“I don’t feel well,” my husband informed me over the phone.
“I know, honey,” I said as I perused the chicken soup selections at the supermarket for him.
“I mean, I really don’t feel well,” he clarified.
“I know honey,” I repeated. “You have a cold.”
“No, it’s not a cold! He protested vehemently. “I looked up my symptoms on the Internet and I figured out that I either have Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever or Australian Sea Lion Poisoning.”
I rolled my eyes and sighed. I’m not a doctor, and I don’t even play on one TV, but I was pretty sure my husband did not have either Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever or Australian Sea Lion Poisoning. I was pretty sure what he had was just a cold. It might have something to do with the fact that every other member of our family had been sick with a cold in the past two weeks. Or maybe it was that in order to have Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, one would have to have been bitten by a tick in the Rocky Mountains… and we’ve never been to the Rocky Mountains. Or that in order to have Australian Sea Lion Poisoning, you would have to had eaten tainted sea lion liver.
“Honey, have you been eating tainted sea lion liver behind my back?” I asked him.
“No,” he admitted.
“Then you couldn’t possibly have Australian Sea Lion Poisoning.” I informed him.
“What about the Spotted Fever?” he asked. I put him on hold and looked on my cell phone at the same Internet site he had looked to for his diagnoses.
“Headache, nausea, body aches,” I said, reading the symptoms.
“I know! I know!! I have all that!” he said excitedly.
“And malaise,” I continued.
“Mayonnaise?” he repeated.
“MA-LAISE. Lethargy. Extreme fatigue” I explained.
“Oh. No; no malaise,” he said, dejectedly.
“And no mayonnaise, either, right?” I asked.
“You’re a riot,” he said.
“Headaches, nausea and body aches are also symptoms of Ebola,” I told him dryly.
“You think I have Ebola?!?”
“NO. YOU HAVE A COLD!” I shouted. I felt bad. I knew he didn’t feel well and I wanted to be sympathetic, really I did. But in addition to having a cold, my husband suffered from an acute case of Cyberchondria, and it was driving me crazy. I decided that whoever had the bright idea to create websites where people could self-diagnose their symptoms was, a) probably a man who, b) most likely had a wife, who c) didn’t give him any sympathy when he had a cold because he was such a big baby when he was sick.
“Hey listen,” I said sweetly. “I’m bringing you home some chicken soup and orange juice and also some cold medicine”
“Cold medicine?’ he wondered.
“It’s OK,” I said. “The label says it also works for symptoms of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Sea Lion Poisoning, Ebola and the Bubonic Plague.”
“That should cover it.”
“And I also bought some aspirin.”
“What’s that for?’ he asked.
©2013, Beckerman. All rights reserved.
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