When I was around 10 or 11, years of reading nurse's medical guides and nursing magazines finally caught up with me. Phil Donahue may have also helped with this, as his was the only show way back when that would talk about such things.
In the sixth grade, I announced to my classmates that I had self-diagnosed my condition as non-allergic sinusitis. I may really have that as I am not allergic to anything (except, apparently, poison ivy). It sounded serious enough to serve my needs, but was definitely not something that I would die of. (Please let me know if someone has died from a sinus infection, I can add that to my list.)
Web M.D. has become my barometer for whether I should seek medical attention - the more ludicrous (re: life-threatening) the potential disorder is, the less likely it is that I have it. In the last few weeks, Web M.D. has diagnosed me with Ovarian Cancer (that I am certain was actually a tad bit of food poisoning, as I am absolutely fine just now and don't feel as though I am dying of cancer), a heart attack (that may also have been the result of having slept on the couch and pinching a nerve in my neck that caused radiating pain down my arm), diverticultis, and a brain tumor (which turned out to be a dehydration headache, I think, because it is one billion degrees outside this summer and I forgot to always have my water bottle at the read.
Actual conversation with my mom as I am driving home:
Me: Hey, Web M.D. thinks that I could be having a heart attack.
Mom: I have told you before about seeking out medical opinions online.
Me: Yeah, but, I was at work, so I couldn't call you.
Mom: What are your "symptoms"? (followed by long dramatic sigh) (it's bad when you can tell that other people are using sarcastic emphasis over the telephone)
Me: Shooting pain down my arm and fatigue.Since the diagnoses are so rare, and life threatening, they simply cannot be correct and so I prescribe rest. And ice cream.
Mom: You are always fatigued. You work two jobs, you have a four-year-old, it comes with the package. Anything else?
Mom: Just go home, you are not having a heart attack.
Me: (sigh) Okay, if you are not gonna take me seriously... You'll feel bad when I die.
Mom: Yes. Yes, I will.
I am still alive, so I can't be that wrong.
What I love is that Web M.D. will not call you out on being a hypochondriac. They have not yet added the Facebook Share option to their symptom checker - although, how hysterical would that be -
Stephanie has just diagnosed herself with Crohn's disease with the Web M.D. Symptom Checker. How are you feeling?
Belinda had just found out that her migraine is not really a migraine after all with the Web M.D. Symptom Checker. What will you learn?
Tyrese is probably going to lose his penis after last night. Find out what you've been exposed to with the Web M.D. Symptom Checker.
On second thought, maybe this is just the next phase in REALLY knowing our friends and family. I already know what you eat 3 times a day, how much laundry you have to do, how crazy/wild/annoying your kids are and how frustrated you are by traffic, now I can know all about the inner workings of your body.
It could be great.