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