Tag Archives: typhoid fever

Web MD

Can someone reassure me that this, whatever this is, will not kill me?

Since I don’t have the patience to wait for any qualified advice, against my better judgment, which is already somewhat questionable, I just went on WebMD to check my symptoms, which are mainly: 1) unidentifiable weird bite/sting thing on my hand, 2) slight pain emanating from said bite/sting thing.

The WebMD symptom checker questions alone scared the bejeezus out of me.

One of said terrifying questions: “Have you been bitten, stung, or had contact with a poisonous spider, scorpion, or puss caterpillar?” First of all, how would I know if I’ve been stung by a poisonous spider, scorpion, or puss caterpillar? Isn’t that WebMD’s job, to tell me if I have been stung by a poisonous spider, scorpion, or puss caterpillar? And also, PUSS CATERPILLAR?

Another probing question: “Do you have a blister, painful sore, or purple discoloration at the site of a bite or sting?” Well, yes – I mean, this thing looks pretty blistery, and it hurts. So I clicked on the “yes” button, which brought me to another series of questions, one of which was: “Have you had a blister, painful sore, or purple discoloration at the site of a bite or sting for 24 hours, but you do not have any other symptoms of illness?”  I think so? Has it been 24 hours? I don’t know! Probably? I clicked “yes.”   I was shocked by the results.

For once in my life, WebMD told me that I “may wait to see if the symptoms improve over the next 24 hours.”

Wait, what now? “Wait to see if the symptoms improve?” Does. Not. Compute.

LITERALLY every other time I’ve had even the tiniest twinge of illness or pain, WebMD has told me I’m dying.  It has either flat out said, “You’re dying,” or it’s said something like, “You’re probably dying, but call an ambulance and rush to the emergency room just in case some talented doctor there can work magic and pull your quickly dwindling life from the jaws of death.”

Now that WebMD’s telling me I “may wait” to see how things develop, I don’t trust it.  I don’t trust it one bit.

I should make it clear here that I know better than to go on Web MD, but I just have no self control.  I have a long history of diagnosing myself with diseases that I don’t have (various types of cancer, immune disorders, tropical diseases, and psychiatric illnesses, to name a few), under the terribly off base and alarmist guidance of WebMD.  The problem is, I’m a bit of a hypochondriac. And I’m always open to suggestion.

The worst part of my WebMD addiction is that on the rare occasions where I have actually been seriously ill, and WebMD should have been like, “Red alert, red alert, get thee to a healthcare provider,” it’s led me completely and totally astray.  For example: remember that time I had typhoid fever?  So, I was feeling horrible – sweating, shivering, no appetite, piercing headache, body aches, weakness, and joint pain.  I felt like crap on a cracker, but I was pretty sure it wasn’t the flu, because, for one thing, I wasn’t coughing and, for another, the flu has never made me lose my appetite before (I’m a hearty one).  So I went on WebMD to see what other terrible illness I could have been suffering from.  I put in my symptoms and WebMD diagnosed me as suffering from – wait for it! – pregnancy.

I re-entered my symptoms, omitting certain things each time, rephrasing, tweaking, and every time the results popped up: pregnant, pregnant, pregnant.  When I dragged myself into my nurse practitioner’s office the next day, white as a ghost, sweaty, and barely able to hold myself upright, I croaked, “I’m concerned that I may be pregnant.”  She looked at me like I was insane in the membrane and then said, “Yeah, pregnancy doesn’t look like this.”  (Unless you’re having Rosemary’s Baby, I guess). I was relieved. Because if being pregnant feels like being deathly ill with typhoid fever, I ain’t never having kids.

Anyway. I should know better than to trust WebMD but I’m addicted to it.  Checking WebMD compulsively is in itself a sickness. I wonder if WebMD has that particular disorder in its catalog of horrors. I’m scared to find out.  I don’t want to diagnose myself with anything else for today.

Stephanie’s no good very bad week

So, uh, I’m moving to South Africa in four days.

I know.

And I’m completely unprepared.

Guys, I know.

The (abridged) backstory: my husband (Al) works for a great company that has a Global Rotation Program that allows employees to work in two of the company’s many offices for six to nine months each.  Al applied last year and was accepted (hooray!) and we decided to do nine months in Joburg and nine months in London. I’ve written about the decision process and my feelings on it here.  Suffice it to say it was sort of a fraught decision but I’m feeling good about the move and even better about my decision to quit my terrible, toxic law firm job and become a professional writer.

Anyway.  It’s really happening now.  Stuff is getting real.  But as I sit here, four days out from boarding a flight to Johannesburg, I feel woefully unprepared for this move.  I haven’t packed half of our appliances, I have a load of laundry that needs doing, I don’t have enough boxes for the rest of our stuff (and why do we have so many novelty hats?), and I ran out of bubble-wrap before I could wrap up all of our wine glasses and ceramic mugs.  Oy.

I couldn’t really pack before this because I was busy suffering through a comically terrible last two weeks of work and I had little time for anything other than crying in my office.  See, Al left for Joburg two weeks ago but I had decided to stay on a couple extra weeks at work because of a big filing deadline for one of my cases.  So there I was, in DC, working bonkers hours to try to get this brief filed, when I started feeling sick.  Really sick.  I had a terrible headache, body aches, joint pain, chills, fever, and sharp abdominal pains, and I completely lost my appetite. I went to the doctor and — long story short! — I had typhoid fever.


I’ll spare you the gory details but my last week of work was truly hellish, and not just because I was dealing with a disease that you contract from eating or drinking something contaminated with human feces.  Oh, wait, I guess I didn’t spare you the gory details at all. Well… real talk. Deal with it.

The point is, I don’t recommend working at a law firm. It’s TERRIBLE. Worse than typhoid! And I should know!  Actually, typhoid fever is a pretty useful metric for deciding on the horribleness of any given thing. For example: Drinking a frosty eggnog with rum > watching a baseball game with beer > getting a stubbed toe > watching a baseball game with no beer > having typhoid fever > working at a law firm.

Anyway, I’m better now (thank you, Cipro) and I really do need to pack.