Internet Opens Up Whole New World Of Illness For Local Hypochondriac

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Vol 36 Issue 16

Clinton Consults Surgeon General On Behalf Of Friend Curious About Homosexuality

WASHINGTON, DC–President Clinton spent several hours behind closed doors Monday with Surgeon General David Satcher on behalf of an unidentified friend who is curious about homosexuality. "As a favor, this friend of mine asked me to ask the Surgeon General a few questions," Clinton said. "This person said he's had some funny new feelings lately, feelings he doesn't feel comfortable talking about, so he was hoping I could ask for him." Clinton said Satcher assured him that the feelings his friend is having are "completely natural."

Pizza Hut Employee Still Hanging Around After Shift

DYERSBURG, TN–Pizza Hut employee Larry Peete, 24, continued to hang around the restaurant for nearly an hour after his shift ended Monday. "He was just hovering around the lobby, making small talk with me and Jeff," said coworker Debbie Rust, who was operating the front register at the time. "Then he wandered over to the prep area and started talking to Duane. I was like, 'Why are you still here, Larry? Your shift is over.'"

Area Man Has Own Version Of Neighborhood-Watch Program

ATTLEBORO, MA–Fred Parisi has his own version of a neighborhood-watch program, the 53-year-old Attleboro resident reported Tuesday. "I try to keep a close eye on things," said the concerned citizen, who canvasses his neighborhood nightly. "I especially try to look out for those individuals most vulnerable to attackers, like young women. You wouldn't believe how easy it is for some sicko to spot a girl who's home all alone." Parisi said he recently began compiling a photo archive of local residents "for security purposes."

Sports Section Tragically Missing

HAMILTON, OH–According to bathroom-bound Carlson & Streed Advertising executive Geoff Kimble, the sports section of Monday's Cincinnati Post is tragically missing. "Where is it? I just saw it here a couple of minutes ago," said Kimble, 31, combing through the various newspaper sections scattered across the Carlson & Streed reception desk. "Everything is here but sports. Did somebody take it to their desk and not return it? Shit." A devastated Kimble eventually took the Home & Living section to the first-floor men's room.

My Funerary Revisions

When a gentle-man reaches a certain age, he realizes that he must make preparations for the day he will finally pass from this world. For myself, that age was 66. Since I am now 132, I thought it only proper that I review my funeral arrangements, amending them if necessary. With this in mind, I sent for Beavers, my solicitor, thinking that and he and I could plan the required ceremony in a short hour or so.

Vermont OKs Gay Marriage

Last week, Vermont became the first state to legally recognize same-sex marriages. What do you think about this historic legislation?

This New Toilet Paper Is So Soft And Absorbent!

You probably won't believe me when I tell you that new Cushy-brand bathroom tissue is the softest, most absorbent bathroom tissue you'll ever try. Heck, I was skeptical at first, too! Even after learning about Cushy'sspecially quilted "Moistu-Weave" inlay, I still thought, "Come on! How much better could one bathroom tissue be than another?" But once you've felt for yourself the heavenly sensation of a folded-up wad of Cushy sliding across your excrement-smeared anus, you're sure to agree: Cushy is the most luxurious tissue you'll ever wipe your ass with!
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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."

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