The Footnotes

THE STUDENT LIFE

Six times you’ve convinced yourself you’re dying, thanks to Google

You’ve spent a helluva long time next to those UV lamps that set shellac nail polish, and you did always wonder if it would kill you one day

Thanks to the internet, we now have access to everything from MySpace-era photographs of your boss, to illustrated instructions on how to make a molotov cocktail. What a time to be alive!

But the internet is a vast galaxy of information, with infinite hidden corners of ‘what the f*ck am I looking at?!’ [Don’t believe me? Search Youtube for ‘Norman rides a scooter’] Incidentally, many of those hidden corners are dedicated to our society’s slight obsession with death. Specifically, your own death.

Google reckons that one in twenty of their online searches is health related, and we’re not surprised. How many times have you looked up your symptoms online in the hope of getting some insight in just how urgent it really is that you visit the GP? Snake bite or mosquito bite? Eczema or anthrax? Headache or tumor? Period pain or cancer? *Hysteria builds*

Here are six times we all thought we were dying, thanks to a combination of hypochondria, generalised anxiety, and dramatic Google diagnosis. Enjoy – and if symptoms persist, please see your doctor.

 Any time you take a sleeping tablet, ever. (Even if its herbal.)

It doesn’t matter if you’re on a flight, tucked up in bed, or trying to catch some snooze time underneath a Starbucks lounge seat during a 17 hour stopover in Dubai; dumping a sleeper is a truly terrifying experience for the anxious few amongst us.

First thoughts – The doctor did give me a script for these, didn’t he? Surely people can’t overdose on half a Valium. Or can they? Maybe I am the 1%! Oh god, I’m going to die, I need to text my mum before I lose consciousness.

 When your vision is blurry

Some might suggest it is time you get your eyes tested, but don’t listen to them. If you are experiencing blurred vision then you best sit down, ma’am, because the news isn’t good. You’re either having a stroke, or suffering from cataracts. Either way, you best relish those last moments of semi-clear vision, because you’re doomed to a life of eternal darkness, trapped in the prison of your own mind as you sob silently and tearlessly, trying to recall the colour of birch trees in autumn.

When you find a mysterious skin inflammation

I’m sorry, but it doesn’t make sense for a rash to just ‘appear’. It needs to be caused by something, like a mysterious outbreak of Anthrax, sent to your work by a disgruntled former employee with terrorist affiliations. Or, Pemphigus vulgaris, a rare disease which sees your own immune system killing the tissue in your body, resulting in a slow and painful death ALONE as you are so HIDEOUSLY CONTAGIOUS.

It could also just be the new brand of laundry detergent you started using. Either or.

If you lose your appetite

Oh, now this – this is when you need to worry. The only times a woman loses her appetite is a) when she is bikini shopping, or b) when she had a stomach bug and can’t stop throwing up. And even then, she could possibly manage a cheeseburger between hurls.

So, losing the will to eat automatically corresponds with losing the will to live. It’s stomach cancer. It must be. There is no other reason, nor should the lowered appetite be celebrated because you are DYING. And who cares how great your butt is going to look when you’re six feet under.

When you floss your teeth and they bleed a little

It’s funny, as a woman if you see a SPECK of blood in your spat-out toothpaste, it’s reason to panic. Gingivitis can lead to heart problems, you know. You didn’t know? Google it. Welcome to my hell.

If any hair comes out when you’re shampooing

Fact: your hair will shed at different rates throughout the year, influenced by change of seasons, hair health, change of products, or even just a new hairbrush. Fact: none of this matters when you’re standing in the shower at 7am on a Wednesday coming to terms with the fact that yes, you are dying.

You’re aware that hair loss and terminal illness are generally only linked through chemotherapy or radiation, but f*ck it. You’ve spent a helluva long time next to those UV lamps that set shellac nail polish, and you did always wonder if it would kill you one day. Now you know. IT WILL.

Google has been great for many things: how to boil an egg. Learning to spell ‘supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’. Seeking out new season Sass + Bide denim for half the price on Ebay.

But one thing Google probably isn’t so great for is figuring out if you’re dying. Sure, doctors might have terrible handwriting and a reluctance to give lollypops to people over the age of five, but they are trained up in spotting terminal moles and Pemphigus vulgaris.

And for everything else, there’s Panadol.

Enjoy this? You can read more of Maggie’s lists here, here and here

Six times you’ve convinced yourself you’re dying, thanks to Google
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