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.
I’m pretty sure I have shingles. My father-in-law had shingles. Then he died. Not necessarily a cause and effect situation. Especially since it was 3 years later. But still.
You seem skeptical. I understand. I mean, we all know I have a history of hypochondriacal tendencies that are often exacerbated by Google and television commercials. Like the time I became convinced that I had mesothelioma merely because I dreamed that I had it, and logically deduced that I could never dream a disease that I hadn’t even heard of. So, in my estimation, I was a psychic with lung disease, probably contracted from working in the coal mines. Wondering why my psychic powers waited until after I was dying to kick in. And then I realized that a mesothelioma commercial plays on Robin & Friends on HLN every morning while I’m getting dressed. So, I wasn’t psychic and, oh yeah, I never worked in a coal mine. So, it was quite possible that I had not contracted mesothelioma and I could stop cuing my hacking cough every time my husband walked into the room so he would feel sorry for me. Or walk out of the room in disgust. (He being the disgusted one – not I.)
This time, I am well aware that shingles have been highly commercialized. They are scaring the you-know-what out of me. And when you have an inefficient colon, that’s a pretty big deal.
What makes me mad is that I thought I was safe.
You know, when you’re in your twenties, you hear about all of these adults who get chicken pox who never had it when they were kids, and it’s so much worse when you’re an adult?
And I thought, “Whew. Dodged that bullet. Missed a whole week of school and got to stay up late to watch The Wizard of Oz when my mom found a pock behind my ear. And she had totally forbidden me to stay up to watch it because I had school the next day. And that was WAY before DVR’s. No adult chicken pox for me, nosirree. I am immune.” Never mind that I was scarred for life by the Wicked Witch of the West and her untimely death by water, quite possibly the reason I refused to enter the lake for an entire season of swimming lessons the following summer.
But now, the Shingles Soothsayers are telling me, “Haha! You stupid fool! You had chicken pox when you were a kid. So now this deadly virus is just hiding out in your body waiting until your First Very Important Interview with Jon Stewart on the Daily Show. And then Herpes Zoster, AKA Shingles, will swoop in and give you ‘small sores that begin to dry and form crusts’. But, don’t worry, the crusts ‘fall off in 2 to 3 weeks.’ And, ‘Scarring is rare.’
And it’s only possible, but not certain, that it will cause genital warts.”
And I just want to know how successfully triumphing over chicken pox when I am 8 throws me down the rocky path to contracting a venereal disease when I’m 60.
This is what I get for wishing a pox on myself just so I could watch two witches get exterminated by a girl with a dog in a basket.