transferred through blood or sexual contact. Any girl I got close to freaked me out and when I was in a room that had blood I was afraid it somehow hopped onto me.
i remember the first time i read about HIV and how can needles be one of the ways that transmits the virus. back then i was a bout 8 or 9 and one of my aunts had diabetes. one day she forgot to throw away her insulin needle and i felt i should pick it up and toss it in the garbage can. while i was about to do that, it accidentally pricked me. i didn't tell anyone and i was confidant i had aids and that i was dying. i was depressed for quite a while.
when i was 8-12 i believed that i'd get ink poisoning if i got ink (pen, marker, etc..) on the inside of my wrist.. this is because i could see the veins through my skin.
My earliest memory is of when I was 4 and had gotten chicken pox. My mother tried to give me a bath and put baking powder in the water to soothe the itching. When I saw her add the baking powder to the water I was convinced that she was going to cook me in the bath water and panicked.
Whenever I had diarrhea, I thought my intestines were shooting out of my butt, so I'd hold it in as long as I could. It wasn't until I was 12 that someone said, "Don't do that!!! Your intestines aren't coming out!"
I used to believe that when the news reported that someone treated for shock, it meant they were treated for the emotion. It was a long time before I learned that medically, shock means the inability of the body to supply enough oxygen to the organs and tissue, usually to to injury or blood loss.
When I was a little girl I got sick and had temperature for about a week. For some reason, just to say something, my mom would make a comment after she took the thermometer out of my tushy along the lines of "Now you've done it again, 104!" or "I don;t know what we're going to do with you, it's still 103 and a half!" I really thought that I had done something wrong and told my dad that mommy was mad at me.
In honor of "thelungs,man", who admitted that, until he was in his 20s, he thought the lungs were located in the throat:
Growing up I always heard people complain about their "sinus problems" but never had experienced any problems myself, so I guess I always thought of the word "Sinus" as more of a label, like saying you had a cold or the flu.
When I was in my early 20s I was complaining to some co-workers that I wasn't feeling well and described my symptoms. Someone said it sounded like my sinuses were acting up, and in front of the entire office I confidently explained that couldn't be right because I did not have sinuses.
When I was little, I used to think that the ONLY way that a person could get AIDS is if they had sex with someone who had it. Then I started to see a lot of charity promotions that said things like, 'Help young children with AIDS - donate today!' and I would be like, EEW!
I'm very glad I found out the truth.