How to Hypochondriac

A quick and straightforward 20-step process for beginners…

Step 1: injure self. Or don’t.
>>If injured: to absolutely any degree whatsoever. Anywhere in or on the body.
>>If uninjured: still okay. Actual injury not really required. “Funny feeling” will do just fine.

Step 2: webmd.

Step 3: see doctor, as prescribed by webmd.

Step 4: once in exam room, anxiously await arrival of doctor with a mix of sheer anticipatory delight and overwhelming dread.

Step 5: when doctor enters, spend several moments evaluating the degree to which he or she, as a person, can be trusted. Invariably deem degree of trustworthiness to be sufficient for the task at hand.

Step 6: after introductions, answer “no” to a whole slew of very serious-sounding questions (“have you been fainting?” “bleeding from the ears?” “experiencing heart palpitations or perhaps no heartbeat at all?”)

>> Step 6b: become briefly distracted by the sudden realization of your apparent good health

>> Step 6c: quickly remember that you might be (no, probably are) dying and suppress all hope of survival until diagnosed otherwise

Step 7: when asked to assess pain of a scale of 1 to 10, answer “like a 2… eh, maybe a 1.5”

Step 8: when doctor pauses to stare you down quizzically, stare back with grave seriousness

Step 9: when doctor lowers clipboard to ask, “um, why are you here?” explain, simply: “hypochondria.”

Step 10: revel when doctor replies “ah” and gets back to the all-important questioning business

Step 11: once the physical exam (finally!) begins, help the diagnosis along by encouraging overall handsiness (“do you feel that? Here, try here… do you want me to get undressed??!!”)

Step 12: endure sincere, almost hurt confusion when doctor turns these suggestions down (“um… nothat’sokay… I’m just checking your lymph nodes.”)

Step 13: offer a sad, limp little joke in awkward attempt to salvage the rapport

Step 14: fall utterly silent for remainder of physical exam

Step 15: when doctor finally steps back, smiling, and says, “well, you are just fine. Seems to be nothing more than a muscle strain,” do an actual fist pump

>> Step 15b: ignore the fact that this diagnosis was prefaced with “kiddo.”

Step 16: hop off table; shake doctor’s hand

Step 17: when doctor signs off with a “see you soon” likely not meant to be literal, actually agree “probably!”

Step 18: grab bag, head to reception, pull out credit card for payment

Step 19: when receptionist says, almost apologetically, “so, looks like everything’s okay… hopefully this didn’t feel like too much of a waste of time” smile politely while actually thinking “shut up and take my money!”

Step 20: rejoin the rest of humanity; resume act of normalcy


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