My family has a terrible habit of eating. Can you believe they expect it at least 3 times a day? Unfortunately, this was true even when my oldest two were young and we were suffering the broke days of Peter’s medical school. Back then, in an attempt to indulge this habit, I transcribed medical lectures for extra cash, if you can call money for food “extra cash.”
And that is how I became, temporarily, a hypochondriac. I listened and typed out lectures on sundry diseases, and I would mentally check off the described symptoms. Then, when Peter would come home from studying, I would greet him at the door: “My dearest, I think I have prostate cancer.” (These lectures assumed a basic knowledge of anatomy which certain transcribers did not have.)
Another day I would be quite certain I had developed a rare tropical disease from drinking the water in northeast Missouri. Or perhaps a second away from a brain aneurysm? Heart attack? Broken toe? The psychology course was especially troubling as I found I might be living undiagnosed with every mental illness imaginable, although I did almost convince myself I had all the traits of a total genius. I loath to point out I used spell check to see how to spell genius.
Luckily the pharmacology class was over my head. Otherwise I might have decided I was experiencing side effects from all kinds of medication I’d never taken. Instead I learned to listen carefully, rewind tapes over and over and question why a native of India was given the job of teaching students how to pronounce and prescribe drugs.
In short, the job gave us a little more money, I survived all my imagined illnesses, and I learned a little bit about differential diagnosis. As a precaution I never check WebMD with questions, instead checking HubbyMD (technically it is HubbyDO, but that is a different post for a different day). Although, truth be told, I still worry about my prostate now and again.