Cyberchondria and hypergoogleosis

8109649715_5ceeba20a1I am writing this while a little sleep deprived. Mainly because my lovely man (who says I am allowed to write about this as long as he can be referred to by the handle ‘CB’) developed an itchy skin rash about 48 hours ago. This in itself wouldn’t be quite so bad (for me, at least) if CB wasn’t almost permanently attached to a smartphone. Which he uses to research everything he encounters in the world that he doesn’t yet know everything about. Including the myriad possible causes of itchy skin rashes.

I had already shared my view, but do feel free to add yours. I’m sure he’d love more terms to search on! My view was that the most likely causes of said rash were either a new and disagreeable food, the new washing up liquid or some species of insect that might have leapt onto his skin from the fur of one of the creatures that he loves to collect on his lap when we visit friends.

How very dull of me.

As I finally drifted off to sleep last night, CB was using his phone to make a final choice between what he considered from his online research to be the two most likely culprits. These were pitted keratolysis and Raynaud’s phenomenon. He ruled out poison ivy only after I swore it didn’t grow in the UK. I also had to promise faithfully that, having lived in the American midwest where I was fully experienced in tornado and poison ivy avoidance tactics, I would definitely have spotted it had a patch suddenly turned up in the middle of the winter in our garden in Wiltshire. I await his final decision on the diagnosis with bated breath. Partly because (according to Google) he had an extremely narrow escape from a bout of necrotising fasciitis a few months ago, which thankfully turned out to be a bruise.

I hereby offer my own diagnosis of what I believe is a yet-to-be-adequately-named condition: hypergoogleosis.

All of this excitement reminded me of a phone call I received one morning a few years ago, from a woman that I had once looked after. While waiting to discuss the results of a blood test with her GP, she had googled the name of an enzyme which appeared to be marginally elevated on the test result and became concerned that she had either a serious viral infection or an autoimmune disease. This led to my writing an article called The perils of cyberchondria. I will leave you to consider that while I return to check on the wellbeing of CB and his one-finger diagnostic skills.


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photo credit: pierre odalisque via photopin (license)

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