I am a hypochondriac. I analyze every sneeze, headache, and suspiciously dark mole until I have no choice but to lie in my bed, resign myself to my untimely fate, and make my “final” phone calls to family, friends, and nemeses alike. My parents have tried nearly everything to reduce my hyperawareness of my own mortality. My mother enforced a complete embargo on all medical dramas during my junior year of high school after Grey’s Anatomy left me convinced I had brain cancer. My father indulged my “terminal” Lyme disease by helping me write my eulogy. He was kidding, I was not. But nothing seemed to qualm my intense belief that day-old yogurt would leave me ravaged by a vicious case of listeria so they did what any self-respecting parents would do: made fun of me. Over the past three years my father has meticulously documented every single one of my imagined illnesses in order to use it for Thanksgiving dinner fodder. Below I annotate some of the most recent and deadly.
- Smurf-itis: September 20, 2013, Scotland. The heat wasn’t working. I am pale. I awoke with horror at the sight of my noticeably blue skin. Original Prognosis: Death as my blood freezes within my veins. Actual Prognosis: Got the heat fixed, lived.
- Concussion: October 12, 2013, Scotland. Smacked myself in the head with a zipper as I was packing. Original Prognosis: Death as I did not have someone wake me up every ten minutes and would thus enter an indefinite coma in my sleep. Actual Prognosis: No concussion, but a rather unfortunate bruise on my forehead.
- Heart Attack: December 3, 2013, Scotland. Felt a tingling in my left arm. Original Prognosis: Death caused my body’s consumption of my own heart. Actual Prognosis: Tingling moved to right foot, less deadly, updates to follow.
- Rust Poisoning: February 14, 2014, Providence. Shaved legs with slightly rusty razor blade. Original Prognosis: Death as the rusty blood would soon enter my heart and encase it in an impenetrable fortress of yuck. Actual Prognosis: Bought a new razor, lived.
- Brain Tumor: April 3, 2014, Providence. Can’t see Powerpoint in my Public Health lecture. Original Prognosis: Death caused by the massive tumor that is lodged behind my eye causing my shitty vision. Actual Prognosis: Went to ophthalmologist, near-sighted.
- House Exploding Syndrome: July 4, 2014, New Jersey. Smelled gas, convinced house was going to erupt in deadly flames, put dog and cat into my car and drove around the highway until parents returned from party. Original Prognosis: No house. Actual Prognosis: A bug I crushed earlier in the day was emitting gas-like smell. Threw out bug. House still stands.
This is obviously an abridged collection of my hypochondriacal exploits. However, if any readers would like to take a look at the mysteriously dry patch of skin behind my right ear, I can be reached at Emma_Starr@brown.edu.