Category Archives: Disorder of the Day
It takes a lot of work to sit down at your computer, open up your browser, and Google a bunch of symptoms. Then, we are required to expend our remaining energy on focusing on the list of results so we can narrow it down to the exact fatal disease that is killing us this week. This requires a single-minded commitment that most of us do not possess. So, we often end up finding all kinds of infirmities that don’t precisely fit our conditions, but have great potential for afflicting us in the future. I don’t know how you deal with this plethora of plagues, but I used to save them all in bookmarks on my browser. Just in case. I mean, just because you don’t have Elephantiasis now doesn’t mean you won’t be swollen up by Christmas. It’s important to be prepared.
Then it occurred to me that this is the exact type of situation for which Pinterest was invented.
Who needs boards full of cutesy craft projects, ridiculously complicated recipes, and quippy quixotic quotes?
What I need is a board that shows me all of the different diseases I can get if I’m bitten by a tick in South America.
So, I set about creating my Pathophobic Pinterest Boards.
They include: Parasites That Live Inside Humans, Skin Gone Wrong, Infections Caused by Sea Snails Under Your Skin, Can I Die From Inhaling Dog Farts on a Regular Basis?, What to Do If You Suspect You Have Ebola, and What Does It Mean When Your Left Eye Keeps Twitching?
Note that I added the Sea Snail pin to two boards because it is obviously a matter of Skin Gone Wrong as well as a prime example of Infections Caused by Sea Snails Under Your Skin.
You may notice that I have not actually pinned anything on to the Diseases You Get from Being Bitten By a Tick in South America board. Google was very unhelpful on that subject. But I’m leaving the board there. Because I know that it’s only a matter of time.
The great thing about using Pinterest is that you are notified if someone else has pinned that exact same item on a board. This is gratifying because then you can be comforted by the fact that you are not the only obsessive compulsive hypochondriac collecting potential diseases.
I am sure I will be adding more boards and pins soon. In fact, I have been playing around with the idea of adding an Experimental Drugs That I Will Probably Need in the Future board because it’s really hard to keep track of those pesky trials and you never know when you’re going to need one. The problem with adding that one is that I’m afraid the drug companies will get wind of my interest and hike up their prices and/or fabricate the results.
It’s difficult being a paranoid hypochondriac with a social network.
Well, it’s been awhile since I’ve regaled you with one of my self-diagnoses. My most recent one is so depressing, I hesitate to share it with you. But then I thought I should probably warn you about it because you might have it, too.
Most of my self-diagnoses are the result of in-depth internet research. But this one actually came about during an impromptu dinner date with my husband. Technically, it’s the waiter’s fault.
“Do you think he’s from Australia?” Cap’n Firepants asked me after the waiter left with our drink order.
“I’m not sure. It kind of sounds like it, but it’s not quite there,” I said. I am the authority in the family on accents because I am the only person who has traveled to three other countries – four if you include the time I watched fireworks in international waters between the U.S. and Canada. Of course, none of those countries has been Australia, but I did watch Crocodile Dundee and its abysmal sequel.
Throughout the meal, we kept whispering about the waiter’s accent. Finally, after he said, “Have a good evening, mates,” and after I had polished off a top-shelf margarita which made me feel completely unabashed about inquiring into our waiter’s private life, I said, “Are you from Australia?”
To which he replied, “No.” I grinned at the Cap’n. I’m always right.
“But I do have an Australian accent,” the waiter admitted.
He went on to explain that he is from Texas. And has no relatives from Australia. However, a few years ago, he was in a horrible car accident. And when he woke up, and finally started speaking again, he suddenly had this accent. And he’s had it ever since.
“It’s called Foreign Accent Syndrome,” he informed us.
“That. Is. So. Cool!” I exclaimed. Minus the injuries and hospital stay, of course.
Now, it’s quite possible, indeed almost certain, that our waiter was feeding us a pile of bull honkey. But it got me thinking about one of my own neurological problems.
Periodically, my Inner Voice speaks Jeff Foxworthy. It’s well-documented. I’ve been wondering about the cause of this, and now I know.
At some point, Jeff Foxworthy obviously clunked me hard on the head.
What’s depressing is that I didn’t get an Australian accent. And what’s even more depressing is that when I looked up Foreign Accent Syndrome on Wikipedia, it said this, “Thus, the perception of a foreign accent is likely a case of pareidolia on the part of the listener.”
Basically implying that the person who is listening (me) to the speaker (me) is off her rocker.
