Internet Opens Up Whole New World Of Illness For Local Hypochondriac

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Boss Able To Seamlessly Blend Constructive Criticism With Personal Attacks

SAN JOSE, CA—Marveling at the ease and deftness with which he communicates the two messages simultaneously, employees at local advertising firm Wavelength Solutions told reporters Tuesday that their supervisor Eric Crowell has a unique ability to seamlessly blend constructive criticism with cutting personal attacks.

Neighborhood Starting To Get Too Safe For Family To Afford

CHICAGO—Explaining that the sense of unease she felt walking to and from her home had declined markedly over the years, Humboldt Park resident Kirsten Healy expressed her disappointment to reporters Thursday that her neighborhood was becoming too safe for her family to afford.

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NASHUA, NH—Raising his arm into the air while leaning outward from the table in a bid to command attention from the other side of the restaurant, area father Walter Bierko called over a busboy at DiCapri’s Italian Eatery to inform him that he was ready to order, sources reported Wednesday.

Winning Argument With Aging Parents Less Satisfying Than It Once Was

CINCINNATI—After firmly telling them that she was okay paying city prices and that she would not move back to her hometown just because it was cheaper, local woman Ellen Wallace, 40, confirmed Thursday that winning an argument with her parents has become much less satisfying as they have gotten older.

Rescuers Heroically Help Beached Garbage Back Into Ocean

ATLANTIC BEACH, NC—In what many described as an inspiring display of selflessness and teamwork, a group of rescuers heroically saved a beached mound of garbage by helping the stranded trash back into the ocean, eyewitnesses reported Thursday.

Man Races Against Time To Take Out Trash Bag With Widening Puncture

RIO RANCHO, NM—His pace steadily quickening as he rounded the corner out of his kitchen and made a beeline for the front door, local man Henry Parnasse reportedly found himself locked in a race against time Wednesday morning to take out a trash bag with a widening hole in its side.

Man Pushed Off Plate Of Chicken Wings By Larger Male

WARMINSTER, PA—Looking on as the intense display of aggressive behavior played out over several minutes, sources at Flannigan’s Bar & Grill confirmed Thursday that local man Pete Samuelson was pushed off a plate of buffalo wings by a much larger alpha male.

Grandma Guts It Out Through Lunch On Sunny Patio

MALVERN, PA—Making the audacious decision to dine outdoors with her family despite a noticeable lack of umbrellas or awnings, grandmother Diane McGilvery, 83, reportedly gutted it out through lunch Friday on the sunny patio of a local restaurant.

Parents Formally Announce Transfer Of Expectations To Second Child

GRAND JUNCTION, CO—Explaining that the adjustment made the most practical sense for all parties involved, local parents Beth and Ryan Morgan held a press conference Friday morning to announce the official transfer of expectations from their oldest child, Jeremy, to his younger sibling, Angie.

Motorcyclist Salvaged For Parts

SIOUX FALLS, SD—Following a multiple-vehicle accident on Interstate 90 that temporarily halted traffic in both directions, sources reported Friday that a motorcyclist involved in the crash was hauled off and salvaged for parts.

Detective Not Sure He Was Close Enough To Partner To Endlessly Pursue Killer

DETROIT—After his partner of three years was gunned down last week while the pair were on duty, Detective David Killian of the Detroit Police Department’s Major Case Squad told reporters Wednesday he was unsure whether he had been close enough to his murdered colleague to single-mindedly pursue the killer for as long as it takes.

Man Pretty Cocky Since Beating Cancer

FT. LAUDERDALE, FL—Whether he’s bragging about his newfound appreciation for life or arrogantly refusing to take anything for granted, local man Daniel Oretsky, 38, has been acting insufferably cocky since winning his two-year battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, sources confirmed Tuesday.

Area Man Under Impression He Got Dressed Up

PROVIDENCE, RI—Explaining that the dinner he would soon be having at an upscale restaurant required him to wear something a bit special, local man Kyle Finnegan was under the impression that he had just gotten dressed up, sources said Thursday.

Man Honestly Thought Breakdown Would Be More Obvious To People

MAPLEWOOD, MN—Explaining that he had assumed the deterioration of his physical and psychological state would be readily apparent, 3M sales associate Mark Uhler told reporters Wednesday he honestly thought his ongoing breakdown would be more obvious to everyone around him.

Report: Dad Wants To Show You Where Fuse Box Is

YOUR LOCATION—Noting that it’s important to be prepared in case of emergencies but it’s also a good thing to know in general, your dad announced today that he wants to show you where the fuse box is.

Neighborhood Busybody Reports Sound Of Gunshots

INDIANAPOLIS—Once again sticking her nose where it doesn’t belong, neighborhood busybody Sally Christensen, 54, reportedly took it upon herself to report the sound of gunshots to law enforcement early Tuesday morning, sources confirmed.

