My name’s Anna and I’m a hypochondriac.
I know I’m a hypochondriac because I’ve diagnosed myself with it using the internet.
I know because the slightest sniff of a symptom and I’m on Google finding out how many types of cancer I have (hint: at least three, no matter what symptom it is).
If I had everything I’d diagnosed myself with, I’d be clinically dead. Twenty-four times.
But there’s a reason I’m like this.
BECAUSE I CATCH £$%”ING EVERYTHING.
Draw up a chair and let me tell you The Story of a Hypochondriac.
There was once a little girl. Well actually she was a big, fat girl but her beloved nan kept telling her it was “puppy fat that would drop off” in the same hopeful tone from ages 3-10, despite the evidence increasingly pointing to it being “human fat that wouldn’t drop off because you keep feeding it with chocolate, god damn it Anna.”
Aged 10 it finally did start dropping off, alarmingly quickly, coupled with an insatiable thirst, a corresponding neverending need to pee, and an inexplicable exhaustion. In short, all the classic symptoms of Type 1 diabetes.
A GP that must have been on glue diagnosed the girl with constipation, despite her having none of the symptoms. Stay off the glue, kids, especially if you’re practicing medicine.
Five days later the child was in a diabetic coma with hospital doctors battling for literally 10 hours to bring her back from the brink of death.
Google knew more than the glue-sniffer.
The little girl thought of her grandfather; the only person she’d ever heard of who was banned from a hospital on grounds of overuse, being a terrible hypochondriac who read medical dictionaries for inspiration.
It was in the genes.
The little girl became The Hypochondriac.
One sunny July (well, one rainy July – this is England), The Hypochondriac, now aged 27, sits at her desk at work. During a routine readjustment of her sleeve she discovers a tick on her bicep.
“Eurgh,” she says to her boss (the one with the duck fetish). “I have a tick on my arm.”
“How odd,” says The Duckfather. “Don’t get many of those in England.”
The Hypochondriac removes the tick with the
small but well-stocked medical kit tweezers she keeps in her bag.
“I’d better Google ticks and find out which disease I’m going to get,” she jokes.
“Wise move,” agrees The Duckfather, who is used to the hypochondria. Anna has worked for him for two years and, in that time, has self-diagnosed herself with ebola 13 times.
“Ooh!” says Anna, scrolling through the Google results with hypochondriac-joy in her eyes. “I could get Lyme disease, Colorado tick fever, or Rocky Mountain spotter fever.”
“Probably all three,” Ducky says sagely. “Especially the second two, since we’re in London.”
They laugh. Oh Anna and her hypochondriac ways! Not all ticks carry Lyme, and even when they do there’s only a 2% chance of their bite victims contracting it. Of course Anna isn’t going to get Lyme disease!
Fast forward two weeks. Anna discovered a rash on the tick bite site.
Anna has Lyme disease.
It’s not just Google that tells her; it’s a real doctor, who has to look up the appropriate antibiotics in a book because she’s never had to treat Lyme before, what with it being so rare and everything.
Well, okay, so that’s kinda bad luck, but nothing to get paranoid about. That’s no proof that Anna always catches everything no matter how unlikely it is. That’s just the hypochondria talking!
Anyway, antiobiotics will sort it out.
Anna dutifully takes her antibiotics and keeps busy
updating her spreadsheet of the symptoms of all 993 illnesses she’s definitely got writing her third novel (insert some sort of teaser that will make you want to read it–am I doing this marketing thing right?)
The next day she goes to her friend Tach’s to “eat Doritos and watch some programme about dead people and then maybe we can find The Human Centipede 3 on Netflix” because Tach knows what makes Anna tick. She’s the one who got her the sharkado-in-a-glass after all:
Merrily munching Doritos, Anna starts to feel a pain between her shoulder blades. It comes and goes throughout the dead-people-and-human-centipede-watching.
The next day the pain is worse, and it’s making her yelp when she swallows which makes her really sad because eating is Anna’s third favourite thing in the world after 1) writing and 2) diagnosing herself with illnesses. Some days it comes joint-second because there are a lot of nutrition-related illnesses out there.
So what does a hypochondriac do?
Googles and makes a doctor’s appointment. Another one.
The antibiotics that are fixing the very-rare Lyme disease have reacted in a way they very-rarely do and giving Anna a very-rare oesophageal ulcer. That’s as fun as it sounds.
Do you see why I’m a hypochondriac?
P.S. Please don’t be concerned. The ebola has cleared up wonderfully all 13 times.
Featured image from musicalwds at Flickr.