IMHO Installment #40: I Used to Be a Hypochondriac

10 May 2007

Many years ago (circa the late 80s), my mother had a huge hardback book -- A Dictionary of Symptoms (or something to that effect). The book was designed with intriguing interactivity, like an early example of hyper-text. You'd start on page 1, and it would say: "I feel ... " Then, you'd have choices.

If it's "pain," then go to page 2

If it's "dizziness," then go to page 200

If it's a skin irritation, go to page 400

Et cetera. I don't remember it all now. But, once you turned to the next section, the process would repeat. You'd always be drilling down, turning pages and so forth until you got to whatever your problem was. Oddly, this was great fun, in a scary way -- even if nothing was bothering you at the time.

On several occasions, I consulted the book for actual pains. Several times, I landed on a page with the dreaded red stop sign. Those pages said, "Go Immediately to An Emergency Room!" Twice, I had angina. Once, it said I had pleurisy. My family said I was crazy; 18-year-olds don't get angina or pleurisy. Still, I answered all of the questions honestly, and that's what the book said. Of course, it's been 20 years, and I'm still alive. Maybe my family was right.

Original Comments

Below, are the original comments on this post. Additional comments may be made via Facebook, below.

On May 10, 2007, Beenzzz wrote:

So glad you never yielded results like: Pregnancy, ovarian cysts, or lactation.

On May 10, 2007, Reg wrote:

Maybe your family told you not to go to the hopital because they wanted you dead?

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