“You mean you were diagnosed with something called a brain cloud and didn’t ask for a second opinion?”
Quote from Joe versus the Volcano
When you feel a pain in your head, do you automatically think it’s a brain tumor? When you feel a tingling in your arm, do you jump to the conclusion that you’re having a heart attack? And when you feel some strange new symptom, do you consult Dr. Google and self-diagnose yourself with a rare and incurable disease?
One of my favorite movies of all time is Joe versus the Volcano, starring Tom Hanks, where hypochondriac Joe is diagnosed with an incurable disease (a Brain Cloud). After quitting his dehumanizing job, Joe agrees to sacrifice himself by jumping into a volcano on the island of Waponi Woo in exchange for the chance to “live like a king and die like a man.” Along the way, Joe meets some interesting people and learns how to truly live.
Aside from the fact that this movie is hilarious, I loved it because I can relate to Joe. I, too, am a hypochondriac. Most recently, I diagnosed a muscle strain in my lower right abdomen as a ruptured appendix. Before that, I was convinced my extreme fatigue was Lupus (or some other autoimmune disease).
But I’ve learned that I am not alone. I have a friend whose father-in-law was a Neurologist. Every time he would talk about one of his cases, my friend would become convinced that she too had an incurable brain tumor.
And last year my spiritual advisor became convinced that there was something seriously wrong with his big toe. He showed the toe to his administrative assistant who agreed there was something dreadfully wrong with it. Cancer, they both agreed. Definitely cancer. Later that week he was diagnosed with a hang nail.
What about you? Have you ever self-diagnosed yourself with an incurable disease?