Being Older Than Daughter Babysitter’s Only Qualification

UTICA, NY—Possessing no particular proficiencies or training whatsoever, local 12-year-old Jessica Radloff was reportedly hired to babysit Hayley Carden, 7, this week based solely on her qualification of being older than the child she was asked to watch.

Total Weirdo Spends Mother’s Day At Cemetery

ST. MARYS, OH—Apparently content to hang around dead people rather than celebrate like a normal person, area weirdo John Mills spent most of Mother’s Day at a local cemetery, creeped-out sources confirmed.

Child Visiting Ellis Island Sees Where Grandparents Once Toured

ELLIS ISLAND, NY—Pausing to imagine the throngs of people who must have arrived with them that day back in 1994, 12-year-old Max Bertrand reportedly spent his visit to Ellis Island this afternoon walking around the same immigrant station his grandparents once toured.

Email From Mom Sent At 5:32 A.M.

DENVER—After waking up and finding the message waiting on his computer, local man Drew Swanson confirmed to reporters Thursday that his mother had sent him an email at 5:32 a.m.

Man Proud Of Food He Ordered

DEDHAM, MA—Noting how the man grinned with satisfaction after his Buffalo Chicken Ranch sandwich with a side of spiced panko onion rings arrived at his table, sources at Chili’s Grill & Bar confirmed Tuesday that local diner Matt Schoesse ...
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Internet Opens Up Whole New World Of Illness For Local Hypochondriac

MERIDEN, CT–All her life, Janet Hartley has suffered from a host of ill-defined viruses and inexplicable aches and pains, diagnosing herself with everything from diabetes to cancer. But ever since discovering such online medical resources as WebMD, drkoop.com, and Yahoo! Health, the 41-year-old hypochondriac has had a whole new world of imaginary illnesses opened up to her.

Janet Hartley learns more about her suspected case of arteriovascular malformation on Yahoo! Health.

"The Internet has really revolutionized my ability to keep on top of my medical problems," said Hartley, speaking from her bed. "For instance, I used to think my headaches were just really bad migraines. But then last week, while searching Mt. Sinai Hospital's online medical database, I learned about something much more serious called cranial AVM, or arteriovascular malformation, which, along with headache pain, may also result in dizziness, loss of concentration, and impaired vision. I immediately thought to myself, 'Hey, that's exactly what happens to me.'"

In addition to regularly surfing various general medical-reference sites, Hartley makes frequent use of medical-school research sites, drug-company FAQs, and bulletin-board services for terminally ill patients in her ongoing quest to self-diagnose her hypothetical maladies.

"No more thumbing through the two-volume Physician's Desk Reference, a repetitive motion which led to my carpal tunnel syndrome," said Hartley, her wrists wrapped in ointment-soaked Ace bandages. "It felt great when I could finally throw that old thing out. Except I think I slipped a disc in my back tossing it in the trash can."

Every day, provided she feels up to it, Hartley logs onto the Internet from her home. She also frequently logs on from work.

"Something in my office just isn't right," Hartley said. "I always feel fatigued there, and for a long time, I suspected that the fluorescent lights were leaching the vitamins from my system. But according to a bunch of web sites I checked, that's unlikely. Then I thought maybe it was asbestos in the walls, but supposedly, there isn't any. So I spend some time on the Internet every day trying to figure out what exactly it might be."

A web page Hartley visited to learn more about the symptoms of Parkinson's Disease.

With a vast array of medical resources available to her at the click of a mouse, Hartley has been able to investigate workplace maladies ranging from office-chair-induced lumbar-vertebrae displacement to the carcinogenic properties of coffeepot residue to the possibility of spinal-fluid poisoning resulting from carpet-fabric outgassing. But perhaps Hartley's favorite thing about the Internet is its ability to connect her with other hypochondriacs.

"Just the other day, I was at the chronic-fatigue-syndrome message board, talking to other sufferers like myself," said Hartley between coughing fits. "I can't tell you how reassuring it was to be in the company of people who are not only going through the same things I am, but who know I'm not just making this stuff up."

Despite her enthusiasm, Hartley cautioned that Web-based medical diagnosis remains an inexact science.

"It's still far too common for a person who knows she's sick to enter her symptoms and get a response back from the web site that says nothing's wrong," Hartley said. "If that happens, you should get a second opinion from a different site. Or maybe take stock of your physical state again. You may have missed something that would alter your diagnosis. Or, if a web site is asking you 'yes or no' questions about the symptoms you're experiencing, just say yes to all of them. That way, you'll get a wider list of diseases, conditions, or syndromes you might have."

Hartley offered one final caution. "Computers are great, but if you spend too much time in front of them, you run the risk of developing chronic ocular strain," she said. "Not to mention the threat posed by monitor radiation, which I suspect played a part in my recent brain-cancer scare. Fortunately, though, if a computer makes you sick, you can then use it to help you get better."