I know I’m not the only one that went through a serious Lurlene McDaniel phase around 5th grade. Instead of Sweet Valley High and The Babysitters Club on my bedside table, I had Somewhere Between Life And Death, Too Young To Die, She Died Too Young, Sixteen and Dying, and the timeless classic Six Months To Live.
See the common theme? Terminal illness, tragedy, death and dying. My parents expressed concern. Certainly the suspense and the dramatic plots pulled me in, but so did the lists of symptoms that these previously healthy tweens experienced in route to their tragic diagnosis—symptoms for illnesses I might have and not even know it.
These days, instead of reading about heart-wrenching illness in the new Lurlene McDaniel books (yes, she’s still at it!), I indulge my paranoia on Web MD.
Web MD Symptom Checker —fueling the fantastical self-diagnosis of hypochondriacs everywhere.
A few months ago I had an unexplained pain in my back. Naturally I jumped on WebMD for a little self diagnosis.
Numbness in toes? Yes
Cold hands and feet? Always
I was convinced that I had Kidney Disease. However, a quick visit to the doctor’s office debunked my diagnosis and confirmed that I had a lightly strained muscle in my back and an unhealthy relationship with WebMD. I blame this woman for encouraging my inner hypochondriac.
My childhood infatuation for tragic literature has translated into an adulthood where romance novels like The Time Travelers Wife and those by Nicholas Sparks just don’t hold my attention. Of course I breeze through disturbing and heartbreaking books like Push and The Lovely Bones.
So it’s time for a new bedside read. Does anyone have any recommendations? All I ask is for truth, tragedy, misfortune or scandal.