Do I Have a Disease, Doctor Google?

When I was a little girl one of my brothers brought home a paperback book titled “The Encyclopedia Of Medicine”, or something very close to that.  The book was an A-Z of medical terms, instruments,  and afflictions. Great reading for a kid, and an endless source of inspiration for a budding freak.  I would never say that it was this book alone that made me the way I am today (a girl who freaks out a lot), no, I would say that it was probably a combination of things.  A combination of things plus this book. While sitting absorbed within its pages, I would stop reading to check my pulse, or to see if I had red patches on my arms, or — wait, did I just see double for a second there?  I learned a lot from this encyclopedia of anxieties.  In fact, I learned everything I know about how to stay up half the night wondering if I had craniopharyngioma, and of course, checking my pulse at 3 am to detect potentially defective heart valves. Once, when I was in my 30s, there was a week where I was convinced that I had Multiple Sclerosis. I didn’t have Multiple Sclerosis.  I didn’t have anything. My disease is the disease of freaking out.

The demented thing about all this is that my hypochondria — if you want to call it that — extends to include the people in my life that I love.

Today, freaked-out people don’t need to read medical books — there’s Doctor Google, and he makes house calls.

Poor Velia — I know just what motivates her restless hours on the internet.

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