The Weekly Dose: Doctor Google's Diagnosis
The infant child who claimed to be a radiologist – and who had the temerity to allege that there was ‘nothing abnormal’ in my scan – looked like he was born around the time I started writing this piece. So I ignored his feeble written report, and turned to a very reliable YouTube video titled ‘How 2 analysur own CT Skan - Crash Course’.
It is with absolute certainty and great regret that I issue this, my latest (and last) health bulletin: I am dying. Well, not absolute certainty, but I recently read on my family WhatsApp group that my auntie’s half-brother’s twice-removed fourth cousin’s great-grandmother has been diagnosed with a dangerous-sounding, and hence obviously dangerous cancer: adeno-maiduppo-carcinoma of the Bartholin’s glands. This is the beginning of the end...for me.
When I thought about it, I have been feeling a certain ache in my own Bartholin’s glands, although I’m a little foggy about what and where they are. A quick Google search revealed that they’re a part of the female reproductive system. I’m a man, but since 50% of my DNA comes from my mother (Science!), I have at least a 50% chance of having my own Bartholin’s gland. So says this very informative medical website full of terrible spellings and reassuring images of white people in white coats.
I immediately forwarded the news to my family doctor, Dr. Kulkarni, who describes himself as ‘long-suffering’ whenever I meet him, but I think he’s just talking about my many years of illness. That good-for-nothing fellow prescribes hot fluids instead of my favourite antibiotics, every time I have a serious case of the sniffles; if I thought hot fluids could exterminate the beastly little pathogens that wage war on my delicate throat, I’d go to a chaiwallah, not a clinic. Whenever I show up at his office with the latest, completely authentic, inexplicably anonymous online articles about revolutionary ways to treat the common cold, he takes one look at my proffered mobile phone, excuses himself and disappears for hours; later, his secretary comes in to inform me that he has taken the rest of the day off. I wonder why.
While that worthless, probably-passed-with-grace-marks medico pretended to ignore my message, I did what any reasonable, rational man would do: got a full-body CT scan, and ordered every blood, urine, saliva, sputum, stool and semen test offered by my neighbourhood diagnostic lab, where – incidentally – I have a running account and life membership.
The infant child who claimed to be a radiologist – and who had the temerity to allege that there was ‘nothing abnormal’ in my scan – looked like he was born around the time I started writing this piece. So I ignored his feeble written report, and turned to a very reliable YouTube video titled ‘How 2 analysur own CT Skan - Crash Course’. What I now saw in my scan petrified me: too much black, far too little white, some suspicious dots near my right spleen, and a total absence of anything inside my skull.
All this serious research gave me a headache, so I popped a pill. Now don’t forget, all medicines have side-effects; a moment’s browse of the internet informed me that the fallout of this particular drug is nausea – and what do you know, I almost threw up! Losing no time whatsoever, I swallowed a couple or ten life-saving tablets to keep me from vomiting half my body weight. While my violent retches subsided, I googled the side-effects of my anti-nausea medication. Headache, it said…
Where were we? I’ve forgotten. I fear I have early-onset old-age; must consult an expert for my memory loss. I just looked for ‘famous neurologists’ online, and have decided to seek an appointment with the one at the top of the list. A Dr. Freud, of Vienna. JustDial doesn’t seem to have his number; I wonder if he does Skype calls?
I just remembered that I’m yet to tell you about my abysmal blood test reports. Medical schools will use them as teaching aids for aspiring doctors, who will surely gasp when they realise that while Wikipedia says the lowest acceptable level of platelets per cubic millimetre of blood is 1,50,000, I survived with a rock-bottom count of just 1,49,000. I asked the quack Kulkarni for a blood transplant; he told me I was worrying about nothing and gave me lifestyle advice. Now, I already get my life advice from Cosmo and style advice from Vogue. So much these doctors charge; can’t they give terminally ill patients like me a couple of platelet injections to make our last days a little comfortable?
I’m so terrified of injuring myself and losing even more platelets that I decided never to leave my rocking chair. I spend my days in front of the television, trying to energise myself by watching ads for Revital capsules and doze off in my chair every night. Strangely, this period has corresponded with the appearance of a new stiffness and pain in my back (despite the yoga I do regularly i.e. once a month), which WebMD has accurately diagnosed as ankylosing spondylitis. Now I know lots of people live with spondylitis, but I have the ankylosing variety. My ankles feel fine, but clearly, they will be the last to go.
While I was staring at my ankles, waiting for them to explode, I noticed my calf muscle twitching. Without a doubt, this is nothing but the dreaded Benign Fasciculation Syndrome. Benign, my foot! This ominous symptom portends my eventual demise from Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, says a research study, whose title I read from start to finish. Anything which has two sets of three consecutive consonants in its name must be truly lethal. Google – the only dependable source of information – says my twitches may also be caused by low blood magnesium. Why, I ask you, do the stupid Tata people add useless iodine to my salt when they can save millions of lives with a little magnesium instead?
My dear relative, who has beaten her cancer, claims I’m a hypochondriac when I’m really only hypothyroid. This isn’t my opinion; the nice doc in the ad – for thyroid medications, which just happened to pop up while I was reading an article about thyroid disorders – said so himself. When he listed weight gain as one of its symptoms, I dropped my fifth samosa mid-bite; how did he know? The heartless Dr Kulkarni wants me to go out and exercise, but I’m afraid my hypothyroid constitution cannot stand it.
In the few hours left to me before I die of Flatulent Gastroventeritis – a rapidly fatal condition – I would like to record my thanks to Google, Facebook, WhatsApp, and YouTube, without whose timely information, I would already have reached my end. The End.