I guess that isn’t all that surprising.
I finally solved the mystery of what’s using up all of the RAM in my brain, rendering it completely useless for ordinary tasks like processing words and creating pointless bulleted lists of what I desperately need from the grocery store.
Someone has apparently messed with my system preferences and over-upgraded my anti-virus program resulting in my brain spending more time on defending me from highly contagious infections than reminding me to perform simple tasks – such as putting a memory stick into my camera before I take 200 pictures and realize that none have been saved.
I was thinking that getting older was the culprit, but a rare moment of self-awareness the other day revealed the true reason I can’t remember a darn thing anymore.
I was supervising recess, and a student came up, rubbed his palm on my arm, and asked me if he could go to the bathroom.
“Sure,” I said automatically.
What I was thinking was, “I need to douse my left arm in hand-sanitizer as soon as I get back to my classroom.”
About 2 minutes later, a parent walked up to me, introduced himself, and shook my hand.
“Hello,” I said automatically.
Thinking, of course, “And I will use my right hand that man just shook to spread the hand-sanitizer all over my left arm.”
And then someone asked me a question.
And a small bit of panic began to rise because I now had two things to remember and one thing to respond to all at the same time and apparently two is my max amount for multi-tasking and my brain completely freezes if required to perform three functions at the same exact time.
I don’t even remember the question. It was about that moment that a random window opened in my brain, informing me that this is exactly why I am a basket case while simultaneously debating whether the person who asked me the question got close enough that I would now need to sanitize my entire body just to be on the safe side.
Later that day, I informed my husband of my great revelation.
“I can’t remember anything because I’m too busy trying to remember which parts of my body need to be disinfected every time someone comes near me. I’m seriously creating little mental maps in my brain with place-markers on every spot that has been touched since the last time I expunged all of the germs.”
Despite the fact that I make astounding statements like this every single day, my husband seemed a bit concerned by the gravity of the situation.
“That’s weird,” he said. “You seriously need to stop watching those reruns of Monk.”
“Oh God,” I thought. “I never thought of that. CAN YOU IMAGINE ALL OF THE BACTERIA LIVING ON OUR REMOTE CONTROL?!!!”
After reflecting on my year of blogging, and the subsequent downslide of readers, I have come to the conclusion that changes must be made. One suggestion from somewhere by someone was that blogs should have a niche. I think this might also be known as a “gimmick”. I have thought long and hard, and fallen asleep, and then woke up, and now have come to the conclusion that I will appeal to the hypochondriac hamsters who read my blog by offering you a new diabolical diagnosis every once in awhile. It won’t be daily, although that is implied in the title of this post. I like alliteration, and “Disease/Disorder of the Moment during Which I Feel Like Writing About It” did not really seem to flow.
Have you ever looked at a loved one, and thought, he/she is an alien, and I probably should club him or her over the head with the frying pan to save mankind? If you do not live near Roswell, and have not recently had any unexplained power outages or crop circles in your back yard, then you, my friend, may suffer from Capgras Syndrome.
Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen and Hamsters, this is a true disorder from which people can suffer. Sometimes, the poor patients become convinced that an impostor has taken over a close friend or family member – an impostor that looks identical to the true person. This, as I am sure you can understand, can be quite disconcerting. Sharing a bedroom with an alien pretending to be your spouse can tend to put one a bit on edge.
There are different thoughts as to the causes of Capgras Syndrome. One of the world’s most famous neuroscientists, V.S. Ramachandran, believes that it is related to a disconnect between the parts of the brain that recognize faces and emotions. This structural defect could be brought on by a physical incident, such as a car accident. Other scientists surmise that it is purely a psychological issue.
Despite all of my research, I have found no evidence that this is a syndrome that occurs once a month, usually lasting about a week. So, I think my husband and I will need to do a bit more investigating to uncover the reason for our own apparently cyclical personality changes. We cannot seem to agree on which one of us is the impostor. Which is worse – to be the person who suspects a loved one of having his or her body taken over by aliens, or to be the person who actually was taken over by aliens and doesn’t believe it when you tell them (I’m not sure what they call that syndrome)? You can see our dilemma.
So, the next time you look at your husband, wife, or child, and think, “This person is acting completely out of character,” rest assured. The problem you think is a problem is not really the problem you think it is. In other words – it’s not them, it’s you.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or psychiatrist, and I’m not particularly intelligent, so don’t go bonking your husband or wife on their noggin with a kitchen appliance and blame it on this post.