Hey, I heard your doctor is a hypochondriac. He is a friend of a friend of mine, so I happen to know this as an unquestionable fact. I thought you should know.

Outlandish, you say? Let me explain.

This close acquaintance of mine happened to acquire an interest in health care not at a young age as do most individuals pursuing this "noble calling," but rather as a consequence of a wide series of failed internships, externships and informational interviews. After a short stint as the next mediocre corporate philanthropist or struggling stockbroker (he often forgets which came last), he decided to pursue the field that encompasses much of what has haunted him throughout his life: that of disease, dying and death.

In order to adequately comprehend the magnitude of his career folly, one must understand my dear fellow's mindset in order to grasp just how ironic it is that this Young Doctor of America is currently practicing in a field that encompasses the bulk of his innermost fears.

Behind Howard Hughes and Woody Allen, this guy happens to be third most neurotic individual both living and dead. And although his apprehension of declining health has pervaded his entire life, he continues to engage in patient care like a moth to a flame.

Unsurprisingly, when one looks back all the way to his birth, it is sorely obvious why his choice of livelihood is the exact opposite of what he needs to comfortably live on this planet.

Where most newborns cry due to the fact that they are forcefully taken away from the comforts of the womb, my colleague was already shedding tears of mourning over the finality of his life and the forthcoming expiration of his existence.

As a child, he would often create his own 48-hour isolation precautions upon the first light sneeze or loose stool. And contrary to the common practice of playing patient to get out of a test on pyramids or tadpoles, this associate of mine was one of the few children who stayed home from school due to actual distressing symptoms with clearly unfounded etiological bases.

During his awkward peri-pubescent years, my peripheral pal often shied away from the pretty girls in his class. Despite much of the juvenile theories of his peers, it had less to do with his lack of bravado or physical insecurity than it did with his post-traumatic response to the communicable disease portion of his school's obligatory sex education curriculum.
By the time he reached the age of a college-bound man-child, his perpetual academic besiegement in psychology and pre-medicine brought on a whole new extreme to the spectrum of pathological self-diagnosis. Yet he somehow continued this seemingly unstable path until degrees were given and his trajectory into a medical career was complete.

And so it has been (rightfully) speculated amongst the highly-reputed faculty of his current workplace as to why this close contact of mine chooses to pursue a field that involves all of which he dreads the most. Is it the selfish desire to conquer his irrational fear of disease that leads him to fight for others' actual afflictions? Or perhaps it is the deeply engrained medical bloodlines that he was born into which, against his hypothalamic will, guides him to his ancestral calling?

Well regardless of where, why, when and how, your doctor is a hypochondriac. He is a friend of a friend of mine, so I'm quite certain of it.

And I thought you should know.
Brian Secemsky, M.D.

Medical writing for patients, students
and practitioners.

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