I didn’t realize WebMD was a humor site.

1 Aug

I’m really not good at being sick. In part it’s because I’m always operating off a mental schedule that leaves no room for inefficiency or incapacitation.

Take yesterday morning. I love my Sundays — I typically get up early and clean, then walk to the farmer’s market and load up on produce. I’ll hit a few yoga classes, walk to the library, run some errands, cook meals for the week and have an awesome sense of accomplishment when evening rolls around.

Instead, I woke up at 6am with a raspy sore throat and headache. I tried to rally but ended up spending most of the day in bed, hoping that the rest would force this bug to leave my system. At some point I started to feel sorry for myself (probably when I realized I’d missed the last option for yoga) so I went to WebMD to diagnose myself.

I know, you’re not supposed to practice “internet medicine” because you’ll end up believing you have a rare disease with only two weeks to live. But really, I was just trying to remember if the adage was “starve a cold” or “feed a cold” because I couldn’t decide if it was wise to inhale the pepperoni pizza in my freezer. Don’t ask why I thought WebMD would offer Mother Goose-like guidance; clearly I was sick and not thinking clearly.

Anyway, WebMD has this application called “Symptom Checker” where you can select the symptoms you’re experiencing and it will whittle down a list of possible conditions you may have. When I saw the options of symptoms, I quickly abandoned my own diagnosis and started trying to construct the oddest line-up of issues I could imagine, just to see if I could stump the system.

Here’s what I came up with:

Seriously? I don’t want to meet this person. Or, conversely, I want to invite her to every party I ever throw. Because there is a LOT going on here. Who even decided these are symptoms?

First: Abnormally round face? I’m pretty sure you’ve just offended a large portion of the population by describing their natural facial structure as a symptom. (I’m talking about you, Kelly Clarkson.)

Second: Unusual facial expression. I probably fit that description at least twenty times a day when I’m healthy. Maybe the trick is in finding an abnormally round face that is making an unusual facial expression? Like this guy…

Third: Craving to eat ice, dirt or paper. WHOA. Slow down there, judgmental internet doctor. I think we need to play a game of “one of these things is not like the others.” Because the last time I checked? Ice is actually edible. In fact, I’m pretty sure pregnant women were told they could ONLY chew ice cubes for a few decades. But again, I’d like to invite the dirt/paper-eater to my party. I’d ask her to come late and help with clean-up.

Fourth: Punching or kicking in sleep? I hate to challenge your wisdom, because you are the internet doctor and all and I’m sure you have a degree from DeVry, but I don’t feel this is exactly a symptom. Unless the disease you’re about to diagnose is Sheer Awesomeness Made of Winning, which is also known as Chuck Norris Syndrome.

Fifth: Sense of doom. Well, hell yeah! Who wouldn’t have a sense of doom if they had an abnormally round face that contorted into even odder expressions and lived off a diet of dirt while punching people all night while they’re supposed to sleep? I think it would be a symptom of something bad if they thought life was normal. They should have a sense of doom if this much is stacked against them.

And finally… Fear of air. As far as a phobias go, this has to be the worst I can imagine. Because — in case you are a bit slow — air is EVERYWHERE. It’s not like bridges or heights or airplanes — all of which you can avoid with varying degrees of planning. Air is kind of a given.

[My quest to investigate “fear of air” led me to a site that identifies all phobias. While I feel horrible for anyone confronting a phobia, some of the less common phobias are, um, borderline hilarious. Stay tuned for the follow-up post, in which I highlight my favorite phobias.]

In any case, by the time I finished diagnosing this person (turns out, rabies are the likely culprit) I felt much better. Oh, don’t get me wrong… I still had a raw throat, a dull headache and a stuffy nose. But in the big scheme of things? Feeling like I’d been hit by a bus was MINOR compared to this person I had just diagnosed.

At least my face isn’t abnormally round.

12 Responses to “I didn’t realize WebMD was a humor site.”

  1. thesinglecell August 1, 2011 at 10:03 am #

    Excellent use of sick time. I don’t have that kind of patience for WebMD and apparently I should try harder, because that was awesome. Every time I do it it tells me I should get to the emergency room immediately. Lazy-ass web doctors. Hope you feel better!

  2. Lorna's Voice August 1, 2011 at 4:20 pm #

    Great pictures–I burst out laughing at this post (but hope you’re feeling better). I admire your ability to write such a witty post when you’re not feeling 100%.

    I only go on WebMD when my mom makes me (to look up something for her). Otherwise, I get sidetracked into reviewing my will, editing my obituary, stuff like that. I have better things to do.

  3. Robin August 4, 2011 at 3:17 pm #

    You should try the iTriage app or you can access it from your web browser. It offers shorter, more concise definitions of symtoms and determines the type of medical care you should seek. (urgent cares always seem to do the job faster), plus it uses your phones gps to locate the closest medical facility. much much much better than webmd!

    • pithypants August 4, 2011 at 5:19 pm #

      Thanks for the recommendation! Unfortunately, I tend to be a stubborn mule about actually getting treated, so I mainly peruse things out of curiosity. I’ll probably drop dead with my hand on the mouse.

  4. I'm Not Famous and Neither Are You February 5, 2012 at 9:06 pm #

    Reblogged this on I’m Not Famous and Neither Are You and commented:
    If you liked my blog about Web MD, you will equally love this one! Hilarious!!

  5. fromlifeidletolifefantastic February 5, 2012 at 10:23 pm #

    Holy crap! That was hilarious. I was reading it aloud to my son and was in tears; he wanted to know why I was laughing so hard. I am moved to research odd phobias now. Here are a few of my favorites:

    Barophobia- Fear of gravity
    Geniophobia- Fear of chins
    Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia- Fear of long words
    Kathisophobia- Fear of sitting down

    Thanks for the great entertainment. I am now a follower.

    • pithypants February 5, 2012 at 11:31 pm #

      Welcome! And congrats on starting your own blog. Enjoy the journey and like-minds you meet along the way!

      • fromlifeidletolifefantastic February 6, 2012 at 1:09 pm #

        Thank you. I am learning as I go and aspire to one day have a blog as enjoyable and entertaining as yours and some of the others I have read. I am slowly but surely coming out of my shell.

  6. sharbet February 6, 2012 at 4:15 am #

    This is hilarious. Unfortunately for me, I’m addicted to WebMD.

  7. littlemissobsessivesanatomy February 6, 2012 at 1:22 pm #

    wow.. you have great sense of humor… .

  8. inkessence February 13, 2012 at 9:38 pm #

    How in the hell do you come up with this funny shit?! And I’m not talking about WebMD, I’m talking about just the general way you write… you crack me up! I use WebMD myself on occasion and I, too, have been guilty of thinking I’m going to die any second with some horrible disease… I always had “normal” symptoms though, nothing like what you describe here. LMAO…


  1. When the fear isn’t crippling, it’s freeing… « pithypants - August 2, 2011

    […] (And yes, fear of air actually exists — it’s called anemophobia, if you’re curious. I didn’t know what it was a called, which is how I ended up on this site, doing a reverse look-up of phobias after WebMD indicated that fear of air is a symptom of rabies.) […]

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